“You can dramatically change your life but only if you have the desire to change, the decision to take action, the discipline to practice the new behaviors you have chosen, and the determination to persist until you get the results you want.” – Brian Tracy
- “I just need to focus.”
- “I just need to buckle down.”
- “I just need to have more willpower.”
- “I already know what to do, I just need to do it.”
I’ve probably said all of these things to myself at one point or another and I’m betting you have as well. Most of us already know what to do — eat the right foods, exercise consistently, get proper rest and recovery, and do more of what we love and less of what we don’t. Yet it’s so difficult to put it all together.
How can we avoid feeling lost, stressed out, and overwhelmed, and get more focused, more results, and more stuff done whether that be with regards to our health, career, or in our relationships?
The choices you make are yours and yours alone
The minute junk hits the fan, you make a mistake, or times get tough…accept complete responsibility. Refuse to make excuses and commit to not placing the blame on anyone else or the circumstances. Wherever you are now in your life is because of the choices you made. To get yourself over any hurdle you first need to acknowledge that it is there. Otherwise you’ll just keep running into it over and over.
There’s a wonderful poem by Portia Nelson entitled “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk” that is very fitting…
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.Advertising
I walk down another street.
If you are making the same mistake over and over acknowledge it. Ask yourself why do I keep walking down this sidewalk? Then choose a new route. Any route will do. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s not the same one that keep leading you to fall down a hole. When you’re on this new path you’ll now know what to look for. If you see a hole you’ll walk around it and find another path the next day.
If you’re struggling with your nutrition find your hole. Are you always falling of the wagon at night when you get home from work? You’re exhausted and just want to relax? Instead of taking time to prepare a healthy meal are you opting for something processed and quick?
What’s another street you can take? Can you get up a few minutes early every day to make sure you have something prepared for when you get home?
Take a look at your street. Where are the holes? What can you do?
What do I need to do everyday to achieve what I want to achieve
We often don’t fail due to a lack of effort — it’s often consistent effort that we struggle with. Most of the things we want to accomplish take effort spread throughout an extended period of time.
And the honesty…
Most of that effort needs to be extended for a lifetime. Now thinking of things over the course of a lifetime can cause anyone to hyperventilate, but the cool thing is it gets easier and easier. And that effort will become automatic.
Getting up a little earlier to get in a workout will become a habit. Cooking in bulk on a Sunday afternoon so you have meals for the week will feel natural. Using that hour every night you use to reserve for watching your favorite show is now spent on starting your own business.Advertising
But the key is to start with one.
Just pick one area of your life that you want to improve. Trying to do too much at one time will require so much effort that you’ll either burn yourself out or make it difficult to commit 100% to each area.
What is the single thing that needs the you want to improve. Start there, commit 100%, and once it’s a habit move on to the next.
My way or the highway leads to you on an empty road all by yourself.
Learn to adapt
There is one thing for certain in this world and that’s change. I can guarantee you one thing and I will never be wrong. Today is most certainly different from yesterday and tomorrow will be different from today.
Even though some days you might feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”, subtle changes are happening every day. Just look back at your life. How different are you from when you were 10, 20, 30, and so on? I bet your job has changed a few times, I’m certain your body, some of your habits, your friends, where you live. Change is one thing I am certain is never going away.
Failure to adapt, try new things, experiment with new methods, techniques, people, and choices will cause you to be left behind.
What worked today might not work tomorrow. Can you eat like you did when you were a kid? Are you as active?
Your responsibilities and passions I am sure have changed as well. It is up to you to adapt to your new environment, your new role, or your new body and to figure out what it is you need to do in order to get where you want to be.
How do your nutrition habits need to adapt? Your exercise habits? Your lifestyle?Advertising
Plan. Then plan again. Oh yeah, and plan some more.
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
I know we’ve all heard that before…but it’s true. Hey, I like winging it as much as the next guy but if something is not going the way you want or expect take a look at your plan… or maybe failure to have one.
It may seem like you waste time planning but in the long run that planning will save you time as you avoid having to start from scratch if junk hits the fan. A plan is like a map. If you planned out your route and hit a snag or make a wrong turn it gives you a chance to see where you messed up and avoid it in the future.
It also works when things go right. If you get to your destination you will have a route to follow and use again and again and possibly now have some guidance for when you embark on a new trip.
