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13 Good Habits You Should Start To Take Up Now

13 Good Habits You Should Start To Take Up Now

In his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey states, “We become what we repeatedly do,” and this advice isn’t just for teens. In other words, our habits make us who we are. If we are repeatedly late to work or we cancel plans with friends regularly, our reputation begins to proceed us — and not in a positive way. The cultivation of good habits is essential in order to be taken seriously, feel good about ourselves, and live a positive life. Here are a few good habits you should start right now:

Find a group of people with similar interests

Within this group, you will find people who will be able to relate to you like others cannot. You will cultivate lifelong relationships and find a sense of belonging.

Let go of distraction

Give your attention to whatever’s in front of you. Stay in the moment and your relationships will benefit, as well as your peace of mind. Letting go of distractions will increase your mindfulness, which can lead to less stress and a more positive outlook.

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Floss

Daily. Flossing is linked not only to healthy teeth, but to heart health as well. Fight gum disease, increase the potential to keep your teeth for life, and potentially lower your risk of heart disease, all while cultivating a good habit.

Multitask less

Put the phone and tablet away. Turn the television off. Devote your attention to the task at hand. Multitasking can lead to spotty work or half-done assignments or duties, so you are more effective if you focus on one thing at a time.

Spend time with yourself

You need a little alone time. It allows you to relax and let go of your daily struggle. Being alone also gives you time to reflect without distraction.

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Create a visual representation of motivation

Usually referred to as a vision board, placing your goals and dreams on a poster board or the like can keep you focused. That visual representation helps remind you to keep pushing forward and striving toward your greatest good.

Set some goals

And make sure they are obtainable. It’s important to have both short-term and long-term goals. For example, if you want to eat healthier, set a goal for one healthy meal per week for a month. Then increase it to two healthy meals and so on. If you do this, before you know it, you’ll be eating well and feeling great.

Journal regularly

This is one of the easiest ways to get those feelings and thoughts out of you and onto paper. Writing in a journal on a regular basis can keep you on track with your goals and release tension.

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Find a morning or evening routine and stick to it

Choose 20 to 30 minutes, either in the morning or at night, where you can create a little routine you can stick to. Meditate, write in your journal, read something inspiring, or use this time to focus on your passions.

Strive to learn something new every day

If you are a writer, learn a new word and find a way to use it. If you read, look up some info about an author you admire. Research some news about another country. Learning helps you stay open minded and connected to the world around you.

Let go of comparison

It doesn’t matter if the person beside you in yoga class can contort their body in ways you can’t. If you stop comparing yourself to others, you’re more apt to be happy with who you are. Rather than compare your progress or success to those around you, seek to improve on your own accomplishments.

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Save some money, even if it’s just a little

Just five dollars a week will add up before you know it. Saving money constitutes discipline, which is necessary in all areas of life. Take out cash to spend for the week so you don’t have to touch your bank account. If you give yourself an ‘allowance,’ you’ll become more responsible with your income.

Strive to be on time

Arriving at your destination on time (or even better — early) shows that you care about other people’s time. This doesn’t just apply to work either. Show up on time for family events and outings with your friends.

Do you have any other good habits to suggest? Leave them in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Meditation/Toshimasa Ishibashi via flickr.com

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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