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8 Productivity Hacks to Get Out of To-Do List Purgatory

8 Productivity Hacks to Get Out of To-Do List Purgatory


    You feel like you can’t get anything worthwhile accomplished today, yet the tasks keep piling on.

    I call it “To-Do List Purgatory” because it’s a hellish rut where important tasks never seem to get done.

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    I’ve been there often enough to share with you my best methods to stop yourself from getting trapped. Use these following 8 productivity hacks and get out (and stay out!) of to-do list purgatory:

    1. Hit Restart

    Rewrite your task list and give yourself a realistic selection of things you can do today. It makes no sense to create a giant laundry list of things that you’ll never get done. Make tasks that fit into the time you have available. Spend 5 minutes each morning preparing a daily to-do list with a handful of priority tasks that you know you can accomplish today. Park the tasks you don’t see doing today on a holding list for another day.

    2. Use Laser-Focus

    Everyone should have a “Laser-Focus Mode” where they shut out the world and concentrate with intense focus. Set a timer for 15 minutes and commit to working with laser-point focus on one and only one task. Once you get going you’ll find it’s an addictive habit. Assist this process by creating an uber-productive atmosphere: close your door, turn off your phone, and unplug from the internet.

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    3. Toss ‘Em Out

    Sometimes you take for granted that something must be done just because it’s on your list. Retrain yourself to know it’s not always the case. When in doubt, the best way to see if something is truly a priority, delete it from your list. It’ll come back if it’s truly something important.

    4. Choose Your Big Three

    Each day, you need to declare three clear-cut priorities to which you should focus most of your energy. Choose the tasks that offer you the highest yield per hour of effort. Yes, I know you have much more to do, but it’s important you learn to take advantage of the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your success comes from the top 20% of your daily tasks.

    5. Eat that Freaking Frog

    Start your day doing the worst task possible and you’ll have a much easier time working through your to-do list. Too often, we avoid those “ugly frog” tasks we hate. That, in turn, creates a black hole affect where other tasks are sucked in and your list grows totally stagnant. There’s a good reason eating the frog is one of the top procrastination tips – it works! Don’t trick yourself into thinking you need to start your day slowly, you’ll never get started.

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    6. Improve Your Grammar

    Re-write each task so your list offers detailed instructions. Don’t just write the words “do budget” — it’s a daunting and unapproachable statement. Instead, create phrases that begin with a verb and offer clarity as to the outcome. “List monthly bills due.” If your task can’t be turned into a specific action, it needs to be broken down into smaller steps, as I did in this example.

    7. Set Deadlines

    Setting deadlines for your major daily tasks is an effective way to keep focused during your task time. You’ll be amazed how much more gratifying it feels to maintain start-stop points in your task times. The structure of time constraints offers you a tangible comfort zone for doing your work, and it offers a much greater sense of accomplishment than the alternative — working until someone or something else distracts you.

    8. Just Keep Moving

    The next time you find yourself getting stuck in your day feeling like you’re not getting anywhere and not knowing what to do next, there are two simple choices. Do the next thing you can think or, or quit the task and move on to the next one. Either way, don’t let yourself freeze up… it eventually leads to procrastination and futility. Keep yourself moving and maintain your momentum — it’s the lifeblood of having a productive day.

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    Remember, your best bet is to avoid to-do list purgatory altogether. It’s truly just a matter of making a well-defined, list of priority tasks and following through on your commitments to that list each day. Do this and you’ll be in productivity heaven.

    What’s your sticking point each day? Please share with me in the comments section and I’ll do my best to offer a tip that best fits you.

    (Photo credit: Frustrated Businesswoman via Shutterstock)

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    How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain

    How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain

    How often do you think about your brain? Do you ever stop to marvel at its incredible power and supreme cleverness? Or at least check in and give it a little spring clean and a recharge it from time to time?

    If you’re like the majority, then your answer will likely be “no”.

