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3 Ways to Be Less Busy and More Productive

3 Ways to Be Less Busy and More Productive

    Busy is one of the most overused words. We hear all the time, “I’m too busy,” or “I don’t have time.”

    How often do you actually achieve results while you are busy? Not too often, I bet. Switch your focus from being busy to being productive, so that you can accomplish more, see tangible results, and have time for fun.

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    Here are three things you can start with:

    Have a to-do list for things that MUST get done today.

    MUST is the key word. This is where a lot of people go wrong. They sit down to make a list, and they keep adding and adding, all the things they should’ve done, all the things they want to do, and all the things they wish they could do. They end up with a mile long list, and find it so daunting that any motivation for tackling it disappears.

    “MUST get done today” list should have no more than 3-8 items, depending on how big they are, and depending on your lifestyle. They should not be the things that everyone has to do. For example, grocery shopping, picking up kids etc. – they don’t belong on this list, because you have to do them, and you are going to do them. This list is for things that are taking you towards your goal. If you want to write a book, have a goal that says, “Write 500 words.” If you want to have your own business, have a goal that says, “Read couple of articles on setting up a new business”

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    These goals are about what you want to ACHIEVE.

    Learn Single Tasking

    We live in a society that views multi-tasking as a skill. People say with pride that they can multi-task. I used to be one of those people too. But when you really think about it, and analyse your results, multi-tasking does not achieve the same amount and same quality of result that you can get by focusing on a single task.

    It doesn’t mean that you just work on one thing for weeks or months until you finish it. You can still have variety. It only means that while you are working on a particular task, for that duration of time, you work on that task and that task alone. If it’s important to you, if it adds value to your long-term goals, takes you closer to fulfilling that dream, then give it the attention it deserves.

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    Keep A Productivity Journal

    A productivity journal might sound like a lot of hard work, and it will certainly feel like it until you get into the habit, but it could also become a valuable tool.

    So what do you write in your productivity journal?

    List your main goals. If you have life goals, list them, otherwise list your annual goals. Then, each day, write down you “MUST get done today” list. Journal about how it went. Did you finish everything? How did you feel while you were working on these tasks? Did you feel charged and enthusiastic or did it feel like a chore?

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    Look for the patterns. Are there particular times in the day when you feel more productive? Do some people’s company spur you towards your goals but others have a negative impact?

    A productivity journal serves two purposes. At the time of writing, it gives you immediate awareness of what you should be focusing on, and what you achieved. It’s there in black and white, and you are writing it down, so there is no room for excuses and no avoiding it.

    The second purpose it serves is an analysis tool. The data you gather today, facts and figures and your emotional state, is what you can use tomorrow to be aware of how productivity works for you.

    (Photo credit: Metal roadsign spelling Productivity via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

    Can I Be Creative?

    The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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    How Creativity Works

    Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

    What Really Is Creativity?

    Creativity Needs an Intention

    Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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    Creativity Is a Skill

    At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

    Start Connecting the Dots

    Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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