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27 Simple Ways To Improve Your Life

27 Simple Ways To Improve Your Life
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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 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)
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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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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