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7 Ways To Be More Adaptive In This Fast-Changing World

7 Ways To Be More Adaptive In This Fast-Changing World

#ProTip – pull out the quarters, and pay Coinstar to convert the rest to paper, so you don’t look as poor as you actually are…

A few years back, Barrack Obama impressed everyone and won the presidency of the United States on a platform of change. Midway through his second term, his constituents are standing in the streets begging for a different kind of change, as they’ve lost their homes and gone broke while their government turns their back on rampant financial fraud in the banking industry.

Regardless of who’s in power, change is the only constant in our lives. As soon as you get used to something, it’ll be different. Whether you’re at work, home or anywhere in between, we live in a fast-changing world, and you need to be adaptive.

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1. Acknowledge There Is No Right Way

I grew up in a military family. Everything was strictly regimented and scheduled. There were a variety of chores and tasks with one, and only one, way to accomplish them.

When I grew up, I realized there is no one right way – my parents were simply training me to do things their way. The “right” way to do things changes as soon as someone figures out a better way, and if it’s not you, it’ll be someone else. Either try out new ways of doing things or follow those who do.

2. Join The Collective Consciousness

There’s value to thinking outside the box, but if you go too far out, you disconnect from the collective consciousness and look crazy to everyone else. The key to being different is understanding how to bridge the gap between you and everyone else. This is what separates a leader from a lone nut.

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3. Avoid Predictive Hubris

You know who’s annoying? That know-it-all friend we all have who’s been there and done anything you could possibly come up with. Every idea you have, they know exactly why it’ll fail, despite never having tried it themselves.

In order to adapt to change, you have to accept both how things are and how they could be. Instead of immediately shooting down every idea and infuriating everyone around you, suck up your pride and try out the new way. Nobody cares how you’ve always done things – change is inevitable, and you don’t want to be left behind.

4. Keep An Open Mind

It’s impossible to accept a change you refuse to recognize. Minorities exist. Homosexuals exist. Hundreds of religions exist. Women exist. Everyone ages and dies.

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All of these truths have existed since the dawn of man. None of us grew up in a world where everyone is the same. Accept people for their differences; otherwise, you’re an obstacle to change, and you’ll never get ahead in life.

5. Communicate With Your Circles

Sometimes the only way you even notice change is by talking to people, and that’s also how to adapt to it. When you talk to your friends and family about impending change, they’ll provide feedback and open your mind to new perceptions of the changes. They may guide you through how to adapt. At the very least, they’ll listen while you figure it out.

6. Blaze Your Own Trail

The easiest way to adapt to change is to be the catalyst affecting it. When I worked for the banks, the constant changes in my daily routines were caused by government regulations, lawsuits, etc., that changed our processes. When I left my career at the bank to dedicate my life to fighting them, I became the cause of all their regulations over the past three years.

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It doesn’t matter what ring of the ladder you’re on, you can shake the entire thing. Never allow anyone to tell you that you can’t do something the way you think it should be done. If you’re wrong, at least you’ll have learned something from the experience of trying.

7. Question Everything

Religion is a funny thing – you follow all sorts of traditions with no real understanding of why. In the Catholic church, we imbibed wine and bread to represent the blood and body of Christ. I never knew Jesus personally (an unfortunate side effect of my inability to time travel), but I know if I were a leader or martyr, the last thing I’d want is my followers eating my flesh, drinking my blood, and wearing crosses to celebrate my torturous death.

When you’re told to do something, ask why. If something changes, ask what inspired the change. You were given a brain for a reason; use it. Change is difficult to deal with, but if you work at it, you can adapt to anything. Just keep your head up, smile and push through. Soon enough, you’ll be the change everyone else has to adapt to.

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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