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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 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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