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10 Effective Ways To Super Boost Your Productivity

10 Effective Ways To Super Boost Your Productivity

One of the best feelings certainly comes from accomplishing what you set out to do. Doesn’t it just feel so darn good to get things done and achieve more? Of course it does — it is inherent in us. The problem, however, is that we really aren’t as productive as we actually could be; most of us are way off, in fact.

The world is changing each day. Being more productive is not an option anymore, but a prerequisite to getting ahead in this competitive world, and even being happy. Here are 10 effective ways that you can super boost your productivity now.

1. Challenge your own excuses.

Did you know that around 40% of your daily actions are on automatic? You do not make a conscious decision with everything you do, because most of your actions are habit.

This definitely serves you in many ways; imagine if you had to learn how to brush your teeth again every day! Other times it doesn’t serve you, though, especially when if you come up with unwarranted excuses and hold onto limiting beliefs that stop you from being as productive as you could be.

Typical phrases that you might find yourself saying without much thought are…

• I am just too busy to…
• I have never been organized or productive, I never will be…
• He/she is the reason why I can’t…
• I want to do so much, I just can’t…

It is only when you start to challenge your own excuses and limiting beliefs that you will find out how much truth or fact there really is to it. Start questioning your excuses and limiting beliefs and get more done now.

2. Use apps and technology.

You have never had so many different tools and apps available to help you leverage your time. Are you taking advantage of this? If you want to be more productive, there has never been an easier time to tap into the free resources out there.

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There are apps that will help to organize and synchronize your information, prioritize your to do’s and give you targeted focus. There are also music apps to help you concentrate more easily and those that automate your do-lists into a planned schedule.

Whatever your needs, there is sure to be an app for you. You will be amazed by how much technology, considering it is used correctly, can boost your productivity and support you in getting more done. Read more on the top apps here.

3. Change your limiting habits.

Everyone has a few bad habits when it comes to being as productive as they could be. What are your limiting habits? Do you have a habit of jumping from one task to the next? Do you fail to plan and prioritize your daily work?

If you can identify just one habit that, if you changed, would have the biggest positive effect, what would it be?

Work on this first. Start by improving just one limiting habit at a time. You don’t need to try to change everything at once, but at least start somewhere. It doesn’t make sense to only focus on developing skills and ignore the limiting habits which will undoubtedly continue to undermine your results.

4. Communicate more effectively.

Surveys certainly reveal some shocking statistics from time to time. Hundreds and thousands of money is wasted on poor communication and unproductive staff each year. Instructions not carried out properly and time wasted due to miscommunication all add up and undermine productivity.

Communication is key to being productive. Read more about how you can enhance your productivity by communicating effectively.

Perhaps you are a great communicator, but I guarantee you there are a few tips and techniques you could learn to get more done by communicating more effectively.

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5. Set weekly or daily objectives.

The easiest and most effective way to get more done is to set weekly goals or daily objectives. This targeted direction boosts your productivity because your actions are more closely aligned with what you want to achieve and you immediately become more productive.

Start with the end in mind. What do you want to have achieved by the end of the month or week? Set yourself a target.

Break the target down into action steps that you need to take to achieve this. For example, let’s say your goal is to get 5 new clients by the end of the month. What action do you need to take?

For example,

• Gather information on the potential customer
• Make X number of phone calls (depending on your conversion rate)
• Follow up on potential leads
• Close the deal

Each of these steps need to be included in your schedule and planned for.
Be crystal clear on where you are going and what you need to do to get there.

6. Let go of ‘the right time’.

Have you ever waited for the right time to take action on something? How did that work out for you? Often the right time never comes. Don’t wait for the right moment; bring the right moment to you. There is usually some action you can take now or something you can do instead of waiting around for something that might never come.

If this sounds like you, dig a little deeper. Are you really waiting for the right time or is it just an excuse to hide your procrastination?

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If you are waiting for the right opportunity to come your way before you do anything, you might be waiting for the rest of your life.

7. Make use of every opportunity you can.

Do you travel to work by car or by public transport? Add up how much time you spending traveling every week and ask yourself if it possible to make this time more productive.

Let’s say for example, that you need to read some paperwork, taking advantage to do this while traveling by tube is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Alternatively, if you are driving and you enjoy audio, you can listen to an audio book or an audio of something personally or work related.

Opportunities to leverage your time aren’t always plainly obvious, you need to make an effort to identify them. Get creative and ask yourself how you can best use this time. Brainstorm a few ideas and choose the best one.

8. Use your energy levels accordingly.

Your energy levels rise and drop throughout the day and everyone’s is different. You might find that you have a lot of energy in the morning and towards the afternoon you lose a lot of energy, or vice versa.

Plan to do tasks when you have the most energy. So for example, let’s say you have the most energy in the morning. Use this time then do the tasks that require the most concentration from you.

Later, when you know that you start to lose energy, use this time to reply to emails or make phone calls, etc.

You will be more productive because your energy will be aligned with the effort you need to make, so naturally you do more.

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9. Always batch when you can.