So whatever it is you want to do take time to create a plan. Don’t worry about it being wrong, as long as you’re willing to adapt you’ll make the necessary changes as you go.
As in crystal clear. It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go. Where are you now, where do you want to be, what do you want to do? Don’t concern yourself so much with the “How” but more so the “Why.”
What ever your goal, whatever you want to do define why you are doing it and why it is important to you. If building muscle, losing weight, or finding more work that you love is something you want to pursue define your why.
Here’s an example of how to do that.
“I want to lose fat.”Advertising
- Why do I want to lose fat? Because I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans.
- But why do I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans? Because when I’m wearing smaller jeans, I think I’ll look better.
- But why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
- But why do I want to feel good about myself? Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.
- But why do I want to be more assertive and confident. Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control and better able to get what I want out of life.
Now your turn. Pick one thing that you want to work towards. Just one thing. Make the statement. I WANT TO _______________. Then keep asking yourself, “but why” until you get to the heart of the matter.
I’m almost certain that almost all problems could be solved by doing this…
By always treating others the way we would want to be treated.
Personal, physical, mental, and social problems could almost certainly be solved if we always treated people the way we wanted to be treated. If our coffee order is messed up there is no real reason to berate the barista. It’s not fixing the order any. The only thing it is doing is raising your blood pressure and stressing out the poor girl behind the counter.
When someone cuts us off on the freeway tailgating them, giving them the finger, and honking at them serves no real purpose. It doesn’t change the situation and doesn’t help to resolve any problems.
If you don’t want to feel stressed out, unhealthy, tired, or upset there is a pretty good chance other people don’t want to as well.
What’s holding you back
What is keeping you from getting the body you want, doing work you love, pursuing adventure and passions? Identify and remove. If a jar of peanut butter is getting devoured every night it might be sabotaging your fitness goals. Identify and remove.
Are finances keeping you from taking that trip you have been dying to go on. Identify where you are wasting money and remove.
Is there anything you know now that if your life started over today you would not get involved in? Well life starts over today. What can you change?
(Photo credit: Honest Abe via Shutterstock)
Last Updated on February 17, 2021
50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time
If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.
No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!
Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.
1. Set a Timer
Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.
In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.
2. Eliminate All Distractions
Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.
You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)
3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity
Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.
Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide
4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)
Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.
If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion
5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.
By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.
Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.
6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.
Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.
7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.
Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.
Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.
Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!
8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task
To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.
Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!
Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.
9. Don’t Multitask
Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.
For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.
10. Step Away from the Computer
The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.
I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.
11. Use Focus Tools
Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.
Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.
12. Just Start
Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.
Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.
13. Find out Your Productive Hours
Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.
Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.
14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times
This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.
15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements
The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.
When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.
And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.
16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day
I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!
Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!
17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.
The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.
Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.
18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly
As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:
“Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”
This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.
19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else
I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!
20. Get Plenty of Sleep
When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.
Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive
Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.
Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.
Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:
- 29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk
- 15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency
22. Outsource as Much as Possible
If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:
Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)
23. Set Some Exciting Goals
Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.
Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!
24. Tell Other People About Your Goals
When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.
25. Listen to Podcasts
Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.
Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.
Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself
26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done
This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.
Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life
27. Learn to Speed Read
When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.
You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!
28. Learn to Skip When You Read
When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.
Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More
29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities
Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.
We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.
30. Take a Break
You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.
31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule
What is polyphasic sleep?
Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily. This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.
32. Learn to Say “No”.
We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.
Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.
33. Go on an Information Diet
Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.
Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.
The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information
34. Organize Your Office
The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.
35. Find a Mentor
By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.
A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor
36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts
With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.
When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!
Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.
Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.
37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time
Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?
You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:
38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute
If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.
Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:
39. Get Rid of Time Wasters
Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.
Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus
40. Plan Your Meals in Advance
Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.
Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.
41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk
When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.
Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?
42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID
The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.
Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls
43. Take Shorter Showers
This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.
44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit
Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.
45. Auto Pay Your Bills
How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?
Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.
46. Shop Online
Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.
47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection
Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!
48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer
If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.
Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.
49. Turn off the TV
The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.
For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.
Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.
50. Use a Tivo or DVR
This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.
So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.
More Time Management Tips
- 7 Effective Time Management Tips To Maximize Your Productivity
- How to Be Productive at Work: 9 Ground Rules
- How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com
|||^||Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?|