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5 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

5 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

If only the life goals we dream about could be easily achieved in the physical world, there would be a world full of successful people. While getting advice on achieving our dreams from a friend or reading it around the web is a great start, today we will focus on the practical advice we should take to master anything.

It’s really strange to think that we all live by the same ticking of the clock. All around the world people are using the same number of seconds as you and me and manage to make more or less of them than us. However, the only difference between you and the 7 billion people around you is that we all have different mindsets and we use time differently.

These five pieces of practical advice will shift your paradigm on using your time more purposefully and will make you think more clearly about the things that happen every day.

1. Start early

If you analyze successful people, almost all of them start their day early — with the rising sun or, as they say, “with the peacocks.” I’ve read a few interviews in which successful people have said that they only sleep four to six hours a day. While that’s not really healthy long term, it’s also a technique for doing more in a day.

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If we want to use our seconds better than the rest, we shouldn’t sleep more than eight hours. I myself do with six hours sleep a night because that’s the best timeframe that fits my needs and body. But, as a rule, you should get no less than six and no more than eight hours of sleep a day. Grasp this habit and you are on the first step to becoming a success.

2. Organization

While getting up early cannot guarantee your success, your to-do list can do the rest.

By getting up early and having a precise, achievable list of things we should do, we organize how we should spend our day. The more you can do in one day, the better, and getting up early helps that.

Make a plan in the morning. Take a pen and a paper and write down your plans when you finish your morning routines. Never leave something until tomorrow if it’s already on your to-do list. This will also teach us that sometimes we need to give ourselves a little boost, even though we think we can’t seem to manage.

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3. Focus

Waking up early and fresh immediately gives you sharper focus on the things that await your actions. Organization is the second step to narrow your focus, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will have your focus set at the highest level possible. To narrow our focus we have to visualize and keep our minds on one task at a time.

For example, if your focus is on a  project for which you have to write a business plan, you will have to fill your mind with all the parts in the project — the regulations, products, fees, etc. Narrow your vision down to your tasks and finish them with the power of your mind.

4. Persistence

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” – Bill Bradley

Have you ever considered that if you hit the wall next to you with a hammer, even if it takes a thousand hits, it will eventually fall down? I really think that sometimes achieving success can be compared to the stupidest of examples like this one, even though it looks a lot more complicated from the outside.

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Persisting even when our emotions or fears block our way will guarantee our success sooner or later. There isn’t a successful person on this Earth who didn’t persist, even to the point of stubbornness. Edison famously claims it took him 10,000 attempts to invent the light bulb. I mean, can you even count to 10,000? Sometimes that’s what it takes to be a genius. It’s always impossible without persistence.

5. The key to infinite persistence

My personal key to persistence is my mantra I tell myself every morning and every night. It has nothing to do with religion, but with my personal attainments that I want to see in the future.

If we keep telling our mind something positive every morning and every night, it will become an obsession. But sometimes our thoughts can be toxic for us and we poison our minds with them. Keep your mind filled with the positive things you want to attain in the future and you will be astonished how they become like a prayer you repeat every morning.

Take a pen and a paper and write down the things you want to achieve and what you want to become in six months to a year’s time. However, also write down the steps and efforts you are going to take to attain those goals. Don’t set an impossible goal, but write something attainable. “I want to become a billionaire by March 2015,” is not realistic in the timeframe. But be aware that it’s not impossible eventually, because everything you can imagine is possible.

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Instill these five key pieces of practical advice into your day-to-day routine and you will ease your way to a better life.

Featured photo credit: Career Advice No. 3: Psychoanalyst/@fgr62 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

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Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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