Productivity

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Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves

Ice freezing offices. Social media. YouTube. Fantasy football leagues. There is one thing all of them have in common – they are all primary suspects for causing your productivity at work to plummet. Even the top-level CEOs fall under temptation to watch the latest cat video uploaded on YouTube. The difference is, they found a way to overcome these bad habits with some simple hacks and tricks.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” –Paul J. Meyer.

Your environment cannot always be controlled, but you can control what you get accomplished. In addition to that, you can always learn from others, mimic their behavior, and discover how they get things done more efficiently. Certainly, there are some easy ways to accomplish more, like turning off your smartphone or blocking access to YouTube.

However, these are all small things that wouldn’t get you far enough. There are far better ways to become the best version of yourself at work. And the best thing is that you can learn these productivity skills by following the good examples of some of the world’s most successful people.

Below are some productivity secrets top-level CEOs swear on.

Develop the growth mindset

You should never be satisfied with where you and your company are right now. You should know that there is always room for improvement in every area. There is always a better and faster way of doing something.

Elon Musk once said: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

And that is growth mindset at its finest.

This skill separates successful people from everyone else.

When your mind is trained in such a way, you know that anything is achievable as long as you put enough effort into it. And if by any means you fail, don’t take it too personally. Instead, approach the problem from a different angle until you get it right.

Use technology for productivity, not for the distraction

use technology

We bet that now you are saying: “What are they talking about? In the beginning, they said that technology is credited the most for all the distractions at work.”

Well, yes and no.

Technology can be of great help and top-level CEOs know that. There are plenty of mobile apps that can make their lives a lot easier and stress-free, especially for the ones who travel a lot. Business apps allow them to stay productive and work from wherever they are. They can basically bring their whole offices with them through a device that fits perfectly into their pockets.

Therefore, we decided to share with you one very interesting interactive infographic created by the people from Cometdocs. It will show you what mobile apps can completely and effortlessly replace traditional office equipment. Just click on the blue dots in order to find out what mobile app replaces the selected office element.

See Also: 5 Top Technology Trends That Will Shape 2018

Schedule your day around when your brain is at its finest

What we mean by this is you should schedule your day around when your brain is at the peak of its power. Postpone all brainless and unimportant activities until it is fatigued.

First of all, there is one question you have to give a precise answer to: “When is my brain at its peak power?”

Let’s say it is from 7 to 11 a.m.

During that period, you should only focus on your most challenging tasks. Your schedule should be blocked off so you could have as little distractions as possible.

What about after 11 a.m.?

Well, continue with your everyday work, respond to emails, do those charts or call people back.

Basically, your mornings or whenever your concentration is at its best should be kept for important stuff and that time should be non-negotiable. Only afterward should you start dealing with your everyday work.

By following this little hack, you will achieve in 6 months what other people wouldn’t achieve in 2 years!

Set limits for everything, meetings, emails, tasks, you name it

set limits

There is no time for wasting time – see what we did there?

Previously, we talked about how you should plan your day around according to your level of concentration. And now, we will let you know how you should manage your everyday work aside from those prime time hours.

Top level CEOs know how to make the most out of every minute and that is easily achievable by limiting your everyday tasks.

For example, you could limit your meetings to 1 hour, 20 minutes for presentation and 40 minutes for the discussion. Nothing less and nothing more.

Or you could set the limit for the length of the emails you send. That way, you could respond to every work-related email you get and save time because you are keeping the responses short. Basically, every task can be limited in some way and you should definitely take advantage of it.

Replace “but” with “and”

Whenever you say “but” in a conversation, you are indicating that everything that you said before the “but” is not relevant. People are subconsciously trained to immediately forget everything you said before the “but”.

For example, someone may say: “I completely agree with everything you said and did, BUT here is what I think.” Have you felt it? Like your brain is preparing to fight.

Replacing “but” with “and” completely changes the tonality and dynamic of communication and this really works. People feel more appreciated and are likely to be open-minded to new ideas and suggestions when you approach them this way. Try it the next time you want to suggest something, you won’t regret it.

Final thoughts

You may try all of these productivity secrets at once or one tip at the time. The case is, all of the top level CEOs focus on doing several things really well each day rather than doing a hundred things poorly.

We truly hope you enjoyed reading this article and we would love to hear about the hacks you use to stay productive in the comments below.

The post Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer

Coworkers, emails, phone calls, customers or clients…. The amount of things that can distract us from our responsibilities in a work day is enormous. Normally, we don’t resist these distractions and we end up switching over to them because want to.

This kind of multi-tasking kills our ability to be productive.

Scientific studies have shown that we lose 40% of our time due to switching between tasks. That means that we’re losing 16 hours of our work week by multitasking alone.

The #1 offender that gets us off track?

Mobile phones in the workplace.

Why are mobile phones so good at getting us off track?

There’s actually a simple explanation and it has to do with the way our brains work.

It’s called the Triune Brain Theory.

If you’ve never heard of the Triune Brain Theory, here’s the short version:

The Triune Brain Theory is a model for how the brain works as proposed by Dr. Paul MacLean. Our brain is actually made up of three brains which evolved on top of each other: the physical brain, the emotional brain, and the thinking brain.

triune brain theory
Via slideplayer.com

The physical brain controls all of our physical needs such as safety and security, hunger, sex, and shelter. The emotional brain controls all of our emotions and emotional needs such as happiness, sadness, relationship, and connection with others. The thinking brain controls all of our complex thinking skills such as language, abstract thought, and planning.

