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Want To Be Insanely Productive For A Whole Day? You Should Know These Hacks

Want To Be Insanely Productive For A Whole Day? You Should Know These Hacks
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We live in a production-oriented world. The numerous types of cars, shampoos and cereals are tell-tale signs that producing products, even content, is how some define success.

But this push, this drive to produce is not rooted in being busy, busy, busy. Instead, it requires a focus, a single-eyed vision to pursue one thought, one idea into completion. When we think of the phrase, “Just do it,” we think of one “it,” not “them.”

So multi-tasking, although it sounds productive, is actually counterintuitive. Research suggests that when we focus on doing several things at once versus one thing well we do not get much done any quicker. Therefore, slowing down can be productive.

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1. Know your ABC’s

Getting back on track after a distraction can be as easy as counting to three – using the alphabet. “A” means be aware of your options. “B” means breathe deeply and “C” stands for choose carefully.[1]

When you are given the option to defocus from your primary task, be aware of what is going on. Tell yourself, “I am focused on this project and that distraction is not helpful.” Then, take a deep breathe and choose whether you will stay focused on the task at hand or derail your focus by doing something different.

If you buy into the idea that multi-tasking will make you more productive, the distraction may seem appealing. However, if you want to be insanely productive, stay focused on the task at hand until you reach its completion.

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2. Set the tone for your day

Awareness begins with the self. How are you feeling? What is on your mind? Is there a list you could make to declutter your brain for the day?

In order to set the right atmosphere in your mind, body and gut, a sense of self-awareness is necessary. What is going on internally that could prevent this task from reaching its full potential? Once you answer that question, through journaling or self-reflection, you can set the tone for your day to remain focused on what is most important.

3. Technology can be an ally

Need to empty your brain of clutter? Use technology to help you remain organized and focused. There are plenty of apps available for both android and iPhone products to keep us on track. If you, like many other people, are bombarded with personal, professional and familial responsibilities to children and partners, technology can be an ally in keeping you on track, on time and on fire with the task at hand.

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Set alarms on your phone so you can completely lose yourself in a project. Reminders placed in apps can keep your to-do list stay relevant and the items of high priority at the top of the pile.

4. Breaks are necessary

Rejuvenating the brain so it remains fresh is imperative. When working on a project to completion, it is wise to factor in setbacks, moments to problem solve, deal with frustrations or stone walls, and a chance to regroup. By taking a break, such as a walk or to chit chat with a friend or coworker, you are in a position to keep your mind fresh and up to date.[2]

A fresh mind is a focused mind.

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Summary

As individuals, we contribute to the amount of ideas and products available in today’s society. Whether our contribution is grooming a child to become a productive citizen or designing the next space shuttle to launch into outer space, our individual efforts matter.

However, we are more likely to be successful in our pursuits of productivity with the right amount of single-minded focus and tranquility.

Reference

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Michelle Owens

Freelance Writer/Editor

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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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