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11 Things To Let Go Of And You’ll Be More Productive

11 Things To Let Go Of And You’ll Be More Productive

1. Let go of believing you’re not doing your best

It’s not easy to be proud of yourself every day, especially when you are aware you can do better. In order to change your performance, you should change your viewpoint.

Try to celebrate the small achievements daily and make it a habit to acknowledge every battle you fight in personal life and work. That way not much time and effort will be left for negative attitude towards yourself.

“Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”
Nathaniel Branden

2. Let go of anger when you make mistakes

Whoever respects their work would be not satisfied when mistakes are made, especially when they could have been avoided. But turning to anger and other negative emotions not only brings you down, but also interrupts your workflow, damaging your productivity.

You can demand a perfect outcome, but can’t expect a perfect process, unless you consider yourself an automated machine. The more you work on treating mistakes as a natural part of the process, the easier it will be to recover from them and not harm the final result.

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire

3. Let go of fearing the unknown

Everything unknown can bring mystery and excitement, but it mostly terrifies you. Getting out of your comfort zone and what you know requires a lot of courage and risk taking. Often though, it’s the unknown that takes us to somewhere we never knew would enjoy so much.

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Unless you try something, you can’t decide if it was worth it. At the very worst scenario, you’ll know what to avoid in the future. Be open and appear more confident than you really are. There’s always a way to make it work, as long as you really want to.

“The only doors that open are the ones you knock on.” – Scott Marquart

4. Let go of believing you have to finish everything you start

Be it a dish you’re cooking or the university degree you are enrolled in, it seems counter intuitive not to finish it. Even when you have found something not to be a good match for your current needs and likes, you may feel guilty and insecure to drop it off and continue with a new choice.

However, it’s easier and faster to start over than to fix something that is not working. Consider it a success that you can actually determine what is not a good fit and use your experience and judgment to pick the right one.

“ Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.” – Donald Trump

5. Let go of brainstorming at the wrong times

Tight deadlines and busy schedules leave no other choice than to brainstorm whenever you have a clear block of time in your agenda. That is fine unless you really can’t get anything out of it.

It’s better to let yourself just be for a while and when the time is right for brainstorming, you will go through it much quicker, gaining the time you “lost” by refusing to force it.

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“Being lazy does not mean that you do not create. In fact, lying around doing nothing is an important, nay crucial, part of the creative process. It is meaningless bustle that actually gets in the way of productivity. All we are really saying is, give peace a chance.” – Tom Hodgkinson

6. Let go of waiting for inspiration

Sometimes inspiration seems to be far away, no matter how much you wait for it. When you can’t afford to wait longer, start working anyway. It could be that you’re too distant with the work you need to do and don’t have a clear panorama of the project.

Avoiding getting into the technical details might be the cause of the inspiration delay too. Going into the technical side of the things, you will get prepared for what is demanded and what should and shouldn’t be done. You will most probably get inspiration when things are clear enough in your head and you know exactly what to do.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

7. Let go of the weight of comparison

It’s impossible not to put yourself on the scale every now and then. Be it when others are doing better than you, or when you’re not doing the best you can, it’s understandable to turn your head elsewhere for comparison.

An easy way to avoid this is making sure you use every second of your time becoming the best version of yourself.

When you’re busy working on your own matters, there’s usually not enough time to deal with others. And when comparison tests come to you, knowing you’re becoming better every day will prevent you from feeling bad.

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“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” – Shannon L. Alder

8. Let go of avoiding reality

Too be honest, some things are so dreadful that we secretly wish for a miracle to happen, so we won’t have to go through them eventually. It might be your lucky day once in a blue moon, but for in reality, responsibilities are for the adults and there’s no way to hide from them.

Instead of spending your energy coming up with imaginary escape plans, use the time you have in the best possible way. If you don’t want to do something, make up your mind as early as possible. Let the right people know about that, along with a couple of strong reasons backing up your decision and a plan B for them to proceed further with.

“When we truly need to do is often what we most feel like avoiding.” – David Allen

9. Let go of underestimating others

The moment you assume something is too easy or others you’re competing with are not going to be great, you have set yourself up for failure. When you underestimate others, you underestimate their work. As a result, you assume you won’t have to work hard, so you automatically underestimate your own potential.

Make it a rule to always work and prepare as if you’re competing with the best of the field and you’ll see how it pays off to the outcome of your efforts.

“I never underestimate my opponent, but I never underestimate my talents.” – Hale Irwin

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10. Let go of waiting for the right moment

You want the circumstances to be perfect for executing your project so the chances for something to go wrong are minimal. You believe that if you have the right tools, money and time to do what you want, everything will go as planned. Otherwise, you believe the slightest problem will cause failure.

However, things never go as planned in life and there will always be a detail that is not right for the moment. Don’t let your passion “cool down” by waiting forever. If you want it badly enough, you will tailor your whole life to fit your project.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

11. Let go of spending time figuring out shortcuts

There could be occasions when you spend so much time trying to come up with an easier way of doing things or imagining how your life would be if everything didn’t require so much effort. But no matter how much we wish for things to be easier or faster, doing all the hard work is often the only way.

Everyone can do anything, to a certain degree. Make sure you go the extra mile, distancing yourself from the competition and eventually being proud of your project when you file it away in your portfolio folder.

“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett

 

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Featured photo credit: http://deathtothestockphoto.com/ via deathtothestockphoto.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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