If you want to work hard then first make hard work your passion!
As if you go for hard work because everyone says that success is not possible without hard work. Then you start working hard and soon you realize burn outs, you get tired quickly and very soon you start losing interest.
And soon you start realizing that results and progress are not enough in comparison to hard work you put in achieving your goals.
At this point you become disheartened and take a decision that hard work is too high a price for success. And then you give up and settle for mediocrity and less in life.
This happens because you have not made hard work your passion
But why you have not made hard work your passion? The reason is that the goals are not settled by you. These goals are rather imposed on you from outside. As a matter of fact, these goals are imposed on you by your boss, your family or society.
These people and organizations set goals for you as per their expectations from you. These are rather their goals and dreams which they want to achieve by making you a vehicle for achieving their dreams and goals. And these certainly aren’t your goals or dreams!
Here is a video on importance of hard work by none other than legendary entrepreneur Elon Musk-
You can make hard work your passion when you OWN your goal
As these goals aren’t your goals at the first place. so you hardly have a desire for going to achieve these goals.
Further, as you are working on these goals without any inner commitment and as per the desire of others and not yours. So it is only natural that you feel pushed and get tired and withdrawn very soon.
The other reason of giving up so quickly on hard work is that you want to achieve your goals by seer hard work only, without having a mentor or coach.
However roots of your going without a mentor are also rooted in the first reason of being goal imposed on you. And because it is the goal of someone else and not yours and therefore your heart and mind doesn’t try to find out ways and means to achieve that.
Had this been your desired goal then your heart and mind would have tried for achieving it in a more efficient manner.
Choose your goals yourself
So, while this is true that you hardy get any success in any endeavor without hard work but to make it possible for you to work hard you need two basic ingredients.
First is the goal, which you have chosen for yourself and not the goal imposed on you from outside.
This is YOUR goal which you set for yourself to achieve. You OWN this goal. As you have chosen your goal, so you have a burning desire inside you to achieve this goal. To achieve this goal you don’t need any outside motivation.
Instead even if someone or something comes in your way and tries to demotivate you; even then you are not demotivated.
And rather become more committed to achieve your goal. If you have some desire like that then rest assured this is your goal and while working to achieve this goal you will not get tired by working hard.
You will need no one to inspire you or motivate you; you will not need anyone to tell you to work hard.
Instead people will realize that you are working day and night on your desired goal and rather will ask you to slow down and take care of yourself.
But your desire to achieve your goals will not let you slow down. Your body may get tired but your heart and mind will ask you to continue the journey towards your mission.
You will not need any outside motivation to work hard, instead you will like to continue even against outside challenges coming your way and you will be surpassing them with grit.
Then, how to work hard will not be the question before you. Instead nothing will be able to stop you from working hard and harder.
As you have now chosen your goal for yourself, so now on hard work will be your passion
As when you have now chosen your goal for yourself, so now on hard work will be your passion. And you will be like a child who is never tired of playing, even when you feel that he has played too much and need a rest. But his heart and mind is still in play and he just want to play more.
Now on, you will be like this mountaineer in this picture, who knows the dangers and is aware of pain his body already experiencing. He is also aware of warnings about the bad weather, but still wants to continue his expedition as this is his goal, his desire, his commitment.
No one is compelling him or asking him to continue, rather he is being advised to stop but his commitment to himself and his inner desire of achieving his goal, is not allowing him to stop and he continues to his expedition.
He is in a state where how to work hard is not a question rather how not to work hard is the issue he has to tackle.
Have a mentor to achieve your goals faster
I always keep on emphasizing the need of a mentor in achieving your goals in almost all of my articles. If you are really passionate about achieving your goals then never ever go without a mentor.
You can’t imagine, what wonder a mentor can do in your pursuit of achieving your goals. A mentor is, who has already gone through the process you are about to get into.
He knows all the twists and turns towards the road to success. And therefore guide you so well on your path of success and achievements.
He will be like a guiding post for you whenever you feel like losing the right track. He will keep you focused when you get distracted. And, he will make your journey towards achievement of your goals so less painful.
Further, you will reach your destination a lot more earlier than if you would have decided to complete your journey, all by yourself.
So now on make hard work your passion and don’t settle for less!
And also take a few simple actions which when practiced will produce immense happiness for you.
So, to be happy first choose happiness for you and now when you have decided that happiness is a choice and you have chosen happiness for you, then this is the time to take these simple steps towards attaining happiness and lead a happy life –
1. In some situations it is better to choose happiness then proving that you are right
Happiness is a choice if you remain grateful for what you have. And you don’t always sulk about what you don’t have. Be aware always that there are lot many people, for whom the life you presently are leading is like a dream come true.
Science has also proved that being grateful and practicing gratitude results in added happiness for us and improves our physical as well as mental health.
You can further explore benefits of practicing gratitude here in this research based article.
It is a tendency of people that we always see what well others are having. But you may not be aware their.
As it is the nature of human being that they always want to project their very best in front of the world and will not open their heart to everyone around.
And therefore you can get easily deceived by the outer appearance of a person and may always remain unaware of the pain a person is undergoing in his personal life.
2. Happiness is a choice if you wake up early and follow some productive routine
Furthermore, happiness a choice for you if you choose to wake up early in the morning and follow some productive routine.
If you wake up early in the morning, need not to say, there are hardly any distractions. And you can use those magnificent early hours of the day for some productive work more efficiently.This puts you ahead of a lot many people who are still sleeping, while you have already achieved a lot in the morning taking advantage of distraction free working which is so much important for improving productivity as well as producing high quality work.
Further, set some productive routine for yourself, as your body and mind love routines.
Also, when you repeatedly perform any task at the same time and preferably at the same place, then your body and mind become so accustomed, comfortable and so very well aligned with that routine that they automatically produce peak performance.
3. Happiness is a choice if you practice daily affirmations
Almost all the extremely successful people in the world practice daily affirmations.
Now when you are aware that happiness is a choice and you have chosen to be happy then you also need to tell yourself this fact many a time in a day that happiness is a choice. And that you choose to be happy. And that now you are a happy person.
However, the problem with affirmations is that when you feel inside that you aren’t happy then you find it hard to affirm to yourself that you are happy.
And the solution is in knowing that when you continuously tell something to your mind, then after sometime your mind starts believing that affirmation as true and produces those circumstances and conditions in your life which are being affirmed to the mind daily on a continuous and ongoing basis.
However, the precondition for getting results from this technique is that you have to affirm to yourself with emotion and believing that this technique will produce desired results.
Here is a link of a happiness affirmations video to make it easy for you to practice happiness affirmations daily.
4. Happiness is a choice if you smile more
Happiness is a choice if you choose to smile more now on. Your mind takes it seriously when you smile more, even without having a perfect reason.
Your mind, particularly subconscious mind is very powerful and when you smile, it takes it seriously and tries to produce reasons in your life to smile more.
Further, more often than not when you smile at someone, you will also be treated with a smile. Your smiling face will be attracting lot many smiles in your life, making it happy and rich.
5. Happiness is a choice if you treat people around you well
If you believe that happiness is a choice then you have to treat people around you well. Because courtesy begets courtesy and what you sow, so you reap.
Never treat someone unfairly because you are stronger than someone or you are in a better position or post from where you can execute your nefarious designs.
Instead, spread happiness and love around you and it will come back to you increased manifold.
6. Happiness is a choice if you transform your pain in to your gain
Pain is a great teacher and a wonderful motivator as well. Happiness is a choice for you if you commit yourself for using your pain for your gain.
Instead find out, even if there is an iota of truth in the criticism. Don’t get perturbed by the criticism rather use that criticism in favor of you and iron out those small flaws in you and emerge out even stronger.
For example, a not much skilled teacher humiliates a student in front of class and tells him that he can never do anything good and is worth nothing.Now student has two choices, first and not desirable choice is that student becomes depressed and unhappy. And the other, more desirable choice is that student works on him, improves his grades and proves the teacher wrong.
The satisfaction you draw when you prove someone who underestimate you wrong, is immense and has a lasting impact in adding to your happiness.
