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The Benefits of Simple Productivity

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The Benefits of Simple Productivity

Simplicity is often perceived as boring, unattractive and unremarkable.  Majority of people want something striking and complicated.

But as Leonardo da Vinci has said,

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Different to the common belief, simplicity is not boring, unattractive or unremarkable.  In fact, simplicity represents elegance and complexity.

The Misconception of Being Productive

The common error of people who aim to succeed at something is the tendency to make the process complicated, such as over analysis and accepting responsibility beyond one’s capacity.

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Take for an instance when an individual or company spends too much time planning and perfecting a product.  By the time the product is completed and released in the market, competitors have already dominated it.  Another example is when an individual accepts a lot of responsibility that is beyond their capacity.  They think that having many work responsibilities and working long hours are marks of a productive and fulfilled life.

However, being productive neither needs too much analysis nor working long hours. If only we knew how to keep things simple.

The Benefits

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. ~ Henry David Thoreau

If you want to be more productive with minimal effort and stress, learn how to simplify and stay focus. Here are the benefits of simple productivity:

1.  Clarity

Simplicity aids clarity; the directness of expression and purpose. It contributes to the ability of having a clear description of what needs to be done, why it is important to accomplish, and how it will be accomplished.

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2.  Focus

The majority of people are incapable of staying focused. They get easily distracted and lured away from their goal. They lose attention to what is important and needs to be done. This leads to an unproductive and stressful life.

Focus is the next benefit of simplicity. By keeping things simple, it helps you keep an appropriate amount of attention on the most important task at the appropriate perspective and time. By itself, staying focus creates more output with less effort and time.

3.  Elimination

A key to eliminating queasiness is to focus on the horizon. – David Allen

Diseases can be caused by stress and exhaustion. In order to succeed a person tends to abuse oneself in exchange for hard work. They have a habit of sacrificing most areas of their life such as family, social, financial, physical and emotional health.

Another benefit of simple productivity is that it allows you to leave things undone. It encourages you to say no to unimportant things and focus your whole energy to the important ones. It saves you time and energy. You no longer have to sacrifice areas in your life in exchange for work. Remember that the wisdom of life consists in elimination of the non-essentials.

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4.  Effectiveness

There are people who sacrifice quality in exchange for quantity. In order to accommodate and accomplish more tasks they tend to overlook some important process which leads to poor quality and error.

The next benefit of simple productivity is effectiveness in getting more things done. When you are clear and focus on what you want to achieve, you can concentrate on producing quality work. Your attention and effort is centralized; you are able to produce quality and efficient output.

5.  Tranquility

A disease shared by people who desire to succeed is the inability to rest, relax and achieve peace of mind. They tend to carry the weight of their work responsibility and stress wherever they go. It becomes evident in the expression of their face, body and tone.

The benefit of simplicity is that it provides more peace in your life. Simplicity assists you in creating clear goals, focusing on your actions, and getting more done. These factors help in eliminating the clutter and stress produced by undefined goals or purpose. It provides peace and tranquility in your life.

6.  Work-Life Balance

In the past, I couldn’t imagine how it was possible to achieve work-life balance. I’ve spent most of my time working long hours in the office in order to get ahead in the corporate world and achieve my definition of success. But after I learned the value of simple productivity, I learned that life is not all about work. There are other areas in our lives that are as important as career and financial success.

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The last benefit of simplicity is that it helps you have more time on your hands. You are able to achieve work-life balance when you are clear about your goal and staying focused on what needs to be done. This eliminates the unnecessary activity that leads to stress and fatigue. It also gives you more time for other important areas in your life.

People who are able to enjoy life while reaping success at the same time are the ones who understand the value of simplicity in productivity.

I hope this article has somehow enlightened you to the reality that you don’t have to sacrifice so many things in your life just to be productive and successful. All you need to do is to keep things simple and try your best to avoid making it complicated.

For a final note, let me leave you this phrase from the late Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple, Inc:

That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. 

More by this author

Lou Macabasco

Lou Macabasco aspires to spread positive motivation.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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