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

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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.

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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

More by this author

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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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