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7 Ways To Kick-Start Your Productivity

7 Ways To Kick-Start Your Productivity

The difference between people who live a full life and those who barely get by is the measure of their productivity. People who stay productive and work hard every day find that they lead a fuller life than those who settle for mediocrity. If you have found yourself struggling with the way your life is heading, take advantage of these great pointers and make the necessary changes in your life to kick-start your productivity and move forward.

1. Plan your time

Time is a precious commodity. Once it’s gone, we can never get it back. The best thing to do to make sure you take advantage of every minute of every day is to plan your daily activities. Those activities can be work, to-do lists, hobbies, and anything that you want to do during the day. Plan out your time so you don’t find yourself sitting on the couch for hours with your eyes glued to the TV. Make a plan and stick to it.

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2. Schedule some fun

Some people find that unless they schedule fun things, they will never happen. I’m not only talking about trips to Disneyland or a seven-day cruise, I’m talking about the little things: a walk in the park, a picnic with your family, or a movie night. These are small things that can make a big difference in your life and in your relationships. They serve as a reminder of what’s important and where your priorities should be.

3. Exercise

Exercise is a vital part of increasing your daily productivity. My favorite line from a movie (Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde) sums it up well: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Endorphins are chemicals in your brain that are released when you exercise. They act as sedatives and diminish your body’s perception of pain. This causes a euphoric feeling more commonly known as “runner’s high.” It helps to boost your self-esteem, decrease depression, have a more positive outlook on life and even improves sleep.

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4. Don’t negative self-talk

Stay positive, especially with yourself. You want to push yourself, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Mistakes are made by everyone, even you. When you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. It might sound strange, but when you look at yourself in the mirror, say positive things. Point out your good attributes, physical or otherwise.

5. Control your internet time

We waste so much time on the internet. It’s so easy to get lost in Facebook, YouTube, and even news articles. People spend hours a day bouncing from article to article. All that time could have been spent working, learning something new, cleaning out car, anything! Don’t get caught up in this time sucker.

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Is it bad to check your Facebook page? No. Is it bad to check your Facebook page and then stalk everyone you knew in high school? Probably. Don’t waste your time wondering what everyone else is doing. You should be using your time becoming the kind of person that people want to Facebook stalk.

6. Realize that your time is valuable

Don’t measure the worth of your time by how little you have. People do this all the time. They think that because they are constantly busy, the things they are doing must be important. This is far from the truth. Don’t be busy just to be busy. There is nothing wrong with looking at your day and finding that you don’t have anything that really needs to be done. Those kinds of breaks are refreshing and vital to your mental and physical well-being.

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7. Prioritize

Choose what things are important and focus on those. If you find that you are being as productive as you can be and you still struggle to get everything done, you need to unload some of the burden off your shoulders. When you do this, you’ll find that you don’t have to do everything. When you spread yourself too thin, you do an alright job at several things. When you focus on a few important factors, you will find that you can excel in them. That should be your goal. Once you excel in those things,  move on to something new. But don’t try to do everything at once.

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

How to Make Time Go Faster When You’re Having a Bad Time

How to Make Time Go Faster When You’re Having a Bad Time

Standing at the front of the room, your heart is pounding as people stroll in, and you’ve been up since 5 am rehearsing. You’ve spent weeks preparing for this moment. Your slides are perfect, and you’ve memorized your talk.

As the clock shows 9:30, you begin with a customary “good morning” and then zilch. Nothing. Your mind goes blank. Suddenly, time seems to stop. Everything goes into slow motion, and you can feel your face begin to burn.

For anyone who has done presentations in front of a live audience, freezing at the wrong time is a nightmare waiting to happen, and when it does, if feels like time has frozen. The feeling of helplessness drags on, and you just wish the clock would fast forward so you can escape from the nightmare.

Of course, the reality is that time does not speed up or slow down. Time is constant; only our perception of passing time changes[1]. This is a good thing, too. What is happening is that your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you have become hyper-aware of your situation. Your brain is recognizing you are in danger and responding in the best way it knows how.

This perceived slowing down of time is an illusion[2]. It is your brain creating and processing more memories of your current environment and searching out the threat it has detected. It’s searching for the predator that has decided you look like an exquisite meal, and it is doing this incredibly fast — much faster than it typically would. It is how we protect ourselves, and, in most cases, it is a beneficial response.