7. Make some small achievements every day to make the day meaningful
I can’t over emphasize importance of daily achievements for leading a happy and successful life.
As these small every day achievements adds up to such an enormous amount of accomplishments that you are bound to experience happiness and a sense of worthiness. So, keep an eye on your day as it proceeds, right from the dawn, and and keep looking for your daily achievements before it is dusk. If happiness is a choice for you then make these daily achievements your habit.
8. Happiness is a choice if you take care of your health and eat healthy food
Happiness and health have a very strong connection. You are more likely to be happy if you are healthy and chances are that you will be healthier if you are a happy person.
Happy people are also likely to attract more success rather other way round.
So, if happiness is a choice for you then take care of your health, exercise more and eat healthy food as well as foods which are believed to add to your happiness.
A study shows that vegetarian food can make you happier and less stressed. Here is the link for the article, read the article and go for more vegetarian diet. So, from the detailed discussion in this article you can safely assume that happiness is a choice and move ahead to choose happiness. Further-
Everyone wants company of happy people. You get well connected and more social if you are a happy person.
And being well connected in society opens many more doors of opportunities for you which further enhances your happiness and suddenly you are in a positive spiral.
Happiness results in better health, here is the scientific proof.
Happy people are more successful.
And therefore happiness is a choice. So, make the right choice and choose happiness.
In this article you will get highly effective top 21 tips to improve your productivity and some more bonus tips.
This is a comprehensive list which gives you the power to choose from all the listed 21 tips to improve your productivity, the ones which suit you best.
As all of you work in different environments and one size doesn’t fits all.
So I start listing the top 21 tips to improve your productivity for you here under-
1. To improve your productivity get started and don’t procrastinate
The first and of course most important tip among the 21 tips to improve your productivity is to come out of the inertia and get started.
Need not to say that to complete any task you first have to start working on the task. But what really happens that we start visualizing end results without even starting the task or project.
There is nothing wrong in visualizing a pleasant outcome. But for manifesting that pleasant outcome in the realm of realty you first have to START and then complete that task or project.
In getting started, your habit of procrastination is the biggest hurdle. You do understand that work in hand is important in realizing your dreams. But due to your habit of procrastinating you say to yourself “Yes, I know it is important but I will work on it later, not now”.
You have to come out of this habit of procrastination and have to start working on your important tasks NOW.
2. Get started with the help of 2 minute rule
And for helping you to start working on your project now, I am going to introduce you two very powerful productivity tools. And one of them is 2 minute rule and the other one is 5 minute rule.
So what these rule basically stipulate? The 2 minute rule of conquering procrastination is basically is for getting you started. This rule simply stipulates that you are required to start working on your project NOW for only 2 minutes.
The idea behind the rule is, getting you initiated and not to work for only 2 minutes, as most of your cherished goals will take more than 2 minutes to accomplish. You can get further details about this 2 minute rule in my article- how to conquer procrastination with 2 minute rule.
3. Try this 5 minute rule to win over procrastination
In the same manner the 5 minute rule of winning over procrastination asks you to start working immediately at least for 5 minutes on your goal. And after working for 5 minutes you have full freedom for making a choice that whether you want to continue on the task or not .
Idea here is again, not to work for 5 minutes but to getting you started as the study shows that when you work on a project for at least for 5 minutes you are more likely to continue to work on that project for an extended period of time.
You can find further details in an article on the 5 minute rule here.
I also invite you to watch this video as it also discusses the importance of getting start to improve your productivity very vividly-
4. In order to improve your productivity prioritize your goals or task
Before starting the working on your tasks, it will be of great value, if you prioritize your tasks. For this purpose use the elimination process which is described well in my article 5/25 rule of Warren Buffett.
This rule asks you to make a list of your top 25 goals or tasks which you think are important to you and you want to work on them.
Now apply the process of elimination to this list and strike out the less important tasks or goals until you have only 5 goals or tasks in the list.
Now pay your full attention on these top priority 5 goals only. Don’t move to the lesser important tasks until your top 5 goals are achieved.
5. Break your task in manageable chunks
In order to increase your productivity you have to break your task in small chunks, which you can complete without getting intimidated by the enormous size of your task.
When you break your task in small manageable chunks, the fear of completing the task comes down. As the amount of task you are starting to work on now, becomes so small and manageable that you find it within the reach of your competency.
As we all know that no matter how long a walk is it has to be completed one step at a time. And for completing the walk you have to take your first step.
If the journey towards your goal appears too long then break it in pieces. Walk for sometime then take a rest, rejuvenate yourself and start the journey towards your goal again.
6. To improve your productivity learn to FOCUS on your work
You have to employ some strategy for focusing your attention on task in hand. For this purpose I find use of Pomodoro technique of time management and increasing focus of much use.
I like this technique because this technique results in tremendous increase in your productivity with the benefit of lesser strain at the same time.
In this technique you have to work in the blocks of 25 minutes each. And this period of 25 minutes is called one completed Pomodoro.
After each completed Pomodoro you are rewarded with a rest of 5 minutes. And after completing a set of 4 pomodoros you can take rest for 20 to 30 minutes as per your need.
However, in these periods of 25 minutes you have to remain fully focused on your task. Need not to say, for achieving that required focus you have to work free from all distractions, such as an uncalled for visitor, your mobile or TV or whatsoever distractions might be there.
Find out more in this video about how much time you are likely to be wasting if you don,t improve your productivity-
7. To improve your productivity, don’t Multitask, instead focus on one task at a time
Contrary to popular belief multitasking reduces your productivity. And more importantly your brain also gets damaged in the process.
As human brain is not designed for multitasking and can focus only on one task at a time. When you multitask your brain keep on hopping from one task to the other task. However, this process of hopping of your mind is so fast that you just can’t notice it.
But this continuous process of jumping relentlessly from one task to another takes its toll on your brain and your brain gets damaged.
So, for the sake of your productivity and particularly of your brain, never go for multitasking. You may read my detailed article on the subject of multitasking here.
8. To improve your productivity be consistent
For achieving high standards of productivity CONSISTENCY is the key. As when you perform a task on a continuous and ongoing basis your skills of performing that task keep on improving consistently.
And when you have worked on a task for a considerable time and as a result you have produced enough work, sufficient to get noticed, then outside world starts recognizing you as an expert of that particular skill.
This concept of being consistent is applicable to all of the skills no matter in what field you are.
An athlete or sportsman has to hone his skills consistently to keep on improving and get noticed.
And same is true for an author. He has to keep on writing marvelous pieces of prose or poetry consistently if he has to grow his audience and wants his work to be noticed and appreciated by masses.
The trait of being organized is a blessing. Not only does it improves your productivity by saving on the time you otherwise loose while looking for the items at the time of need but also it provides a serene feeling of being in control.
A well organized work place speaks volume about your personality as well. Your clients and people around you notice it and develop a perception about you, based on how organized you and your work place looks.
So declutter your work place and let the positive energy flow in your work place. For achieving this feat, give a close look at what is unnecessary and not in use and is unlikely to be a requirement in the near future and get rid of it.
10. To improve your productivity have a mentor/teacher/coach
Mentors are the guiding forces which enable you to sail through the uncharted territories. These are the people who have traveled those terrines and got through them. They are aware of all the challenges, of all the twists and turns your work life throws in front of you.
They have taken those challenges and know how to handle them. And they can teach you the same so as you can reach to your goals quickly and in much less effort.
In order to improve your productivity I can’t over emphasize the need of a mentor/teacher/coach. Have one anyway.
However, if you aren’t in a position for some unavoidable reason to find a mentor immediately then I suggest two solutions-
First is that you partner with someone who has good knowledge of the work you are in, and other is that you take help of the online material available at internet in the form of articles, books and online courses.
But don’t be satisfied by only with online help and keep searching for a physical mentor.
Internet can’t replace the physical mentor, it only can supplement him.
As this is your coach who prepares you to take the challenges of your goals and teaches you that those difficult roads lead to a beautiful destination.
11. In order to improve your productivity learn to delegate
Don’t hesitate in delegating all the works which can be delegated. This measure will boost your productivity to the unimaginable levels. Don’t try to do each and everything by yourself.
