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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

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.

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Michelle Owens

Freelance Writer/Editor

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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