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If You Want to Be Productive, You Should Have More Quiet Time When You’re Busy

If You Want to Be Productive, You Should Have More Quiet Time When You’re Busy

The pace of life in today’s world has become non-stop. And the world has also got louder.

Radios and TVs constantly blare out. Congested roads fill our environments with engine noise. And even at work, there is a steady stream of noisy interruptions.

With our auditory senses under relentless attack, it’s no wonder that…

You’ve Become Too Busy to Have Quiet Time

All that noise. Have you ever considered what it’s doing to your ability to think and be productive?

You may suppose that a noisy and busy environment helps you to work – but to be truly creative and productive you must find quiet times.

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A recent study by Duke University Medical Center found that silence is associated with the development of the hippocampus (a brain region associated with learning and memory).[1]

Research undertaken by physician Luciano Bernardi found that two-minute intervals of silence between music resulted in more stable respiratory and cardiovascular systems, compared to even listening to “relaxation” music.[2]

It’s clear that quiet times are essential to our physical, emotional and mental health.

But…

You’re Probably Struggling to Find Solitude and Silence

I sympathise. Your kids never stop screaming, your dog never stops barking, and your life is just endless noise and distraction.

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If you work in an open-plan office, then there are constant interruptions. If you live in a busy, family home, then there are constant disruptions!

Even if you escape your office or home, the shops and cafés that you may choose to visit are also filled with people, noise and disturbances.

It’s a genuine challenge to find quiet times. But there are ways you can achieve this.

Let’s take a look now at…

The 7 Best Ways to Find Quiet Time – Even When You’re Busy

Quiet time is essential if you want to reach your peak creativity and productivity.

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Here are my recommendations:

1. Wake up early.

Time management is everything. And this starts with waking up early! If you make this a habit, you’ll not only find yourself ahead of the pack, but you’ll also be blessed with a peaceful period of time that is perfect for clear and creative thinking.

2. Take a walk in the park.

If your work never ends, then you’ll never find time to relax. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, make a point of taking regular breaks. If you live or work near a park, then this gives you a wonderful opportunity to walk in nature. You’ll definitely benefit from the exercise, fresh air and change of scenery.

3. Leave your headphones at home.

Do you wear headphones when you’re commuting to college or work? If you do, then you’re starting your day off in a noisy fashion. Try leaving your headphones at home, and instead, give you mind chance to work on solutions to problems. You may find that your commute becomes your most productive time.

4. Switch off your mobile device.

Everywhere you look – people are staring at their mobile devices. Many of them seem to be hypnotized. Let’s be honest, most of us have become addicted to breaking news, social media updates, and even the latest version of Pokémon Go! These things can be fun, but they shouldn’t be taking over our lives. Try this test: Switch off your mobile phone for a full 24 hours, and see how much more relaxed and productive you feel.

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5. Book a meeting room for yourself.

Office work can swing rapidly from typing at a desk to talking in meetings. With this constant to-and-fro, it’s hard to ever feel calm and collected. However, I have a suggestion for you. Why not book a meeting room just for yourself? That way, you can choose to either work on your laptop in peace and quiet – or simply enjoy the silence for 10 minutes or so.

6. Find time for meditation.

You don’t need to be a guru to practice meditation. In fact, it can be as easy as just finding time for quiet contemplation. Many highly successful people use this technique, including Hugh Jackman and J.K. Rowling. The benefits of silent periods are many. You’ll likely have more energy, more focus and deeper thoughts. And once you become familiar with the inner bliss that comes from this practice, you may decide to enroll on a meditation retreat.

7. Go to bed early.

I advised you to wake up early. And the best way to do this – is to go to bed early! By doing this, you’ll build powerful self-discipline, and also find yourself with regular spells of quiet time. If you go to bed early, you can use the minutes before you sleep as a way to clear your thoughts from the day, and allow new ideas to come to mind. One added benefit: Going to bed early means you’re likely to sleep deeper.[3]

There’ll always be busy times in your life, but make sure to balance these with regular periods of tranquillity.

You’ll be amazed at how much calmer you feel – and how much more productive you’ve become.

Featured photo credit: ABC News via abcnews.go.com

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

Freelance Writer helping businesses and people to thrive.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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