The act of delegating will free up so much time for you that your productivity will improve by leaps and bounds.
I rather ask you to go one step farther than just delegating. I invite you to first find out which works or processes are not necessary.
Do a reality check. Identify such unnecessary activities and stop ruining your time and resources on such works and processes.
You will realize that a sizable chunk was unnecessary. Do away with this unnecessary work and processes. Now from the remaining work find out what can be safely delegated. Again, do the exercise with real intentions of delegating and don’t try to find out excuses for not delegating the work.
If you do the exercise with an intention of finding out the ways and mean of delegating maximum of your work then you will certainly find out that you can actually delegate most of your work.
And in the last you will be left with very little work to concentrate upon. This is the quality work you have to do yourself in order to achieve your goal of being insanely productive.
12. First things first take on the toughest work first
To improve your productivity you have to prioritize your tasks as per their importance and not as per ease of doing.
As being a human being it is your innate nature to avoid the tough tasks and go for the easy ones. But you have to get rid of this tendency if you want to improve your productivity.
Because for improving your productivity your criterion of prioritizing your tasks should be on the basis of importance of the task and not on the basis of ease of doing that particular task.
Due to your tendency of avoiding the task in which you have to face considerable difficulty your important tasks get piled up while you try to get solace in doing the non important. In this manner you may look and feel busy but you certainly aren’t productive.
13. Here I provide few more tips of taking your tough but important tasks head on-
Choose your most tough but important task to start work on the first thing in the start of your morning/work day.
It is important because you have limited will power and energy. And at the start of the day it is available in abundance.
Further as the day proceeds not only your energy and will power depletes but also you get distracted by many urgent but not important works like some unscheduled visitor, some phone call etc.
To find out what is important and what isn’t ask yourself what will be the impact of doing or not doing a task after 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 weeks, 10 months and 10 years.
The tasks which will have a longer term impact are the most important ones, go for completing them first.
For getting started and completing such tough but important tasks, take help of the strategies discussed in this article as well as in my other articles to which I have provided links in this article.
Take help of your mentor in completing such tough but important tasks.
Approach such tasks with a “do it anyway” mindset.
14. Find out your personal productivity sweet spot
Beauty of the human race is that we are a little different from one another. And your uniqueness makes you so special.
The context here of discussing this phenomenon is that this uniqueness phenomenon is also applicable in the area of your productivity.
Every person has a sweet spot for productivity at some particular hours of the day. And it may be different from person to person.
You might have noticed that some people love to work late in night, while others will swear for starting early in the morning.
Although I like you to start working on your important tasks being the first thing at start of the day, as in the morning distractions are less and you are full of energy. Yet I invite you to find out your personal productivity sweet spot.
Tips for finding out your personal productivity sweet spot
For finding out your personal productivity sweet spot, provide a little more attention on you while you work on your tasks.
Find out your sweet spot, it is there, when you are more comfortable in working on your task and solutions flow in your mind effortlessly.
And it is there, when your thought process is clear and you concentrate better, enjoy working, feel less fatigue and are inclined to work more.
This sweet spot is there, when you enjoy your work more, you love to continue working on your task and feel a little upset with the idea of stopping.
And this sweet spot is there, when you want to work more without any outside motivation but just because you are enjoying your work.
At what hours of the day you feel like this? Those particular hours are your productivity sweet spot.
Make full use of these productivity sweet spot hours of yours. And make a better use of them by working on your most important tasks during these productivity sweet spot hours.
Doing it distraction free will further improve your productivity and add to your joy of working.
15. To improve your productivity keep a deadline for your tasks and meet it
In order to improve your productivity, you have to fix a deadline for completing your tasks. Because when you fix deadlines then it results in a sense of urgency as well as an increased focus on the task ahead.
Please know in your mind and in your heart that a goal of completing a task even can’t be considered a goal until it has a fixed time limit to complete it.
So, now on before starting to work on a task, first fix a time limit on it and do your very best not only to meet it but complete the task well before the time limit you fixed.
It will result in improving your productivity immensely. Further, it will instill a sense of achievement into you.
Also when you meet deadlines your confidence as well as your, self worth is get fostered in the process. And this added confidence results in further achievements and suddenly you find yourself in an upward spiral.
16. Keep on learning and have a system
Once you have zeroed in on a system that works then now on your work becomes very easy. Now on you just have to repeat the system which, through your consistent efforts or through your coach, you have discovered works for you.
The only thing now is to be aware of if any changes, small or big, are required here or there to further fine tune the system.
Be aware about the recent developments in your field of expertise. And continuously keep on integrating them in your system or process of completing your tasks and achieving your goals.
As in a competitive world, you can’t afford to be static. In the reality there is no stage exist that is called stagnation. In fact, there are only two stages of existence, either you are growing or you are deteriorating.
So if you want to stay competitive never cease to learn and never cease to improve.
17. Keep improving on a daily and ongoing basis
Have an eye on your performance. Make sure your performance is improving with every passing day. Always keep looking around for the improvements no matter how small are they.
Keep in mind that these very small and insignificant looking daily improvements, if you keep on adding them for an extended period of time will become a very large power house to propel your productivity in no time.
18. To improve your productivity stop or reduce those time wasting meetings
Meetings are one of the most dreaded killers of time and dent your productivity really hard. So take a stock of the situation. Find out are those meeting running for hours and sometimes full day really important or they can be done away with.
For ensuring that you don’t waste your time on non important meetings, employ two pronged strategy. First do away with unnecessary meeting right away. Then for the meetings which can’t be done away with completely, reduce the time you provide for these meetings drastically.
As these meetings are not only killing your time but also of the other participants you have called for the meeting. So for improving your productivity find out ways and means for replacing the physical meetings with some other better mode of communication.
However, if you are at the receiving end and your boss has called you for a lengthy meeting along with scores of other participants. Then you can always let your boss know, politely, that you can be more useful on the completing the important task in hand. Further you can assure your boss that, you will find out the contents of the meeting from one of the other participants.
Chances are your boss will oblige. As we all know that the first priority of every boss is to get the task completed and not the meetings.
However, don’t use this as a trick to just avoid attending the meetings. Instead use this spare time to produce something really important for your organization.
19. Once in a while focus only on one task full day
Deep work requires commitment and concentration. For such work where you want to dig a little deeper, dedicate a whole day for that particular work only.
When you commit yourself to work for full day only at one task then after working for a few hours, deeper insights start to pop in your mind and quality of your work improves immensely.
Further your productivity also gets a boost as you save on the time you spend, while you shift your attention from one work in hand to another one waiting.
20. To improve your productivity plan your next day
If you plan the work for tomorrow before you call it a day for today, then this simple act of planning will result in a big leap in improving your productivity.
This happens because when you start your day without planning for the tasks to be accomplished today, then you simply start working on whatsoever work comes across to you randomly.
This approach, at the end of day results in very less important work completed by you. And your full day wasted doing urgent but less important tasks which came to you randomly.
Further, had you planned the tasks to be completed today, a day before, then you would have been in a better position of managing your day and at the end of day must have accomplished more.
21. Take stock, measure and reflect
And the 21st and last but highly important tip among the 21 tips to improve your productivity is to ensure to take stock of your progress, measuring it, reflecting on the results and make adjustments, if required.
To ensure that your efforts are in the right direction, you have to periodically take stock of the progress made by you in improving your productivity.
You have to measure your progress. As if you can’t measure your progress then you can’t define how much progress you have made and how much improvement you have achieved in your productivity.
For measuring your progress you have to compare what was your progress earlier before employing these tips to what you are accomplishing now.
And most importantly you also have to reflect and find out what is working for you and what is not. You have to see where you need to correct the course and where you can continue your journey in the pre determined direction.
Bonus productivity tips to improve your productivity
Further, as I have promised in the first paragraph itself of this article, to provide bonus tips in addition to top 21 tips to improve your productivity, so here they are-
1. Bonus tip one to improve your productivity- Take care of your health
To remain productive you have to remain in good mental and physical health.
Sounds very repetitive? Yes, yet most ignored as well.