The strongest is the physical brain, followed by the emotional brain, then by the thinking brain. These brains all want different things and have their own unique ways to get them.

In order to get rid of distractions, we have to learn to manage our physical brain.

The physical brain loves immediate, physical gratification and wants it ALL the time. It also pulls our emotional brain in to help it in this task. When it fails to get its needs, it dumps us with negative emotions.

For example, our physical brain loves looking at our phone. Scientists discovered that when we look at our phones, we get a hit of dopamine: the chemical that makes us happy.

In this article, researchers connected electrodes to Anderson Cooper from CNN and measured his heart rate and perspiration. When he couldn’t check his phone every time a notification alert occurred, he showed the same withdrawal symptoms that you see from an addict.

The Solution

In order to overcome this addiction and take your productivity back, you have to put your phone in a place where it’s accessible if you really need it, but not so easily accessible that you’ll reach for it in the case of a distraction.

My recommendation is a lock with a timer.

With this, you can lock your phone away for a set time and work uninterrupted.

locked box

Try this: Get a small box that can be used with a lock. Get your timed lock and set the time length for 45 minutes and work. Make sure your phone is on silent and vibration is turned off.

When you get your phone back, go nuts for 15 minutes. Be as impulsive as you want. Get on Facebook, start reading the news, start scrolling through Instagram or text/call your friends. Doing this will get rid of the biggest work distraction out there and allow you to focus and work uninterrupted.

The post One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Need A Productivity Boost? Here’s How Tea Can Help

Tea is a popular drink all over the world for a lot of reasons.

For one, it tastes good and it’s a good way to help you get more fluids. Plus, it’s available in several varieties.

Apart from that, tea also comes with health benefits. It can even help you in boosting productivity and mental wellness.

Now, if you are thinking of drinking tea for an energy boost, here’s what you need to know.

It Contains Some Caffeine- But Not Too Much

Tea contains a little amount of caffeine, but it won’t make you jittery or wreak havoc on your nervous system like coffee. It can boost your energy so you can stay alert and ready to take on your day, without the side effects associated with too much caffeine.

It’s even said that tea has more health benefits than coffee, but we’ll let you make your own decisions about that one.

See Also: 5 Exciting Health Benefits of Tea

It Increases Brain Performance

A study found that a half hour after drinking black or green tea, brain activity starts to increase. The stimulated areas of the brain all contribute to improved cognitive function, alertness, memory, and logical reasoning.

All of those things are helpful if you want to be more productive at work or if you need to get a project done at home. And the best part?

As tea increases your productivity, it also provides a relaxing effect.

It Helps You Relax

tea relaxation

Too much stress is never a good thing. It hinders productivity by affecting how well you’re able to focus on both remembering things you know and processing new information.

Less stress means better productivity and more work done.

Tea can give your mind a little break, even when it’s increasing your brain’s  activity. It helps with relaxation and mental clarity as well as increased learning and attention.

Tea gives you more dopamine, which means you’re going to feel great. It will make you feel excited and ready to get things done. No one is super productive if they’re really bummed out, right?

It Counteracts Effects of Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress isn’t good for your body. It prevents your tissues and cells from functioning properly and that can cause serious health issues.

One of the best teas that can help you with that is green tea. It helps combat free radicals with its antioxidant properties.

It Helps with Both Physical and Mental Health

Studies have shown that tea is associated with a lower risk of depression.

Those who suffer from depression know how hard it can be just to get out of bed on those bad mornings, let alone be efficient and productive. While tea isn’t a total cure, it can be a helpful tool to manage the symptoms of depression.

It’s also been found to help with headaches, nausea, and other digestive problems. All of these things can hinder productivity and distract you from getting things done.

Again, it may not be an absolute cure for what ails you, but it can definitely help alleviate some of your symptoms so you can focus on what needs to be done.

See Also: 4 Best Teas To Help You Lose Weight

Tea Breaks Are Good for You

tea breaks

You need regular breaks to avoid burning yourself out and to keep your productivity at optimal levels. Taking a break to get your mind off of things can help your mind relax a bit.

Tea is a huge help for both productivity and your overall mental health. Make it a point to find a tea that works for you and incorporate it into your daily routine!

The post Need A Productivity Boost? Here’s How Tea Can Help appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life

Knowing how to live a balanced life is a great thing for your mental health. It’s not a matter of having complete control over your life, but about finding what works best for you. It means not feeling like you’re being pulled in several directions all at once.

A balanced life can make you feel more content and calm. You’ll have more motivation and ability to move forward with your plans. You don’t feel so down about everything all the time.

So, read on below and find out how to start balancing your life today. Hopefully, these tips can help you be more grounded and better-rounded individual.

Inner And Outer Focus

There are two kinds of elements you need to balance if you want to start your new life. These are inner and outer elements. When one focuses more on one kind of element, an imbalance happens. And of course, you wouldn’t want that to happen.

External elements are your social circle, including family and other relationships. The list also includes your work, hobbies, and your activities. On the other hand, internal elements refer to your inner self. The thoughts in your mind and the workings of your heart are what comprise your internal elements.

