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Successful People Make Learning a Daily Habit Effortlessly by Mastering These 4 Tricks

Successful People Make Learning a Daily Habit Effortlessly by Mastering These 4 Tricks

It seems more and more difficult to find people nowadays who love reading books even when they are not forced to.

As soon as we get out of school, we are eager to reject any form of learning, including reading books of our own free will: never reading another book in their life seems to be true for one-third of high school graduates, and even 42% of college graduates follow their path. Very high percent of adults and families also shy away from going into a bookstore, buying a book, and not to mention reading it.[1]

We become so resistant to learning, as we perceive it as an obligation, and as soon as we say goodbye to our formal education, we think – that’s it, no more learning, thanks god. What we fail to understand is that constant learning should be an important part of our lives, as it doesn’t just provide us with knowledge, but improves many other skills and provides numerous benefits.

You Can Easily Reap These 4 Benefits When You Keep Learning

Constant learning can make us more adaptable to the challenges and changes at work and in life and better our problem solving skills

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There are constant changes happening around us, in our everyday life we see so many technological innovations, and you are probably constantly facing changes at your workplace, as every business needs to keep up with this fast-paced modern world. UC Irvine neurobiologists found that learning helps your brain function at a higher level, and thus making you more adaptable to changes.[2]

Learning can make us happier and healthier which helps fight dementia and brain ageing

Gaining knowledge constantly and learning new skills is not just useful, but it is good for your brain as well. A comprehensive study by Thomas Bak[3] dealt with bilingualism and brain ageing. His findings suggest that learning a second language, even later in life, can benefit your brain and delay dementia.

Learning can make us more confident and interesting, which helps with our interpersonal relationships

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Working on your personal growth gives you confidence to engage in social interactions and participate in any conversation, and freely express your ideas with newly gained knowledge. While constantly learning, you come across many interesting facts that you can share with others at social gatherings and thus form many new relationships.

Learning can broaden our views and help us make better decisions

By constantly learning, you are constantly expanding your knowledge base, and are therefore to able to see things from different perspectives. When you develop this ability to approach every situation from a different angle, you will be more confident when making new decisions based on all the knowledge you are continually gaining.

Lifelong Learning Becomes Effortless When You Turn It into a Daily Habit by These 4 Ways

Learning new things might seem as an obligation, but as soon as you learn how to incorporate learning into your everyday routine, the process will become effortless.

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Keep the big goal in mind but do the minimum work

It is normal to want to achieve significant goals when learning, but it might seem overwhelming when you, for example say “I want to learn a new language in 6 months”, and you force yourself to learn 50 new words every day. After a while, it will start to burden you, and you will quit.

The best practice is to have the main goal in mind, but try to break it into sets of smaller achievable goals, and you will thus feel like you are making progress and will be more eager to continue. Decide what you want to achieve in the next month, for example, and the minimum of work you need to do every day. When learning a new language, you can say that you want to read 5 pages of a book in that language every day.

Make use of the “if-then” approach to make your brain feel less burdened

When incorporating new habits, it is often difficult to stick to them and find the time during the day, since we always have something else to do and tend to forget that we planned to learn something. If you want your learning habit to stick, try to connect it with your current routines, instead of trying to change them completely.

To do that, you can use triggers. When you say “Today, I want to learn for one hour”, it is to general as you cannot associate it with any other daily routine. It would be better to say “When I finish having shower, then I will learn” and you will have a contextual clue that will trigger the habit.

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Eliminate excessive options

When having too many options it is difficult to focus on learning – you want to watch something on TV, or you can play some games, or listen to music. Make a decision which period during the day you will dedicate to learning, and set the time aside just for learning. At the beginning of every week make a plan what learning materials you will cover and stick to your plan. Once you get used to the fact that you learn during that certain period, you will do it automatically without thinking.

Don’t just think about the desired result – visualize the process

A study conducted at UCLA [4] found that when visualizing the process and steps you need to go through to reach the desired result, you are more likely to stay consistent. Just visualizing the result and the end goal can make it seem impossible and too far to reach. So, you need to take one step at a time, and first visualize the next step towards your goal, and once you are done with that step, visualize the next step and so on.

Reference

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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