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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

How to Be More Efficient at Work, at Home and in Life

How to Be More Efficient at Work, at Home and in Life

If you go to bed every night feeling like you didn’t do enough, you’re not alone. Lots of people are just not able to meet the expectations they set for themselves.

Luckily, efficiency is only a single habit away.

It is not as easy as it may sound. The solution that I am speaking of is not a Band-Aid, but rather a life-changing decision that will require a fair amount of sacrifice on your part.

Nothing worthwhile ever comes for free, so let’s take a look at the secret followed by its practical applications in your workplace, home, and life.

4 Steps to an Efficient Day at Work

To act effectively, first, you need to think effectively. Here are four things that you can do to sharpen your mind and get yourself ready for a productive day.

1. Set Precise Goals

Many people underestimate the importance of goals. ‘I will be productive today’ is not a goal. ‘I will make five sales today’ or ‘I will spend time with my kids’ is a goal. You should start making both short-term and long-term goals which are clear and concise.

Another helpful tip is to write down your goals and take a look at them once or twice every day. It can serve as a reminder of what is essential and help you to not stray from the path.

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2. Have an Enterprising Mindset

An enterprising mindset means that you do what’s important right now.

According to the famous entrepreneur his Do it now’ attitude is one of the main reasons for his success. Once you have set your goals, it is vital that you develop an enterprising attitude.

The simplest way to do that is to focus on the most important activities first. You might be tempted to get the easier tasks out of the way before you focus on the more difficult ones, but putting first things first is an important step on your way to an efficient life.

3. Let Your Desire Burn Bright

It is also important to have a ‘never back down’ attitude.

Napoleon Hill in his legendary book Think & Grow Rich interviewed 100s of the most successful people in the US and found the desire for greatness to be one of the few traits all of them had in common.

Once you have the drive to succeed, you will find yourself automatically drawn to actions that help you pursue your goals.

4. Set a Dynamic Schedule

‘The more useful you become, the more your time is not your own.’

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Since very few people are efficient, the few who do manage to transcend mediocrity are called for help numerous times throughout the day.

The best way to combat this is by setting up your schedule in an adaptive way.

Rather than having a set time for everything, list out your daily/weekly tasks in your schedule based on priority and get started on the most important one. In case of an unforeseen interruption, deal with it and get back on the horse.

Following a timed schedule is extremely difficult in the modern day and failing to keep up with it will only demotivate you. And in case you need a little more help about your schedule, here’s a useful article: Time Management: Handling Disruptions in Daily Schedules

3 Steps to be Efficient at Home

Remember that your newfound mindset is not just confined to your workplace. Regardless of whether you work 4 hours a day or 14, it is vital to make use of the time you get to spend with the people you care about.

Here are some of the ways through which you can be effective in your relationships to find success not only in the financial world but also in the spiritual one.

1. Find Solutions, Not Problems

Stephen Covey, the founder of FranklinCovey regularly mentioned the importance of a Win/Win mentality in his works. When faced with a conflict, a person with a Win/Win mentality finds solutions which work for both parties as opposed to just one.

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Winning an argument is only a solution for the party that won, not for the party that lost.

Whether you have a problem with your friends, children, spouse, or parents, remember always to see things from their perspective. Once you understand their viewpoint, you can empathize with their feelings and work on a solution that benefits everyone. A great book that can help you with this is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

This good thing is that this newfound mentality can also be applied to your relationships at work, not only making you more effective but also a more likable and trustable person.

2. Let Your Passion Burn Bright

Just like your workday should be fuelled by desire, your time at home should be powered by passion. It is essential to explore new things and find out what you like.

Activities which make you feel miserable afterward are not your passion. If you feel like you can do better after downing a ton of beer or playing video games for 4 hours straight, it is because you can.

Find activities that encourage you to break out of your shell, and try to do them with the people in your life that you care about so that they can also benefit from the changes that you are making in your life.

3. Reinforce the Process

One more thing to remember is that there are little things you can do to reinforce all that you have learned continuously.