Obviously, focusing on just work, relationships, and external activities would leave you with a massive spiritual gap. On the same note, it is also simply not practical to have your mind and heart reflecting on themselves all the time. After all, you have to experience life.

With that, you should strive to focus on both your internal and external elements. This can involve challenging your mind with intellectual pursuits or satisfying your tummy with delicious and healthy foods. As for your heart, it is best if you open yourself up to love, hope and joy. Exposing yourself to bitterness and hatred would soon starve your heart and it can affect you physically, too.

If you are lagging behind in your work, seek to motivate yourself. Don’t settle for less. Know when and how to give yourself the respect that you deserve. Give time to your family as well and remember these connections are for life. In the same way, you also need to pull back from those relationships and seek to foster bonds with those who are worth it.

See Also: 3 Simple Steps to Balance Your Emotional State

Look Around You

It’s essential that you look at your present life in order to work out its kinks. This can help you discern the amount of imbalance you’re currently experiencing. What are you neglecting and what could you make better?

Notice Your Leanings

Taking proper stock of your life would help you see which way you’re leaning. Are you listening too much to your heart and not enough to the practical aspects of things? This could make you a very shabby decision-maker.

Are you following every rule to the letter? It’s probably the reason why you’re not giving yourself a break every now and then.

Plan It Out

list-goals

Once you know where you need to improve, write out your goals. What tasks do you need to accomplish every week, month or year? What worked for you before? Do you think that would work again?

Planning all of these things out will help you create a proper and an effective plan of action.

Think About The Past

Think about your achievements up until now. Focus on your mood and your motivation, which led to your success. Once you’ve gotten hold of that feeling, don’t let it go.

You must have dealt with some fear and doubts back then, too. If you were able to handle them then, you can handle them now. Get some real motivation and some valuable lessons from your past self.

See Also: Time to Break the Cocoon! 5 Great Tips For Finding Motivation

Anticipate The Negativity And Prepare For It

When you look at achieving balance, anticipate the obstacles. Expect some negative feelings, doubts, and second-guessing. Once you know all your inner tricks that throw you off balance, prepare for a counter-attack. This way, you would be more kind to yourself in your balancing process.

Find A Support System

support system

When searching for balance, have a supportive person nearby. This could be your closest friend, a relative or your spouse. See which person provides the healthiest support and stick with him/her.

When you have a companion, the journey becomes easier. It will help you become more aware of your process and make more sense of it.

Wrap Up

Once you finish instilling the above tips in your life, you’re on your way to becoming more balanced and grounded. You would hopefully soon notice your productivity going up and your frustration coming down. This is an excellent exercise if you are consistently finding life slipping away from you.

The post 7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity

Productivity is an interesting thing.

Some people keep themselves busy all day and consider themselves productive. In reality, however, they focus on so many different things that the end result isn’t satisfying.

Others prefer to analyze their behavior closely so that they can see what they’re doing wrong and what can be optimized. That’s the right approach if you want to ditch some bad practices and succeed with your ventures in all aspects.

Our online habits make a great example.

What you do while working on your laptop or when you’re just using the Internet can kill your focus. To change that, you first need to define those time-wasting activities that affect your work productivity and start doing something about them.

Browsing without a purpose

online habits

It’s a common scenario to have many tabs open in your browser while working. Every now and then, you’d open a new one, read something and then distract yourself. After some time, you’ll find it hard to get back to what you were doing. That leads to hours of wasted time when you review what you did each week.

How to fix that?

If you really want a quick solution, then install and activate a software that blocks access to certain platforms. You can also do that to your browsers if you want to do some work that doesn’t require research.

There are plenty of tools out there that can do this for you and even notify you when you’re using certain websites too much. Some tools will even let you set limits as to how long you want them to block things so that you can focus on more important tasks.

Not being selective enough

If you don’t know what you need to do and why you’re doing it, you’ll end up indulging in many unproductive activities. Watching random YouTube videos, clicking spammy links, reading newsletters, and checking unimportant notifications in your social media can eat away your focus, energy, and time.

It’s time to get rid of the unnecessary things so that you can concentrate on the essentials. This will help you double your results when working. Apart from that, taking the steps below will also help you have more peace of mind.

Here’s what you should say ‘no’ to when online:

  • Unsubscribe from any site or service sending you their newsletters or offers. From now on, if you need anything, simply type the web address yourself and see what’s new.
  • Block ads from appearing on websites. You can do that by installing an ad blocker as an add-on. These differ depending on your browser, but each is effective enough.
  • Turn off notifications on Facebook and other social media networks you’re using daily. Go to the Settings tab and see what you can block, disable or remove. This way, there’ll be no more pointless news in your feed and you won’t hear alerts from your phone all day.

See Also: 7 Mentally Damaging Habits You Need To Let Go

Letting email become a distraction

Email is a powerful communication tool. But, if you don’t manage your inbox well, it might cost you time and compromise your focus on a daily basis.

To change that, set some limits. You can choose not to open your email first thing in the morning and do it twice a day instead. Open it right after you’re done with your most important tasks for the day and check it again in the late afternoon when your mind is clear.

