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Everyone Should Learn The Mindset Of Productive People

Everyone Should Learn The Mindset Of Productive People
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We all know people who just seem to get things done; but have you ever noticed that productive people tend to be happier and more well-rounded too?

The skills that achievers use to help them complete tasks, hit deadlines, and finish projects are the same skills that can help you become a happier, more balanced individual in every part of your life.

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Everyone should aspire to build a productive mindset. Here are eight tips to improve both your productivity and your life:

Be Solution-focused

If you focus too long on a problem, it can really start to bog you down. You can end up going around in circles, feeling more and more frustrated and worried about the pickle you’re in, rather than doing anything to fix what’s wrong. Productive individuals take one good look at the problem and then immediately move on to search for solutions. Focusing on finding answers helps you feel more in control and gets you out of the problem more quickly. Finding solutions helps you accomplish things, and the sense of pride you get from that can make you feel happier too.

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Put Down Boundaries

If you’re always saying ‘yes’ to people or going out of your way to accommodate others while neglecting your own needs and goals, you’re unlikely to meet your own targets, and you’re likely to end up feeling resentful and bitter. Learning to say ‘no’ to things that don’t serve you frees up your own time and promotes a feeling of self-respect. There’s nothing wrong with helping others or giving your time and attention to them, but you must only do so when it doesn’t cross your own boundaries or eat into what you need to do. Choose what and who you say ‘yes’ to carefully at home and at work.

Have a Healthy Routine

Some of the most productive people in the world swear by similar morning routines. Rising early to have an exercise session, a protein-rich breakfast, and a spot of meditation feature in many particularly productive people’s mornings from big business owners to presidents. Having a good start to the day gives you all sorts of benefits, including a clearer head, a healthier body, a better mood, and more focus.

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Streamline your Life

You might marvel at how much productive people seem to get done in a day, but what you’ll usually find is that they’ve set things up in a way that makes it easier for them to succeed. Whether it’s putting automated systems in place, delegating, or just having all the necessary tools ready to hand, productive people have a head-start because they’ve simplified and streamlined their processes. If you invest a little time in decluttering, preparing, and organising, you’ll not only save yourself time in the long-run, but you’ll save yourself stress and headaches. And you’ll have much more time to do the things you really value later on.

Look at the Bigger Picture

Productive people don’t get distracted because they’ve always got the bigger picture in mind. They don’t think about a report as a piece of administration or see a spreadsheet as a list of numbers ‒- instead they view these things as necessary steps to achieve their goals. And beyond that, they’ll know why this particular goal is of value to them and how it will enhance their life overall. Whether it’s to make money, to gain security, or to revolutionise the world, productive people see tasks as vital cogs in the greater machinery of their project and their life. Whenever you need to do anything important, bear in mind how good it will make you feel to do it or how it will enhance your well-being. Focusing on these positive things allows you to stay motivated and happy at home and at work.

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Be Positive About Yourself

People who don’t get things done are often waylaid by their own lack of self-belief. If you don’t think you’re capable of achieving anything, why even try? Productive people put their best foot forward and don’t allow negative self-talk to steer them away from their goals. Not only does a healthy sense of self-efficacy help you focus and achieve more, but respecting your unique skills, qualities and strengths will make you feel happier too. It’s really a self-fulfilling prophecy — if you pep talk yourself, you’ll probably find that you’ve got much more to cheer about because you’re more likely to perform better when you have a positive focus.

Know Nothing Has to Be Perfect

If you tried to be perfect in everything you did, you’d never ever get anything done. Perfection is an impossible marker, and trying to live up to it just leaves you feeling frustrated and depressed. Productive people focus on doing their very best, but don’t allow a few flaws to delay their dreams or stop their progress. Not only does letting go of perfectionism allow you to get more done, it also takes the pressure off you, letting you enjoy what you are doing and have more fun with it.

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Respect Time

If you really thought about what’s precious in life, you’d realise that time is one of the most valuable commodities — it’s one that we only get a certain amount of, and once it’s gone, we can’t get it back. Productive people know the value of time and have a healthy respect for it, which is partly why they are able to stay so focused. You’d find it far less tempting to play Candy Crush if you knew it was your last day on Earth. Respect the time that you have in the world and it’ll be easier to live your life to the fullest, cherishing and enjoying every moment.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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