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An excellent example of this is making your bed as soon as you wake up. This way, you have already done something that makes your surroundings better within seconds of waking up, and it sets you up perfectly for a productive day.

Once you have successfully integrated the ‘Enterprising Mindset’ in your home, you will start to see the benefits it brings in your relationships at a breakneck pace.

Eventually, you will begin to notice your efficiency rub off on the people around you.

Efficiency: The Secret to Happiness in Life

According to Phillip Fisher’s(Legendary Investor and author) son, his father never worked more than 8 hours a day. The reason why Fisher was able to have such extraordinary success for over 70 years is because the little time he did spend working, he donated it to the maximum of his ability.

A recent study suggests that during an 8-hour workday, most office workers are productive for less than 3 hours.[1] Just imagine how much more could each of those workers achieve with an enterprising mindset.

Remember that I am not saying to stop working for 8 hours. Those who work more usually end up achieving way more too. What we are merely pointing out is that to do more, you need to make your time count rather than sacrifice more of it.

Efficiency isn’t just tied to the workplace. If you decide to work long hours, it is imperative that the precious time you spend with your loved ones reminds you of what is essential in life, and why you strive to make yourself a better as well as a more efficient person every day.

Once you embrace the maximum of efficiency, you will immediately notice vast improvements in your life. However, remember that to truly embrace what I’ve just told you, you need to implement it too.

More Productivity Tips

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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John Obstander

John is a productivity geek and a writing enthusiast who has no limits and got wings to take over the world.

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

How To Protect Your Focus From Being “Robbed” By Notifications and Social Media

How To Protect Your Focus From Being “Robbed” By Notifications and Social Media

Between a cell phone that’s always ringing, a plethora of social media apps vying for your attention, and a steady stream of text messages, it probably feels like you can never get a moment of peace.

Think about how many times you’ve been working when a notification pops up on your screen. The message might be important, but more often than not, it’s just spam that pulls your focus away from your project.

Imagine all the times you’ve been in a meeting and felt the distinctive buzzing of your cell phone. Putting a smartphone on vibrate doesn’t make it any less disruptive for its owner. You instantly divert your attention from the other human beings in the room to the device in your pocket.

Distractions make you work harder

Studies suggest that the average American worker is interrupted every three minutes and five seconds.[1] An estimated 6 hours of productivity are lost every day to distraction. When someone is interrupted, they not only have to deal with the disruption, but then they have to use even more time and energy to get back into their work.[2]

It’s not only annoying to feel like you can never situate your mind on one task, but it also keeps you from doing your best work. The greatest ideas require time for mental processing. You have to do research and dig deep to come up with exciting ideas. If your focus is shallow, your ideas will never be able to develop to their fullest potential.

Our concentration naturally fluctuates

It would be nice if you could simply disconnect from the internet and have a consistent ability to concentrate, but that’s not how your brain works.

If you were to visualize your concentration throughout an 8-hour work day, it might look like this graph.

Throughout the day, you will experience peaks and valleys in your energy levels. You might feel a jolt of productivity after you go for a walk or have a cup of coffee, but there will also be points in the day–like right after lunch–where you’ll feel sluggish. You create your best work during periods of high energy and focus.

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Protecting those peak periods ensures that you can maximize your work time. When you constantly shift your focus back and forth between your work and distractions, your brain has to work extra hard to get back on track. Opening your Facebook page or replying to your friend’s What’s App message is almost never worth the productivity cost.

You will still have peak moments of productivity when you face interruptions, but the peaks will not be as high. This is because jumping between items wears you out. You lower your potential productivity every time you give in to distraction.

To be successful, you have to root out anything that stands in your way. The inability to concentrate will affect your work performance, but you can take control of the situation.

How to maintain focus in a sea of disruptions

Being able to give your best at work doesn’t mean that you have to disconnect from the world entirely. You can still enjoy the connections you have through technology, but there are a few ways that you can keep them from having a negative impact on your work.

