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3 Tricks To Become Much More Productive And Motivated

3 Tricks To Become Much More Productive And Motivated
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In the middle of the day, have you ever felt like you were just ready for a nap? Or, at work, have you ever felt that one whole hour felt like a full eight hours? For times like these, our go-to solutions include drinking coffee or grabbing an energy drink to get a dose of caffeine to boost our energy. But, the good news is, it is not only caffeine that can boost our energy and make us feel more productive and motivated. Follow the tricks below for a much more productive day:

Stay near natural light sources.

As much as you can, do not lose sight of natural light. Try to sit beside a window, or go outside for walks during your breaks. Doing this will make you feel more energetic because it will make you feel more awake. The explanation for this is that the hypothalamus in our brain, which regulates energy and sleep levels, signals for our body to ramp up or down the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, when it senses a change in light. That also explains why, when we use our cellphone in bed in the middle of the night, we find it hard to get back to sleep.If for any reason you are not able to see natural light during the day, you can use alternatives such as a mood lamp or a sunlight LED light.

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Do not forget to exercise.

Exercising is not only good for the heart. Exercising also helps you sleep well. A research study[1] concluded that people who exercise for 60 minutes on 5 days a week get more sleep than those who do not. Have you ever gone to work after a sleepless night?Obviously, a sleepless night will not give you a very productive day because you will feel very tired and sleepy. So, do not forget to exercise if you want to sleep soundly. Make an extra effort to get good sleep using strategies other than exercise, such as avoiding caffeine in the afternoons and evenings, using comfortable bedding, turning off the light, and keeping the sounds down. If you sleep well, you will definitely feel much more energized the next morning when you wake up.

Learn to manage stress.

Someone who is stressed will not feel motivated or productive. In a research study, 40%[2] of Americans said that stress makes them feel tired and fatigued. Fatigue definitely will make you less productive and motivated during your day.To counter that, you should learn to combat stress. There are a variety of ways to counter stress such as:

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Yoga – Yoga clears your mind and slows down[3] the breathing and heart rate.

Exercise – Exercise reduces[4] stress and fatigue. It improves your overall cognitive function, alertness and concentration.

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Meditation – A study[5] has found that mindfulness meditation can help ease stresses like depression, pain and anxiety.

Eating a healthy diet – Eating high-fat food can make you feel lethargic and leave you without much energy to deal with stress. A healthy diet that combats stress is composed of high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich and low-fat meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods do not sap energy and boost the immune system.

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Keeping a positive outlook – When stress and negative thoughts come in, it is important to shove those negative thoughts away and to replace them with positive ones. That way, you will not dwell on negativity, which causes stress and depression.Whether we feel motivated and productive can be up to us. If we take extra steps, such as those suggested above, to make sure that we are motivated and productive, the results will definitely show in our work day and will be a reflection of how we take care of ourselves.

Reference

[1] Journal Sleep: Journal of Sleep and Disorders Research
[2] American Psychological Association: Stress and Sleep
[3] Harvard Health Publication: Yoga can blunt harmful effects of stress
[4] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Exercise for Stress and Anxiety
[5] The JAMA Network: Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being

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Sarah Bonander

Writer, Human Resources Professional

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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