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25 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

25 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

There are so many people who could make a full-time income from giving advice, but do not follow it or will not listen to advice from others. Not a wise move! When it comes to looking for practical advice on how to master anything, I personally look to the following people in my life: those with significant life experience who are happy to share what they learned and where they went wrong, successful people in general, and others who have mastered the particular skill or task I need to master. Of course, it is also wise to look beyond these examples and spend time in reflection, reading and self-education to keep the mind exercised and focused on self-development.

However, if I were to list around 25 pointers of practical advice for you, they would consist of the following as a minimum.

1. Find your life’s purpose.

You will feel drawn to certain people, and certain things will hold your interest longer than others and be more meaningful. It is always easier to succeed when you know what your life’s purpose is. Even if you think you don’t know, just be open to try new things and see what you can identify with the most.

2. Find a niche where you can dominate.

You are good at some things, bad at others, but there are some things you can excel at with little effort. Go, be brave and allow yourself to dream and try new things. See how you can make it better and add more value to your and everyone else’s life in doing so.

3. Love your subject at a very basic level.

Remember being at school and how some subjects dragged and were torture to sit through? Don’t go down this road because you have choices. You must at least love your subject or have a strong desire that this is something you are willing to spend time on. If you don’t like something, it will show!

4. Find the ideal apprenticeship.

Find someone who can teach you what you want to learn. Study and model them closely. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, express yourself and be open to their advice. The right mentor will shortcut the learning process, give you the push you need and help keep you task focused.

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5. Engage in deep observation.

Do not fill your entire day with “to do” lists. You also need time for reflection, observations and quiet time to take on board any new ideas, things learned and also to simply allow your mind to wander. You never know what this “down time” will uncover when the pressure is off.

6. Practice incessantly and experiment.

Practice does make perfect and sometimes short cuts will give little value so don’t give up. Think of the great masters and what they endured. Look at how their memory and legacy has lived on long after they are gone. Think of Thomas Edison and all he invented and how it positively impacted the world and still does today. Look to Henry Ford for examples of how he revolutionized the automotive industry.

7. Value learning over money.

Yes, “show me the money” is all some people can see, but if you are in it for the long haul then be prepared to learn everything there is to learn, not straight away but over time. The money will follow when you can apply what you learned.

8. Rely on trial and error more than anything.

Sometimes you just have to let go and simply experiment. So many inventions started off from things going wrong, so break the mould and create your own masterpiece. Even if you don’t know where you are going, just start somewhere, it will always lead to somewhere else. Look at George Crum and how he invented potato chips by trial and error after a diner complained the fries were too thick and he kept reducing down the thickness following complaint after complaint!

9. Absorb a master’s power (that is, get a mentor).

Absorb everything there is to learn from your mentor. How can you do things differently? Where is his or her weakness? Most likely it won’t be yours. The right mentor will empower and motivate you to greatness and not be ego driven. Take it all in and someday return the favor to another.

10. Choose someone who will intensely challenge you.

How will you know how far you have come if you do not meet and overcome challenges? Challenges are not setbacks. They are simply life’s ways of requesting you use the tools available to you to resolve them.

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11. Transform what you’ve learned from your master/mentor.

Not only must you learn, but you need to apply and carve out a niche for yourself using all the tools and resources you learned from your mentor, otherwise what real benefit will you have gained? Look at Leonardo Da Vinci and how he thrived under his mentor Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio. Even after he served his apprenticeship, they continued to work together!

12. Accept criticism.

If you cannot accept criticism, then your ego is getting in the way of your best judgment. Just ensure any criticism directed towards you is constructive and justified.

13. Craft your own persona.

You really don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone else now, do you? Are you not enough? Stand in your own personal power. It is always enough when you are giving your best and are at your best.

14. Don’t let impatience derail your plans.

When you have a great idea or are learning something new, it is easy to be impatient, but it takes time to master and perfect yourself so you will be a real asset. Don’t try to peak too soon because of impatience. The best things come to those who wait and pick the right time.

15. Shape your world around your strengths.

We all have natural strengths and others that can be developed. Use your strengths wisely to re-create life on your terms.

16. Know that practice is as important as innate skill.

Again, coming back to practice, sometimes even being willing to put in the time and effort and to apply the right mindset to practice is a skill that needs to be mastered. Review how you really feel about practicing!

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17. Be self-driven not ego driven.

It is so easy to spot egos out there. Be self-driven. It is far more worthy of praise, acknowledgement and service. Egos are phony. When you are successful, you will be able to demonstrate success through your actions and achievements and not from inflated bragging and boasting. Sure, be proud and confident and self-assured. This is self- not ego driven.

18. Give to others and you will get in return.

Even though you feel it is all about you, it isn’t really. To be successful you need to prove yourself, and show others how you can help or benefit them. Give your time, service, knowledge or whatever to others, and do so willingly. You will be amazed at the ways you will gain! It may not happen immediately but believe me every one good deed you send out comes back! Look at Mother Teresa, Ghandi and so many more who influenced millions globally!

19. Be curious.

Think of ways to make things different, better, shake things up a little. Be curious and set your mind free and don’t let failure hold you back. Success may be one short step away.

20. Write down your goals.

Sure, goals may change over time and that is fine, but write down the goals that just don’t seem to go away or change. It will serve to remind you of what is important for you to achieve.

21. Review and take stock of where you are.

Take time for a breather and review and take stock of where you are and how much you’ve achieved since the last review. It will also show up if you have gotten sidetracked!

22. Be selective with whom you share your dreams.

Some people will poke holes in your dreams. Remember they are your dreams and don’t deserve to have anyone trample over them. Be selective with whom you share this information. Who knows, it may be useful to them!

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23. Surround yourself with the right people.

The right people can be the thinkers, dreamers, creative or artistic types. Choose people who bring out what is best in you and are in alignment with your dreams.

24. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.

Be willing to take risks, but try to take calculated risks that won’t be such that you lie awake at night worrying in case the worst happens. A certain amout of risk may be necessary and it will also help you work harder to ensure the risk is managed or minimized.

25. Give thanks.

I left this ’til last because it is the simplest thing to do, yet the one most easily forgotten. Even things that went wrong in your life have helped you get to where you are today and have taught you many life lessons. Give thanks for everything learned from failures, just as you need to give thanks for all the things that went right in your life. Give thanks to others for a service performed well. Give thanks for being alive and for being on the receiving end of so may blessings that shaped you positively and will continue to influence you positively.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

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Last Updated on February 17, 2021

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

1. Set a Timer

Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

2. Eliminate All Distractions

Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

9. Don’t Multitask

Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

10. Step Away from the Computer

The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

11. Use Focus Tools

Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

12. Just Start

Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

13. Find out Your Productive Hours

Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

“Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

20. Get Plenty of Sleep

When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

21. Exercise

Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

22. Outsource as Much as Possible

If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

23. Set Some Exciting Goals

Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

25. Listen to Podcasts

Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

27. Learn to Speed Read

When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

28. Learn to Skip When You Read

When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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30. Take a Break

You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

What is polyphasic sleep?

Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

32. Learn to Say “No”.

We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

33. Go on an Information Diet

Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

34. Organize Your Office

The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

35. Find a Mentor

By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

43. Take Shorter Showers

This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

45. Auto Pay Your Bills

How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

46. Shop Online

Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

49. Turn off the TV

The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

50. Use a Tivo or DVR

This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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