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10 Ways To Get Out Of Your Own Way And Get Things Done

10 Ways To Get Out Of Your Own Way And Get Things Done

You probably have plenty of reasons why you don’t get things done. Many of them are outside of your control. But instead of focusing on things you can’t control, focus on the biggest barrier, the one which you have the most control over: you.

You’re probably standing in your own way, so here are 10 things that will help you get out of your own way. Even if you do only three, you’ll finally be able to get things done.

1. Remember why you are doing it

Knowing why you are doing something is critical to getting it done. Humans hate doing things for no reason. Whether it’s washing the dishes, starting a business or filling out job applications, it must contribute to some larger purpose. If it doesn’t, quit doing it.

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    2. Think about the outcome

    What are you going to get from doing this thing? When you don’t feel like doing it, focus on the outcome you’re seeking. Think about how that outcome will make your life better, no matter how big or small the improvement is. If that outcome doesn’t excite you, that’s probably why you aren’t doing it. Cross it off the list.

    3. Focus on the important stuff

    Nothing will drain your energy faster than working on or putting off tedious things that won’t move you toward your goal. For example, if you’re starting a business, stop moving commas and periods around in your business plan and go out and talk to some prospects. Sell something or get feedback to improve. Focusing on what will make a difference will motivate you and skyrocket your results.

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      4. Listen to music

      There’s a reason music is so popular. It has a huge effect on how you feel. Use it as a tool to change your mood to whatever you want it to be. Create a playlist of songs that motivate the crap out of you. Play it while you work and while you procrastinate.

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      5. When you get tired, move around

      Do some jumping jacks, some simple exercises, or (my personal favorite) just dance like an idiot for a few minutes. Despite common beliefs, you actually get energy from being active. Your body did not evolve to sit at a computer and work for hours at a time. You can do it, but you have to work to create the energy. Combine with point #4 for accelerated results.

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        6. When you get frustrated, meditate

        You’re probably thinking too much. Calm down. Sit in a comfortable spot, relax and take some deep breaths to clear your mind for 10 minutes. If you really want to boost your productivity, meditate before you get frustrated in order to keep your mind clear, stay relaxed and avoid the frustration that stops you from getting things done.

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        7. Stop comparing yourself to other people

        You know the feeling. You’re working on something and you suddenly stop in despair because you realize it’s not going to be as good as [insert celebrity, colleague, friend, relative] would do it. It stops you in your tracks. You say to yourself, “Why bother? It’s going to suck anyway.” First, this is probably not true. You are probably just as good or better than that person. Second, even if you can’t do it as well as that person, no problem. This is practice to make you better. Either way, there’s no reason to stop.

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          8. Give up the ridiculous idea of perfection

          Perfection is a theoretical concept that does not exist in reality. You are probably waiting until the conditions are just right for it to be perfect. It will never be. That’s cool. You only have two choices: imperfect or nothing. Stop waiting to learn one more thing, get one more opinion, or make one last tweak. Just be OK with imperfection.

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          9. Pat yourself on the back — a lot

          Your need for instant gratification is probably keeping you from getting things done. You’re jumping over to Facebook to see if anyone has commented on your status, or checking Twitter for an endorphin rush. You’ll probably get it there. But if you read this far, you want to get things done. Instead of turning to social media for instant gratification, tell yourself how awesome you are after you accomplish each little thing. I’m doing that after I write each of these 10 things. It works.

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            10. Help someone else

            We love to help each other. It’s addictive for humans. When you are working on a project and just can’t seem to move forward, pick up the phone and call someone you can help. Offer some advice, feedback or expertise. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment. You’ll feel good about yourself and happy that you’ve contributed to someone else’s life. That’s a much better endorphin source than Facebook.

            There are always external things you can’t control. They suck, but focusing on them won’t do any good. Focus on any three of these 10 things to get more done and feel better about what you have accomplished.

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            Last Updated on May 22, 2019

            The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

            The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

            If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

            Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

            Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

            What is the Pomodoro Technique?

            The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

            The process is simple:

            For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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            You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

            Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

            After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

            Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

            How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

            Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

            “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

            If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

            Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

            The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

            You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

            Successful people who love it

            Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

            Before he started using the technique, he said,

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            “Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

            Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

            “It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

            Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

            Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

            “Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

            Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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            “Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

            Conclusion

            One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

            The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

            If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

            Reference

            [1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
            [2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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