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The 4 Things I Do Consistently to Be More Productive

The 4 Things I Do Consistently to Be More Productive


    No matter what you do, doesn’t it seem like there are not enough hours in the day?

    That’s where I was a couple years ago. I used to pull all-nighters, and was working 7 days a week to finish all my tasks. I simply had no time to spare.

    That’s when I came across David Allen’s book “Making It All Work”. It totally opened my eyes. It helped me understand that life was not about working more but about working productively. From that point onward, I started fixing my habits and developing certain skills that would make me as productive as possible.

    The strategies which I learned along the way are what I hope to share with you today.

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    Here are the 4 main things I do consistently to be more productive.:

    1. I Don’t Multitask

    The greatest “executioner of my productivity” was that I had convinced myself that I was multitasking — and therefore was doing work faster.

    Was I ever wrong.

    Multitasking is not a real thing. What you are really doing when you are (apparently) multitasking is going back and forth between two separate tasks. So rather than giving 100% to one task at a time you are going back and forth between tasks, giving each task a monumentally less amount of focus. This simply means that you end up doing both tasks at less than 100% — and you gain a whole lot of stress and tension.

    Multitasking: A nice way to say that you’re doing many different things at the same time. And since no one can divide by zero, that means you’re doing many different things half-assed. — UrbanDictionary.com

    2. Break Things Down

    Okay…so imagine a really large meatball. Got it? Good.

    According to animal instincts, the best way to eat it is to put the entire thing in your mouth and chew. Do that and you will be chewing and swallowing for the next 10 minutes.

    Sensibly and productively speaking, the best and fastest way to eat the meatball is to cut it into smaller pieces so that you can take in as much as your mouth can handle, and swallow it in less than no time.

    This same rule applies to life.

    You are only able to handle so much at one time. If you try to take on a task too big all at once, you will only get clogged up and slowed down. But if you break it down into more manageable pieces, you’ll find that you will be able to finish the task a lot faster.

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    “Break things down into little steps and they become possible. Repeat them, and they become learned.” – David Landowne

    3. Prioritize Your Tasks

    You are craving a chocolate bar…or a client is waiting for your proposal.

    Which one is more important?

    Unfortunately, thousands of people find themselves in similar situations every day. You have to learn to automatically prioritize things that are more important. This way rather than wasting energy and time, you will focus on these particular things and get them done faster. This will make you more stress-free and will greatly boost your productivity.

    4. No Distractions

    Sometimes I wonder how much time people end up wasting by:

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    • Checking email
    • Checking their cellphones
    • Idly chatting with their colleagues
    • Surfing the web

    All of these things (among others) will make you very unproductive. So when it gets down to finally getting work done, turn off or remove all distractions. Just get rid of them.

    “Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.” – Adam Hochschild

    (Photo credit: The Word Productivity via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Do you like making mistakes?

    I certainly don’t.

    Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

    Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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    Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

    Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

    • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
    • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
    • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
    • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

    We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

    If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

    Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

    Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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    When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

    Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

    We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

    It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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    Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

    Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

    Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

    1. Point us to something we did not know.
    2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
    3. Deepen our knowledge.
    4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
    5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
    6. Inform us more about our values.
    7. Teach us more about others.
    8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
    9. Show us when someone else has changed.
    10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
    11. Remind us of our humanity.
    12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
    13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
    14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
    15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
    16. Invite us to better choices.
    17. Can teach us how to experiment.
    18. Can reveal a new insight.
    19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
    20. Can serve as a warning.
    21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
    22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
    23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
    24. Remind us how we are like others.
    25. Make us more humble.
    26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
    27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
    28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
    29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
    30. Expose our true feelings.
    31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
    32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
    33. Point us in a more creative direction.
    34. Show us when we are not listening.
    35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
    36. Can create distance with someone else.
    37. Slow us down when we need to.
    38. Can hasten change.
    39. Reveal our blind spots.
    40. Are the invisible made visible.

    Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

    The secret to handling mistakes is to:

    • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
    • Have an experimental mindset.
    • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

    When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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    When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

    It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

    When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

    Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

    Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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    Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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