How many times do you wake up wondering what to do first?
How many times do you look at your “To Do” list and wonder which task to start on?
How many times do you get started on a task and wonder what is the most efficient way to complete it?
I say “hopefully never” because I think most of you guys and gals that follow Survive55.com on a regular basis have a general plan that keeps you working your lives in a relatively efficient and organized manner.
In other words, “you have your stuff together”………..I hope!
It doesn’t matter if you wake up wanting to be a professional race car driver or just hoping to get your blog launched in time, the 10 tips below will help you improve your productivity and planning skills.
I found these in an old Huffington Post article (go figure) written by Todd Van Luling.
Todd is an Associate Editor at Huff and has had positions at two great web sites: BuzzFeed and Flavorwire.
Obviously, and as usual, I have taken some artistic license and added my own two cents worth of insight and experience from the years I spent in the sales and management fields.
Most of these are common sense but I think you will agree that is in short supply now-a-days.
Look them over, use what you like and let me know if there are others you would add.
1. Simply starting a task will make it much easier to finish.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
“The first step is you have to say that you can.”
“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
You get my point right?
Do you need scientific proof?
Well, according to the Zeigarnik Effect, your brain will send signals that effectively nag your conscious mind when you’ve started, but not finished, an objective.
Bluma Zeigarnik was a Soviet psychologist who first developed the theory that humans are naturally driven to finish what they’ve started, due to the anxiety they feel when tasks are begun and then left incomplete.
In 1992, a pair of psychologists proved this theory in a study on task interruption. They saw that the feeling of uneasiness unleashed in the brain could only be quelled by completing the started task. In other words, although the process might be a bit uncomfortable, our brains are naturally wired to push us along to the end.
2. Multitasking is actually impossible and you should probably stop trying to do it.“Humans don’t really multitask,” concluded Eyal Ophir, the primary researcher on a groundbreaking Stanford Multitasking study released back in 2009.
True multitasking — that is, doing more than one thing simultaneously — is a myth, as our brains are actually switching between tasks extremely quickly.
Although some people seem to have become decently good at thisbouncing around of focus, Ophir explains that these people are often working toward a different goal of juggling focus to make sure they don’t miss anything.
“Where you might say traditionally we value the ability to focus through distractions, they are willing to sacrifice focus in order to make sure they don’t miss an unexpected, but rewarding, surprise,” Ophir said.
So if you want to get a specific task done quickly, you should stop trying to multi-task and keep your brain tuned on the most important work at hand.
3. Your willpower is a finite resource that can be used up more quickly than you realize.
“Ego depletion,” a specific kind of mental fatigue identified bypsychologist Roy Baumeister, refers to our mind’s inability to simply will ourselves through an endless number of disciplined tasks.
In what must have been pretty a cool experiment, Baumeister instructed subjects to either eat or resist eating freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies before completing rigorous mental tasks.
The ones who were forced to resist had used up so much willpower by not eating the cookies, that they performed significantly worse on the tests.
So, if you’re trying to push yourself through task after task, just remember that you’ll likely become less and less productive as you keep going on.
4. Small mindless tasks, like checking Facebook, can trick your brain into thinking it’s accomplished something worthwhile.
John Bargh, a social psychologist currently working at Yale, released a study in 2001 that got to the heart of procrastination.
He claimed our brains attempt to simulate “real work” by re-focusing on completing mindless tasks, like cleaning your room or checking your Facebook notifications.
These distractions can trick your brain into releasing the euphoria of “accomplishment” that should be saved for the goal you’d really like to complete.
Your brain is no fool and it knows that completing these simple tasks will give you the same brain boost that completing a more arduous task will.
Fight the urge and stick to the activity that’s most important to you.
5. Shorter, more focused bursts of work will make sure you aren’t diluting your energy.
The most effective workers are ones who attempt tasks in short bursts of concentration, rather than long bouts of meandering, according to astudy published in Psychology Review.
As the New York Times reported in 2012, the amount of time put into completing a task doesn’t necessarily mean more will get done, asbreaks and resets are extremely important in making sure the time devoted to work is most effective.