You get so much involved in the randomness of works and tasks that you end up having no time or motivation for the life enriching activities such as exercising or having a walk, enjoying greenery and sunlight, which are so important for your mental and physical health.
Although you know but please also realize that only if you are maintaining a good mental and physical health then only you can be productive and realize your dreams.
So keep yourself first. Invest in yourself and take utmost care of yourself.
2. Bonus tip two to improve your productivity- Take care of your happiness
Science has proved that happy people are more productive. And now when you are committed to improve your productivity by practicing top 21 tips to improve your productivity described in this article then you can’t ignore your happiness.
I have published a detailed article- how to produce your happiness on demand where I have described how exercising, laughter, being generous and full of gratitude adds to your happiness almost instantly.
Further being social and being in the company of the people who appreciate you also results in your added happiness.
So go ahead and grab your happiness which is your right and as it also adds to your productivity is just an added advantage.
Well friends, I have listed in this article so many tips for improving your productivity. But if you ask me to give only one tip then I will go for the CONSISTENCY. If you work consistently on your skill there is no way that you wouldn’t improve.
However, if you have a mentor or coach and work on your skill deliberately under his guidance then the results will be fast, really …..fast.
Almost every one of us is a victim of our ever prevailing habit of procrastination. But have you ever asked yourself the question – Why do we procrastinate and how to stop it?
In this article we will try to find out answers for these two questions. First I will discuss why you procrastinate and then how to stop it. The answers of which are so very important for our future achievements.
So now when you know in your heart and mind that you are procrastinating and you also know that a particular work is important. Yet, instead of completing that important task you let yourself fall prey of some small short term comfort.
Why you let it happen to you? Read on for the definitive answers.
So first let us find out the answers for the question why you procrastinate?
There are lot many reasons responsible for why you procrastinate ranging from fear of failure, to lesser talked about, but one of the most important reasons- your genes. Let us discuss them all.
1. You procrastinate because procrastination is in your genes
Our ancestors lived in an environment where their short term goals were more important for their survival.
As unlike today’s time when almost all your short term needs are provided for almost instantly, our ancestors have to struggle and prioritize the goal of arranging for their food over their other long term goals.
They lived in an environment of very high levels of uncertainties regarding even towards the immediate future not to talk of long term goals.
And it was very prudent for them to give priority to the short term or immediate goals. Goals like arranging for food and protecting themselves from becoming the prey of wild animals.
And as a result your mind are also programmed for prioritizing immediate and short term goals over the long term goals. The study shows that this programming of our minds is responsible for 50% of our procrastination habit.
2. You procrastinate because you want to avoid unpleasant feelings and stress
Your mind love pleasure and pleasant feelings and wants to avoid unpleasant and stressful conditions. It is the innate nature of not only of human beings but also of every living creature.
But you need to understand that if you don’t prioritize your goals correctly and keep on putting off important things which produce unpleasant feeling, then stress will not go away but will come back haunting you increased many fold.
You procrastinate because you want to feel good at the moment. And to achieve this feel good feeling you choose to go for short term pleasures over your long term goals.
And therefore, you take the unwise decision of chasing shallow enjoyments, instead of taking the correct decision of choosing short term pains for long term gains.
But putting off those short term pains will increase their intensity. Further, this approach will not work, as ultimately you have to face them and continuously putting them off will only increase your stress and pain.
The findings of studies also show that if you are a habitual procrastinator then you may find yourself struggling with the problems related to blood pressure and ailments related to your heart.
As I have discussed that your mind wants to avoid unpleasant feelings and want to chase short term pleasures.
So whenever you are faced with any such task which you find is important to do, but which you feel is not urgent and you can put it off. And also you feel you may fail in completing that particular task due to self doubts, then you tend to procrastinate.
But putting that work off is not a solution as ultimately you have to do some important works pleasant or otherwise, if you want to achieve anything worthwhile in the life.
Completing your important tasks ‘now’ will also save you from the building up of stress. As whenever you put off an important task it comes back to you with increased stress and urgency.
4. You procrastinate because of your lack of skill/knowledge
Sometimes reason for your procrastinating on some tasks might be that you don’t possess sufficient skill or knowledge to complete that work.
Again solution is not in putting off that work but lies in learning that particular skill or gaining the required knowledge for completing that task.
5. You procrastinate because of distractions around you
More often than not you work in an environment where there is lot many distractions around you. Your mobile phone is one of the most annoying of them. And then there is TV and unscheduled visitors.
So whenever you make up your mind for working on some important task, you find your omnipresent mobile phone around. And instead of starting your important task you just start checking whats app messages and face book updates.
Your mind easily gets attracted to the stuff which is entertaining. As you believe you will enjoy that. But this shallow enjoyment comes at a cost. And the cost is delay in your important tasks and long term goals.
6. You procrastinate because your mind is programmed for immediate gratification
This trait comes from early evolution of human race. When managing for the immediate needs like food and survival by protecting yourself from the predators was more important than your long term goals.
Even today you are continuing with your early evolutionary programming. And when your basic needs are fulfilled you feel less motivated to work and therefore you procrastinate.
7. You procrastinate because you want to do easy tasks and avoid the tough ones
You innately want to chase the pleasure and want to avoid the hardships. And therefore in completion of your tasks as well, you try to follow the same approach.
And result of this approach is that your important tasks which need some more efforts and are a little tougher to complete, get piled up. While less important tasks, but which are easy to do, take whole of your time available.
8. You procrastinate because you have not trained your mind to avoid immediate gratification in favor of delayed gratification
Your mind gets easily distracted, when it is attracted by the stuff which is entertaining or more enjoyable such as your favorite activities like checking your mobile every five minute or getting distracted by some trivial TV news and so on.
This happens because you have not trained your mind enough for avoiding immediate gratification in favor of your long term goals.
To get rid of this habit you have to train yourself to work with greater focus in a distraction free environment.
The pomodoro technique which I have discussed in my article- Improve Your Productivity with Pomodoro Technique- can be of great help in achieving this objective.
Until now in this article we have tried to find out the answers of the why you procrastinate part of the question. And now we will dwell and try to find out answers for the later part of the question that is how to stop to procrastinate.
Meanwhile you can enjoy this video on the subject matter of stop to procrastinate if you are more inclined towards watching the subject matter in a video-
And now let us find out answers for the question how to stop to procrastinate?
As now when you are aware of the reasons why you procrastinate. And understanding this, why part of the procrastination, has now paved the way for finding out the answer of how to stop to procrastinate.
For getting rid of habit of procrastination-
1. Do toughest task first to learn how to stop to procrastinate
Your mind is programmed for the immediate gratifications and small enjoyments. And this is on the cost of your important tasks and long term goals.
But, now when you have become aware of this knowledge, then you can use this knowledge in favor of you which was until now was working against you.
So, first of all move on and take your toughest task head on.
2. Get started with 2 minute rule to learn how to stop to procrastinate
And for taking your toughest task head on you have to first get started. And for a sure this is the toughest part of getting out of the habit of procrastination.
But, you need not to worry as you now have two very effective tools in your hands to handle this challenge in the form of 2 minute rule and 5 minute rule.
The 2 minute rule is basically a system for getting started, where you have to complete the works which can be completed within 2 minutes now. Without putting them off.
The idea behind the 2 minute rule is getting you started and bring you from the state of rest to the state of motion.
And you will soon realize that when you make a small start by working on your short term goals for such a little time as 2 minutes. Then you start coming out of your comfort zone and also which results in you coming out of your habit of procrastination gradually.
3. Learn how to stop to procrastinate with the help of 5 minute rule
While 2 minute rule is for getting started, the idea behind the 5 minute rule is getting you in momentum for completing your task, which you keep on putting off.
5 minute rule challenges you to do the task you are putting off until now, for 5 minutes and after 5 minute you have full liberty to either continue with the task or leave it.
And the study shows that most of the people get enough momentum for continuing with the task.
As even after completion of 5 minute duration they continue to work on the task in hand and either complete the task or complete at least a fair portion of task.
So if you are even a little bit serious about your long term goals and don’t want to lead a life of mediocrity then you can’t say ‘No’ to the 5 minute rule.