Batching is all about doing similar tasks together as opposed to doing them separately. Plan to do all your “out of the office” errands on the same day. Group your meetings and plan time to reply to emails or make your phone calls throughout the day.

Batching saves you from wasting time jumping from one task to the other, losing focus and concentration. It also minimizes the amount of distractions you have as an added bonus.

Take a moment to think about all the tasks and activities that you can group together to be more productive and take action now.

10. Mind Map your way to clarity.

Last, but definitely not least, is to use mind-mapping to support you. One of the biggest productivity hindrances is often just taking the first step, or taking the wrong first step and having to start over.

Using a mind map when you feel blocked can definitely boost your productivity and give you targeted direction moving forward.

Always start with the end in mind — take the final outcome or result you are looking for and work backwards. As you use categories and subcategories when you mind map, you can organize and therefore manage your ideas much better. Having everything laid out visually in front of you helps to keep you focused and it streamlines your thought processes.

If you have ever felt hesitant to start something because you simply lacked the clarity you needed or you felt that your thoughts are all over the place – this is the best thing you can do to move forward productively.

At the end of the day, being more productive is about choice. What do you choose? More, or less?

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

Regardless of how creative you already consider yourself to be, there’s a good chance you would like to level up your creative abilities.

You might want to write a better song, think of better solutions to problems at work or around the home or maybe paint a picture.

In any case, the good news is that creativity is not born: it’s made, and each one of us has the potential to be more creative and come up with incredible ideas.

“Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The definition of creativity is broad, and reminds us that creativity is not limited to artists or musicians. It does however require that we have some kind of impact on the domain in which we create.

Creativity also emphasizes values.

“The process of having original ideas that have value” — Ken Robinson

This makes up for what Csikszentmihalyi misses out. For instance, we can make a change in the world without adding significant value. Any destructive act, like smashing a window, creates change, but it doesn’t necessarily create valuable change.

In short, there isn’t one single definition of creativity It’s up to us to find a definition that feels true and useful. When you know what your standard is, It’s much easier to embrace creativity and start to cultivate it.

And in this article, you will learn how to be more creative and take a good look at what goes into the creative skill:

1. Cultivate Focus

In order to create, there needs to be a focus on creating something, whether it’s a song, a theory, a product, or a sculpture.

You could also call this “drive” – it’s the initial spark that drives the solution to a problem, or the will to get on your laptop and start typing.

However, it’s worth noting there are different stages to the creative process: the divergent stage and the convergent stage.

In the divergent stage, we want a broad focus – we want to be willing to let in lots of different inputs, ideas and insights. This is the time for brainstorming all possible ideas and solutions.

In the convergent stage, we start to narrow our focus, like a camera lens. At this stage, we start to drill down to a handful of ideas or solutions, discriminating throughout the process.

How to cultivate focus?

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Take a 20 Minute Walk

Walking away and getting your heart rate up is the best free tool you have in regaining your focus.

I know it might seem counterintuitive to take a break right when you’re at your busiest, and especially when you’re drowning in your massive to do list, but the effects it will have on your clarity and ability to focus are undeniable.

Walking is physiologically proven to release stress, and clear your mind. In fact, most of my most brilliant ideas (and some pretty terrible ones too) have occurred on my daily walks.

If you give this technique a try, what you’ll find is that you’re much more productive than you were before you took a breather.

Over time, if you do these walks daily, you’ll quickly find that your to-do list starts to feel a lot less significant, and a lot more doable. It’s all about keeping razor focused, and that’s what short daily walks will gift you.

2. Build a Structure

When I wake up in the morning, I start the day with a structure in mind. I know that 15 minutes will be dedicated to meditation, 30 minutes to coffee and reading, 20 minutes to yoga and so on.

The structure of this morning routine might be boring, but the act of each task in itself has the potential to be, on some level, “creative.”

The point of structure is that it gives you the space to make time for something you want to do. It helps you carve out the time to do your creative work. Once you begin that thing in itself, you are free to go about it however you’d like.

Without structure, we can lose focus and can feel overwhelmed with possibility. If you’ve ever looked at a blank page and felt too overwhelmed with possibility to make a mark on it, you’ll know what I mean. How much easier it gets when you are given some guidelines or a deadline?

The trick is finding the right amount of structure for you and your creative needs. Too little structure and we feel overwhelmed. Too much structure, and we risk feeling limited and stifled.

Again, it’s worth thinking about creating in those two stages: divergent (less structure) and convergent (more structure.)

How to build a structure?

Create a Morning Routine

Your morning routine doesn’t have to be rigid or so arduous you dread waking up. In fact, it should feel like the opposite. When you get a routine that works for you, you’ll look forward to starting the day.

We all have different needs and preferences which can shape our ideal routine. In the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, you can be inspired over 160 different creators’ daily routines, from Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso.

Experiment with any that take your fancy, and see how you feel with a bit more structure to start your day.

You can also take a look at this article about morning routine for inspirations: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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3. Find Motivation

There is a theory that suggests: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures. This is also known as intrinsic motivation; a drive that comes from within.

