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Two Things You Must Do To Become More Productive Now

Two Things You Must Do To Become More Productive Now

Everything in your surrounding, including the a specific group of people, are influencing you in a tremendous way you’re probably not consciously aware of. If you want to “streamline” your life so that you can be more productive, feel better, have better health, nurture a better mindset, and essentially have a happier, more productive life, continue reading this short article. First I’ll go over why it happens, and then I’ll go over what you can do to have a more effective life.

Laws of Success. In the 1900s, there was a book written by a man who interviewed and studied over 500 of the world’s most successful people at that time to find out what set them apart from the rest of the world. It took him 20 years to write the book which he called “Think & Grow Rich”. The authors’ name was Napoleon Hill.

Law of Association. In that book, one of the premise to success was something he called the law of association. Essentially, we are the socio-economical average of the 5 closest people we surround ourselves with. You’ve known this all your life but it was just never said so scientifically. You knew that if you hung around 9 people who smoke, you’d become the 10th. You knew that if you hung around 9 people who drank, you’d become the 10th.

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With that premise in mind, it’s important to begin to really recognize who you surround yourself with and begin to take inventory of 2 areas of your life: your surroundings & your associations.

Fundamentals Of Presuppositions. We naturally base and compare our thinking with other people. This could also be called a “Reference Group” – a group which you reference your thinking with.

Remember, language is a reflection of our neurology. In the same way that our body language is a reflection of how we feel (our emotions), language is an expression of our neurology and vice versa. We already have the syntax of language in our minds and it’s up to the existing neuro-connections in our minds that will present itself through our vocal communication.

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Just the same as rich people think differently than poor people and healthy people think differently from unhealthy people… the key difference-maker is thinking.

Our thoughts and our language are based on our foundational beliefs. Anytime you hear someone’s communication and you agree with them either automatically or consciously, you, unconscious to your awareness, buy their beliefs through accepting the presuppositions of that statement. It becomes scary when the beliefs are fundamentally wrong. 

Changing Internal Mindsets Through External Surroundings. What you see everyday is constantly shaping your thinking. Haven’t you ever noticed, when your environment is clean and organized, you’re more motivated to accomplish things and when it’s cluttery, your mind also feels cluttered?

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One advice I would give recently separated couples is to get away from their current environment (their apartment or any living area they’ve shared with their partner). Have you ever heard a song where upon hearing that song, your mind takes you all the way back to the moment you first heard it and you see the sights you saw, the feel the same feeling you felt, and maybe even heard the same sounds you’ve heard? This is a neurological process called anchoring and we anchor emotions with things (e.g. that specific couch will always remind you of that moment with that person, or that specific picture frame that will remind you of that special moment with that person, etc.)

If you’re trying to lose weight and you have cookies in your cupboard, anytime you open that cupboard, you’ll be reminded of how delicious those cookies are and will probably say, “Well, I’ll eat a couple pieces. It’ll do no harm.” On the other hand, if you craft your environment so that it’s conducive to your goal (get rid of that cookie), then it can almost be inevitable that you accomplish what you want.

Two Steps To A More Effective Life

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Craft Your Surroundings.

Align your surroundings with your goal. Get rid of the clutter and things that you don’t need. Get rid of the old stuff you’ve forgotten about. Clean your environment. Have an organized plan or structure as to how you’ll prioritize your activities towards ultimately your goal. Include motivational items such as computer wallpapers that motivate you or portraits that inspire you.

Limited Association and Expanded Association. 

Take inventory of the closest people to you. Take those five special spots and make it so they all add value in your life whether they motivate you, inspire you, teach you, mentor you, love you unconditionally, support you, or help you. If you have negative, toxic people in those spots, get rid of them. Soon enough, you will attract better people into your life and in turn will make you happier, become more productive, and have a more effective life.

Featured photo credit: Doubling Your Productivity by iBSSR via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, 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.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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