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The Morphing Mindset: Transform These 5 Habits to Boost Your Productivity

The Morphing Mindset: Transform These 5 Habits to Boost Your Productivity
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    Productivity is the result of the decisions we make and mindset we have. These things in turn create habits that we tend to follow, sometimes too rigidly.

    Do you want to make a positive change inside you that leads to better productivity and improved self-confidence?

    If so, then I suggest that you take a look at these common unproductive habits that hold you back and transform them into productive ones.

    1. Complaining -> Taking action

    I used to belong to the group of people who complained a lot. Mostly it was about the job I hated, but I had other things that I complained about too.

    Yet at some point I came to realize that maybe I should do something about those things instead of complaining about them. Maybe I’m the one who has to make things happen…

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    Finally, I understood that taking action was the only way to move forward. I didn’t want to waste my time and energy on something useless like complaining.

    I think that this is a good guideline for any of us. If there is something bothering you that isn’t right, think to yourself: Is it going to get better by complaining or can you do something about it?

    I bet that in many situations the latter option is the best one.

    2. Assuming -> Confirming

    My former boss used to say the following:

    “Assuming is prohibited.”

    What he meant was that one should always be sure of something so that the right action could be taken.

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    Although this habit saves you from many headaches, be ready to face your fears when you transform this habit.

    In order to confirm things and being sure of something, you have to ask questions to understand the situation better. For some people, this is not an easy thing to do since they may feel that others think that they are stupid — or even incompetent — when they ask for more information.

    Of course, this isn’t so.

    Confirming or asking questions is a better way to move forward than pondering the issue by yourself and taking wrong action — one which is based on assumptions.

    Confirming makes you more confident and productive, because you know what to do and are not guessing what to do.

    3. Being a Victim -> Being Responsible

    It is easy to take on the “victim role” instead of being responsible of your own actions. This also means that instead of being true to yourself, you are more willing to blame your boss, your work, your environment or the people you associate with when you are feeling lousy.

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    Understandably, it may not be easy to admit that perhaps the problem lies within you. However, you really have to admit that because of your past actions you find yourself in the current situation.

    You create your own reality by the decisions you make and the actions you take. If you are not happy with things the way they are, then start creating a plan to change things.

    Here’s an example: If you are not happy how your body looks, start making lifestyle changes — and find out the phone number to the nearest nutrition coach to help you out.

    After you realize that you can make the change and that you have to take the responsibility, things start moving for the better and the victim days are soon behind you.

    4. Fixing the Symptoms -> Fixing the Root Cause

    When something unexpected happens, you do whatever is needed to put things back to normal. However, when the same unexpected thing starts to happen on a recurring basis, fixing the symptoms is not enough anymore.

    For instance, when you feel sick to your stomach you can take medicine to fix the situation. However, when this same symptom occurs on a frequent basis, you should spend more time and energy to analyze what is causing your stomach ache in the first place and fix that instead.

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    Spend a bit more time on finding and fixing the root cause – instead of wasting your time on dealing with the symptoms.

    5. Easiest Task First -> Hardest Task First

    Working on the easiest task first is a very compelling thing to do. You don’t have to stress about the task that much because it is fun. You are also feeling comfortable because you don’t have to push yourself outside your comfort zone.

    On the other hand, if you’re willing to take action on the hardest task first, you’ll be prouder of yourself and this will give you a self-confidence boost.

    When you handle the challenging task before the easy one, it is not lurking in the back of your mind anymore and you can fully focus on your other tasks that you have to take care of.

    No matter whether or not you are able to accomplish this hard task at once, the main point is that you are acting on the task now so that you can fully enjoy the fun tasks later.

    So…has your mindset morphed?

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    (Photo credit: Businessman with Superhero Suit via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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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.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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