One of the first things that you can do to minimize your distractions is set aside a time for them. Give yourself windows of time when it’s acceptable to look at Facebook or respond to messages.

Start by listing out the things that most commonly distract you. Maybe you get sucked into the rabbit hole of Facebook if you get a notification. Perhaps you find that your friends texting you throughout the day pulls you from work. Whatever it may be, write it down.

Then, set aside a time slot in which you are free to use the apps as you please.

Plan to use your distracting apps during times when you need to restore energy. As you can see from the graph, times when you need to restore your energy are also times when you may not be as productive.

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Instead of giving up peak energy times, sacrifice the time when you aren’t working well to engage with technology. When your recovery time has ended, jump right back into your work.

It might seem counter-intuitive to make time for these distractions during your day, but if you create a schedule that protects periods of peak energy, you will actually boost your productivity. Instead of being inundated with notifications or thinking about the next time when you are allowed to check your messages, you’ll have designated times for that.

Rather than shift your attention at random, you can focus fully on the task at hand until it’s your time to play on social media or check messages. Using this approach can help you regain a lot of your brain power because you won’t have to waste it on refocusing. You’ll simply do less important tasks during natural breaks in your day.

Set up a system to limit distractions

Just because you vow to check your messages and look at social media during certain times doesn’t keep distractions from happening. You’ll need to set up a system to keep disruptions at bay.

You can’t always control when someone is going to send you a message or when you’ll get a notification. You can start by adjusting your settings. Most apps allow you to opt out of notifications. Stop push notifications from non-essential apps.

For everything else, you need a different plan. We may be able to avoid opening social media tabs, but sometimes the messages still pop up on our phones. At the same time, most of us want to continue to use social media to stay connected and receive important information.

Try planting some trees with your concentration

The Forest app helps you train your brain to avoid distractions during work time. You can use Forest on your desktop or smartphone. The app works by enabling you to establish an amount of time during which you do not wish to be interrupted. You can adjust the amount of time from 10 minutes up to several hours.

Refer back to the list of distractions that you made earlier. You can take the websites and apps that drain your time and add them to the Forest’s blacklist.

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    The amount of time that you wish to stay off of distracting websites and apps is called a “planting session.” When you decide that you want to “plant a tree,” the countdown timer starts. If you access a blacklisted website during the time when you are supposed to be working, the app will remind you that your tree is still growing. You will have to decide whether or not you want to kill your tree, which is harder than you might think.

      When you can successfully stay off of distracting sites for the allotted time, your tree grows, and you get coins. The coins will allow you to unlock other types of trees.

        As you continue with your work session, you can see a countdown timer and an animation of a tree growing from a seed to its full splendor. Usually Forest also includes an inspirational saying to keep you on track if your focus starts to drift.

          To make the impact of your efforts even greater, success in Forest also gives you the option to plant a tree in real life.

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          This simple visualization can help you break the bad habit of checking your phone or accessing websites that disrupt your thought processes. When Forest asks you if you would like to “give up” and kill your tree, most often you will realize that the reason you were heading to the blacklisted website wasn’t that important anyway.

          Sometimes you just need a small reminder to stay on task. Use Forest during your peak productivity times so that you don’t waste the most valuable parts of your day.

          You have to identify the distractions before you can stop them

          You may be wondering how much of your peak productivity time you are losing to mindless distractions. The only way to find out is to take a closer look at your habits. Notice the times when you seem to do your best work. Name the sources of notifications and interruptions that decrease your attention. After you have done this, use an app like Forest to cut out the distractions.

          Using Forest will not prevent you from being tired, and it won’t keep you from staring off into space, but it will make you think twice about wasting time on sites that distract you.

          When you are able to experience a distraction-free work environment, you’ll recognize how much more you are able to accomplish. You’ll be able to do your work more efficiently, and you won’t feel the fatigue of constantly re-centering yourself. Soon, your desire to stay focused will be stronger than the temptation to click on your notifications.

          Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek/ Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

          Reference

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