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7 Simple Ways to Work 10 Times Faster

7 Simple Ways to Work 10 Times Faster

If you’re having trouble staying on task and getting the most out of your day, there are actually several simple ways to maximize productivity so that you can go to sleep feeling accomplished and happy with your progress. They won’t require big life changes, only little tweaks, and you’ll be so happy with the results. Here they are:

1. Wake Up Early

Successful people swear by waking up early. At that point, the world is quiet. You haven’t been affected by the distractions of the day, and you get a moment to yourself. Use this time to be your most productive or create a plan for your day. If you’re not an early bird, try setting your alarm just 30 minutes earlier each day until you can comfortably wake up at dawn.

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2. Make a List

Making lists is a great way to feel productive. Keep the list small so that it does not look overwhelming. Make sure to cross things off as you go to keep your stamina up and your motivation strong. Be sure to keep the list in a place that you can reach it easily. There’s nothing worse for productivity than having multiple lists strewn all over the house. Just make one main list, and make sure that you keep it close by.

3. Set Goals

We can all be more productive if we have something that we’re looking forward to. If you have a goal to eat dinner with your friends at 6:00 p.m., you’ll be more likely to finish the tasks on that handy list that you made. You can even set bigger goals like paying off debt or reaching a specific number of people for your business. No matter how big or how small, you have to set them.

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4. Get Accountability

Being productive is so much easier when someone is keeping you accountable. It can be something as small as telling your mom that you want to work out every day or announcing it to the world on a blog post. Either way, telling someone else about your goals for the day will make you more likely to reach them.

5. Do The Most Difficult Task First

It’s human nature to put off the most difficult task. This leads to more procrastination. However, if you start each day by completing the one thing you are dreading, all of your other tasks will seem small by comparison.

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6. Treat Yourself

When you do have a great, productive day, don’t forget to treat yourself. When times are tough, you have to give yourself a little reward. Even something as small as getting an ice cream will make you feel great about all you have accomplished.

7. Make Your Goals Visible

If you have set goals that you want to reach every day, make sure they are visible to you. You can do this by putting your goals on a big dry erase board or writing them on sticky notes that you put on your monitor. The point is that they are supposed to be in a place where you can look when you are feeling unproductive or weak. Those reminders of yours goals should be enough to push you forward to succeed.

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Ultimately, there are many ways to become more productive. You can use an item on this list or a combination of them until you find what works best for you. We’re all motivated in different ways, and what’s most important is that you spend some time trying to find out what helps you to get your goals accomplished. Good luck, and if you have any other productivity tips, please leave them in the comment section below.

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Catherine Alford

Catherine is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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