Remember, you don’t have an endless supply of will power.
So don’t put yourself in a position where you’re stuck spending all day writing an essay or learning a song, when a focused burst could have made getting the job done a quicker and more fruitful experience.
6. Writing a realistic to-do list of goals and deadlines in the morning can keep you focused.
The “to-do” list is a staple of many, many “how to be productive” lists, but it isn’t quite as simple as just writing down every lofty goal that comes to mind.
It is absolutely essential that the tasks written down in the list will actually be completed or at the very least serve as ongoing notes to complete over a short time period.
Feeling like a failure for never completing a “to-do” list can simply be changed by removing the loftiest goals and starting with manageable small tasks that build toward something bigger.
7. Sleep allows you to recharge and enables ideas to materialize in your head naturally.According to a 2011 Harvard Medical School Study, an entire third of the American population isn’t sleeping enough to work at peak function.
This costs the economy an estimated $63 billion a year in lost productivity.
Beyond all of this, just the act of sleeping can “reactivate and reorganize recently learned material, which would help improve memory and boost performance,” as Harvey B. Simon, M.D., the Editor of Harvard Healthsummarizes from the work from his colleagues.
Rest and relaxation boost your productivity and allow for you to carry out the shorter, concentrated, and highly effective work bursts mentioned above.
8. Practice is still the most effective path to becoming more productive. There are no perfect shortcuts!
Practice isn’t just for athletes and musicians.
All sorts of life tasks can benefit from determined rehearsal.
If you can succeed in making the simple, everyday tasks automatic (hopefully you’ve already mastered breathing), you can free your brain to focus on loftier and more complex goals.
American Scientist’s publication of Herbert Simon and William Chase’s“10,000 Hour Rule” in 1973, and later Malcolm Gladwell’s further popularization of the theory in “Outliers” has certainly promoted the value of practice in achieving our goals.
Many people read how famously successful people such as The Beatles only became truly brilliant after putting in over 10,000 hours of practice.
But these same ideas really should be applied to mastering all the smaller things in your life as well.
No task is too small to practice if it’s part of your everyday routine.
Just remember those 10,000 hours better have a lot of quick breaks and naps in between!
9. Get rid of the clutter.
This means in your daily activities, your email inbox, your friends, your distractions and your material possessions.
Having too much of anything slows you down.
Having the wrong anything slows you down.
Get rid of your daily vices that distract you from your priorities like watching the news on TV, checking your email constantly or constantly talking on your phone,
There is a time and place for everything.
Get rid of the pile of unfinished notes, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, blog reprints, to-do lists, things to “check out” lists and posted notes that clutter your immediate working environment.
Keep only what you are working on within arms reach.
Get rid of emotional distractions as well.
Articles tapes to the wall about a beach you want to visit on your next vacation or a picture of a business suit you saw on sale will only serve to distract you from your task at hand.
10. Use the world of electronics to your advantage.
Take the appropriate amount of time to become fully versed with your personal electronic devices so you can master them.
Most of us bought our cell phones, i pads, lap tops and personal computers to make out life simpler.
But what did we do?
We pulled them out of the box, cranked them up and began working with them.
The only way we have truly discovered their true potential has been by trial and error.
Stop today and read up on what your electronic devices can do.
Take the tutorials that come with them.
Check out the internet for tips from experts.
Spend an hour a week researching apps and plug ins that will make your work and lives easier.
Well, chances are there is a handful of apps already waiting to simplify your daily routine.
Quit working on your electronics and put them to work for you.
Well, what do you think?
Can you use any of these 10 tips to make your life simpler or more productive.
Remember, it’s not a case of just reading these tips or using a few of them one time that will make you the next success story on the cover of Forbes. You need to apply them methodically to your daily routines and refer back to this list on a regular basis. Make these actions habits and you will see genuine results.
If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting, or even funny, I bet your friends would too.
It’s easy to tell them about it.
Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.
The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!
Thanks for joining me………………………………………………….