However, in many cases, it can be torturous to be in this situation, feeling helpless and frozen and being hyper-aware of our unfortunate situation. So what can you do to speed up the perception of time?

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1. Have a Backup Plan

If you cast your mind back to the situation at the start of this article, your brain has frozen and your carefully crafted words are lost somewhere inside your head: What do you do? Most people panic, and, despite their careful preparation and rehearsal, one part they did not rehearse is when or if something goes wrong.

Freezing on stage can happen to even the most seasoned presenter, and having a script or a set of queue cards on hand can quickly refresh/reboot your brain to get you back on track and avoid the torturous feeling of being in a slow-motion crash.

Steve Jobs was a very experienced presenter. One of the best. Yet even though his preparation was meticulous — often taking as much as six months to put together a keynote presentation — things still went wrong. In this famous clip of a keynote Steve Jobs gave back in 2010, the WIFI network was very slow. When you watch the clip, it feels like it goes on forever, yet it only lasts around two and a half minutes. For a presentation that lasted about two hours, two and a half minutes is around two per cent. Not at all long, yet for Steve Jobs and the audience, the whole incident felt a lot longer.

Fortunately, as a seasoned presenter, Steve Jobs broke the tension and the feeling that time was slowing down by using humor and eventually moving on to the next part of the keynote. He had a backup, and his backup was to quickly, and without fuss, move on to the next segment.

Always have a backup plan and an exit strategy. Be prepared for the worst and be ready to switch to your backup plan if things do go wrong.

2. Focus on What You Have Control Over

You have control over three things: your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions. Nothing else. You cannot control events, how other people judge you, or whether another person will get upset by what you say or do.

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Most bad days are a result of the way we react to something we have no control over. A client takes their business to your rival. You had no control over that. That was a decision your client made based on a set of circumstances and the way they felt about those circumstances. The only control you have in this situation is how you feel about losing a client. You could be angry; you might look around for someone to blame or for an excuse. But in the end, none of that will change the fact you no longer serve that client.

In these situations, always begin by reminding yourself about what you have control over. Are there any positive action steps you can take that will solve the problem? Are you allowing your emotions to influence your mood? Are you thinking negatively or positively about this situation?

In all these scenarios, you can instantly decide to change your thoughts, your feelings, and the action you take. You have to make that decision.

If you do lose an important client, and there is no solution, you can use the experience to learn. Use it as an opportunity to analyze what went wrong and implement changes to the way you do things that minimize the chances of a similar situation happening with your other clients in the future.

Dwelling on the loss will prolong your suffering, slowing down perceived time and making you feel dreadful. Using the situation to learn from your mistakes will help you to get back on track and keep time moving forward at a pace you are satisfied with.

3. Take Full Responsibility for the Situation

Accepting full responsibility for your life allows you to overcome adversity and difficulties. While a massive viral pandemic may not be your fault, what you do in the circumstances is your responsibility.

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Being in lockdown, where you must remain in your home, is something beyond your control (see number 2), but what you do with your time, how you manage your work, and how you maintain your health is your responsibility.

Governments may order you to stay at home, but what you do with your time while you are at home is something you are responsible for.

In these situations, you have a choice. Use the extra time you have positively, or pass responsibility for your life to the daily negative news cycles.

When you take responsibility for your life, you take back control[3].

Complaining about the situation only ensures you stay stuck in the same miserable place. Accepting responsibility for your life gives you so many more options.

You could take that online course you have been thinking about doing, or paint that picture you have wanted to do for years. You could clean out your old clothes, do the spring cleaning, or clear out your garage. There are hundreds of things you could do that, before this global pandemic, you always complained you had no time for. Now you do have time.

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Busying yourself with these tasks turns any bad situation into an opportunity, and time will no longer seem such a drudge; instead, it will feel like a godsend.

Key Takeaways

There are many inevitabilities in life. One of those inevitabilities is that you will have bad times. Dwelling on your lousy situation, complaining, and reliving the experience over and over will only cause time to slow down perceptually.

Accepting the inevitable, approaching it with a “cest la vie” mindset. and looking for the positives will soon pull you away from the difficult times and back to more fertile areas where you can thrive and grow, and time will begin to feel much faster.

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Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

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