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Important People Are Busy But Unimportant People Are Not?

Important People Are Busy But Unimportant People Are Not?

We used to imagine the rich and successful to have lives of leisure. We saw them as people who took long, luxurious vacations, who ate at the best restaurants and enjoyed expensive hobbies. Their wealth and success meant that they were free to enjoy their time exactly as they liked, and no longer were forced to work stressful, long hours like the rest of us.

However lately, that image seems to have reversed. Today we seem to imagine the rich and successful to be always incredibly busy and overworked.
Indeed, research has shown that some are beginning to view a hectic overworked lifestyle as a symbol of status.[1] As something to work towards, and not away from. Excessive free time is no longer seen as the domain of the rich and successful, but the domain of the lazy.

But why is this?

The Perception of Being Busy

Somewhere during the 20th century, more and more of us began to prioritize work in our lives above all else. Such prioritization meant that we no longer kept to traditional 9-5 working hours. It is assumed that the more hours a person puts into their work, the more they must be earning. With the more money being earned, the more successful a person seems to be.

What is strange, as evidenced by the earlier mentioned study, people want to look like they are earning well through working hard, even if that isn’t the case. Its similar to how some people buy fake designer watches, they want to look successful, even if they aren’t. As such, if you’re not busy, far from it implying that you can afford to have free time, it only implies that you have nothing to do.

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    The effect of this view is that people may find themselves working long, tiring hours for little reason. Taking up jobs they don’t need to do

    But really, working hard for long hours often has little to no correlation with success. In fact, it often implies the opposite or multitasking just for the sake of multitasking. Really, multitasking and working long hours often has little or no correlation with success. After all, ask as single mother with two kids and three jobs and see if she feels rich and successful.

      Ultimately, doing one thing well is a lot better than doing a lot of things poorly. Multitasking, instead of making you smarter, more productive and more successful, actually has the opposite effect, it makes you stupid.[2] It is actually decreasing your IQ by ten points at times, which may have the additional effect of making wealth and success harder as you’ll be building it from bad work.

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      Are You Busy-holic?

      Being busy for the sake of being busy only means that you’re spending your time for nothing.

      When you’re busy, your mind is being overwhelmed by a constant barrage of information. The human mind is simply not good at functioning effectively when it is forced to deal with so much information.

      A professional musician spends their time in a state of constant practice. Their skill and knowledge is always developing and increasing. They work in ways that are cognitively demanding but satisfying. However, “knowledge workers”, people who work in fields like tech or business, lack this and instead spend their time doing work that is repetitive, and doesn’t really test us. As such they fill their time trying to do as much of this work as possible, without reason. The work is ultimately shallow.[3]

      Improve Your Worklife

      Most of the time when people are working, they aren’t involving themselves in tasks that require much thought. If you work in ways that require deep thought, instead of being tired and overwhelmed by the constant desire to work unnecessarily, people will enjoy these three key benefits:

      • We will see continuous improvement in both the quality and value of our work output.
      • A notable increase in the quantity of well produced work.
      • Deeper satisfaction with work and the work you have produced.

      The desire to work unnecessarily, overwhelming yourself in pointless tasks and long hours comes from a lack of satisfaction in your work itself. But how do you find such satisfaction?

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        The key to this is to try and figure out what your key purpose of life is, what your true passion is. Don’t worry if you don’t know this at the moment, we have you covered. Here is a Lifehack article all about this.

        Once you have identified what it is you are passionate about it. Consider following these three steps:

        1. Prioritize

        Time is not infinite. Each second that goes by is a second that you will not get again. So, why spend your time focusing on things that you aren’t passionate about.  Find your passion and work on it!

        I understand that many people have jobs that don’t interest them. However, say you work from 9am-5pm, that still leaves you many hours free to spend doing things that you are passionate about. This is only the case of course if you don’t spend your free time multitasking or accepting jobs unnecessarily. You will find spending this time on your passions to be far more rewarding than wasting time on pointless work.

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        An effective way to make the most of this time is to start scheduling and organizing your time very specifically. In this way you’ll be able to spend each second of your day as efficiently as possible. For more information about freeing up and reclaiming your time, I recommend you take a look at this article, it’s full of lots of great advice about freeing up your time for productivity.

        2. Minimize

        In scheduling, you might find that there are many tasks that you have to accomplish, but are ultimately not related to your ultimate goal. In tackling these jobs, consider which ones play to your skills and abilities the best then tackle those first. Its easier to enjoy things that you are good at, and if you can delegate the remaining tasks to others who may be better suited to those tasks. Then don’t be afraid to ask.

        If you do have to complete these tasks, consider putting aside a maximum amount of time to spend on them in your schedule. In this way, these tasks won’t end taking up time unnecessarily.

        3. Eliminate

        This third step is probably the most important. When looking at the many tasks and jobs you have to complete each day, ask yourself “how important is this?” and “what would happen if I didn’t do this?” about each one. If you think any of these are unimportant, and nothing particularly bad would happen if you didn’t complete them. Then simply cut them out of your day. Where you once may have spend a few precious hours on these tasks, you will get this time back for you to spend how ever you wish.

        If you follow the above steps, you should immediately find yourself becoming more satisfied with your life and your work. What’s more, by identifying your purpose and freeing time up time for it, you’ll increase your chances at success because your time won’t be spend on unnecessary and time consuming work.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

        Social Learning How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster and Easier How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways how to make a life plan How to Make a Life Plan That Works (With a Life Plan Template) Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How to Tackle Them How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

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        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

        How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

        Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

        Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

        Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

        1. Meditate

        We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

        Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

        Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

        Fortunately, meditation can help.

        Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

        While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

        Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

        However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

        2. Get Plenty of Sleep

        If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

        If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

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        If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

        Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

        If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

          Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

          Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

          • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
          • Don’t eat too late
          • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

          Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

          However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

          3. Challenge Your Brain

          When was the last time you challenged your brain?

          I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

          To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

          Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

          There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

          • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
          • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
          • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

          If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

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          Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

          4. Take More Breaks

          When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

          At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

          However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

          Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

          One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

          This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

          When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

          It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

          Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

          5. Learn a New Skill

          I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

          “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

          From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

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          Let me give you an example of this:

          Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

          Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

          The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

          Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

          It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

          Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

          If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

          6. Start Working out

          If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

          Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

          Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

          Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

          Interested in getting started?

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          Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

          • Join a gym
          • Join a sports team
          • Buy a bike
          • Take up hiking
          • Dance to your favorite music

          7. Eat Healthier Foods

          I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

          This applies to your brain, too.

          The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

          Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

          Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

          If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

          • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
          • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
          • Nuts – Improves memory
          • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
          • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

          Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

          Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

          Final Thoughts

          I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

          You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

          But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

          More on How to Improve Memory

          Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

          Reference

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