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You Should Pick Up These After-Work Habits of Highly Successful People

You Should Pick Up These After-Work Habits of Highly Successful People

Motivational tips don’t have to be limited to your career! Check out these after-work habits of highly successful people, and see how you can change your life when you’re off the clock.

1. Explore your creative side.

Leave behind the restrictive clothes, desk, and computer when you leave the office. Wear your favorite comfortable clothes and get ready to explore your creative side! Do you like to draw or paint? Spread out on the table or floor and spend some time sketching and shading. Are you working on the Great American Novel? Take an hour or two after work to write a chapter. Practice an instrument, film silly videos, do whatever strikes your fancy! Taking time to explore your creative side will make you feel more in touch with your true self as opposed to your work self, which will in turn make you feel more refreshed and motivated when you’re at work the next day.

2. Spend time outdoors.

Fresh air and exercise will help you feel great after a day cooped up in the office. Both of these things will get your blood flowing and keep you from crashing on the couch as soon as you get in. The increased blood flow and heart rate will also inspire you to work on other things once you get home, whether it’s chores, creative endeavors, or just spending time with family.

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    3. Play a physically demanding sport.

    Spending time outside is fine by itself, as is exercising. But playing a physically demanding sport challenges other parts of you. Most physically demanding sports are partner or team sports, like tennis or basketball, so you’ll be socializing and working together as you play.

    4. Get more sleep.

    Who doesn’t love an afternoon nap? Getting more sleep will make you feel more refreshed later in the day, and even make getting up the next morning that much easier. Whether you have to go to bed earlier or slip in some short naps throughout the day, make sure you’re getting your full eight hours of sleep a day. 

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    5. Catch up with your family.

    Family time is something that often gets rescheduled because you know they’re always hanging around. Instead of taking this for granted, make time to be with your family. Even if you have to plan days in advance to have dinner together or watch a movie, do it and don’t let anything change these plans. Spending time and talking with some of the people who know you best will make you feel rejuvenated.

    6. Plan a vacation.

    What’s more refreshing and invigorating than going on vacation? Knowing you get a break from the daily grind is enough to get you through the most difficult week at work. It might sound silly, but even just planning a vacation might help you get a hint of that freedom. Research places you’d like to visit, check hotel availability, see what sight-seeing tours and museums the town offers. Even if you can’t take the trip right now, you’ll have the excitement of planning it, and you can save your notes until you get time off!

    7. Read a novel.

    Reading is a great way to unwind because you’re escaping your own life to read about someone else’s. You can travel to other countries and live there without leaving your couch. You can learn new things about other cultures and lifestyles without even realizing it because you’re having a good time reading.

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    8. Enjoy cooking dinner.

    Cooking dinner can seem like a hassle when you have to do it after putting in a long day at work. You have to plan the meal, cook it, serve it, and clean up afterwards. Instead of thinking of this as a hassle, enjoy the experience! Plan a meal that’s healthy and satisfies your cravings. Get your family to help with tasks so it gets done more efficiently, and you get to spend time together. If everyone helps with cleanup, dinner won’t be a hassle – you’ll get to be with each other and enjoy a delicious meal while doing so! 

    9. Meditate.

    It can be hard to completely clear your mind, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. Take time in the morning before work and in the evening before you go to bed to sit by yourself and let the day wash over you. Don’t dwell on what did or didn’t happen. Don’t think of everything you have to accomplish tomorrow. Just be in the moment, see where your thoughts take you, and relax.

    10. Make your mornings about you.

    No one likes to hear their alarm blaring in the morning, but making mornings about you can make that sound a little sweeter. Take your time waking up, enjoy coffee and a good breakfast so you have the right start to your day. Don’t get bogged down by what you need to do that day, don’t assign chores or let your family members nag you. Encourage everyone to be quiet and calm when they wake up, and see how that helps set the tone for your day.

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    Featured photo credit: L’eau Bleue via flickr.com

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    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

    Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

    “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

    In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

    New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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    So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

    What is the productivity paradox?

    There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

    In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

    He wrote in his conclusion:

    “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

    Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

    How do we measure productivity anyway?

    And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

    In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

    But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

    In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

    But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

    Possible causes of the productivity paradox

    Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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    • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
    • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
    • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
    • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

    There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

    According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

    Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

    The paradox and the recession

    The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

    “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

    This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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    According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

    Looking forward

    A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

    “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

    Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

    “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

    On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

    Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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