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10 Morning Habits of Highly Successful People That Make Them Extraordinary

10 Morning Habits of Highly Successful People That Make Them Extraordinary

You know what makes highly successful people less stressed, happier and more productive? They know that their personal priorities are worth more than other people’s priorities. Upon waking up, these significantly successful professionals don’t immediately check their email – they make it a point to claim the early hours of the day as their “me” time.

After all, these extraordinary people believe that if their priority needs to be done, then it has to be done first. 

What do highly successful entrepreneurs and executives do upon waking up in the morning? Here are ten of them:

1. Wake up really early

Surely you know that time is an invaluable asset. Highly successful people take it up a notch by waking up at 5:30 am, 4:30 am and even 4:00 am. Not only will they have more control in their early hours, they’ll also have more opportunities to do things that matter to them. 

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Start with waking up 15 minutes earlier than your usual time. Then, gradually adjust.

2. Burn your calories

We don’t mean just the intense exercise regimen – you can simply do yoga, like Christies CEO Steve Murphy does. Exercise will not just make you think clearer, be healthier and scientifically happier, it allows you to combat stress as well.

Make time for exercise. An hour-long routine seems too daunting, so try running, dancing or even walking around the neighborhood for at least ten minutes.

3. Do an “Hour of Power”

Motivation doesn’t last forever, so you need to replenish yours regularly. Highly successful people know this, so they dedicate ample time to increase their supply. You’re more likely to continue accomplishing a task once you’re emotionally invested in it, right?

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Spend thirty minutes listening to inspirational anecdotes and empowering quotes.

4. Jot down on your gratitude journal

Happiness is about wanting the things that you already have. By enumerating the blessings they’re grateful for, highly successful people become more open to optimism and inspiration and improve their outlook in life.

Everyday, write down at least one thing that you’re thankful for. Learn to count the small wins.

5. Ask yourself one important question

“If today was the last day of your life, would you still want to do what you’re about to do today?”

This hard-hitting question gets you right where it wants you. If you find yourself saying “no” several times in a week, then go out there and change something. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to do it the next time.

6. Eat that frog first

In the morning, the willpower of highly successful people is fresh and ready to go. So, this is the best time to take advantage of it – do your hardest task, your “frog” first. This way, you’re more likely to get it done and you’re more likely to finish it without other people barging in on you.

Choose your “frog” of the day – only one – and stick to completing it before you even get to eat breakfast.

7. Connect with your partner

Use your morning hours to reconnect with your partner. Talk about your plans, your finances and even your beloved hobbies as a way to always be present in their lives. In the morning, highly successful people know that you’ll have more energy and more focus so making this a ritual is paramount. You can even set up one day of the week as your “breakfast date”. Go to the nearest cafe for breakfast or run around the neighborhood with your partner. It may do wonders for your relationship.

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8. Plan and strategize

If you don’t take a few minutes of your time to map out the direction of your day, how will you know if you’re headed towards the right direction? Take at least 10 minutes of your day to visualize your life goals, review your tasks for the day and allot schedules for breaks. It’ll help your day be more manageable and less stressful.

9. Meditate and clear your mind

Keep calm and let your inner peace guide you: spend a few minutes to say a prayer or to meditate to keep you relaxed. Remember, 90% of illnesses are stress-related, so forget the rush, don’t dash and enjoy a few “hush” moments with yourself. Focus on your breathing. You may even recite an empowering mantra during your routine.

10. Cuddle and bond with your kids

If you have children, this is for you. Don’t be that parent who says,  “Oh, my son/daughter grew so fast! I barely had time to enjoy with her/him.”

In the morning, when there is less clutter in your mind and less stress in your system, make it a point to help them get dressed, cook a hearty breakfast (or bake a batch of cookies) and even talk to them about their dreams. After all, you’re working so that your family will have a better time. Don’t let work get in the way of family – make time for your priorities.

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Featured photo credit: 111649322913.jpg/kconnors via cdn.morguefile.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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