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3 Ways to Improve Your Productivity by Working Out

3 Ways to Improve Your Productivity by Working Out

Health and fitness blogs are popping up all over the internet to encourage you to get more active. It’s easy to make excuses about exercise not being your thing – trust me, I’ve used them all before. I’ve recently discovered that I was missing out on some serious benefits that aren’t just physical. Making the effort to find a workout routine that is best for you can not only make your body and mind stronger but is also good practice in productivity.

Here are 3 essential productivity principles that can be enhanced by working out.

The Importance of Vision

We all know someone – or have been that person- who has said, “I’m going to lose weight this year.” After a few weeks, they’re back to their non-physical routine and haven’t lost any weight.

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Then there are those who say, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds.” The 10 pounds turn to 15, 15 turns to 25, and before you know it they’ve lost 50 pounds!

The difference between the two scenarios is the implementation of vision. Before taking on any project you have to understand the full picture of what it takes to be successful. You need to set goals and then get specific about how you can reach them. Attention to details can create a more motivated and positive mindset about a seemingly impossible task.

I wanted to start training for a 5k race with my friends. I only had so much time in a week to train and knew that would be my biggest obstacle in staying motivated. I set the goal to go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays to hit the treadmill for 45 minutes. I could run, jog, or walk, but I had to stay on the treadmill the whole time. Accomplishing the hardest task of starting motivated me to gradually increase my speed and eventually set higher expectations for my workout.

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The benefits of this detail-oriented vision plan ended up spilling over into my daily productivity as well. I have an issue with getting up on time. Once I made a goal to not hit the snooze button on Mondays, I eventually broke the habit of oversleeping during the week. Not only did I become more punctual, but I had more time for writing and freelance projects.

It takes practice to build the confidence in the ripple effects of vision. Whether you want to shed 20 lbs or add 20 thousand followers on Twitter, it’s important to have a reasonable plan of action that challenges you to succeed.

The Value of Commitment

Instant gratification is the poison to any form of success. When we don’t see results right away it’s easy to think something is not worth our time. You don’t just show up to the gym and start seeing results. You have to put in quality effort and stay with it to receive the long term benefits so many miss out on.

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Working out for a few weeks might help you with some short term goals, but it won’t help you make a lasting change. Staying dedicated for the long term is evidence to yourself that you can persevere.  Once you face your fears of combating one goal, your brain will start wondering what else is it capable of.

Through this practice of commitment we learn that we get out what we put in. How can we do our best in our careers and relationships if we can’t even commit to doing something good for ourselves first? Working hard for ourselves can spill over into us working hard for others as well.

The Satisfaction of a Job Well Done

The last and possibly most important benefit is the joy of finishing. So many people lack the success of productivity because of they don’t know how to finish.

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You might not lose any weight or gain tons of muscle after every workout. However, your body naturally rewards your hard work by releasing endorphins for you to enjoy. The growing accomplishment in the process of staying dedicated and focused builds confidence from which everyone can benefit.

If you can work your way up to that eight-minute-mile, then why can’t you finally launch that business about which you’ve been dreaming? By taking a little time to slow down and care about yourself, how much better are you going to treat that special someone?

Yes, working out isn’t easy but neither is anything else about life. That’s what makes it the best practice for leading a more productive lifestyle. Just start by making a reasonable plan, sticking to it, and reaping the benefits that surpass the runner’s high.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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