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Productivity Hacks: 8 Things That Are Hurting Your Productivity

Productivity Hacks: 8 Things That Are Hurting Your Productivity

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    Not feeling productive enough?

    Yeah, this can happen to the best of us. Our life gets tangled into so much clutter that eventually getting out of it seems like an impossible task.

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    Take some hard steps today. Waiting for things to improve, especially when you know that waiting is certainly not going to help, is only going to make things slower for you. To make your life more productive, take strong decisions and do not overlook minor issues. While big problems need bigger fixes, small ones can just go unnoticed and continue to hamper your productivity.

    1. Dump Someone Today

    Let’s start with the big point first. Our productivity gets hurt the most from things that are either very minor or often is overlooked, or they are due to someone else’s fault. Here are a few ways to deal with each one.

    1. Kids in your home – While this one is a bit too deep (and surely I could come up with an entire article dedicated to this point alone) here in this article I am going to just point out one tip for all those that are working from home: Get out and go somewhere else! This might sound odd to many, but if you are serious about your productivity then it is better to just find a rented space and stay there during your work hours. Handling kids in your home office is just not possible, many have tried it and failed. Trust me on this.
    2. Older parents – Again, a point that will never get many votes, but this is a very important one. An example of this is Jennifer Gresham, who fired her father — and that was her best career move ever.

    Let’s come back to some of the minor points that affect our productivity in more than ways we can handle. Fixing them is easy — the problem is that we start dealing with it and take it for granted.

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    2. Kill That Noise

    Certain noise is part of our lives. It can be anything — perhaps your computer fan, or the computer table whose repair you kept postponing. Small noises can be very distracting, and in the long term they can hamper your productivity. Here’s how you can combat that:

    • Shout out to your neighbors. If your neighbor’s kid is bothering you with yelling or their pet keeps barking all day long, consider some serious action against them. Don’t let other people bother you.
    • Install a noise reduction mechanism. Some noise you can deal with, others you just have to live with. If the traffic outside is your concern and it can’t be helped, try fighting it off with some noise reduction methods.
    • Switch off that TV in the next room. A low-sound television or music player being enjoyed in the next room can still steal some of your valuable concentration. If the program is not important enough, try switching it off. Better still, try lowering the sound further and closing the door to make sure that it does not entertain you.
    • Get a peaceful computer.  Don’t we all want a Mac? So get it.

    3. Pet Management

    Barking dogs are never my cup of tea. But if your pet is important to you, then it is time to learn some lessons on pet management. Get “offline” help from your local pet expert. There are many things that you do not know about pets, and perhaps that is the reason why your beloved pet is not really happy with you.

    4. Snacks

    This is an excellent choice when it comes to watching TV, films or sports — but when it comes to getting some work done, snacks are just another distraction. The simple reason is that entertainment and work are totally different things and thus a different kind of concentration is required to get the work done.

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    5. Overall Health

    Poor health can be a big reason for your productivity drop. Have you put on some extra weight? Is your lack of exercise a reason why you might be having stomach and gastric problems? Without getting into some real health tips here — just make sure to exercise a bit, get enough green vegetables in your daily food intake, and increase your water consumption for a bit of health improvement.

    • Lack of sleep. 8 hours a day of sleep is important to keep your spirits high. While that extra hour of late night work might sound like a good idea when running late on a deadline, the quality of work will surely take a beating — if not instantly, in the long haul. Do yourself a favor: don’t mess around with your sleeping routine. Fix it…while you still can.
    • Is something bothering you? If that is the case, then get that fixed first. In case you can’t fix it, stop thinking about it. And that’s that. Here is a small mantra that you should follow.

    Stop thinking about things beyond your control and you will be fine.

    6. Your Workplace Setup

    Yaro Starak has a standing setup at his workplace. That is, he does all his computer related work standing. The point is — feel free to do that which improves your productivity.

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    7. Quit Your Addictions

    While tea and coffee can sometimes help in increasing your productivity, I doubt very much that alcohol or smoking will.

    8. Time Management

    Is your workload killing your productivity? Setting up a timetable properly will help you to improve your overall productivity. Start doing all the creative work at the start of the day. If the extra hour of late night work is really important, allocate email checking and other “junk” work for that time period. (Note: If this article was not written in the early hours of the day, it would have surely lacked in its flavor.)

    Fixing minor issues can sometimes play a big role in enhancing your overall productivity and allow your creativity to flow like never before.

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    Last Updated on August 19, 2019

    How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

    How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

    There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

    Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

    This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

    These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

    1. Know Thyself

    One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

    An unexamined life is not worth living.

    I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

    Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

    You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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    None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

    For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

    It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

    2. Figure out What Matters to You

    What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

    When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

    In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

    Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

    A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

    3. Play to Your Strengths

    Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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    If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

    Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

    Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

    4. Listen to Yourself

    It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

    The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

    Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

    To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

    Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

    Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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    5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

    Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

    Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

    When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

    However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

    It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

    “If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

    6. Make Time for Reflection

    It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

    Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

    • What went well today
    • Something you’re grateful for
    • What would make tomorrow even better

    Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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    It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

    Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

    7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

    Arguably the most important step of all:

    Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

    The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

    “I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

    Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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    Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

    Reference

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