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27 Simple Ways To Improve Your Life

27 Simple Ways To Improve Your Life

In his best-selling book Unlimited Power Tony Robbins write, “If you want to achieve success, all you need to do is find a way to model those who have already succeeded.” If you’re looking for simple ways to improve your life, here are 27 things you can start implementing right away that will make you more productive and awesome!

Plan your day based on your body’s energy cycles

Our body has natural rhythms of energy during the day which. If tracked properly, you can take advantage of the moments where you have most energy. Josh Kaufman, author of “The Personal MBA,” explains that paying attention to your energy cycles and working accordingly will help you get the most out of your time available. To get started, consider the following questions:

  • When do you feel most energetic?
  • What times of the day work best to do certain kinds of work?
  • What do you do to manage your energy during the day?

Take power naps daily

Do you think napping is for lazy people? Think again. Many studies have reported that a nap as brief as 20 minutes can improve alertness, psychomotor performance, and mood. Here are some suggestions to make the most out of your power nap:

  • Plan to take your nap at a good time in your daily sleep-wake cycle; for many people, sometime between noon and 4 p.m. is best.
  • Don’t sleep too long; a 20- to 40-minute nap may refresh your day without keeping you up at night.
  • Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to wake up fully before you resume a demanding task.

Wake up at the same time every day

Every single time I wake up early and have an active morning, I feel a lot better and have a more productive day. The problem is that some days I hit the snooze button a little too much. Inevitably, I start those days with failure and a late start. Matt Galligan, CEO of Circa, trained himself to wake up at the same time every day by doing this small but effective experiment: Set an alarm for the same time every morning for 30 days and resist the snooze button. I know it sounds hard, but the results are amazing. If you have a consistent waking time, you’ll be more alert, have stress-free mornings, and get to work in a calm and centered state. In today’s hectic world, that goes a long way!

Drink lots of water

Why should we drink more water? If you don’t drink water, you will die. It’s that simple. Your body is composed of roughly 60% water. That means when we are dehydrated, we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body. None of our systems function as well without the proper water intake. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated can help with weight loss, reduce joint pain, flush out waste and bacteria, prevent headaches, make your skin glow, and improve overall performance. One of the best things you can do after you wake up: drink at least 16oz (500mL) of water. Water fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins, gives your brain fuel, and may even make you eat less.

Avoid energy drinks

Energy drinks are overloaded with caffeine and sugar in amounts that are harmful for your overall health. While energy drinks may give you a rush of energy when you first drink them, in the long run, they usually end up making you more tired and may result in harmful effects such as heart palpitations, dizziness, and even seizures. There are plenty of other beverages to enjoy like green tea or just plain coffee.

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Don’t smoke / quit smoking

One out of every two lifetime smokers will die from the effects of smoking. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke increase your blood pressure and heart rate and cause strain on your heart and blood vessels. Smoking increases your chance of having a stroke or heart attack dramatically as compared to the chances of a nonsmoker. Smoking makes you 10 times more likely to have lung cancer than someone who does not smoke. If you don’t smoke, that’s awesome. If you do smoke, quit now. Your life will be more awesome without smoking.

Organize your life

Organization provides a sense of control, reduces stress, and is a great confidence booster. It also allows you to concentrate on the things that really matter avoiding unnecessary clutter. Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:

  • Write things down
  • Give everything a place and put everything back in its place
  • Declutter regularly and keep only what you need
  • Use color coding

Have a protein-packed breakfast

I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Tim Ferriss and many health experts consider having 30 grams of protein with breakfast one of the most effective ways to lose weight. Research shows that a protein-rich breakfast—rather than a carb- and fat-filled one—will rev up your metabolism, keep you fuller longer, and prevent overeating later in the day.

Dress up with vibrant colors

One of the easiest ways to change your mood and mindset is simply by changing the colors you choose to wear. Many of our responses to color are subconscious—we don’t even realize the effect on our mood. But color is so powerful there’s an entire alternative medicine field dedicated to healing through hues. Red, orange and yellow have been shown to evoke a broad range of strong emotions, for example, while colors like blue, purple and green can have a calming effect.

Exercise for 20 minutes after you wake up

When you exercise early in the morning, it jump starts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours. That means you’re burning more calories all day long just because you exercised in the morning. If you commit to working out in the morning, you’re way less likely to have the excuse of things just popping up. Plus, you won’t be exhausted from a rough day at the office. In fact, people who work out in the morning have shown to stick to their exercise plans better than people who plan to exercise after work. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Try something simple like going for a walk, jogging, stretching, or body-weight workouts.

Get enough sleep

A lot of people brag about working on projects until 4:00 a.m. But what they fail to realize is that lack of sleep leads to depression, ages your skin, can make you forgetful, and even cause weight gain. Remember, it’s not the amount of hours you spend on a particular task, but the quality of those hours.

