Do you sometimes find yourself wishing you could get more accomplished each day? Perhaps you struggle getting started or get hung up on the details. Use these strategies to ignite your productivity and get things done.
- Be realistic about what you want to accomplish in a day. If you set a goal of completing 30 tasks in a day and you only finish 10 of them, you probably won’t feel very productive.
- Your goals should be achievable and make sense within the parameters of your life.
- Wake up earlier. Perhaps you need an extra hour to get things done. Try waking up at 7:00 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m. and see how that works. Plan to use that first hour of each day to finish any incomplete tasks or get minor chores done quickly.
- Use lists. Write down a list of things you can conceivably accomplish in a day. Once you have a concrete list in front of you, it’s a lot easier to get started and stick to a plan. This also helps you easily transition between tasks since you won’t have to ponder what’s next.
- Keep your list and schedule in a spiral notebook. Check off or put a line through each job as you complete it. When you look back at all you’ve accomplished, you’ll feel great!
- Working from a list is not only motivating, but it also gives you a feeling of success.
- Pick an hour to work on tasks you’ve been avoiding. We’ve all have sticky notes reminding us to do those tasks we find most tedious or those small jobs that seem insignificant. Set aside an hour each day to focus on completing those lingering, annoying tasks. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can get them done.
- Acknowledge when a task is no longer necessary. Sometimes things we put on our “To Do” lists no longer need to get done. Recognize the completion of tasks no matter who does them.
- Maybe somebody else helped out and completed the chore before you had a chance to get it done. That’s okay.
- If a task is no longer relevant, it’s acceptable to let it go.
- Deciding a project is unnecessary gives you a sense of achievement because you are still moving forward.
- Limit interruptions. If you’re at the office, let your phone calls go to voice mail for an hour while you get your work done. If you’re at home, avoid answering phones or responding to texts during that hour. If you want to keep your momentum going, always stick to your list.
- Return all phone calls each day. After you’re done working for the day, set aside time to return any calls you missed. If you keep putting that off, your list of people to call back will continue to accumulate. When you return calls daily, it’ll keep your momentum going.
- Although you may not be able to reach every person, always leave a message that you returned their call. At least they’ll know that you’ve made an effort to get back to them.
- Acknowledge what you’ve accomplished at the end of each day. Look at your list. Congratulate yourself on a job well done! Celebrate the fact that you were effective and productive. Whether you crossed off one large task or seven small ones, you made progress.
Planning and accomplishing a daily list of tasks will help you to feel a sense of success. If you follow these tips, you’ll consistently finish the things that you need to get done. You’ll love the way you feel when you light the flame of productivity!
7 Ways to Enrich Your Life With Failure
Sometimes, the fear of failure makes you hesitant to try new things. Often, the most powerful feelings you’ve experienced are those that come after a perceived failure. The question of, “What if I fail again?” can hinder you in the future.
Consider changing your perspective and try seeing failure from the other side. What if you were to look at failure in a positive way instead of a negative one? How could this benefit you?
Think about the following benefits of failing:
- You may try something new in the process. You’re unable to be an expert on all things. Each day, you gain knowledge as new people enter your life and new items are invented.
- When you try something for the first time, it might not work out. That’s okay. Think about how that new experience will benefit you in the future.
- When you make a concerted effort, you can still be proud of yourself.
- You gain new knowledge. Perhaps you joined a book club, but didn’t really enjoy attending the meetings. However, you did read the first few assigned books. You learned about South Africa and several other topics you didn’t know about previously.
- The key is to figure out what you learned from a less-than-successful event.
- You can make a personal discovery. For example, maybe as you were trying to salvage a previous relationship, you realized that you often sacrifice your own needs to keep a partner around.
- It was good for you to learn that lesson. Since that last break-up, you’ve been more in touch with what you truly want and can now communicate more effectively with your new partner.
- You discovered some very important self-knowledge that will enrich your life.
- You may encounter new people that you’re glad you found. During the process of failure at work or in your social life, you’re likely to forge new relationships. You can now celebrate a new friendship.
- The situation you labeled as a “failure,” was likely worth the relationship you gained.
- You realize what’s truly important. We all strive to determine what matters to us. And when you experience failure, you can sometimes discover what’s most important in your life. Arriving at that realization will help you from this point forward.
- You’ll likely get another chance. If you never acknowledge an error, you’ll never know the incredible feeling you get from correcting your mistake. Knowing that you were able to rectify a previous misstep will bring you great confidence and personal satisfaction.
- Your future decisions will be more informed. You have valuable insight and can proceed with clarity due to your previous mistakes. When a similar incident arises, you might react by thinking, “Been there, done that.” Hopefully, you won’t make the same mistake twice.
It’s true that making mistakes in your life can actually be helpful. They can provide you with knowledge about yourself and how you want to proceed in life. Looking back on your experiences that were less than fruitful at the time will bear fruit for you in the future. Embrace your errors and blossom!
An important aspect of self-development is to know when it’s time to change something about yourself. When you change, you often become more knowledgeable, skilled, and comfortable about a task or situation.