Not knowing when to unplug

bad work habits

You can’t be productive online when you’re connected 24/7. Your mind needs a break from technology and the best time to do that seems to be around two hours before bedtime. That means not just ditching all devices from your evening ritual, but also not thinking about them. This will take some discipline and time.

In the beginning, you might crave checking Facebook when in bed or using your laptop right before that. Remember that devices can keep your brain activated long after you’ve put them away, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

To change that, unplug every evening after you’ve done all that you had to. In addition, don’t grab your phone or start checking sites first thing in the morning. Be distraction-free in the morning, so you’ll experience the solitude of the early hours. You should get online only when it’s time for work.

These practices will help you change not just your online habits, but your whole daily schedule. You’ll have more time for yourself as a focused mind gets things done in a shorter time.

See Also: 6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

The post 4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space

Public coworking spaces and shared office spaces have become increasingly popular in the last decade. In fact, in over six years, the number of shared office spaces available has jumped from 1,130 to 13,800 — a leap of 12,670 spaces.

This popularity is due to the undeniable benefits of shared working spaces, especially for freelancers and independent contractors. Factors such as energy level, professional ambiance and mingling lend a hand to the success of this office style. However, like working anywhere, shared spaces have their own unique downsides. Sensory overload, random uncontrollable noise and self-management can decrease your work productivity.

Here are a few tips to making this public space work for you!

Invest in Headphones

coworking space productivity

Open work spaces come with a lot of noise. Even with the best efforts to keep quiet, keyboard strokes, coffee sips, small chatter, conference calls and more can quickly become a nuisance.

The solution? Headphones.

Using a personalized music playlist or listening to your favorite podcast is proven to be effective in enhancing your focus. However, make sure to cater to your work. If you’re writing, music is usually a better choice than a podcast as it provides too much word input. But, if you’re designing web platforms, a podcast you enjoy will keep your brain busy while you’re completing tedious tasks.

If music in your ear isn’t your jam (pun intended), consider complete silence with a high-quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. Covering up with a pair of these will block out the chitter chatter and clickety clicks, so you can focus on your workload in peace and quiet.

See Also: This Type Of Music Can Increase Your Productivity

Create Your ‘Office’

cowork space

Much like audio chaos, visual noise is worth reducing for increased productivity. Avoid having anything chaotic or messy within your sight to help maintain focus. Items like trash bins, cluttered tables, washroom hallways and even busy streets are distracting.

Try facing towards a view with simple, clean lines. It can be a garden window or a wall. It seems boring, but Zen tradition suggests this is a great way to stay on task. If possible, include daylight near your workspace. Increased light exposure is proven to improve sleep habits and therefore increase productivity.

Having a plant nearby can also relax the body and foster creativity. If the space doesn’t have plants, consider commuting with your own or bringing a few to leave in the space. Of course, make sure to talk to the owner of the workspace first to ensure that your greenery doesn’t get tossed out at the end of the day.

If your line of work involves a high level of creativity, you may choose to face the excitement head on and use it as your muse. The saying “to each his own” is appropriate for visual decluttering.

See Also: 7 Surprising Benefits of Coworking Spaces

Prioritize Your Time

Most people (64%) who use coworking spaces are better able to meet their deadlines. Time management plays a large role in their ability to do so. To become one of the 64%, it’s suggested that you mute all unimportant notifications. Little beeps for unimportant tasks will take your focus away from larger, more important jobs.

Next, studies show that in order to produce the highest quality of work in the shortest amount of time, people should work intensely for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.

The trick? Staying off of social media, text messaging and the like. Instead, use your break to take a refreshing walk or mingle within the office space. Not only will this help you refocus, but networking never hurts!

Scheduling your own hours is a huge perk that comes along with this style of working. However, if you aren’t disciplined with your time, it’s easy to start working in overdrive. Keeping set hours helps you stay on track, sets the pace for your day and for your potential clients and assures you do not overwork yourself.

One of the reasons shared working spaces are successful is the fact that they provide a structured space to work that is not home. Use this to your advantage and keep work and home time separate.

In addition to these three focus points, maintaining a work-life harmony and keeping procrastination tendencies under control are also important to increasing your productivity in a shared work environment. Once your space is perfected, you will reap the benefits of joining a coworking habitat, including an improved home life, a potential increase in income and added professional flexibility.

Share our awesome infographic on Tips For Getting Work Done.

 

The post How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Free Business Productivity Apps To Help You Grow Your Small Business

Managing a business is easier said than done. When you run your own business, you need to give it all your time and attention. It’s a job that is both demanding and fulfilling.

Eventually, you’ll want to turn it into a business that can run without you. This, unfortunately, is the harder part.

The first obstacle you need to anticipate is manpower. For small businesses and start-up companies, it is usually the owner that does most of the work. To help you out, here are the top business productivity apps you can rely on for help.

1. TMetric

tmetric

This is a time tracking app that can help you manage projects and your team at the same time. It can track your team’s work activities which you can view in a simple timeline mode.

If you have remote employees or you’re not in the office most of the time, you can use this app to check on your team’s productivity. As the project leader, you’ll be able to view what sites your members visited or what apps they’ve used in a specific period of time.

Tmetric is completely free and can be integrated with other tools like Trello, Basecamp, Jira, Asana, and RedMine. Compared with other time tracking apps, this one is very user-friendly and does not require training to understand.