As 5 minutes is not a big cost for moving towards the achievements of so beautiful goals you always wanted to achieve.
4. To learn how to stop to procrastinate use pomodoro technique of avoiding distractions and improving your focus
As I have discussed earlier that one of the reason you procrastinate is that whenever you start working on your task; you meet some distraction in the form of somebody calling you over phone, some unscheduled visitors or some notification grabbing your attention and distracting from your task.
This distraction breaks your momentum of working on the task. And after that you get easily distracted of the task in hand and get involved in the pursuit of some short term enjoyment.
The pomodoro technique is basically a technique of time management and increasing focus.
This technique basically requires you to work in the 25 minute block of time, distraction free and focusing completely on the task in hand. And this 25 minute block of time is called one pomodoro.
5. To learn how to stop to procrastinate improve your skills with the help of Coach, Mentor, Teacher, Books and Online courses/Articles
As I have discussed in earlier paragraphs that one of the reason why you procrastinate is that you might be lacking the skills or knowledge required to complete that particular work.
But answer here is not to give up and continue to procrastinate. It will not help. Rather you should find some good coach, mentor or teacher. However, in case of non availability of them, you may opt for taking some online course or reading some appropriate articles online.
To learn how to stop to procrastinate you have to practice delayed gratification
In the earlier paragraphs I have discussed that you procrastinate because your mind is programmed for immediate gratification, innately.
But, now when it is an established fact that delayed gratification is the key for long term success. Then you hardly have any choice but to understand this fact and train your mind for delayed gratification. And get out of the habit of going for the immediate gratification.
7. To learn how to stop to procrastinate you have to learn farsightedness and discipline
To achieve anything of any importance in life you need a disciplined approach towards your goals. This discipline is of choosing the IMPORTANT over the EASY.
This discipline is having enough farsightedness of following your long term goals for a life worth living. And this discipline is about choosing hard work and commitment towards your long term goals over the short term comforts and shallow enjoyments.
8. To learn how stop to procrastinate have your goals in writing
Keeping your goals in writing will help you immensely in getting you out of your habit of procrastination.
So, always keep your goals in writing with a well defined time limit to achieve them. Both, having your goal in writing and having a time limit to achieve them is immensely important in achieving your goals.
As when you write your goals then your goals come out of your mind and in the realm of reality, from where they start taking the shape. In the same manner a goal without a time limit is not at all a goal but only a shabby thought.
Further, several studies have proved that it is easy to achieve your goals when they are in writing and have a time limit to achieve.
It is going to help you a lot in coming out of your habit of procrastination if you keep your goals in writing with a time limit attached to them for achieving the same.
9. To learn how to stop to procrastinate visualize yourself out of the habit of procrastination and as a successful person
Visualization is the technique a lot many successful people practice and swear immensely helpful in pursuit of achieving their goals.
As your subconscious mind is believed to create in the realm of reality whatsoever you keep on telling to it through your thoughts and self talk.
Your subconscious mind tends to create in reality whatsoever self image you carry in your mind.
So, now on think appreciatively for yourself and carry your image of a successful person, believing that-
You are now free of habit of procrastination.
You practice delayed gratification.
And you don’t fall prey of habit of immediate gratification.
You have your goals written, with a time limit attached to them to achieve.
Further, you are not afraid of tough tasks and rather prefer to tackle them first to free yourself from the strain of unfulfilled important tasks.
You always choose important over the easy and discipline and hard work over the short term comfort in your pursuit of achieving your long term goals.
I believe now you have a comprehensive idea of why you procrastinate and how to stop to procrastinate.
So, if you want to distinguish yourself from the ordinary and want to achieve a life of fulfillment and recognition then you first-
Have to understand your programming and then have to change the unwanted part of that programming, which is the hindrance in leading a life full of happiness and achievements and fulfillment.
And you are lucky that you are a human being. And this is because only human beings have the ability to reflect on the programming of their mind and also to change it.
In this article I have both reflected on the programming of your mind and also provided you tools to change that programming in your favor.
Now it is your turn to practice them for achieving your goals and lead a life full of success, happiness, achievements and contribution.
Do you love multitasking? But have you ever wondered whether multitasking is good for your productivity and brain?
Before continuing with your passion of multitasking any further, it will be better for you if you know how harmful multitasking is not only to your productivity but also to your brain.
Mind can concentrate only at one task at a time
Multitasking is not good for your brain as our brain is not designed for multitasking. That is why your brain can concentrate only at on task at a time.
You can argue that if this statement is true then how you can both drive and talk to someone on mobile phone.
Actually it only appears that you can both talk and drive, the act is that your mind is just hopping from your one task of driving and other of talking over mobile phone.
And this hopping coming on big expense and expense is your this act of multitasking is damaging your brain.
Have a look at this picture. If you try to have your meals while you are also working at your laptop then you are simply straining your brain and deteriorating quality of experience of both eating as well as of work-
Examples of multitasking
Ever tried sending an SMS or e mail while attending a meeting? Not only it is strenuous, it also affects your reputation adversely of a well mannered participant.
Further, it is also a direct disrespect to the chair and other participants of the meeting. And for a sure you will miss that part of the meeting as your brain already occupied in the SMS or e mail you are trying to send.
And imagine if the chair asks something related to that part of the meeting to you, then you will find yourself in a really bad and embarrassing situation.
You also get a very unbecoming perception of you in the mind of your customer when you try to answer his query while still working on your computer, without making an eye contact with the customer.
It is certainly unprofessional and your customer feels insulted as everyone wants an eye contact when someone is talking to him as it at is an evidence of an undivided attention which everyone craves so much.
Not only your are deteriorating the quality of your work as well as customer satisfaction you are also creating enhanced stress for you and also damaging your brain as your mind is hopping relentlessly on two tasks of working on computer and at the same time attending the query of your customer.
Same thing happen to you when you try to play with your children and also watch TV. In this manner, you end up deteriorating the quality of experience of both the activities.
Another example of when multitasking affects your productivity and brain adversely can be when you work on a lap top and simultaneously talk over mobile phone as well, as depicted in the picture underneath-
Multitasking damages your brain
Although it appears that you can do more than one task at a time, but in fact it is an illusion, your mind can not multitask.
What actually happening is that you mind is hopping from one task to another task so quickly that you are unable to notice it. But it is coming at a big cost. And the cost of your act of multitasking is damage to your brain.
But, you don’t care as you are not able to notice it. As it is like blinking of your eye lids, you keep on blinking but for you it appears as if you are seeing uninterrupted.
However, the fact is that you can’t see during that short period when you blink.
In the same manner you can not experience the hopping of your mind from one task to other.
But, your brain get damaged when you multitask due to this accelerated hopping of your brain from one task to other and then back and forth again and again. For further evidences read here.
How multitasking is harming you not by one but in many ways find out in this video-
Multitasking results in lowering your IQ
Study has shown that habit of multitasking can reduce your IQ by as much as 10 to 15 points. Study shows that it is like you are intoxicated or like you have stayed without sleep whole night.
Your I Q for doing cognitive jobs like reading or writing declines to the level of a 8 year old.
Need not to say that compromising your intelligence, in addition to other harmful effects of strenuous multitasking, is a really bad deal.
Multitasking reduces your productivity
Multitasking is counterproductive. You choose multitasking with your intention of increasing your productivity, but as per the study it rather reduces your productivity.
Multitasking activities like responding a call while working on your computer or trying to respond more than one call on different instruments simultaneously results in more errors, more strain and less productivity.
In addition to it, this also results in poor quality of experience to the callers which leads to dissatisfaction to your customers and some point they may start thinking about deserting you.As everyone wants an undivided attention.
As quality of none of the work so conducted is of a satisfactory level, which also leads to less job satisfaction for you. Studies also show that multitasking also affects your ability to remember and recall the information adversely.
Ultimately multitasking results in reducing your productivity.
This happens as because of multitasking quality of your work goes down. Further, your IQ or intelligence also goes down, and you start loosing focus.
And all these components make you prone to make a lot many more mistakes and errors in your work leading to ruining your time in correcting them time and again.
And even worse some times the number of errors is so high in your work that you are left with no option but to do the same work again afresh.
