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How To Create Your Ideal Day To Work And Play

How To Create Your Ideal Day To Work And Play

The human brain is the most powerful organism in the animal kingdom. Scientists discover more and more about this organ’s amazing capabilities every day.

One of the things that’s becoming more and more apparent is you have the ability to create what you want by using the power of your mind. Use these 10 methods to start cultivating your ideal day today.

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Write down what your ideal day looks like.

There’s a useful exercise I’ve used over the years to help me create a crystal clear vision of my goals and dreams. Here’s how to do it: write down a detailed account of what your ideal day looks like. Start with when you first wake up, and write down everything you would do in a perfect day.

Visualize it.

Once you’ve written a detailed account, visualize your ideal day. Spend time every day really feeling it. Right when you wake up and before you go to bed are great times to do this. It helps your brain form the mental image of your ideal day in your subconscious.

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Make a commitment to live out your ideal day.

In his increasingly hard-to-find and now famous book, The Social Animal, psychologist Elliot Aronson details fascinating research around the power of commitment. The basic premise is simple: when you commit to do something (either verbally or in writing), you’re much more likely to follow through. Simple though it may be, committing to living out your ideal day can be a useful strategy to help you make it come to life.

Start small.

You don’t create your ideal day overnight. It takes time to build the necessary habits that stick. So go back to the ideal day you wrote down and visualized and ask yourself, “What’s the easiest thing to accomplish on this list?” For example, maybe during your ideal day you spend five minutes in the morning meditating or doing yoga. Focus on doing this small habit every day for the next few weeks. Once it becomes habit, move on to the next thing on your “perfect day” list.

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Think positive thoughts.

Harness the power of positive thinking, which is supported by mountains of empirical evidence. Your days unfold in accordance with your thoughts. So work on keeping those thoughts positive, even when you’re stressed. Identify the triggers that make you upset each day, and start changing those thought patterns. For example, maybe you hate traffic and slow drivers cause you to go mad on a regular basis. Try bringing an audio CD in your car that contains soothing music or an audio book about positive thinking and happiness. This will help curtail some of those angry thoughts. Negativity arises from habits but you can un-learn these habits with practice.

Start doing work you love.

What do you love to do? What type of work makes you happiest? Take some time to think about the answers to those questions. Then start doing it. Love to write? Start a blog or journal. Love playing music? Then set aside 15 minutes each day to do it. The key here is to just start. Once you habitually do the things you love, you’ll be much closer to achieving the vision of your perfect day.

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Create habits.

More than anything else, creating better habits will help you accomplish your goals and cultivate your ideal day. In Charles Duhigg’s insightful book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, he talks about using the cue-routine-reward approach to developing better habits. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take your written version of your ideal day you created and identify the specific behaviors needed for each part of your day (i.e. doing yoga). Start with one behavior at a time.
  2. Identify your cue for the behavior you want to form into a habit. For example, if your ideal day includes doing yoga, your cue might be “waking up” or “getting home from work.”
  3. Start working on this habit every day (for just five minutes to start).
  4. Take one minute every day to recognize the reward you’re getting from this new habit. For example, if you do yoga you’ll probably experience increased flexibility and an increased sense of self. Allow yourself to anticipate these rewards every day.
  5. Once this habit has become ingrained, move on to the next behavior.

Manage your time better.

We waste an incredible amount of time each day. Creating habits is the first step toward automating how you spend your time, but there are several other strategies you can use too, like these:

  • Delegate tasks.
  • Check email only once or twice a day.
  • Talk on the phone as little as possible.
  • Set timers to increase productivity.
  • Commit to watching just one hour of TV per day (most people watch three to four).

Measure your progress.

Make checklists and to-do lists your best friends. They help you measure your progress toward your ideal day. Keep a daily planner, and at the start of each day write at the top: “Actions I will take today to get closer to my ideal day.” Write down your action steps, then check things off as you do them. I personally use this strategy, and it works.

Keep focusing on the journey.

Don’t get caught up on the end goal. Creating your ideal day is about the journey–those day-to-day action steps that culminate into healthy, efficient, productive behaviors. You have the power to create your own happiness. Life is simple, so stop over-analyzing and start doing. If you fail, so what? You’ll learn from those missteps. You won’t learn from doing nothing. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create. So go out and start creating your ideal day right now.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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