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10 Things Babies Can Teach Us About Productivity

10 Things Babies Can Teach Us About Productivity

Babies are typically known for sticking to mainly four things only: eating, sleeping, crying, and pooping. You wouldn’t hire a baby to do a job for you or become your life coach, but as it turns out, observing the way babies behave can actually help you get back in touch with your primal instincts so you can get more things done in today’s modern, chaotic world.

Productivity has a lot to do with simplified tasks and techniques that support maximum efficiency, and what better way to study the art of simplicity than by watching what a baby does? Here are 10 things to pay attention to next time you have to babysit your little niece or find yourself smiling and making faces at a baby in a stroller at the supermarket.

1. They get really cranky when they haven’t had enough sleep.

    Babies sleep a lot. Up to 15 hours, in fact. And when babies don’t get their nap time in, they let the world know that they’re tired and unhappy about it by screaming their heads off and fussing over everything.

    A lot of adults, on the other hand, often sacrifice sleep for work and other responsibilities. Without adequate sleep, perception and judgment are affected, resulting in lack of focus, poor decision-making, more errors, and an increased vulnerability to stress.

    Science tells us that enough sleep is necessary for our brains and our bodies to function optimally. And even though eight hours has always been considered the magic number adults are supposed to strive for, it really comes down to the quality of sleep you get rather than a fixed number of hours.

    2. They’re not afraid of messy situations… in fact, they love them!

      You’d never meet a baby who was actually afraid of making a mess. Whether it involves getting chocolate cake all over their faces, leaving piles of toys on the floor in every room in the house, or somehow getting a hold of the magic markers and drawing on walls and furniture – babies just accept the fact that messiness happens, and that’s okay.

      When we grow up, though, we learn to think more logically and start to follow societal norms. We quickly figure out that messiness is bad and intimidating and should always be avoided in the adult world.

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      It’s no wonder so many people end up downplaying or abandoning certain tasks or goals that could present them with challenge and get kind of messy. Something like a complicated client project or a disaster of an email inbox is enough to put any regular adult off.

      But challenge, struggle, and messiness are essential parts of progress, growth, and achievement. If you believe that everything is always supposed to go smoothly and perfectly all the time, you’re living in a dream world. As soon as you recognize and accept that, you should see some positive changes in your own level of productivity.

      3. They’re always learning new things.

        It’s obvious that babies have zero experience when it comes to life skills. Between sleeping, eating, and pooping, they have to spend the rest of their time constantly learning everything they can about themselves, their surroundings, and the people that are in their lives.

        There may come a time in our adult lives when we think we’ve got all the knowledge and experience we need to carry out a task or get something done. But assuming you know everything about something and saying you can do it better than anyone else is the ultimate closed-minded, stubborn way to limiting your own productivity potential.

        Always stay open to learning. Things never stay the same, and there are so many other people with different skills and experience who are willing to teach and show you how you can use them yourself to open up new doors for improving the way you work and get things done.

        4. They squirm and move around a lot.

          When they’re not sleeping, babies can usually be seen wiggling around and putting objects in their mouths and even mimicking gestures they see adults doing. Babies who can crawl or walk are even more active than that, and it’s not uncommon for parents to feel completely wiped out after even just a few hours of chasing their kid around the house.

          An active baby is a happy baby, and us adults sure could learn from that. Too many of us spend our lives moving from our beds, to our cars, to our desks, back to our cars, to the couch, and back to bed again. We’re always sitting and many of us don’t get nearly as much physical activity as we should.

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          Studies show that our mental performance is influenced by our physical movement throughout the day. Regular exercise (even something as simple as a 30-minute leisure walk) can contribute to all sorts of different areas of mental power — from sharper concentration and improved memory, to enhanced creativity and faster learning.

          5. They’re not hopelessly addicted to technology like the rest of us.

            Okay, so maybe there are a lot more babies becoming increasingly mesmerized by their parents’ iPads or smartphones these days, but at least they don’t carry them around with them wherever they go and they don’t constantly check them every five minutes of every day.

            A baby isn’t going to stay satisfied with a screen in his face for very long, and neither should adults. Becoming a slave to your devices by staying on the email drip and checking Facebook multiple times in the span of an hour only contributes to distraction and higher stress levels.

            You can be a happier, healthier, more productive person by limiting screen time and making sure you unplug completely every once in a while.

            6. They’re natural explorers and problem solvers.

              Babies are wired to learn through exploring everything they can get their little hands on. And when they’re faced with a problem, they set out on a journey to figure out a solution. A baby may reach out to touch the family pet’s face and fur to try and understand it better while another baby may figure out how to climb right out of his crib by himself after deciding he wants out.

              To become a more productive person, you need problem solving skills. Identify what tasks may be unnecessary, time consuming, or distracting. Develop a system that you think will work, take some time to experiment with it, and then make changes or fine tune it until it works best for you.

              7. They’re always living in the moment.

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                You don’t have to observe a baby’s behavior for long to understand that they’re really only interested in what’s happening in the present moment. They’re not worried about tomorrow’s diaper change or yesterday’s flavor of baby food – all they care about is what’s going on right now.

