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7 Things Highly Efficient People Do Every Day

7 Things Highly Efficient People Do Every Day

Ever feel like you’re just not getting enough done? Like you are wasting time, effort, and expense?

Studies conducted as early as 2005 found the average weekly work hours per person was about 45, but of those hours 17 were considered unproductive. Things have gotten worse over the years with the average work week now approximately 47 hours. People are not better at using their time effectively. We waste time, effort, and expense on excessive e-mails, pointless meeting, and constant interruptions. This means we hardly get anything done the way it ought to. How can we stop this wastage and maximize our personal efficiency in our workplace, family life, school, and other areas of life?

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One think we can do is look at the most productive and efficient people around and pick up on what they are doing right. Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you’re getting work done. Here are seven things highly efficient people do every day you can emulate to your benefit.

1. Highly efficient people plan their day beforehand.

It’s quite simple, really. When you don’t plan, you plan to fail. That is because you don’t have a focus and can easily be swayed by other people’s demands of money, skills or even your presence. Highly productive people plan out their day beforehand with written ‘to-do’ lists, appointments, and planners to help them focus their activities. This means they are not easily swayed by other people’s demands. They know exactly what they have to do each day before they set off to work. Plan your day beforehand with an end goal in mind. It will improve your efficiency and empower you to say “no” to anything that might steal your focus from your core goals.

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2. Highly efficient people allocate adequate time for priority tasks.

They differentiate between “important” and “unimportant” tasks and allocate enough time and effort for the priority tasks. They know it is easy to lose track of goals if the importance of tasks are confusing. This disciplined approach ensures they do important tasks first and stick to their to-do list, schedules and appointments. Set enough time to get your main work done, and then fit in some time in there for breaks and low-priority tasks like checking e-mail or social media accounts. Controlling your day in this way means you won’t be spending time on the wrong things in the wrong places while ignoring your priority tasks. You will work efficiently.

3. Highly efficient people eliminate distractions.

Distractions have gotten so bad today that Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and author of Driven to Distraction, says we have “culturally generated ADD.” From scintillating apps on our handsets to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and loud music from the next door neighbor, we have all kinds of distractions present 24/7. Highly efficient people block all these distractions by any means necessary, including switching off their phones and disconnecting from the internet to get work done. They know every minute you’re sitting around checking Facebook, you’re not taking action to get you closer to your dreams. Eliminate distractions to protect your productive hours, focus your attention and get what need to be done, done right.

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4. Highly efficient people delegate tasks.

Nobody can do every single thing and do it well. Highly efficient people know this and are not afraid to let go of control and delegate tasks. They don’t attempt to do it all or assume all responsibility. They carefully and meticulously give responsibility to talented, trusted people whom they have high expectations of. This demonstrates they have faith in the abilities of others and facilitates teamwork towards a common goal. Don’t try to do everything on your own or micromanage. Delegate or outsource tasks when you can’t realistically complete them successfully on your own. Rally others around a common goal and it will boost your efficacy and significantly increase your productivity.

5. Highly efficient people manage their mood and emotions.

No single day is exactly the same as another. Sometimes you will wake up happy and excited, other times you will wake up sad and uninspired. Highly efficient people know better than to let mood swings have the better of them. They understand losing it only makes things worse and reduces your productivity. When offended, they take a deep breath rather than break into angry outbursts. They guard their emotions jealously and address any conflict in a cool and collected manner. Stay positive and express empathy for other people to manage any bad or angry mood. Adopt a morning ritual like exercise or meditation as it tends to improve your mood and help you better manage anything that gets thrown at you during the day.

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6. Highly efficient people stick to a proper work-life balance.

Stress from not taking a break hinders efficiency. Highly efficient people make time for rest, reflection, pleasure, and family every day. They have a strong sense of work-home boundary. This ensures they are sufficiently motivated, inspired, rested, and recharged, both body and mind. Don’t take your work too seriously. Working too much will slow everything down (reduce your efficiency), cause exhaustion, and bring frustration. Similarly, don’t work too little as it can result in distraction, boredom, or worse, laziness. Find the right balance between your work and personal life. Most importantly, never neglect your family and friends. You need these people to lead a wholesome, happy and productive life.

7. Highly efficient people sleep enough.

The importance of getting a good night’s sleep is critical. You need seven to nine hours of sleep per night for your body and brain to rest and function at its best. Highly efficient people make it their priority to get these hours of sleep every day. They know it helps them wake up the next day rejuvenated and energized for the day ahead. Get enough sleep every day. It will help you perform at your peak and give your efficacy a real boost.

Featured photo credit: pitbull2013 via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, 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.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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