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9 Habits you Always Thought Were Productive but Aren’t

9 Habits you Always Thought Were Productive but Aren’t

In this fast-paced world, we are prone to a seemingly endless number of possibilities and therefore we can become overwhelmed extremely quickly. The problem with this is that there are so many things out there for us to try we might never find the method that works best for us.

But rest assured, there are many ways that you can increase productivity in your life without having to make any major changes.

Many techniques are thought to aid in productivity, but the truth is that it is hindering us from achieving our full potential. Below, I have listed 9 habits you always thought were productive but, in fact, aren’t. You might be surprised.

1. Scheduling Everything

schedule

    There is a difference between going after your goal without giving up, and being so inflexible and unwilling to change your plans that you never try anything new. When we have a goal in mind, we should be conscious of the fact that if we lay out exactly how we want something to be enacted, that leaves no room for expansion.

    There is no room for expansion because the predetermined plan has already been crafted. This can serve as good in some cases, but for the most part, it will ultimately hold us back from ever reaching our true productivity potential.

    2. Multitasking

    multitasking

      Multitasking is one of the most common things we all do in our daily lives. The problem with Multitasking is that it sounds good on paper, getting several things completed at once, but it’s not really practical.

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      We don’t fully get to focus on one specific thing while multitasking. There are so many thoughts floating around in our head and we want to act on them all, at once! But we are met with fierce anxiety and stress as the tasks don’t seem to get done, even though we had such good intentions before we started.

      The problem also lies in trying to set too many goals that leads us to multitask. There is so much to do and such little time to do it. How will I ever get anything done?

      I have thought that to myself hundreds of times, but the problem wasn’t an issue with time, it was an issue with the personal goals that I had set for myself. Focus on one specific goal and figure out how you want to reach that goal. Anything other than this will backfire in terms of reduced productivity.

      If you set too many, you will quickly see that you become overwhelmed very easily. It’s easy to venture off in search of one thing and to come back with another. Instead, try identifying what message you want to send to yourself or others. Then, focus on that specific goal. Move on to other goals later.

      3. Doing The Stuff you are Already Good at Again and Again

      Each of us has our own set of skills and talents. Our strengths are something that we should focus on. But even if we are good at something, we should not continue doing it if it is not promoting our personal growth.

      Diversifying always enhances productivity. This is because if you focus on only one skill and make mistakes or do not keep up with the latest updates on such field, your whole work will be affected. Having differnet skills prevents you from having a single point of failure.

      Not only that, but expanding your skills also enhances productivity through potential crossed knowledge within a project where different skills come into action.

      When a task becomes so easy you don’t even have to think about it, then you know you should either do something different or look for ways to improve upon it. We should never stop growing, no matter what!

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      4. Being Too Concrete with your Goals

      concrete

        Concrete is something that is so hard it’s impenetrable by some of the strongest forces. When you have concrete goals, no other idea can enter through your unbreakable belief system. Your goals become so fixated that you lose sight of all other possibilities.

        Goals are something that we should all have, because they give purpose and meaning to our lives.

        When you set a goal, it isn’t always going to work out as smoothly as you want. Some goals are more flexible than others, but some require you to take smaller action steps that you might dread. Procrastination then sets in, and you end up not accomplishing the initial task. Setting a goal is a good thing to do, but be careful. If you become too locked into obtaining a goal, you might miss out on other opportunities that may help you on boosting your overall productivity.

        5. Paying Too Much Attention to Detail

        When we set out in pursuit of a goal, we often become so entangled in the small details that we forget to look at the big picture . When we are paying too close attention to the details, when we make decisions, these decisions can result in a particular outcome not in alignment with your original goal, and therefore results in you wasting your time and compromising your productivity.

        You begin focusing on the wrong things and before you know it, you’re back to square one. There is a fine line between figuring out what we should focus on and what we shouldn’t. But we must consider the possibilities of how something can turn out in the grand scheme of things. Looking at things from a small-minded viewpoint can plague our ability for expansion and growth.

        6. Aiming for Perfection

        progress

          Progress and perfection have never gone hand in hand. While perfection in essence does not exist, it is true is that very efficient processes can be achieved, but never brought about by  careful planning and thoughtful consideration but from testing, trial and error and customer feedback.

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          The outcome cannot always be foreseen, and therefore experimenting with your new ventures and ideas is essential in terms of productivity, efficiency and success

          7. Saying “Yes” to Everything

          You are a dependable person, so does that mean you should always say “yes” when someone asks a favor of you? Of course not!

          As much as we would love to help others out in their time of need, we have our own busy lives to worry about. Learn to say “No” and become a bit more selfish. You must first focus on what is going to increase your own productivity, rather than taking up crazy amounts of workload or commitments. “Yes” is a word that people like to hear. But if you say “yes” to people too often, then they will become dependent upon your consensus.

          You will become known as the “yes” guy that will do anything for anybody. By doing this, you are falling short of being productive in your own goals and assignments.

          8. Working Hard, Hard, Hard

          At first thought, it would seem like a good idea to start something and not stop until we finish it. But have you ever had to type a paper for school or work and you waited till the last minute to start it? Scrambling around, you try to whip up a ten page paper in only a few short hours.

          This, as you have probably guessed, is not a good method to use because our attention span only lasts for an extended period of time. After that we lose focus and creativity.

          The longer we sit there, the more constricted our creativity muscle becomes.

          Focusing on one thing for too long will cause you to retain less information and make fewer connections in the brain, and therefore affecting your productivity, and the final product will become of lower quality, less innovative, and due to the long hours worked on it, more expensive.

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          9. Being up to Date with Everything

          uptodate

            Information overload is one of the biggest problems we have in today’s digital world. It’s so easy to start searching for one thing and within an hour you have navigated to a website completely irrelevant to the initial topic you were focused on.

            It might seem like you are learning a lot by taking in more information, but when you consume too much too fast, you end up not retaining much information at all.

            I always feel the need to want to learn everything, but I have to remind myself that I can come back to that information later. Focus on the necessary information you need, make a mental note about the information you stumbled upon, then come back to it later.

            Focus on your current goal, there is not that much information to be swallowed in order to increase your productivity.

            Keep your mind focused on the task at hand if you wish to stay productive. In order for you to reach your full potential, minimize the distractions and cut the unproductive habits out of your life. The important thing to keep in mind is that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. If we wish to truly shine, we must be willing to focus our attention on the appropriate things necessary to complete our tasks in the timeliest manner possible.

            Being productive is just like anything else we do in life, meaning that it will take practice in order to perfect. If you follow the tips outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to the path of success.

            Featured photo credit: http://blog.proofhq.com via blog.proofhq.com

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            Last Updated on July 16, 2019

            6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

            6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

            Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

            Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

            What to have for dinner tonight?

            Which route to take to work?

            How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

            How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

            Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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            No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

            Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

            Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

            Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

            Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

            How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

            Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

            You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

            When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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            1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

            Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

            I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

            2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

            5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

            By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

            For example:

            If the problem is “always late to work”…

            • Why am I late to work?
              I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
            • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
              I feel so tired in the morning.
            • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
              I slept late the night before, that’s why.
            • Why did I sleep late?
              I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
            • Why did I drink coffee?
              Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

            So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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            3. Simplify Things

            As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

            Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

            4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

            Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

            Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

            Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

            5. Think Laterally

            Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

            ‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

            Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

            Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

            6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

            Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

            Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

            The Bottom Line

            There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

            Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

            Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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            So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

            More About Problem Solving

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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