Advertising
Advertising

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.

      Advertising

      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.

          Advertising

          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.

              Advertising

                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.

                    Advertising

                    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.

                      Why You’ve Reached the Point of Burn out at Work & How to Deal with It The Benefits And Drawbacks To Your Preferred Sleep Position How Smartphones Are Affecting The Mind And Body Of Your Children Amazing Benefits Of Greek Yogurt (+5 Refreshing Recipes) 15 Free Resources To Get You More Organized In 2016

                      Trending in Productivity

                      1 5 Key Traits of a Charismatic Leadership 2 How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong 4 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life 5 How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on December 2, 2019

                      How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

                      How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

                      Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

                      I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

                      Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

                      How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

                      Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

                      Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

                      At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

                      Want to know the good news?

                      No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

                      All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

                      1. Develop a Positive Mindset

                      If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

                      According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

                      That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

                      Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

                      Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

                      Absolutely!

                      But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

                      Advertising

                      Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

                      Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

                      It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

                      “I’m not smart enough to…”

                      “I don’t have enough experience to…”

                      “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

                      When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

                      If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

                      When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

                      • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
                      • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
                      • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

                      Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

                      Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

                      All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

                      But this isn’t true!

                      If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

                      If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

                      When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

                      Ditch the Dwelling

                      Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

                      Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

                      When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

                      Advertising

                      But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

                      The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

                      Easier said than done, right? Try these:

                      1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
                      2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
                      3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
                      4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

                      The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

                      Be Patient about the Process

                      No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

                      Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

                      If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

                      To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

                      2. Connect with Your Purpose

                      One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

                      If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

                      Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

                      Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

                      Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

                      “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

                      One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

                      Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

                      Find Intrinsic Motivation

                      Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

                      Advertising

                      Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

                      But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

                      If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

                      3. Find Strength in Unity

                      The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

                      Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

                      Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

                      If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

                      If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

                      Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

                      The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

                      A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

                      If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

                      Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

                      Recruit Some Cheerleaders

                      If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

                      Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

                      As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

                      Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

                      Form an Accountability Group

                      Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

                      Advertising

                      Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

                      Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

                      Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

                      Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

                      4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

                      Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

                      As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

                      We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

                      When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

                      • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
                      • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
                      • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
                      • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
                      • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
                      • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

                      Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

                      Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

                      Tying it All Together

                      Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

                      But here’s the bottom line:

                      A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

                      No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

                      More About Mental Strength

                      Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next