Think of a time when you did some of your best work — chances are you were totally absorbed in what you were doing, to the exclusion of everything else. You were completely focused on the work itself, barely noticing time flying by.

Now think of a time when you felt under pressure to perform. Maybe it was an exam, or a commission for an important client, or maybe your boss had told you “there’s a lot riding on this.”

Notice the difference? In the first memory, you were driven by intrinsic motivation, which made it relatively easy, even enjoyable, to be highly creative.

In the second memory however, extrinsic motivation was breathing down your neck, distracting you by whispering about the rewards for success and the horrible consequences of failure: likely making it harder to focus on the task at hand.

For this reason, intrinsic motivation, if you can find it, is what separates the good from great creative work.

This isn’t to say only internal motivators help. I personally get motivated by luring myself to work with a good cappuccino at my favourite cafe. That will get me ready to write or edit or whatever I’ve been avoiding.

How to find motivation?

Connect to Your “Why”

Your “Why” is your fuel: the thing that drives you forward, that gives you a reason to do what you’re doing.

‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ — Friedrich Nietzche

When you have a reason to do something, a purpose or a goal that matters to you, you can connect your daily actions to it. Then, each act becomes infused with meaning and you find that intrinsic motivation comes naturally.

The trick is to remember your “why” and connect with it on a regular basis.

Think about how you want to feel on a daily basis. What would you like to accomplish in the next year? What would you like for yourself in the next five years? How about in your lifetime?

Ultimately, the tasks you face on a daily basis, or at least some of them, will connect to a greater purpose if you follow this path and you will find you feel more motivated to create and less resistance.

If you aren’t sure where to start looking for motivation, this will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

4. Be an Expert in a Chosen Domain

Research has shown that just as expertise in one domain does not predict expertise in other unrelated domains; creativity in one domain does not predict creativity in other unrelated domains.[1]

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So just because you can paint a pretty picture, doesn’t mean you can creatively solve a mathematical problem.

If you’ve taken one of those tests like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which will ask you to think of a bazillion uses for a pencil, and scored well, unfortunately this is only an indicator of divergent thinking skills. It is not a predictor for creativity all round.

The good news is, you can train your creativity in your chosen domain. Much like a muscle, you can isolate exercises to strengthen it.

Of course you can still do a total body workout – or atotal creativity workout – but it means your creativity-training exercises need to come from a wide variety of domains; not just thinking up uses for a pencil.

How to become an expert?

Make a Mastery Training Plan

Following our physical workout analogy, it’s worth applying the habits of great athletes to your chosen creative domain. For example:

1. Decide what area/s you want to work on

Much like a tennis player who decides they need to improve their serving technique, you can decide what area within your creative domain you want to improve at. Get specific.

2. Decide how much time you can dedicate

Most of us don’t have all day to train like a pro tennis player might, but you can likely squeeze 20 to 30 minutes in a day, if you want to. Whatever the time you can allow is, decide to dedicate yourself to it.

3. Review your progress

Finally, in order to check your progress, you can take regular reviews. Decide what your metrics are, and take time each week to check in with yourself.

How many days did you practice? How did you compare to the previous week? This kind of review can help you stay on track, and actually creates more intrinsic motivation as you see yourself develop.

5. Create a Conducive Environment

A psychologist in 1943 proposed that behaviour is:[2]

“a function of both the person as well as the physical environment they are in.”

I would suggest that the act of creating is a behaviour and that, even though it begins as an internal process, it’s very much affected by and even dependent on the environment we are in.

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I started noticing how environment affects me when I worked in an office. Over time, I realized that the more people who were in or who were talking, the more distracted I was. If I got to the office early before my coworkers arrived, I was twice as effective.

I was even more effective if I was at home. Now that I work from home, I know I’m even more effective when in certain coffee shops. Ideally, places that have high ceilings, gentle lighting, some barely noticeable background music – and excellent coffee.

It’s these little variations in our environment that can really shape our creative output.

If you’re an introvert, you probably do your best work alone. If you’re an extrovert, you probably do your best work in the company of others.

This isn’t to say you should find one way of doing things and stick to it: in fact, varying your environment from time to time is a great way to stoke the creative fire too, which we’ll touch on more later.

How to create a conducive environment?

Add or Subtract Stimuli

Novelty in our environment has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases our desire to seek out reward.[3]

If you’re looking for creative motivation, adding some novelty into your environment can be just what you need.

On the other hand, some people are highly sensitive and when it comes to having too much stimulation in their environment, they find it difficult to focus.

Experiment with working in different environments. Note how you feel. Note whether you do better creative work or have more interesting ideas when you’re alone or with others.

Try listening to music, people chatting or try being in complete silence. Try a dimly lit room, try working in bright sunlight.

In each case, note how you feel before, during and afterwards and rate the quality of your work.

The Bottom Line

Creativity is not one particular skill or talent one can have. It comes in as many broad and unique flavors as there are people on this earth.

To be more creative, take little steps each day. Acknowledge where and when you feel most inspired, motivated and original and spend more energy in those areas.

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Featured photo credit: Sticker Mule via unsplash.com

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