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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More

5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More
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The phrases “Work smarter, not harder,” “Less is more,” and “Simplicity key” plague our lives in every aspect, yet no one seems to really apply them. Is there any truth to these notions?

Today’s society is all about absorbing information constantly, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, and attempting to remember it all. However, this burden placed upon us often leads to stress, confusion, and burnout.

Here are 5 scenarios where doing less is more:

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1. Get Organized

Being organized can initially be a very time-consuming and conscious responsibility. If you’re used to throwing paperwork all over your desk and using the excuse that it’s “organized chaos,” then you may also be familiar with the unnecessary time you spend fumbling through it trying to find one sheet. Keeping organized folders can make it easier to find paperwork. Or if you want to go green, keep digital copies in organized folders. If using digital copies, timestamps can also be great for tracking down files.

Other than organizing physical clutter, organize your time as well. Sync your calendars, and add in new events and meetings as they pop up. Being aware of what you need to do, and where you need to be, allows for more efficient planning.

2. Keep It Concise

Twitter has provoked a revolution of the way in which we communicate; being restricted to 140 characters requires creativity and clear thinking to be able to convey what you would like to say within the limit. Thus, opting for emails or texts that are limited to a similar number of characters requires you to clearly think about what it is you want to say, such as how you want to deliver your message, tone of voice, and your key ideas.

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This is not only beneficial for the receiver in order to truly understand what you want to say, but also allows for the ideas to become vivid and clear within your own mind. For example, if I wanted to convey this topic within the limits of a Tweet, it may look something like this:

Twitter’s constricted communication allows for clarity, conciseness, and creativity in conveying your message.

3. Break Boundaries

This one is where you get creative. It is no surprise that there are several different aspects of your life that you try and manage simultaneously, and many people stand by the idea of only handling one task at a time. But it is perfectly acceptable to break boundaries.

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Always seek out ways to complete more than one task simultaneously. It could be writing an article whilst commuting, or organizing your paperwork whilst researching through for some information. Fluidity is key, and by honing in on your creativity and actively seeking out better alternatives can be rewarding in itself. Note that this isn’t the same as multitasking.

4. HIT it!

High-Intensity Training (HIT) has been shown to have some greater long-lasting effects than the average endurance or strength train. A good HIT session can last 20 minutes (5 minutes warm up and cool down, with 10 minutes of high-intensity intervals) and will have fat-burning effects all day, build muscle strength, and give you a shorter but more intense cardio workout.

Simply varying the means (rowing, running, or cycling) can help build even muscle strength, and cuts an hour-long workout session out of your day. Check out Hoi Wan’s explanation of High-Intensity Training.

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5. Eat Like Our Ancestors

Intermittent fasting has caught on with the health fanatics recently, and has been shown to be a very effective way of maintaining a good physique.

Based on the principles of going long periods without eating as hunter-gatherers, it suggests our bodies are adapted to be able to fast and work at their best in doing so; fat is stored for a reason, so give it a reason to be used.

Bottom Line

Now you have seen some key concepts and examples that adhere to the idea of “less is more,” it’s time for you to implement them within your own day and free up more time for the memorable moments in life.

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More About Less Is More

Featured photo credit: NordWood Themes via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on August 4, 2021

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity
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We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus better? How to concentrate and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

Here’re 4 essential ways to help you focus:

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

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Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

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Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

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Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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