It’s a simple click-and-go app with powerful features at no cost.

See Also: Top 7 Ways to Improve Your Productivity 

2. MailChimp

mailchimp

For a business to grow, its mailing list should grow as well. It’s a great way to continuously generate leads and sales.

MailChimp is an easy and professional way to send emails to your subscribers. Its intuitive interface allows even the most non-techy users to make it work.

For small businesses, the free version is a good starting point. You can send up to 12,000 emails a month to a mailing list of up to 2,000 contacts.

MailChimp has a huge directory of integration. Popular platforms include WordPress, Shopify, and Magento.

3. Wave

waveapps

This app is pretty straightforward. It’s a free accounting software that covers invoicing, payroll, bills, and other factors that involve money. It’s specifically tailored for small businesses.

Wave gives business owners an easy and efficient way to manage books. If you want to handle accounting work yourself but don’t want to spend money for more advanced apps, this is a great solution.

You can securely link your banking accounts, send unlimited invoices, and pay as many bills as you want. It is a Canadian-based company with over 2.5 million users.

You can securely link your banking accounts, send unlimited invoices, and pay as many bills as you want. It is a Canadian-based company with over 2.5 million users.

4. Tasytt

tasytt-app

Welcoming a new team member can take a lot of work, particularly when it comes to orientation and training. This is a common experience and issue for most small businesses.

As a solution, you can try a tiny but powerful app called Tasytt. It streamlines your company’s training process so you know who’s reading what and for how long.

See Also: 8 Top Marketing Tips for Small Businesses 

In addition to onboarding new team members, it’s  a great tool for training existing team members without having to set up individual meetings, too. By creating ‘flows’, which are basically tasks made into a smaller set of activities, you can easily track your team’s progress and productivity.

BONUS: You can also consider this free automated timesheet template as an additional resource to help you track time across your teams and stay more productive.

 

The post 4 Free Business Productivity Apps To Help You Grow Your Small Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

Research tells us that willpower is like a muscle. You can work on making it stronger, but you can’t keep it flexed forever.

In other words:

Willpower is a limited resource.

There’s no better use of one’s willpower than on forming the right habits. The right habits serve as the bridge between where you are and where you want to be. Once those habits are formed, you don’t have to exert willpower on them anymore. Your journey towards success is effectively put on autopilot.

Try and adopt at least one of the following six productivity habits and reap the fruits of increased happiness and fulfillment.

Join the 5 a.m. club

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”

– Ben Franklin

Waking up early is a habit common among the world’s highest achievers. Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, Immanuel Kant and Thomas Jefferson are all examples of men who were early risers.

Turns out:

Several studies have correlated waking up early with success.

In a 2008 Texas University study, college students who woke up earlier earned a higher point than those who study and sleep late (3.5 vs. 2.5).

Also, Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that early risers are more proactive and more likely to respond positively to statements like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”

And if that isn’t enough, psychology research also tells us that early risers are happier and healthier than night-owls.

When you wake up early, there are less distractions and more time for you to focus on planning your day and doing what needs to get done.

Check out this actionable guide to discover how to burst out of bed every single morning.

Meditate Daily

meditate everyday

“The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.”

– David Lynch

After interviewing more than 200 world-class performers like Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Amelia Boone for his podcast (The Tim Ferris Show), Tim found that the most consistent habit among his guests was some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.

Meditation is a practice that is a thousand years old. Only recently has science begun to discover the profound effects that it has on the brain.

A group of Harvard-affiliated researchers reported that, over time, meditation can increase the brain’s gray matter. This is the region of your brain associated with decision-making.

What is life but a sum total of your decisions?

If something as simple as 10 minutes of daily meditation can improve the quality of your decisions, imagine what it can do for your overall quality of life.

Meditation has also been shown to reduce stress, improve concentration, increase self-awareness, slow down aging and increase happiness. It’s a habit that can improve every area of your life.

Don’t know where to start? Check out this beginner’s guide to meditation.

See Also: Benefits Of Meditation: How You Can Change Your Life In 10 Minutes

Read for 30 Minutes Everyday

read a book everyday

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”

– Socrates

I compare reading to taking the red pill because it’s what snapped me out of the matrix of societal conditioning. Reading the works of great men and women showed me the extent of what’s really possible.

When we hear about Richard Branson in the media, we see him as the cool and suave, self-made billionaire. However, when you read his autobiography, you’ll learn about the mistakes he made, the obstacles he overcame and the lessons he learned. It has a sort of humanizing effect on him and you’ll realize that what one man can do, another can do as well.

Expose yourself to a wide variety of books and ideas to develop a dynamic and empowered perspective on life.

Need help getting started? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to read more.

Practice Gratitude

“Gratefulness is a higher organ of perception, through which you can accurately appreciate a fundamental truth: the universe works in mysterious ways, and you’re the constant beneficiary of its generosity.”

– Phil Stutz

Practicing gratitude teaches us to love the life we have while in pursuit of the life we want.

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to those who have more than us. But, when we realize the simple miracles of everyday life (e.g. access to clean water, the ability to walk, a warm bed to sleep in, etc.), it puts things in perspective.