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Define your top three most important tasks for the day

What are the three most important things you can do today to move you toward achieving your goals? Write them down before you start your day or even the night before and get them done first thing in the morning. It will help you stay focused so you don’t waste time on tasks of low importance. If you manage to complete these tasks, you’ll feel productive even if you do nothing else on your list.

The 60/10 rule

A very effective productivity hack. Set up a timer for 60 minutes and concentrate on the task at hand. After the 60 minutes are up, take a break for 10 minutes and do something to re-energize you like going for a walk, calling a good friend, or having a cup of tea.

Meditate and express gratitude

We live in a world of instant gratification. We want things and we want them now. A lot of this attitude can be to attributed to all the latest technological advances in the last 20 years. But instant gratification can cloud our ability to be present and appreciate the small things. Gratitude is all about shifting your focus from what your life lacks to all the things you currently have. Gratitude makes people more resilient, improves health, and reduces stress. Meditation helps in noticing all different emotions and let them be for what they are. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, says that one of the best—and cheapest—ways to become healthier and happier is through mindfulness exercises like meditation. According to Mark Williams, a professor of clinical psychology at Oxford and co-author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, meditation helps increase your sense of purpose and reduces feelings of isolation and depression.

Have accountability partners

When you’re the only one accountable, you’re much more likely to procrastinate, delay working on tasks or simply never complete items on your list. Accountability is all about creating real consequences and guaranteeing you follow through with your goals. Creating incentives and assigning accountability are the two most important keys to achieving a goal. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, suggests using sites like StickK, where you make your commitments public and incur financial consequences if you fail to meet them.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Everyone is going through their own challenges, struggles, and setbacks. Comparisons are useless and detrimental to our own self-esteem. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus your energy on being the very best version of yourself. Focus your energy and attention on your own goals and what is required to achieve them.

Cut out people who drag you down

Life is just too short to be surrounded by negative people who do nothing but to bring you down. The quickest way to make a change in your life is to change who you surround yourself with—and it’s totally within your control.

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Introduce music or white noise to improve focus

Low-level background noise helps muffle any distracting sounds that could interrupt your work and has been shown to improve creativity and focus for many people. Calming music, ambient nature sounds, and simple background noise may help you concentrate and stay focused on your tasks.

Do the hardest or most unappealing tasks first

When you look at your list of tasks, it’s tempting to choose the smaller, easier tasks to do first. If you have a big project that fills you with dread, you’re much more likely to procrastinate and put if off until later. However, if you get that task out of the way first, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing it’s crossed off your list and the rest of your tasks will feel like a breeze in comparison.

Write things down and capture every idea

It’s impossible not to think about something. Most people get distracted from the task at hand by wandering ideas and having thoughts about other projects. The best thing to do is to capture those ideas in a physical or electronic notepad. Once they’re out of your head and down on paper (or a screen), your brain will forget about them so you can get back to work.

Put loose change in a jar

A quarter here and a nickel there doesn’t seem like anything substantial, but when you collect all your change and keep it in one place, you’ll see how quickly it adds up! Every time you add more change to your change jar, you are essentially adding to a savings account that is growing over time.

Write down yesterday’s expenses

Tracking your expenses is the smartest way to manage your personal finances. Writing down everything you buy as well as how much it costs will give you great insight into your spending habits. Over time, you will notice trends in your spending and be able to easily decide where cuts can be made to save money.

Unsubscribe from junk email and catalogs

Receiving emails and print catalogs with discounts and promotions often leads to unnecessary spending. Saving 20% on a purchase isn’t saving any money at all if you first have to spend $100 to save $20. Getting rid of these communications can help you avoid impulse buys and save money.

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Pack a meal, coffee, or snack

Making your lunch at home and bringing it to work or making coffee at home instead of buying it at the drive-through is not only healthier for you, but cheaper as well. Going out for lunch or coffee each day quickly adds up. You can make coffee and lunch at home for a fraction of the cost.

Speak words of affirmation

A few good thoughts can change the entire course of your day for the better. If you’re having problems with confidence, then this could be a simple solution for feeling happier about the upcoming day.

Listen to your favorite song

It’s amazing what listening to your favorite song can do for your mind and body. Not only will the upbeat music stimulate the release of happy hormones, but the recollection of happy times will influence your mood. Without realizing it, you will be dancing around and singing along, which will leave you feeling happy and ready to take on the day.

Read 10% of a non-fiction book every day

Reading is a simple task that can provide you with multiple benefits. Regular reading gives your brain a workout, which improves concentration and slows down age-related mental decline. Nonfiction books have the added bonus of increasing your general knowledge, improving your analytic thinking skills, and giving you the opportunity to learn something new in just a few minutes a day.

Learn a new word every day

Expanding your vocabulary comes with a wide range of benefits. You’ll improve your ability to communicate, give your brain a mini workout and improve your confidence in social situations. You can either get a dictionary in the language of your choice and choose new words at random, or subscribe to one of the “word a day” mailing lists that are available on language-learning websites.

What other things do you do on a daily basis that significantly contribute towards improving your life?

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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