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Want To Improve Yourself 10 Times Faster? Master These 4 Skills First

Want To Improve Yourself 10 Times Faster? Master These 4 Skills First

Do you wish you were a better person? Self-improvement can be a slow process, and it’s easy to get disheartened when you feel like you’re not moving forward. Luckily, there are four skills which are guaranteed to help you improve yourself faster, and they’re all really simple. Whether you want to become better at work, increase your grades at school, or master a new skill, these four techniques will help. Once you’ve learned these skills, you’ll be a better learner for the rest of your life, so it’s a worthwhile investment.

1. Be more productive using the Pomodoro technique.

The Pomodoro technique [1] is a simple trick which involves using a timer to improve your focus and productivity. It’s named for the tomato-shaped timer that the developer of the theory used, but any old timer will do.

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Here’s how it works: decide on a task to complete, set your timer for 25 minutes, and get to work. If you find yourself becoming distracted, write down the distraction. For example, “Checking Facebook,’ or “Looking out of the window.” Once you’ve written down the distraction, get back to work immediately.

Once 25 minutes is up, you should take a five-minute break and relax completely. It’s important not to get pulled back into work, as this is the time to give your mind a rest and get ready to concentrate again – no sneaky checking emails! Keep a tally of how many 25-minute Pomodoros you’ve completed, and give yourself a longer break of 15-30 minutes once you’ve done four. This prevents you from getting burnt out or tired.

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You’ll be shocked at how much more productive you are using this technique, and may find that you quickly run out of work to complete.

2. Retain knowledge by writing down what you learn.

Have you ever left a lecture or finished a book feeling like you didn’t remember a thing you learned? This is all too common, and happens when we don’t take enough time to digest information.

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By writing down a summary of everything you learn, you’ll be able to retain much more knowledge. You’ll also have handy notes to refer back to if you do forget, so it’s a win-win. It’s been shown that hand writing notes are better for learning and memory, so ditch the laptop and grab a pen [2].

3. Increase your self-awareness for greater success.

If you want to be successful, it’s important to be able to view yourself and your work objectively. If you think you’re amazing at everything you do, you’ll never have the drive to improve, and you won’t be good at taking constructive criticism on board. Equally, if you view everything you do in a negative way, your confidence will suffer and you could miss out on great opportunities.

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You can develop self-awareness by reflecting on yourself daily, asking others for honest feedback, and considering what motivates your behaviour [3].

4. Practise speed reading to take in large amounts of information.

There are so many wonderful books, blogs and articles being published every day that reading as much as you want to can feel impossible. While you’ll never be able to read everything, learning to speed read will allow you to read much more.

Practise using your finger to guide your eyes while reading, and increase the speed as much as you can. Instead of focusing on one word at a time, make use of your peripheral vision to take in whole chunks of text at once. You should also try downloading a speed reading application, which will present you with one word at a time, meaning you don’t need to move your eyes at all [4]

If you want to improve yourself ten times faster, focus on developing these four skills. You’ll be more productive, better at retaining information, and more self-confident – attributes which will help you no matter what your final goal is.

Reference

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Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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