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How to Become Productive Without Getting Stressed Out

How to Become Productive Without Getting Stressed Out
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Being productive is more important than ever in this age. As technology improves, the expectations that we are under from our jobs, our family and even our friends also seem to rise. Therefore, we all look for ways to be efficient as we can in all areas of our lives. But how do we do this without getting stressed out?

Knowing how to deal with stress is becoming a serious problem, especially in the United States. We stress over getting along with our co-workers, fitting more into our daily schedules and, most prominently, we even stress over trying not to stress.

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So let’s take a look at seven ways to up our productivity, while still keeping our stress levels in check!

VIDEO SUMMARY

Plan Your Next Day a Few Hours Before Bedtime

Many of us make the huge mistake of planning our next day as we lie in bed. Instead, try to make a quick “To Do” list a few hours before bedtime, that way you can clear your mind and be energized for the following morning. Not only will you feel more organized, but that stress that you feel when you “might be forgetting something” will also be a thing of the past.

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Delegate What You’re Not Good at

Many productive leaders only do what they’re good at. In other words, if you have the ability to outsource a task or a project that you’re just not cut out for to another team member or a freelancer, then go for out! It doesn’t do you any favors to volunteer for something that you know you won’t excel at just to appear “eager to learn”. You know your skill set and your limitations, so if you’re not the best in the world at a particular task, then outsource it to someone who is.

Create Time by Having a Small Tweak of Your Daily Schedule

Well, there are actually quite a few things that are within your control that can help add some more time to your day. Take lunch a bit early or a little later than most, avoiding that long line at the area restaurants. When you’re at home with family, do your grocery shopping at off-peak hours and see the latest movie during a matinee. You will definitely find it easier to manage time in your busy schedule, plus you may even put a few dollars back into your pocket!

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Ask for Help When You Feel Overburdened

If things ever get to be a “little too much,” learn to ask for help. This can mean talking to a friend to clear your mind or even taking a step back from some of your responsibilities in the office. It could even mean setting up that first therapy appointment. So, it may be just the thing to help you get rid of that stress and anxiety for good! Once you are thinking with a clear mind, you’ll see your productivity levels will thank you for it.

Get in Great Physical Shape to Energize Your Mind

Working out is not only good for our bodies, but it releases endorphins, which also energizes our minds. Plus, stepping away from your desk for even ten minutes to get your blood pumping can make you much more focused when you return. You can also add one of those standing desks that everyone has been talking about. You can place more attention on the project you’re working on, while also alleviating those cramps you get after sitting for an hour or so straight.

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Stop Letting Your Relationships Drag You Down

Relationships can be one of the biggest stress builders on the planet, and being around negative people only compounds that. Try to remove as many of these people as you can from your everyday life. If you find yourself in a situation at your job where you have no choice in the matter, put up your “negativity shield”. Remind yourself that you don’t need the additional stress or the decrease in productivity, and remain in control of your own emotions and how you choose to deal with the situation before you.

Eat and Drink Fresh to Boost Energy in Your Body

The next time you need a boost of energy, don’t reach for those sugary drinks. Energy drinks may provide a short bout of energy, but they can also make you jittery, welcoming in those stressful feelings. Instead, grab a piece of fresh fruit or some low-fat chocolate milk. If you’re feeling a bit stressed out, reach for a piece of dark chocolate. Yes, those rumors are true!

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Staying as productive as you possibly can and learning how to deal with stress are two very important things to accomplish in your life, and they go hand-in-hand quite a lot more often than you might think. As you follow these seven tips to keep stress levels at bay and learn to be more efficient, be ready to see your life change for the better!

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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Angela Ash

Writer and Editor

How to Become Productive Without Getting Stressed Out

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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)
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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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