                When it comes to getting things done, adults can place a hindrance on their own performance and efficiency by getting too preoccupied with worries about what already happened in the past or what might happen in the future. It’s easy to get carried away with focusing too much on previous criticism or anticipating how you’ll stack up to people’s expectations, so much so that it gets in the way of doing your best work.

                Practice being more present so you can perform at your fullest potential. The past is behind you, and the future isn’t here yet, so why worry about it?

                8. They’re not obsessed with pleasing everyone.

                  As adults, we all want to be liked. Babies, however, couldn’t care less about how the entire world perceives them. Of course they want to be loved by the people around them, but they don’t excessively worry about their appearances or their actions with regards to other people’s opinions of them.

                  A baby will gladly throw a tantrum in a public place or ignore the fact that her hair is a mess right before a professional photo shoot. But adults will do the exact opposite by letting their extreme desires to impress and win the approval of other people get in the way of what they’re truly capable of doing.

                  To improve your productivity, you have to find what works for you, regardless of what other people may think. Everyone is different, and if you think you have to sacrifice something you know is right for you in order to please other people, then you need to reevaluate what’s most important to you.

                  9. They ask (or cry) for help when they need it.

                    All babies need the help of their parents and caretakers to help them learn and grow. When they need help with something – a toy that fell out of reach, a full diaper that needs changing, or even a TV channel change to a favorite cartoon show – they’ll let you know they need your help by screaming, crying, shrieking, making silly noises, or gesturing to try to communicate what they want.

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                    Adults are often much more reluctant to ask for help when they need it, though. A lot of people convince themselves that they need to do everything their own way and end up taking on more work than necessary, or they assume that they’d be a bother by asking someone else for a hand.

                    It’s time to get over your fear of asking for help and worrying that other people won’t get things done your way. More often than not, people are happy to help. And when you get help from the right people with the right skills and experience, you may find they actually do a better job than you ever could have done.

                    10. They don’t let trivial problems prevent them from doing what they do or being who they are.

                      As mentioned in the beginning of this this article, babies are simple creatures. Unlike their adult counterparts, they don’t get caught up with small details in every little thing they’re faced with. They’re too busy learning and trying to understand the bigger picture about whatever it is they’re doing.

                      Some people say that babies are just drunk adults. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of true. Babies are far from perfect, and adults have a hard time accepting that they themselves are never going to be perfect either.

                      Even when you’re having the most productive week or month or year ever, problems are bound to arise at some point. The key is to not sweat the small stuff, and learn to focus on the positive work you’re doing rather than all the tiny little things that may be preventing you from getting what you want to get done.

                      Set yourself free from the perfectionist mindset. More progress and achievement is lost by worrying about failure and imperfection than by committing to a plan and working through it with a positive and optimistic attitude.

                      More by this author

                      Elise Moreau

                      Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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                      Last Updated on February 17, 2021

                      50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                      50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                      If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

                      No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

                      Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

                      1. Set a Timer

                      Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

                      In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

                      2. Eliminate All Distractions

                      Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

                      You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                      3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

                      Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

                      Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

                      Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

                      4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

                      Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

                      If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

                      5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

                      By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

                      Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

                      6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

                      Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

                      7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

                      Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

                      Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

                      Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

                      8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

                      To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

                      Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

                      Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

                      9. Don’t Multitask

                      Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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                      For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

                      10. Step Away from the Computer

                      The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

                      I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

                      11. Use Focus Tools

                      Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

                      Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

                      Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

                      12. Just Start

                      Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

                      Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

                      13. Find out Your Productive Hours

                      Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

                      Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

                      14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

                      This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

                      15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

                      The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

                      When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

                      And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

                      16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

                      I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

                      Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

                      17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

                      The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

                      Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

                      18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

                      As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

                      “Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

                      This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

                      19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

                      I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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                      Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

                      20. Get Plenty of Sleep

                      When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

                      Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                      21. Exercise

                      Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

                      Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

                      Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

                      22. Outsource as Much as Possible

                      If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

                      Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                      23. Set Some Exciting Goals

                      Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

                      Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

                      24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

                      When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

                      25. Listen to Podcasts

                      Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

                      Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

                      Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

                      26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

                      This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

                      Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

                      27. Learn to Speed Read

                      When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

                      You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

                      28. Learn to Skip When You Read

                      When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

                      Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

                      29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

                      Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

                      We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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                      30. Take a Break

                      You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

                      31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

                      What is polyphasic sleep?

                      Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

                      While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

                      32. Learn to Say “No”.

                      We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

                      Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

                      33. Go on an Information Diet

                      Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

                      Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

                      The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

                      34. Organize Your Office

                      The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

                      Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

                      35. Find a Mentor

                      By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

                      A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

                      36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

                      With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

                      When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

                      Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

                      Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

                      37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

                      Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

                      You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

                      38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

                      If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

                      Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

                      How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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                      39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

                      Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

                      Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

                      40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

                      Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

                      Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

                      41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

                      When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

                      Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

                      42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

                      The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

                      Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

                      43. Take Shorter Showers

                      This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

                      44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

                      Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

                      45. Auto Pay Your Bills

                      How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

                      Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

                      46. Shop Online

                      Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

                      47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

                      Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

                      If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

                      48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

                      If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

                      Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

                      49. Turn off the TV

                      The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

                      For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

                      Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

                      50. Use a Tivo or DVR

                      This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

                      So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

                      More Time Management Tips

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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