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8 Productivity Mistakes You Might Be Making Every Day

8 Productivity Mistakes You Might Be Making Every Day

Do you ever find there aren’t enough hours is the day? While many people try hard to be as productive as possible, they often find themselves getting distracted. However, making every day fruitful is much easier if you can first ditch productivity-sucking activities.

Check out these eight common mistakes people make when it comes to productivity.

1. Treating cheating as a reward

People often decide to treat themselves if they are doing something they find difficult, such as dieting, saving money, exercising or working. However, if someone treats themselves to a dress after a week of saving, this undermines the achievement they have made. It can even encourage you to ditch your plan entirely, as you’ve already been ‘bad’.

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Try to view the act of you achieving your goals as the treat. You wanted to improve yourself – and now you are well on your way!

2. Planning unnecessary meetings

Unnecessary meetings can suck all of the productivity out of someone’s working day. Often meetings are overly long and pointless, pulling people away from the tasks they were working on. A good solution to this is instead of arranging a meeting, see if you can speak with the person in another way. Skype, texting, emailing and phone calls are all efficient ways to communicate on important matters, while still focusing on your own projects.

3. Multitasking

While many people believe that they can do two tasks at once with ease, research has discovered that most people become less efficient while attempting to multitask. Doing multiple tasks tends to decrease their attention span and productivity, so try concentrating on one task at a time for great, productive results.

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4. Browsing the web

As most people have access to the web at both work and home, it can be easy to get side-tracked and find yourself online. Many people plan on briefly checking social media or checking the answer to a question, but end up staying online for much longer than intended.

A good solution to this productivity mistake is to write down what you wanted to look at online, put it to the side, and then finish off the task you were doing before checking.

5. Putting off hard tasks

People are often tempted to start their days with their easiest tasks. However, saving the hard jobs for later in the day can mean they don’t actually get finished at all. The best time to do the hard work is first thing, as that is when you have the most willpower. On top of that, getting your least favorite job out of the way is likely to put you in a great mood for the rest of the day!

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6. Over-planning

When people have a busy day coming up, they tend to plan every hour of the day in advance so they can fit everything in. However if you start running behind on schedule, you can find yourself becoming stressed out and failing to achieve everything you wanted to do.

Try to plan about five hours of important work to do, and leave the rest of the day to deal with any other issues. This means you get both elements of control and flexibility.

7. Hitting the snooze button

Most people like to hit the snooze button and get an extra 10 minutes in bed. Even though it can be tempting to hit the snooze button every morning, it is actually better for you to get up.

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When you first wake up, your body starts releasing alertness hormones to get you up and ready for the day. Every time you go hit snooze, you slow down this process – and as you are only snoozing, it is unlikely you are getting any essential extra sleep anyway.

8. Thinking about the big picture

Having a life or work plan is a fantastic way to make sure you keep progressing towards your goals. However, thinking about the big picture while you’re working can leave you feeling worried and overwhelmed. Save the life planning for when you aren’t working, and while you are working, try to focus on the immediate task you are doing. Every task you do is working towards your goals – slowly but surely, you are on your way!

Do you have any tips for productivity? Comment below!

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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