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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.

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                      Elise Moreau

                      A writer who is passionate about personal development, health and wellness.

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                      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                      How to Stop Information Overload

                      How to Stop Information Overload

                      Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

                      This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

                      As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

                      But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

                      How Serious Is Information Overload?

                      The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

                      This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

                      When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

                      We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

                      No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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                      The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

                      That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

                      Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

                      Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

                      But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

                      Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

                      Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

                      When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

                      Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

                      The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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                      You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

                      How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

                      So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

                      1. Set Your Goals

                      If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

                      Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

                      Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

                      Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

                      2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

                      Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

                      First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

                      If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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                      • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
                      • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
                      • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

                      If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

                      (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

                      And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

                      You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

                      Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

                      3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

                      There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

                      Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

                      Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

                      Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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                      4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

                      Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

                      This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

                      Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

                      The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

                      Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

                      Summing It Up

                      As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

                      I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

                      I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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