Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

Want to Get Free Product Samples Like Bloggers and Beauty Gurus Do? Read This. We Don’t Need More Likes, We Need Self-Esteem 30 Refreshing Routines to Boost Your Morning Motivation What to Do When You Hate Your Job (for Both Who Choose to Stay and Quit) Characteristics of Critical Thinking (And How to Think Critically)

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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)

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.

Advertising

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!

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next