The power of gratitude has been demonstrated in multiple studies. Here’s one that I like in particular:

Researchers brought participants into a lab and asked them to write a few sentences each week focused on a particular topic. One group wrote about the things they were grateful for while the other wrote about daily irritations or things that displeased them.

After about 10 weeks, the participants that wrote down what they were grateful for were more optimistic, felt better about their lives, exercised more and visited their physicians less.

Practicing gratitude literally changes your brain and makes you a happier and more fulfilled person. Make it a habit to write down 5 things that you’re grateful for every single day.

Skip Breakfast

“Since I’ve started intermittent fasting I’ve increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, increased explosiveness, and decreased the amount of time I’ve spent training.”

– James Clear

This habit might come as a shock to you. After all, we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This idea, however, is quickly being laid to rest as the benefits of intermittent fasting have become too many to ignore.

See Also: Breaking the Fast: What I Have Learned Using Intermittent Fasting

Did you know that digestion is actually one of your body’s most complicated and intensive functions? That’s right.

By skipping breakfast, you extend your overnight fast and allow your body to focus its resources on other important tasks, like controlling blood sugar and facilitating cellular recovery.

Furthermore, a short-term fast can boost testosterone and growth hormone levels. These two factors can seriously enhance your progress when trying to lean down.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet. It is a pattern of eating. To get started with IF, you only have to follow one rule:

Eat within a 6-8 hour window.

So, if you wake up at 8 a.m., simply skip breakfast and have your first meal between 12-2 p.m. Have your final meal between 8-10 p.m. It’s as simple as that. For a more intensive resource for, you can check out James Clear’s guide.

Since adopting IF, my productivity has also shot up. My body is not involved in digestion and I find myself more focused on work. By the time I have my first meal, I’ve already gotten so much work done that the rest of the day is pretty much just a bonus.

Make Your Bed

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

– U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven

Making your bed in the morning will set the tone for the rest of your day. As the first task of the day, it will set the momentum for your next set of tasks. By the end of the day, it will be like a domino effect that has carried over.

As McCraven mentions in his University of Texas commencement speech:

“Making your bed will reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made – that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

 

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How Lack Of Integrity Can Affect Your Life

Integrity is probably at the center of my core values.

If I’m not being generous, I’m out of integrity. If I’m not being honest, I’m out of integrity. When I’m not showing compassion, I’m out of integrity.

Another way to look at it is if I’m out of integrity, I’m not in alignment with what’s important to me. And to be perfectly honest, I simply can’t function when my integrity is out. My life just doesn’t work.

Now, whether my integrity is out or not is entirely subjective. Logic doesn’t come into it and I can’t talk or justify my way out of feeling out of integrity. If I’m out of integrity, I KNOW I’m out of integrity and no amount of sophistry, understanding, justification or reasoning is going to change that.

It sounds like I’m being really harsh on myself, but that’s not how it is at all. By working on getting myself back in integrity, I’m constantly moving further into alignment.

Things don’t flow when I’m out of integrity. Stuff doesn’t work and I feel blocked. It’s unpleasant when I’m that way. It feels like I’m wading through quicksand.

Why life feels like hard work

Half the time, it’s not obvious that I’m being out of integrity and that’s where problems happen. Because my integrity so intrinsically links with everything else, all I know is I feel out of sorts and things feel just not quite right.

I’ve felt like that for a few days now and it’s been getting more and more difficult to achieve or complete anything. Even writing has been difficult and, trust me, I usually have no problems in writing something.

Then I realized: I’m out of integrity.

I gave my word to do something and it hasn’t happened. The reasons for it not happening are completely out of my control, but it’s still my responsibility.

My word, my responsibility. No one’s fault, just my responsibility.

I told someone I’d do something and it hasn’t happened. I’ve communicated with the person and reset the event date 4 times now. It’s still not going to happen and I’m not willing to reset the date again. My integrity is out, not just on sticking to my word but also on another of my core values: fairness.

Even though the reasons are completely out of my control, I don’t feel like I’m being fair to the other person for constantly changing the plan. And I’m feeling awful about it.

feeling awful

I’m feeling awful because my integrity is out and I can’t do anything about it. The other person was very understanding, but it isn’t my fault and I’m not the only one to blame.

But, that’s not the point.

The point is that it’s MY integrity that’s out, therefore, it’s MY integrity that needs mending.

I want to feel good about myself, so I MUST take responsibility. The reason is simple.

I’m taking responsibility, regardless of the fact that not all things and people are under my control because I gave MY word that I’d do something.

Living with knowing that I can’t stand by my word is unacceptable.

I could go down the path of justification, reasonableness, and blame. After all, it’s not entirely my fault.

But, if I do that, then it’s like giving the power over whether I’m true to myself and my core values to someone or something else.

I’m giving the power about how I feel about myself to someone else. It’s like letting someone else have control over my life. And no one should have that power over anyone else.

Only WE know whether we’re being true to ourselves or not.

If you feel that something’s “off”, that life is hard work or just a bit icky, take a long, hard look at yourself. Find out where you’re not being responsible. No matter how ridiculous it seems or no matter how much things are completely out of your control, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

take responsibility

Take responsibility for knowing that you’re being true to yourself. Don’t leave it for years like I’ve done in the past. Look at it NOW.

See Also: Taking Ownership: Are You Taking Full Responsibility For Your Life?