The way out
So, as now you are aware of adverse effects of multitasking on your brain and how badly it effects your productivity, you must also be thinking then how to approach many tasks in hand.
The answer is simple that as your mind is designed to do one task at a time, therefore focus only at one task at a time. Pomodoro technique can be a great tool in your hands for this purpose, that I have discussed in my articleimprove your productivity with Pomodoro technique.
The idea is to work, as far as possible, in an environment where you can focus on one task at a time. Don’t make excuses. As most of the time it is your decision to multitask and you can avoid multitasking if you choose to avoid it.
Examples are, you can avoid responding a call when you are driving. You can choose to off your TV when you are eating. Further, you can avoid walking when you are texting or even reading a message on your mobile and so on…….depending your own multitasking habits.
So go ahead! Bid a farewell to your habit of multitasking which is so harmful not only for your productivity but also for your brain.
5/25 rule of Warren Buffettis basically a rule of training your focus on a few more important goals rather than letting it get scattered on so many goals.
Story behind the 5/25 rule of Warren Buffett
It is believed that one day Warren Buffett asked his private pilot Mike Flint.
Buffett asked, “Since when you are working for me as a pilot, Flint?”
Since last 10 years, replied Flint.
Then Warren Buffett said, oh that means I am not doing my job of development of my employees.
After that Buffett asked Flint to prepare a list of his 25 long term goals.
Flint followed the instructions of his boss, Warren Buffett, and prepared a list of his 25 long term goals and came back to discuss the list with Warren Buffett.
Then Warren Buffett said, OK, now encircle those 5 goals which are most important for you.
Flint encircled 5 goals and replied, OK, Sir, these are the 5 most important goals I want to achieve.
Then Warren Buffett asked to Flint, “What you are going to do with remaining 20 goals in the list?”
Flint replied I would focus on these 20 goals less, whenever I get time after giving attention to my first 5 goals.
And 5/25 rule of Warren Buffett emerged
Now Warren Buffett told, it is believed, sternly to Flint “No, you just strike them out of your list and focus only on those top 5 goals you have encircled. As these are the goals which you are required to give your full attention.”
“If you let your focus wander from your top goals or priorities in your life, Flint, then with the scattered focus, your achievements will be little and you will most likely remain in a status quo.”
“First give complete attention to your top 5 goals and focus on them completely without letting you distracted by your remaining 20 goals. And when you have achieved your top 5 goals then repeat the exercise once again.”
And this is the story behind the emergence of 5/25 rule of Warren Buffett.
Flint followed this 5/25 rule of Warren Buffett and worked on the top 5 goals of the list and struck out the remaining 20 goals from his list of most important long term goals.
Flint, then successfully founded ‘Vision Airlines’, one of his most important goals in his life.
However, he has gone overboard in expansion of his airline and his airline has fallen from grace up to some extent.
But still, he is now an entrepreneur of repute and founder of a private airline which owns a fleet of several airplanes.
For those who prefer to learn from visuals, this animation video explains the 5/25 rule of Warren Buffett so well-
You can improve your productivity immensely with the help of this game changer- improve your productivity with pomodoro technique.
As let it you be a student, an employee, a business owner, a professional or an enthusiast pursuing any other activity, all find themselves struggling for time to complete their respective tasks.
But now on, no more burn outs, no more uncompleted tasks and no more anxiety. Instead, you will get only unbounded productivity and that too in a fun way without experiencing any burn outs.
And this unbounded productivity can be made possible with the application of this game changer technique called pomodoro technique of improving productivity.
So what is Pomodoro Technique of improving productivity?
This pomodoro techniqueof time management has been developed by Francesco Cirillo, owner of a consulting firm which is based in Berlin. And the word pomodoro is an Italian word which means tomato.
Pomodoro technique derives its name from a pomodoro or tomato shaped timer, which was originally used for the purpose of time management by Francesco Cirillo. However, you can use any timer which works well for you or even an app for the purpose.
And what is the PROCESS of improving your productivity with pomodoro technique?
In the technique you work in the time blocks of 25 minutes, each 25 minute block is called a pomodoro.
After completion of one pomodoro you take a break for 5 minutes to refresh you.
And you also record this pomodoro as completed.
Thereafter, you again start working for next 25 minute block of time and after completion of this block of 25 minute you repeat the same process of recording of completed pomodoro and taking a break for 5 minute.
After completion of four pomodoros or blocks of 25 minutes each, you can take a break of 15 to 30 minutes.
You can break your work day in morning, noon and evening pomodoro sessions
The secret of achieving high productivity lies in working uninterrupted, free from all distractions.
As I always keep on repeating that for getting desired results you are not required to just practice or work.
Rather, you have to work free from all possible distractions. This distraction free work or deliberate practice is the key of super human results to achieve your goals.
During the pomodoro of 25 minutes you have to work free from all distractions like making phone calls, checking e mails, having snacks, watching TV or engaging on social media.
Why taking a break is so important.
It is important that you take a break of 5 minutes after completing each pomodoro of 25 minutes.
And you need to take a break for 15 to 30 minutes after completing 4 pomodoros.
This is necessary because it refreshes you to work for the next block of 25 minute or pomodoro.
Further, you will notice that new ideas will also generally be popping up in your mind during this period. This happens because new ideas love to come in your mind when your mind is in a relaxed state.
What to do during the break to improve your productivity with pomodoro technique.
It is very important to understand that you should use this 5 minute break after each pomodoro entirely to refresh you.
And during this 5 minute break you should not be involved in any stressful activity.
Instead, you should involve yourself in some relaxing activities.
Activities like meditating for few minutes, taking a short walk, stretching, taking few deep breaths or some breathing exercise or having a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, may be with some snacks occasionally.
You may choose any such relaxing activity which you like. The only condition is that it should be refreshing and relaxing and not stressful to you.
And in the last these are the benefits of this amazing how to improve your productivity with pomodoro technique, in a nutshell.
You will experience these amazing, life changing benefits if you work as stipulated in the how to improve your productivity with pomodoro technique-
You will feel less stressed as you are not doing multitasking. Multitasking, as you know, results in poor quality results and stress. And this happens because of one most important reason. And this reason is that human mind is not designed for multitasking and can only concentrate well on only one task at a time.
Your ability to focus on your task will improve immensely as you are working in an environment which is free from distractions. And it results in increased ability to focus on your task.
Pomodoro technique creates a sense of urgency due to timer set for 25 minutes, resulting in more work done in less time.
It cultivates discipline which is so important in achieving any worthwhile goals in life.
You achieve so much in so little time that you are bound to experience a sense of achievement and fulfillment.
As you achieve more in less time, so your anxiety level comes drastically down, if followed correctly it may even result in anxiety free working.
As you completely focus on one task distraction free therefore it results not only in increased productivity but also in better quality work.
You have spare time to indulge in the activities you like the most, such as being with your family and friends, or pursuing whatsoever hobbies or activities which are so close to your heart but you never had time to pursue them.
In addition to aforementioned benefits, one of the most important benefits of this improve your productivity with pomodoro technique is that it improves your productivity immensely without letting you burnt out.
Pomodoro technique saves you from burn outs because-
– It is such an interesting and fun way of working. So you enjoy your work much more and your mind and body feel less fatigue.
– You work in small blocks of pomodoros of 25 minute each, so it causes less strain to you.
– To top it all you are rewarded with the breaks of 5 minutes to refresh and re-energize yourself after completion of each pomodoro and therefore there is hardly any chance of burnouts.
So now is the time to start living a life of high productivity and less stress with the help of this how to improve your productivity with pomodoro technique
Now, go ahead and start practicing this wonderful pomodoro technique, distraction free and taking breaks as stipulated.
And you are bound to be astounded with the positive results it will produce in your work life or in whatsoever areas, in which you apply it for getting outstanding results.
Pomodoro technique is fun to use. It is so easy to use that you can start implementing it from today itself and results are also almost instant.
Wish you a highly productive and free of stress work life!
Ever wondered how loneliness affects your body and mind? Effects of loneliness on your body and mind can be devastating to your physical and mental health, which we will discuss in detail in this article.