However, any kind of change, even if it will make your life more enjoyable, can be difficult because it involves stepping out of your comfort zone.
How can you reduce this discomfort?
Frankly, the more you push yourself to step out of your comfort zone, the more you gain, and the easier it becomes. The more you gain, the more likely it is that you’ll be willing to push yourself again in the future.
Try these suggestions to step out of your comfort zone:
- Do something new once a week. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Instead, open your mind to original ideas and experiences. Engage in a new activity every 7 days or so.
- Maybe you’ll try reading a biography instead of a mystery. Jogging every so often on your daily walk brings variety. Perhaps there’s a new recipe or food you’ve been curious to try for the first time. Go for it!
- Start small. Do you watch only situation comedies on television? Instead, why not try watching one show on the Public Broadcasting System to expand your mind? It won’t cost you anything and you might even open up a whole new world of intellectual stimulation.
- Acknowledge the discomfort (of leaving your comfort zone). Your feelings are normal. Almost everyone feels a bit unsettled when they do something for the first time. After you identify those fears, it actually becomes easier to try something new.
- Jot down what scares you when it comes to engaging in the experience.
- Recognize that thousands of others have likely done what you want to embark on and they made it through.
- You may feel a bit fearful, but plan to dive in to the experience anyway.
- Recognize the awesomeness of trying something different. You’ll always have the memory of the experience within you.
- Sprinkle your confidence on others. If your friends tell you they feel like they never do anything interesting, give them encouragement to go for something they want to experiment with. Share a recent personal story of how you were hesitant to engage in a new experience. Tell them they can learn to embrace new things.
- Find a mentor. If you still struggle when trying new things, find a mentor. Choose someone you see as the type of person who just goes for it, regardless of what “it” is. Spend time with your mentor and pick his brain about his process of experimenting with new things.
- When we see and learn about someone else’s bravery and sense of adventure, then we can be brave and adventurous, too.
- Visualize the desired experience. Imagine what it will be like to experience something you’ve longed to do. Picture it in your mind.
- For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to go kayaking, but were afraid to try it. Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting in the kayak, floating down the river. You see the birds, the fauna, and the fish in the water.
- As you let yourself visualize the experience¸ you see that it will be marvelous. Then, go sign up for your first kayaking lesson!
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be an exhilarating experience. Lose yourself by trying new things. Who knows, you may even discover a whole new you! At any rate, you’ll greatly increase the enjoyment in your life.
Recently, the benefits of nostalgia have been acknowledged. Experts used to warn against living in the past, but new studies show that memories have positive effects on coping skills and mood. There are constructive ways to go back and honor the nostalgic moments of your life.
Major Benefits of Nostalgia
- Feel more connected. The University of Southampton in England is one of the leaders in documenting the impact of nostalgia. Among their findings, they suggest that collective memories make us feel a sense of belonging. Nostalgia gives us our roots and helps us empathize.
- Understand yourself better. Looking back also creates more continuity in our lives. We learn how our background influences us today.
- Discover deeper meaning in your life. Naturally, we tend to focus on important times and people. This makes it easier to see our overall direction and purpose.
- Increase your self-confidence. Those who regularly indulge in nostalgia also report greater self-esteem. This is a great opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments and witness how you thrive through adversity.
- Boost your mood. Recalling good times is an instant mood booster.
- Strengthen your coping skills. There are also practical advantages to looking back. If you tend to be nostalgic, you may also demonstrate greater resiliency.
Suggestions for Going Back in Time
- Go online. Ironically, modern technology makes it easier to access our history. You’re only a few keystrokes away from viewing classic TV shows or ordering the movie candy you grew up eating.
- Reminisce with others. Reach out to family and friends. Relive the memories of high school by looking through an old yearbook with your sister or best friend.
- View past experiences as enriching. If yesterday looks better than today, you may be troubled by a sense of loss. Put things in perspective by focusing on how everything comes together to make you who you are.
- Accept good times at face value. Go ahead and glamourize your first car. Your coming of age counts for more than any rust spots.
- Process complex events. Even if there were some troubles in your childhood or your first marriage ended, look on the bright side. There will probably still be fond memories you can look back on.
- Monitor your mood and reactions. It’s natural to become nostalgic when you feel sad or lonely. Realize that you can access old memories anytime, regardless of your mood.
- Take pictures. Collect and display photos of the things and people you love. Update your computer wallpaper with a photo from your latest vacation.
- Listen to music. Songs provide a powerful connection to our memories. Have you ever heard a certain song on the radio and been immediately transported back in time? Share your favorite childhood songs with your own children.
- Play with toys. Get your childhood toys out of the attic and bring them downstairs for a reunion. If you no longer own your favorite old board game, look for it at garage sales or shop for it online.
- Give the present and future ample attention. Even as you take a trip down memory lane, it’s still important to attend to what’s currently going on in your life and prepare for your future. Keep a healthy balance when thinking about the past, present, and future.
Advertisers often invoke the past because they know it sells everything from refrigerators to shampoo. Put nostalgia to work for you. Memories can provide meaningful connections, lift your spirits, and strengthen your relationships.