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Everyone Should Learn The Mindset Of Productive People

Everyone Should Learn The Mindset Of Productive People

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.

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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How to Fight Information Overload

How to Fight Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Decide whether you really need the information.
  3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
  4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

The Nature of the Problem

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

Why information overload is bad

It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

1. Set your goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. What to do when facing new information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

3. Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

In Closing

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

(Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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