Where are YOU out of integrity?

I can pretty much guarantee that if life is feeling like hard work for you, it’s because you’re out of integrity SOMEWHERE.

It might be around your values or because you feel like your job isn’t the one for you. You might have given up on a dream, eating poorly or not exercising. You might be in a relationship that you know is not right for you. It might be due to all the things you’re saying in your own head.

So, have a close look and find out where you are running out of integrity.

Don’t waste any more time not feeling completely in the flow. Do something about it NOW.

See Also: Flow: Discovering The Secret to High Performance and Happiness

The post How Lack Of Integrity Can Affect Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Visual Tools To Boost Your Productivity At Work

Did you know that you can only be productive for about 3 hours in an 8-hour work day?

One good reason is the limited concentration of humans. Aside from that, there are other factors that can eat up your time at work. Just think about meetings, lunch breaks and having small chats with your co-workers.

If you aren’t careful, those 3 hours of productivity can easily go down the drain.

While there are plenty of methods and tools which you can use to organize your work and enhance your focus, not all of them are effective in generating positive results.

Increasing Productivity Through Visualization

Human beings are visual learners. In fact, they can process visuals 60,000x faster than text. This is why a visual tool can truly boost your productivity, especially when you need to organize your work and increase your focus.

But, first, why would visual methods or tools work better?

A tool or a method that is based on visualization has the power to engage both sides of the human brain. Such tools require the skills of the left brain for letters, sequences, lines and numbers as well as the right brain for color, spatial awareness, image and rhythm. This does not only enhance the thinking process, but it also stimulates creativity.

To help streamline your work and increase your productivity, you can use the following visual tools.

Mind Maps

From Northwestern University

A mind map is a tool that you can use to visualize an idea that is sprouting in your head. It provides a framework for gradually developing a concept or a strategy.

At the center of the mind map, you put down the main idea and, as you develop it, you can add the related information on the branches that fork out from the center.

A comprehensive mind map makes it easier to identify and analyze links between details that make up the concept. It is a great tool to use when planning out a strategy, event or a project.  Use a mind map to schedule your day at work first thing in the morning, and you’ll see how it helps you estimate and organize your work properly.

Flowcharts

With a flowchart, you can graphically illustrate the sequence of steps in a process, be it the hiring, sales or the manufacturing process.

How does this help you increase your productivity?

Imagine you are working on developing a new sales process. With the use of a flowchart, you can easily picture how it should work out as well as identify the areas that need more careful planning. Plus, when it comes to pitching your idea to your team or seniors, a flowchart can explain at a glance what you will have to explain in a thousand words.

Flowcharts are also an effective decision-making and problem-solving tool.

See Also: 5 Key Steps That Will Improve Your Decision Making

Gantt Charts

A Gantt chart is a project planning tool. It helps a team visualize the project schedule and monitor and record the progress you make. It can also be useful when allocating resources or setting up deadlines.

A comprehensive Gantt chart provides you a quick overview of all the important details of a project, such as the due dates, task names and those who are in charge of them. When estimating your tasks and tracking their progress, a Gantt chart could be a handy productivity tool.

Organizational Charts

Traditionally, this type of chart is used to graphically illustrate the structure of an organization. While it illustrates job titles and responsibilities, it can also clear the reporting structure within or between departments. It can also be used to identify ideal employees when allocating resources and help new employees in understanding company hierarchies and departments better.

Fishbone Diagrams

Fishbone diagrams (a.k.a. cause-and-effect diagrams) help identify the root cause of an issue. It can be considered as a visual problem-solving technique. Drawn like a bone of a fish, the head of the fish represents the issue that needs to be solved. The bones, one the other hand, can be used to jot down the potential causes.

A fishbone diagram can be considered as a time-saving tool when used to structure a brainstorming session or a thorough analysis of an issue.

See Also: 55 Bulletproof Productivity Hacks 

The right work strategy can help you improve your output by 25% and, with the right tools, you can definitely further the outcome.

How to Increase Workplace Productivity through Visualization

Created with Creately.

 

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Smart Tips On How to Become A More Productive Blogger

Productive people are successful people.  They get their work done, make sure all necessary tasks are tended to and leave no loose ends. If you are a blogger, however, these things can be very hard to achieve.

When you’re a blogger, you’re your own boss. You decide what gets done and when so productivity should always be a high priority for you.

To help you achieve that, we’ve compiled some of the best blogging tips that can help you do more with your time.

Make A Plan

planning blogging

Making a plan for when you’re going to write articles, post them on your blog and social media and respond to and send emails can keep you organized and on track. A plan can help you decide what you need to do for the day and limit the time you’ll have to wonder about your next task.

Delegate Small Tasks to Freelancers

You don’t have to do everything by yourself even if you are the sole owner and operator of your blog. Small things, like formatting photos, creating logos and crafting theme designs, can be done by others.

This will save you time as well as increase the quality of your blog. There are several freelancing options and platforms that can meet your budget and needs.

See Also: A Practical Guide to Hiring and Managing Freelancers

Use Your Bookmark Bar

The bookmark bar is a very useful tool that you may not even be aware of. If you haven’t used it yet, it’s a tool which you can use to save websites that you may frequently visit or need to access later.

