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10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

What are you willing to do in order to reach success? It is common among people these days to be average and not stand out too much. But those who are successful do not fall under this category.

In order to stay on top of your game and reach the level of success you want, you need to follow a certain set of self-induced rules. Success is not something that happens by accident; if you want it bad enough, you will get it. Learn the habits that successful people have given up in order to reach their own success.

1. They don’t work in their comfort zone.

What is your comfort zone? Your comfort zone is defined as “A psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control, and experiences low anxiety.” When you get outside of your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean that you should strive for a constant state of anxiety and stress. It simply means that, in order to grow, you should try new things and expand your horizons.

The reason we are comfortable in our comfort zone is because we are not taking risks when we are in this state. When we live in our comfort zones, we are living life like hamsters on a wheel, going around and around in a constant cycle, but going nowhere in our lives.

Famous motivational speaker, Les Brown, said it best with, “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”

2. They don’t do without first learning.

Learning is what we do best. The greatest thing about learning is the benefit that we receive in all aspects of our lives. Successful people strive to continue learning new things and expanding on things that they already know.

If we stop learning, then the only thing we can do is settle with what we already know; if we settle for that, then there is no way to expand our minds. Expansion is essential on the path to success. Since our minds require learning for expansion, we must never stop seeking new knowledge.

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Imagine what would have happened if Bill Gates stopped learning and growing. The internet would be much more primitive than it is today. But because he followed his dreams and continued growing, he founded one of the biggest companies in the world and it is still flourishing and growing today.

3. They don’t fear asking for advice.

Richard Branson, a famous entrepreneur, stated, “When you need to make hard decisions, being able to discuss your ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders who have solved similar problems can make all the difference.”

Asking for advice is not always easy. We think that we have the same opportunity as everyone else and sometimes feel insecure and dependent, so we decide not to ask for advice, and try to figure it out ourselves. But this could be greatly limiting us from reaching our full potential, because the advice we might be seeking could be something that somebody knows very well.

4. They don’t get lost in the small details.

When life gives us seemingly endless opportunities, it is very easy to get lost in the small details. The small details are very easy for us to become focused on, thus causing us to miss out on the overall vision, also known as the “big picture”.

Focusing too much on the smaller details constricts your ability to see how everything ties together. Much of our lives hinge upon the connections that we make with others and with ourselves. If we get lost in the small detail, it is like having missing pieces to a puzzle. How are we supposed to solve that?

Imagine what would have happened if Henry Ford only saw the small details. When building the company that Ford is today, he knew that he must do something different if his company was to succeed. After many people told him it couldn’t be done, his company continued improving upon the smaller details until they got it right.

Henry Ford didn’t focus too much on the small details, which were the hundreds of times he failed; he saw the overall goal and knew that it could be accomplished. It required seeing the bigger picture to make it happen.

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5. They don’t multitask.

Multitasking is typically viewed as a skill that only certain people possess. But truth be told, nobody actually has the ability to multitask. Multitasking is known to actually decrease productivity. Those who are successful focus on one specific task and do that task to the best of their ability without interruption.

When you multitask, you limit your ability to fully focus on one specific task at a time. Successful people utilize the talents and abilities that they have by focusing it on one task and one task only.

Emma Watson said, “I just dropped my iPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking..” This demonstrates how destructive multitasking is highlighting the fact that when we multitask, we are greatly limiting ourselves.

6. They don’t lie to themselves.

Lying to yourself is one of the easiest things for you to do. It is much more difficult to accept the problems that we have without make excuses for them. Successful people understand that we will encounter problems, both internally and externally.

But it is important to accept the problems that reside in our lives, rather than not dealing with them and lying to ourselves about them.

As Steve Maraboli said, “Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth, we deny our own potential.”

7. They don’t procrastinate in asking for feedback.

Feedback is important, because it gives you a different perspective on your current situation. Sometimes you are not able to see the answer that is right in front of you. But when someone gives you feedback, it allows you to see something from the perspective of someone else.

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If you procrastinate asking someone for feedback, you are missing out on time that could be put towards accomplishing your dreams. The longer you wait, the harder it is to utilize advice that others can give you.

“I think It’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you´re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better,” entrepreneur Elon Musk once said.

8. They don’t follow, they lead.

You have probably heard the phrase “lead, follow or get out of the way.” There are two types of people in this world: leaders and followers. The ones who are successful are the ones who are leading the pack.

Successful people are not successful because they got there by chance. They did not follow somebody to the finish line. They paved their own path in life to get where they needed to be.

Just as the great Robert Frost stated, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

9. They don’t let the past dictate their future.

The past is something that we will never change, nor should we want to change it; because without it, we would not have learned the lessons we needed to learn. Therefore, we would wind up making the same mistakes over and over again until we learned the lesson that life is trying to teach us.

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour. His humble background did not prevent him from thinking bigger though. With a net worth of $3.8 billion dollars, he now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.

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10. They don’t hang around negative people.

Negative people are very destructive to be around when it comes to achieving success, because there are so many situations that life throws at us and causes us to get down on ourselves or our situation. But some people like to focus on this aspect of life the majority of the time.

When you are around negative people enough, you start to see things negatively and you begin to lose sight of your dream. Success is more about mindset than anything, and if you always have a negative mindset, life will reward you with negative outcomes to deal with.

Joel Olsteen once said, “You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” So if you wish you be successful, don’t focus on the negativity that others bring.

To be successful requires focus and determination. It seems that every successful person follows similar patterns. Therefore, it’s easy to see why they are where they are. They knew what they had to do in order to achieve their dreams and they didn’t let anyone or anything stop them from getting there.

You have the power in yourself to become one of those successful people you admire and look up to.

Featured photo credit: http://media4.s-nbcnews.com via media4.s-nbcnews.com

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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