But before explaining further the effects of loneliness on your body and mind let us first find out what pushes you towards loneliness.
What are your priorities in life?
The reason that you find yourself lonely are hidden in the priorities you have fixed for your life. As for most of us priorities in our life are money fame and achievements.
And to achieve this goal of money and fame you compromise on the attention and time deep relationships deserve.
You do this in the impression that money and fame will result in leading a good life for you. But alas, you are wrong. Money and fame are not the predominant ingredients for a happy and fulfilling life.
Instead, these are the deep satisfying relationships which lead to a happy and fulfilling life.
In absence of deep relationships in which you experience deep bond you are more likely to fall prey of loneliness which affects your body and mind so adversely.
We will discuss the effects of loneliness on our body and mind soon.
But before that watch this video to find what, Dr.Robert J Waldinger, professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Harvard Study of Adult Development, has to say on the subject of effects of loneliness on your body and mind-
Findings of more than 75 years long and still continuing Harvard study on the topic of adult development
The study was started in the year 1938 on 724 men then in their teens, although some of them have left to their heavenly abode, yet some are still with us.
The findings of the study on the subject matter of the effects of loneliness on our body and mind are detailed here under –
Effects of loneliness on our body and mind
Lonely people tend to lack longevity compared to happy people. Their brain functioning is affected adversely by the loneliness and their health deteriorate fast, particularly when they grow older.
Their memory gets retarded earlier than the people who are well connected.
For lonely people pain gets magnified and they are also tested with higher cholesterol levels compared to people who are enjoying deep meaningful relationships.
So, if you want a healthy body and a healthy mind then please don’t fall prey of loneliness, avoid isolation and be connected. For achieving this feat care for your relationships.
And always choose quality over quantity in your relationships. As shallow relationships don’t lead to much of the happiness.
Rather these are deep, meaningful relationships with a select few people, particularly your relationship with your spouse, which decide your level of happiness and contentment in your life.
Care for deep meaningful relationships with your spouse,family and friends. Create a deep and lasting bond with the people around you, so you have someone to fall back upon at the time of need.
As, just the feeling that you have someone, you can fall back upon at a time of need, results in increase of your happiness and satisfaction from life which results in healthy body and mind.
Now, we will discuss in further details, how you can avoid falling prey of loneliness and safeguard yourself against toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind-
1. Deep relationships with spouse and family
Your relationship with your spouse will ultimately decide whether you have lived a life of happiness and contentment or not.
This is the relationship in which we expend most of the time of our life, more than we spend with our parents or children.
So care for this relationship as much as you can. As a high conflict marriage is disastrous to not only to the health and happiness of both the partners but also their children and extended family.
For this give quality time to the spouse and family. Be with them, listen to them and understand their emotional needs.
And try to find out pain points through the process of in depth discussions of issues involved and understanding of one another’s emotional needs. So you and your family could develop a deep and lasting bond.
2. An ailing relationship with your spouse is not good for your body and mind
A bleeding relationship, particularly with your spouse, is not good for your body and mind. Continuous pain of this bleeding relationship affects your brain adversely which results in affecting your memory.
In addition to affecting your body and mind adversary, it also affects your social acceptance and reputation. You as well as people around you, treat yourself as a failure at least in this particular area of your life.
Which in turn have a potential to depress you and which also adversely affects your ability to maintain the existing connections with the people and creating new ones, exposing you further to the threat of loneliness and isolation.
This also limits your chances of success in other areas of your personal and professional life.
Further, its toxic affects also spill over to other areas of your life. As, depressed and unhappy, you are unlikely perform splendidly in social and professional areas as well.
Further, as your heart is heavy and your mind remains clouded with the conflicts, arguments and pain resulting from non acceptance of each other, it results in impairing your ability to think rationally and take right decisions.
3. If you have an ailing relationship with your spouse fix it ….soon
The only way out there is to make a truce, as early as possible. Don’t get stuck in a status quo. If nothing works then the last option is exiting from such bleeding toxic relationship.
Otherwise, you are bound to live a miserable life with a continuous agonizing pain as science has proved that for an unhappy person, physical pain also get magnified.
And this obviously will adversely affect your happiness, performance and success in other areas of your life as well.
As when your mind is in a continuous pain resulting from an ailing relationship with your spouse, it is really hard for you to interact properly with the friends, other members of your family and your colleagues.
And need not to say, it will soon make you unpopular and isolated.
4. Deep relationships with friends
Choose quality over quantity. It is better to have 5 close friends than having 5000 shallow friendships on face book. Keep friends who understand you and you can trust and rely on them.
And of course you also need to reciprocate in the same manner. For this I suggest to limit your time on social media and TV, particularly on those areas where you can not affect the outcome and which don’t add any value to your life.
Rather, such programs on TV and discussions and arguments on social media only kill your time and distract you from your goals.
Save this time and invest it in people who care for you. And for the people you care for, like your family friends and society you live in.
5. Care for your lonely parents
If your parents live alone away from your nuclear family then ask them to join your family. If they oblige then not only you will be protecting them from ill effects of loneliness but also adding to their as well as your happiness.
6. Be socially connected
To safeguard yourself from the toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind you have to connect with the society you live in. For this join either some group or social activity that interests you.
And chances are high that in such group you may stumble upon with like minded people company of whom, you may enjoy and later on you may develop a deep bond with them.
Being social is you innate nature. Because from primitive ages we human love to live in groups. This behavior is our second nature and is embedded in our psyche.
And this is why, that when you are lonely or isolated you feel so insecure and inadequate resulting in unhappiness which further translates into ill effects on your body and mind.
By connecting with society not only you will be safeguarding yourself from the ill effect of loneliness but also be contributing to the society in a meaningful manner, making lives good for other people.
And this is bound to result in deep satisfaction and a sense of contentment for you.
7. Find some other lonely person around and company with him
There might be people nearby you, who might be struggling with same problem of loneliness and isolation. Just explore if you can company with them to minimize your own as well as their loneliness.
You may create a group of such lonely people or alternatively join such a group if available nearby.
However, ensure that it adds to your happiness and doesn’t affect it adversely.
8. To minimize toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind, get a pet
They are selfless creatures and don’t have a grudge against you like humans, even if you occasionally mistreat them.
Well, I am not suggesting that you may mistreat them. I am just discussing their characteristics.
How can you even think of mistreating such a cute and loyal friend?
If you ever had a pet dog you will already be aware of this fact that no welcome can match with a welcome by your pet dog, when you are back home either from your office or from a long vacation.
In a nutshell if you go for a pet, particularly a dog you will minimize the toxic effects of loneliness on your body and mind to a large extant.
However, if you ask me to tell one thing to safeguard from ill effects of loneliness on your body and mind. Then my answer will be, it is deep meaningful relationships and of course, at the top of the list is your relationship with your spouse.
However, the original Marshmallow Test didn’t answer a very important question. And the question is whether or not skill of delayed gratification be learned or is it only innate and inherited.
But a later study answers these questions. The results of this study establish that delayed gratification can be learned. And results vary dramatically depending upon the environment to which the children are exposed to.
The 8children who were exposed to unreliable environment display lesser ability to delay gratification
In the study children were divided in two groups, in the first group, children were given a task of decorating a paper with crayons and then put that paper in the cup provided to each of them.
They were provided with the used crayons in small boxes. But instructor promised that children will be provided with the new big boxes of crayons if they waited for some time.
After some time, instructor came back and declared that she is sorry. She has no new crayons in store and asks children to use the old used crayons available with them.
Again, the same group of children was provided with a small sticker and was promised that if they wait for a little while then they will be provided with bigger stickers with more designs to choose from.
After sometime, instructor came back in the room and declared that she has none to deliver.
The children who were exposed to reliable environment could delay gratification four times more compared to children who were exposed to unreliable environment
The second group was also given the same task. And the children in second group were also promised to get better crayons. The promise was kept and the instructor came back after some time and provided them a new big box of crayons.
And second time also they were delivered with beautiful bigger stickers with many designs to choose from as a reward of their waiting for the same, as they were promised.