    Astoundingly, we only use around 10% of our brains yet we seldom think to invest in a little training every now and then.

    For a long time, scientists believed that we were stuck with the brain we were born with! Luckily for us, that hypothesis has gone out the window!

    Enter neuroplasticity – a new theory that has proven one very incredible fact: Our brains can change.

    This means, if you’re not very intelligent in one area – that’s OK! You have the option to literally ‘change that area of your brain’ through some little trainings.

    Your brain is a muscle. You need to exercise it regularly.

    The exciting thing is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to increase your brain capacity. All you need to do is invest some time to regularly train your brain.

    So how to increase brain power?

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    Here are 10 simple ways to increase your brain power and improve your intelligence!

    1. Do something new

    When you experience something ‘new’, that actually ‘stimulate’ your brain!

    Don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same old things – the only way to change the structure of your brain is to do something new. This creates new neural pathways, increasing your intelligence level.

    You could take a new route to work, try a new recipe for dinner, or even a new form of exercise – mix them up!

    2. Ditch the GPS

    Gone are the days of map reading! Sat Nav may have made our lives easier, it has also made our brains lazier and less efficient at the same time!

    Go back to the old school and use a map to navigate every now and then. This exercises the part of your brain responsible for understanding spatial relationships.

    3. Ban the calculator

    Remember back at school when we were taught to use our brains to do simple sums like times tables? It’s incredible how we now rely on devices like smart-phones and laptops to calculate really simple equations.

    Resist the urge to work things out using an external device and use the device you were born with – your brain!

    4. Be curious

    Instead of taking everything at face value, get into the habit of questioning everyday things/products, services that you come into contact with.

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    By being ‘curious’ and questioning everything, you force your brain to innovate and create new ideas.

    Curiosity may have killed that cat but it created super important things like electricity and computers!

    5. Think positive

    Stress and anxiety kill existing brain neurons and also stop new neurons from being created.

    Research has shown that positive thinking, especially in the future tense, speeds up the creation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety.

    Try and get a handle on negative thoughts and make an effort to replace them with positive ones.

    Not sure how to do it? Take a look at this article:

    How to Turn Off Negative Thoughts in Your Mind

    6. Exercise regularly

    It’s been proven that regular exercise helps to increase brain function and enhances neurogenesis. This means that every time you exercise, you are creating new brain cells!

    Here’re 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise, get off the couch and get moving!

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    Your brain will thank you for it.

    7. Train your memory

    How often do you hear people say “I wish I had a better memory!’ Yet no-one does anything about this!

    If you discipline yourself to memorize phone numbers and other important numbers (passport, credit card, insurance, driving license) you will start to see a marked improvement in your memory.

    8. Eat healthy

    Our diets have a HUGE impact on brain function. Our brains consume over 20% of all nutrients & oxygen that we consumed – so remember to feed your brain with the good stuff! (i.e. fresh fruit and veg & plenty of OMEGA 3 oils found in oily fish)

    Here’re more healthy foods that will boost your brain power:

    10 Healthy Foods That Make You Smarter

    9. Read a book

    Reading relieves tension and stress, which is brain-cell killers because it’s a form of escapism.

    Research has also shown that using your imagination is a great way to train your brain because you force your mind to ‘picture’ what you are imagining. Reading is a great way to trigger your imagination!

    Reading every day helps your thinking and imagination, learn more about it here:

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    10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

    10. Get enough sleep

    Sleep is like a mini detox for the brain. This is when your body regenerates cells and removes all the toxins that have built up during the day.

    Get to bed between the hours of 9pm and midnight to benefit from the most effective hours of sleep!

    If you have difficulty sleeping, you should read this guide:

    The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    An intelligent brain comes from hard work

    If you do take my suggestion and do these things consistently, you’ll soon realize your brain is sharper and you can remember more stuff.

    You don’t need to do everything all at once, pick one to two and start making them your daily habit.

    Intelligence comes from hard work. Make effort to train your brain and you’ll become smarter.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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