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5 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

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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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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