You can quickly save a website by holding the control key and then pressing the ‘D’ button. Since you’ll no longer have to manually type the website or search for it, you’ll be able to save a good amount of time.

Utilize Time-Saving Plugins

If you have your own blog website, then this will be very useful to you.

Plugins can do a variety of things. They are like apps for your website which can save you time and a lot of hard work.

For example, Akismet is a common plugin that eliminates spam comments so you don’t have to delete them manually. There are also plugins that preserve your format, font, and layout when you want to publish a post.

However, some plugins, like Write!, have .html export options already built in. This way, you can make use of Write!’s special features without having to use plugin space. Keep this in mind as this is one of the most important blogging tips you can find.

Be Passionate About Your Topic

Finding your passion can be a bit difficult but it can help you complete any task. Hopefully, you have chosen a topic for your blog that you are very passionate about.

Some areas of blogging are really exhausting and frustrating. They can easily make you want to give up.

In order to stay on track and be productive, you should try to find something about these tasks that you enjoy. Being passionate about what you’re doing will motivate you to do your best and be at your most productive.

See Also: How To Find The Best Topic For Your Blog

Create a FAQ Page

create an faq page

Are you constantly being asked the same few questions over and over by your visitors?

If so, then you should really consider writing up a FAQ page where you can answer the most common questions from your fans. It’s a more convenient approach since you won’t have to repeatedly answer the same questions.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but those minutes you’ll use answering their questions can easily add up. It’s time you could be spending writing, posting and marketing your blog.

Eliminate Unnecessary Distractions

This tip isn’t specific for blog productivity but can also be used for any task that requires focus.

If you want an easy, sure-fire way to increase your productivity, then get rid of all of the distractions in your blogging environment. This includes signing out of social media, turning your phone to silent, separating yourself from people that will distract you, and suppressing anything that may draw your focus from your current task.

Music may help you focus or draw your focus from your work. This will depend on your preference and what you’re working on.

The post Smart Tips On How to Become A More Productive Blogger appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Adulting Isn’t Just Instagramming Your Dinner – Soft Skills For Millennials

Millennials have been done a great disservice. They are told that if they go to college and earn a degree, they will make a million dollars more over their lifetime than someone without a college degree. While this statistic is true in some cases, many Millennials are under the mistaken impression it is the college degree itself that will get them where they need to go. It turns out there is a whole other set of skills- soft skills- that Millennials are lacking, and that is holding them back.

What Are Soft Skills?

Being able to get to work on time, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough exercise are all soft skills that can impact your job performance. But the soft skills employers are most looking for are:

  • Creative Thinking
  • Effective Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Innovative Thinking
  • Ethical Integrity
  • Intercultural Skills
  • Desire For Continued Learning

Where Do You Get Soft Skills?

reading self study book

Soft skills are generally things that aren’t taught, though they can be. Most people are supposed to learn these things through experience, but when you are just starting out in the job market you don’t really have time to learn on the job. In this job market, you need to show up prepared.

Some places to hone your adulting skills are:

  • Self Help Books
  • Volunteering
  • Adulting Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Hobbies

Whenever you work on bettering yourself, you are bringing yourself one step closer to being a responsible adult. If you are under the mistaken impression you are good enough just as you are, take a long hard look in the mirror. Everyone, literally everyone, has room for improvement. It’s not that you’re a bad person; you need to focus on being the best version of yourself you possibly can be.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer 

What Schools Aren’t Teaching

millennial school

Millennials can have the best degree from the best university, but there are some things they might not be learning. Getting the job done efficiently is as important as getting it done well. Learning to prioritize tasks and set goals and deadlines is certainly something that Millennials should be learning in school, but it doesn’t always shake out that way.

Things that are emphasized in school:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Writing

Things that are not emphasized in school but should be:

  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • History
  • Physical Education
  • Home Economics
  • Social Skills

With the shift toward teaching to a test, the school is results-driven rather than comprehensive. Education is shifted to one extreme- the one that is going to produce the most career-ready students. Unfortunately, the need for arts, humanities, and the like gets lost in the shuffle. Empathy is not measurable, neither is the drive to succeed. As long as you can memorize and regurgitate the material, you get rubber stamped to move on to the next level.

Once school is over, where are Millennials supposed to learn these soft skills? That is the true challenge. Knowing you need to brush up on your soft skills is one thing, but knowing how to do that is something else entirely. Perseverance is the key to all lifelong learning. There will be setbacks and challenges, but learning to press on is where Millennials have the opportunity to transform into the next generation of business leaders.

See Also: How Millennials Measure Success At Work

Learning how to take care of yourself outside of the workplace will go a long way toward success in the workplace. Millennials also often don’t learn how to eat a proper diet, get enough sleep and exercise, and the value of unplugging in school, but these skills can have a huge impact on career readiness.

Soft skills set apart between being able to replicate your job as it was taught to you and being able to innovate a new way to do your job that is more efficient. Soft skills are the difference between keeping your business small and local and being able to scale up because you have the ability to communicate with people from other cultures.

Developing yourself both personally and professionally is something you have to do on your own time. You will have to be willing to engage in lifelong learning. If you don’t want to ever learn anything new ever again, your career is going to be stuck for the rest of your life. But if you can recognize there is a problem and set about trying to solve it, congratulations- you’ve just mastered adulting.

 

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