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5 Ways You Can Use Pinterest to Be More Productive

5 Ways You Can Use Pinterest to Be More Productive

You probably think of Pinterest as one of the web’s most beautiful ways to waste time — one minute you’re finding a recipe, three hours later you still haven’t eaten. It’s definitely easy to scroll your way down a rabbit hole of pictures, quotes, and more. But the reason Pinterest is so easy to get sucked into — its easy-to-use, image-heavy, scroll-friendly interface — can also be used to make you more efficient.

How to get started: If you don’t already have it, add the “Pin It” button to your browser. It’s a free extension, and there are versions for Chrome, IE, Safari, and Firefox. One of the keys to putting Pinterest to work for you is pinning straight from the web, not just repinning what other users have pinned. For most of these tips to really work for you, you want to be sure that you’ve got correct links.

Here are five ways you can use Pinterest to actually be more productive.

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1. Plan your next vacation.

pinterest-trip-planner

    Headed on a trip this summer? Planning to have your smartphone or tablet along for the ride? Create a board just for planning your vacation. Research places to go, the best local eats, and what you want to see. Each time you pin something, put in a description that will help you remember what you liked about it (e.g., “good non-beach day hike”) and any vital info like the address or phone number. Before you know it, you’ve got your own personal travel guide. The images make it easy to remember what the place was or what you liked about it, and all the key info’s right there. Want to make it an even stronger resource? Make it a private board, and add details like your flight, hotel, or rental car confirmation info — you’ll have all your vital vacay info right at your fingertips.

    2. Be your own personal trainer.

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    pinterest-fitness

      Fitness boards are pretty common on Pinterest, but usually they’re mainly “fitspo” quotes and lists of activities. Motivating, maybe. Actually useful, not so much. Use Pinterest to get your body moving by creating a board (or boards) that’s an actual workout. Pin images or gifs that demonstrate specific exercises — the sites for magazines like Women’s Health and Men’s Health are great for these — and add how many reps or sets you want to do in the description. At home, your computer or tablet can be your visual workout guide, or tote your smartphone to the gym so you can see your moves.

      3. Have backup for your insurance.

      pinterest-insurance

        When calamity strikes — whether it’s a natural disaster or a break-in — people tend to tell you, “At least you have insurance.” And yes, having homeowner’s or renter’s insurance is vital. But actually getting the value of what you’ve lost isn’t easy, and companies often require you to show exactly what you had (even if you lost everything, you then have to spell out what “everything” is, down to the number of spoons and forks you owned). Create a private Pinterest board that itemizes your belongings — it’s sort of like shopping, but for stuff you already own. It’s also helpful because since your board will be on the web — not an Excel sheet in your computer, for example — no matter what happens to your home or your possessions, it will be accessible. For big-ticket items like electronics, it’s also worth putting the serial number in the description. Yes, this one will take a while, but in the event that you need it (and we hope you don’t!), you’ll be so glad you have it.

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        4. Be the best gift-giver ever.

        pinterest-gifting

          Pretty much everyone on Pinterest has a board for stuff they want. Instead, create a board that’s all about giving. (This one’s definitely got to be a private board if you want your friends and family to be surprised!) Whenever someone you shop for mentions something that they like or have always wanted, look it up and pin it. When their birthday or a holiday rolls around, your shopping is a cinch — and everyone’s amazed at how thoughtful you are. Want to be even more of a pro? Set your preferences so that Pinterest automatically emails you when the price on one of your pins drops. You can be a super gifter and save some cash.

          5. Make your own cookbook.

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          pinterest-meal-planner

            Pinterest can feel like a constant stream of food porn. Instead of just browsing (and drooling), hit up some recipe sites and get pinning. Pinning a recipe photo from a site that has enabled “rich pins” doesn’t just give you a delectable photo — when you click on your pin, it will actually give you the recipe right there. Not all sites have this enabled, so you’ll have to pin and then check on Pinterest; but when you’ve found a good site, go click-crazy! Not sure what you need from the store? Whip out your smartphone and tap a recipe on your cookbook board: You’ll see all the ingredients, broken out by category (meats, produce, dairy, and so on). At home, open up your laptop or prop up your tablet, and you’re cooking! With rich pins, you don’t even need to click through to the site — everything you need to make a delish meal is right there.

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            Last Updated on March 21, 2019

            11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

            11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

            Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

            You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

            But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

            To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

            It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

            “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

            The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

            In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

            Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

            1. Start Small

            The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

            Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

            Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

            Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

            Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

            Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

            It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

            Do less today to do more in a year.

            2. Stay Small

            There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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            But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

            If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

            When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

            I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

            Why?

            Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

            The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

            Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

            3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

            No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

            There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

            What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

            Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

            This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

            This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

            4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

            When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

            There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

            Peter Drucker said,

            “What you track is what you do.”

            So track it to do it — it really helps.

            But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

            5. Measure Once, Do Twice

            Peter Drucker also said,

            “What you measure is what you improve.”

            So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

            For reading, it’s 20 pages.
            For writing, it’s 500 words.
            For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
            For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

            Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

            6. All Days Make a Difference

            Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

            Will two? They won’t.

            Will three? They won’t.

            Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

            What happened? Which one made you fit?

            The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

            No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

            7. They Are Never Fully Automated

            Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

            But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

            What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

            It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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            The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

            It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

            It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

            8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

            Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

            Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

            When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

            The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

            Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

            9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

            The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

            Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

            You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

            But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

            So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

            If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

            This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

            The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

            Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

            10. Punish Yourself

            Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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            I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

            It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

            You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

            No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

            The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

            But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

            11. Reward Yourself

            When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

            Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

            The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

            After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

            If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

            Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

            If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

            In the End, It Matters

            What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

            When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

            And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

            “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

            Keep going.

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            More Resources to Help You Build Habits

            Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
            [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
            [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
            [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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