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Which Productivity Trick Suits You Best? Find Out!

Which Productivity Trick Suits You Best? Find Out!

There are a lot of different productivity tricks, and when you try them, mileage will vary based on the kind of worker you are. But how do you find out which technique is right for you without wasting your time trying them all? Lifehack has you covered. Below are six productivity tricks that might work for your purposes.

1. Strict Deadlines

    A lot of people thrive off the pressure of a deadline, doing their best work the fastest they can because they absolutely have to get it done. Lighting a fire under someone is one of the best ways to get them to produce sparks. Of course, not every project has a strict deadline, so the productivity trick is to make you believe there is one. Reward yourself for reaching your imaginary due dates or punish yourself for missing them. This is a good productivity trick for those with the fortitude to accept rewards only if you reach your goals or the ability to accept the punishments if you don’t.

    2. Write Everything Down

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      This is one of the simplest productivity tricks. If you forget things easily, record everything you need to remember so that you’ll never be unprepared. Good to-do lists include Wunderlist, 2Do, and plain old pen and paper. Evernote is another invaluable tool, an external brain that can house all your thoughts, ideas, and knowledge.

      3. The Pomodoro Technique

        The Pomodoro Technique, one of the most popular productivity tricks, is pretty simple. You choose a task, set your timer for 25 minutes, work until the timer rings, then take a short break. After four Pomodoro sessions, take a longer break. It’s a great life hack for the people who get burnt out from working too hard. The regular pauses give you enough time to recharge your batteries, which lets you get back to work in full force.

        4. Louis C.K.’s 70% Rule

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          Louis C.K., the man responsible for writing, directing, editing, and starring in the FX show Louie, imparted some great advice in an interview for GQ. Here’s his productivity trick.

          “These situations where I can’t make a choice because I’m too busy trying to envision the perfect one—that false perfectionism traps you in this painful ambivalence: If I do this, then that other thing I could have done becomes attractive. But if I go and choose the other one, the same thing happens again. It’s part of our consumer culture. People do this trying to get a DVD player or a service provider, but it also bleeds into big decisions. So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70 percent approval, you just do it. ‘Cause here’s what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over.

          “And, when you get to 80 percent, you work. You apply your knowledge, and that gets you to 85 percent! And the thing itself, especially if it’s a human being, will always reveal itself—100 percent of the time!—to be more than you thought. And that will get you to 90 percent. After that, you’re stuck at 90, but who the f*** do you think you are, a god? You got to 90 percent? It’s incredible!”

          You don’t even have to do 70%. You can pick your own percentage, whatever the amount is that makes you comfortable enough with your choice. This productivity trick is great for people who struggle to reach a decision, taking that burden out of their hands.

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          5. Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret

            Comedians are just full of productivity advice. Fun fact about this technique, though: Jerry Seinfeld denied coming up with the productivity trick named after him. He actually called it the dumbest non-idea that wasn’t his! But, regardless of its real inventor, Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret has helped a lot of people over the years.

            The trick specifically helps you do something on a daily basis. It involves getting a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hanging it on a prominent wall. The next step is to get a big red magic marker. Each day that you do the task you’re trying to do that day, you put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. If you keep at it the chain will keep growing longer every day. You’ll take pride in that chain, especially after a few weeks of red X’s, and the only job left is to not break the chain. This is a great strategy for people trying to build a pattern. It’s especially effective when it comes to fighting addiction and living a healthy life, which are both challenges that you need to take on one day at a time.

            6. Work On Your Task for 10 Minutes

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              If you have trouble getting started on something, this productivity trick is perfect. Just commit to doing your task for 10 minutes. Anyone can do something for 10 minutes. But what happens is that when you spend those 10 minutes doing the task, you’ll get in the groove of things and feel committed to do a lot more.

              Which one works best for you?

              Featured photo credit: Fernando Mafra via flickr.com

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              Matt OKeefe

              Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on November 15, 2019

              How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

              How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

              Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

              However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

              Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

              Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

              Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

              What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

              To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

              The Biology

              Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

              Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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              The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

              A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

              Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

              So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

              Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

              Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

              Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

              Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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              The Psychology

              Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

              Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

              Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

              Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

              What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

              Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

              Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

              1. Identify Your Habits

              As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

              2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

              Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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              It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

              3. Apply Logic

              You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

              Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

              4. Choose an Alternative

              As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

              Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

              5. Remove Triggers

              Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

              Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

              6. Visualize Change

              Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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              For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

              7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

              Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

              Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

              Final Thoughts

              Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

              Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

              More About Changing Habits

              Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

              Reference

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