Think about all of the time you spent this week playing Candy Crush or Bejeweled on your phone, re-watching the same Netflix show that you've already seen twice before, or scrolling through a Facebook news feed with no interesting updates. What if you could take just 10 minutes of that time each day and practice a new skill, meditate, or learn something new? That would be over an hour of practice every week, or almost 61 hours each and every year, while barely eating into your free time. Well, they say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in something, so you'd be well on your way.
The trick to bettering yourself is to parcel the task into small, manageable bites, so that you don't get discouraged or overwhelmed and quit early. As long as you can be consistent in your practice, you will improve, no matter how much or how little time you have available to devote to the task on a daily basis.
Once you make them into A HABIT, it will be easy to be more productive. Here are some ideas for little things to get you started: pick a few to do every day and you will realize how easy it is. Then, pick 2-3 of your own tasks that you wish to prioritize for self improvement, and commit to dedicate a few minutes every day.
Things to do every day that will make you more productive
Do 1 thing that scares you every day.
It's important to stretch your company zone, and most successful people admit that they strive to do something that makes them uncomfortable each and every day. That way, the next time you have to do something unnerving, it won't seem nearly so scary.
Write down 12 things you know you could never do,whether it's skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, making a scary career change; whatever. Once a year, roll a pair of dice and force yourself to do that one thing.
Don't be afraid to fidget
For a long time, fidgeting was considered synonymous with distraction or poor focus. Now, it is understood that fidgeting can actually improve concentration. Studies show that keeping a fidget toy or two on your desk for your restless hands to manipulate can actually help you work through difficult problems. Here are the best fidget toys that can help you keep focuses.
Practice brain teasers
If you're looking for entertainment, do some mental exercises that will actually help keep your brain sharp. One of our favorites is the Rubik's Cube, an all time bestselling brain teaser that practices mental gymnastics, (algorithms or not!) and works problem solving skills. Check out more great brain teasers.
Accept that you can learn from others
Human hubris often convinces is that we're the best... around. Deflate your head a little bit and acknowledge that you are surrounded by people who know how to do at least ONE thing way better than you. Find out what the people in your life are experts in, and learn from them. Soon, you will be the expert.
Delete Facebook, read a book
Eliminate time wasters, spend more time reading, especially books that can teach you something new.
By the way, here are the top books recommended by some of the covers most successful CEOs:
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins
-Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright
-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson
-Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent
Start learning a foreign language
Learning a new language has been shown to help brain plasticity, the malleability of your brain which allows you to absorb new skills more quickly. By practicing a new language, you are opening up your brain to acquiring new skills and thinking in new ways about problems. It's good for developing new neural connections, as well as simply helpful in today's workforce and global business climate!
For language learning tips and resources, check out Language Pro.
Search for tiny ways to make tasks more efficient
Tim Ferris, author of The 4 Hour Work Week stresses that minor improvements in many areas can add up to a surprising time savings in the aggregate.
"It's not literally about working 4 hours in a week," he admits, but he wants to teach you how to 10x your productivity, so you can get EVERYTHING done a little faster.
Write down all of the things that waste your time, make a task take longer, or are just plain unnecessary. Chances are that there are quite a few that are outside of your control: such as those caused by an ineffective co-worker or lazy boss, for example. Narrow the list down to 2-3 examples that you DO have the power to influence, and make them all 20% more efficient (or eliminate them entirely). Figure out a new, more important task that you can dedicate more time towards- or, just enjoy the free time.
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