And then the Marshmallow Test was conducted on these children to find out whether delayed gratification be learned
After that researchers conducted the marshmallow test on these children and the results were eye opener.
Children who were exposed to unreliable environment just before the marshmallow test could wait for only three minutes on an average and then ate the dessert.
While on the other hand children who were exposed to reliable environment just before the marshmallow test could wait…..any wild guess? Well, for full 12 minutes. And this is four times more than the group of children who was exposed to unreliable experience.
The results of this experiment clearly answers the question whether delayed gratification be learned?
Well, the learning is very pronounced. In addition to the innate or inherited qualities of your child, his environment also plays a very vital role in developing his skills of delaying gratification.
In this test, the children in the first group had no reason to believe their instructors that they will be rewarded with twice of the cookies. And this lack of conviction was due to their unreliable experience with their instructor.
This unreliable experience has affected their skill to delay gratification so badly that they succumbed to the temptation of immediate gratification just after a waiting period of three minutes.
While the children in the other group had every reason to believe that like their earlier experience they will now again be rewarded as promised.
And therefore, they could wait for 12 minutes, four times more compared to the children who were exposed to unreliable experience.
Learning for the parents, teachers and elders
So, the very loud and clear message from this study for the parents, teachers and elders is that it is your responsibility to provide a reliable environment to your children.
The ability of your child to delay gratification is not entirely dependent on his innate nature. But it is more of a learnt behavior. Which your child learns from the environment, he is exposed to.
And your responsibility is to provide your children reliable environment in which they can flourish.
Further, this study also proves that children take rational decisions. There might be some circumstances in the life where delaying gratification can’t be the right choice for you. This study also highlights this fact.
The children in the first group took the decision of going for the immediate gratification. They took this decision because they were exposed to unreliable environment. And conditioned by the past unreliable experience, going for the immediate gratification was the rational choice for them.
So your responsibility and learning from these two studies is that-
In certain circumstances going for the immediate gratification can be the right choice for you.
You should expose your children to reliable environment as far as possible.
Further, you should also learn to apply discretion. That is in what circumstances it is better to go for immediate gratification and also impart this knowledge to your children.
However, if environment is reliable then delayed gratification is the best choice for you and results in more successful and fulfilling life.
To sum up, whatsoever might have been the results of the studies. The take away is that if you want to be successful you have to choose the delayed gratification of discipline of practice over the immediate gratification of watching TV.
In the same manner, your child has to take the hard decision of delaying gratification by doing his home work over the immediate gratification of watching cartoon films.
I wish you and your children disciplined, successful and fulfilling life!
In my article how to attain expertise, I have discussed the 10000 hour rule of attaining expertise in your chosen field. And now in this article I am going to discus- how to learn anything in 20 hours- for you.
And you are lucky that it is possible to learn almost anything in 20 hours.
The concept of 20 hour rule has been pioneered by Josh Kaufman in his book titled The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast! In this book Kaufman emphasized that you can learn a skill in just 20 hours.
In his this interview with Dan Schawbel, he further explains nitty-gritty of his- learn anything in 20 hours- rule.
So you want to learn a new skill in 20 hours
You don’t want to put in 10000 hours of deliberate practice. If you are above 35, you have an excuse that it is too much time to put in at this age.
And if you are below 35 then, yes, you once again don’t want to put in 10000 hours of deliberate practice as you are in a hurry to get the quick results if not instant.
So, this how to learn any skill in 20 hours rule, is here for everyone who want to learn a new skill quickly in just 20 hours.
Difference between 10000 hour rule of attaining expertise in your chosen field and how to learn anything in 20 hours rule
Most important difference between 10000 hour rule of attaining expertise in your chosen field and rule of learning anything in 20 hours is that-
while 10000 hours of deliberate practice are needed for mastering a skill to its highest possible level.
The 10000 hour rule is needed for attaining an expertise of Olympic level in some games and sports like gymnastics, boxing and chess or authoring a New York Times best seller book.
However, at the same time, any skill can be learnt up to a reasonable level in just 20 hours of deliberate practice.
You might have experienced this phenomenon many time in your life. And you already posses many skills on which you haven’t put 10000 hours of deliberate practice for learning.
You can learn almost any skill in 20 hours if you follow the right process
Examples of such skills are many like reading, writing, how to ride a bicycle and then a motor bike, these examples can be countless.
To further explain the difference between 10000 hour rule and 20 hour rule, I would like to state that if you decide to become a singer of the stature of Elvis Presley then you have to practice as per 10000 rule.
However, if you just want to learn how to sing then practice as per 20 hours rule will get you there. Later on you may continue to learn and practice if you want to hone your skill further .
The process of learning any skill in just 20 hours
However, for learning a new skill in a better manner, practice for just 20 hours would not be enough. Rather it will require practicing the skill in those 20 hours intelligently or deliberately. So what does practicing intelligently or deliberately means?
Let’s find out directly from Josh Kaufman in this video-
Josh Kaufman insists that for learning a skill in just 20 hours, you have to practice in these 20 hours intelligently. Now let us find out what Josh Kaufman means by the term- practice intelligently.
To learn a new skill in just 20 hours of practice you have to go under the regimen of these four components of 20 hour rule-
1. Deconstruct or dismantle the skill you want to learn
This mean breaking down the task in small pieces, so it becomes easy to learn. Further, it also helps you to find out what is more important and what is not that important. Then you have to focus more on what is more important for learning that particular skill in 20 hours.
2. Learn enough to self correct
Unlike the 10000 rule where emphasis was on having a teacher in person, 20 hours rule stipulates to learn from anywhere you can learn. It may be a teacher in person, good books on the subject or from internet courses and lessons.
But, you have to learn enough so in absence of a teacher in person, you can self correct your mistakes and improve from there.
It is very important to not to repeat your mistakes as if you keep repeating the same mistakes time and again, chances that you learn a new skill in 20 hours will become very bleak.
So learn from your mistakes. Don’t repeat your mistakes and practice for 20 hours with an intention of improving with every passing day of practicing the new skill.
3. Remove the distractions
If possible, have a place to practice free of distractions. It pays if you practice at same place and same time as it leads to development of a disciplined approach towards learning, which is so very important not only for learning a skill but also achieving anything in your life.
A mindless repetition doesn’t improve your skill. To learn a new skill you have to practice deliberately. And deliberate practice means that those 20 hours you have to invest in learning the new skill, distraction free.
So, make your place of practice as distraction free as possible if you want to learn any new skill in just 20 hours.
4. Practice at least for 20 hours
The other component worth remembering, about 20 hour rule is that you have to practice at least for 20 hours to learn a new skill.
Although, practice for 20 hours is not such a tall order, yet some people will tend to give up in between due to frustration generated by slow progress in the beginning.
As in beginning you might think as if you are not making any progress or your performance is not up to the mark. Please be aware of this emotional block and continue to practice at least for 20 hours, if you want to learn a new skill.
As you learn as per the process called steps and jumps. Initially you lean in baby steps, then your learning gets momentum and you start learning in substantial chunks described as jumps.
Think no further, start learning a new skill now
So, if you are among the people who have any enthusiasm for the life and if you want to live a life of achievements and recognition and have some fire inside you to do something of any importance then you have this idea of practicing for 20 hours here as a blessing to your dreams. And think how easy it is to achieve the results.
As what you need to learn a new skill is deliberate practice of just for 20 hours. You can’t say no to this.
So pick up paper and pen and just write down what you always wanted to learn and you felt enthusiastic toward.
This may be some game or sport, some activity, playing of some musical instrument, singing, cooking, gardening anything which interests you. Further, I would suggest not stopping after learning just one skill but learn one new skill every month.
You can learn up to 12 new skills in a year by applying how to learn anything in 20 hours rule
WOW, it adds up to 12 new skills per year. How satisfying and how rewarding does it feel. So think no further and start following your interests and hobbies you always wanted to follow so much, but could not learn due to non availability of clear understanding of how much time does it take to learn a new skill.
And you always believed that learning a new skill is an uphill task.
But now you have this power of knowledge of how to learn anything in 20 hour rule in your hand. So wait no further and start learning a new skill you always craved to learn so much. Now!