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How Being A Minimalist At Work Can Make You More Successful

How Being A Minimalist At Work Can Make You More Successful

Have you bought into the ethos that to be productive you must work all the hours under the sun?

If yes, then your day probably looks like this…

You get up at the crack of dawn, get to your office super-early and begin working. When lunch time comes around, you decide to skip it, choosing instead to eat at your desk so you can continue working. As your colleagues begin leaving at the end of the day, you stay late while you try in vain to finish all of your tasks and projects.

For a few months, you’re excited by what you believe you are achieving. But as time goes by, you realize that you’re not as productive as you think, and you’re struggling to keep up the hectic pace.

If you’re honest with yourself, if you don’t make some urgent changes – you’ll be burnt out within a year.

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What’s the Connection Between Minimalism and Productivity?

The first thing to grasp, is that there is a little-known (but definite) connection between minimalism and productivity.

If you’re unfamiliar with minimalism, then think of it this way: Performing a task in as simple a way as possible.

This could involve devising a way to deal with your emails efficiently, or learning how to prioritize important work over tasks that can be scrapped. It may even mean developing the ability to focus 100% on a task at hand.

Minimalism has an end goal of making your work easier… and more productive!

As an example, if you’ve streamlined the way you create reports, you may find that you can do this task in half the time that it previously took you. All it needed was some initial time and creativity to look for ways to make the task as simple as possible.

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If you find yourself continually running out of time at work, take a step back, and begin seeking ways to make your workload easier to deal with. Each task that you simplify, can lead to significant time savings (especially when calculated over periods of weeks and months).

Despite what you may have been taught at school or college, minimalism and productivity are intrinsically linked.

8 Ways Minimalism Can Boost Your Work Productivity

So, what are the best ways to introduce a minimalistic approach to your work?

Let’s take a look now.

Write a daily to-do list.

Begin your working day by writing a to-do list (either on paper or by using an app). It only takes a few minutes to make a list of everything you would like to do in the day ahead. And it’s remarkable how this simple activity can crystallize your thoughts and help plan your day.

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Identify essential tasks.

Once you’ve completed your to-do list. Take a good look at it. Are there two or three tasks that you absolutely need to finish today? If yes, can you identify them? In most cases, essential tasks will jump out of your to-do list. Make sure you mark these as VIT (Very Important Tasks!).

Cut non-essential tasks.

Take a second look at your to-do list. Are there any tasks that you’ve listed that you don’t really need to do? For example, you may have listed several meetings – but are they all really necessary? By looking at your to-do list with a minimalist mindset, you’ll be sure to find things that you can scratch off your list.

Learn to focus and defeat distractions.

To be a successful minimalist, you must learn to develop laser focus. If you can’t avoid distractions (such as loud conversations in an open-plan office), then by building powerful mental focus – distractions won’t distract you any more!

Turn tasks into daily habits.

Daily habits can be incredibly potent. They can break down complex tasks and turn them into bite-sized daily treats! For instance, you may work at a restaurant and need to clean the outside of the building every week. The cleaning might take you one hour to complete. Instead of this, you could build a daily routine of cleaning a part of the outside every day for 10 minutes. This will be easier and more enjoyable to complete than working a full hour on the task. It will also enable you to make it a habit – so you’ll never have to motivate yourself to complete it.

Stretch time.

Did you know that it’s possible to stretch time? It’s true. Let’s say that I give you three hours to create a Google Slides presentation. You start the task, and if you’re like most people, you’ll finish it somewhere around the three-hour mark. Now, imagine that instead of three hours, I told you that you needed to create it in 90 minutes. Guess what – you’d be able to do it! This is what I mean by stretching time. To save this precious resource, assign yourself less time to complete your tasks.

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Be aware of the Pareto Principle.

You may be unfamiliar with the term Pareto Principle, but I’m sure you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule. Well, they are the same thing. This rule/principle states that just 20% of our efforts will lead to 80% of our results. Looking at from the opposite perspective, 80% of our efforts will lead to just 20% of our results! The trick is to become aware of the 20% of actions that are producing most of our results. Identify these actions, focus on performing them, and your productivity will skyrocket.

Take regular breaks.

It’s tempting to skip breaks (and even lunch) when you have lots of tasks and projects ahead of you. However, research has shown that workers who take regular breaks are actually more productive than those who don’t.[1] There are several science-backed reasons for taking regular breaks, including the fact that they help us to maintain our focus, help us remember information, and help us to reevaluate our goals. So, don’t let your colleagues persuade you to keep working. Take regular breaks, and begin to see an immediate boost to your productivity.

Start adding these minimalist techniques to your life right now. You’ll be amazed at how much more relaxed you are – and how much more productive you’ve become!

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pexels.com

Reference

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Craig J Todd

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

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, 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.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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