It’s tedious being stuck in a hamster wheel. Routines give us a framework to work within. But after a while, the daily humdrum can stifle you. If you are aiming to get more out of life than just ambling through the paces of your 9-to-6 job, then you have to alter things around you.
A couple of months back, I published a list of reflections about the efforts I had undertaken to infuse energy into my life. Today I am sharing some more ideas that I think could amp up your productivity and overall quality of life.
1. Wake up early
You can’t imagine the boost the early morning hours provide to your productivity. In that interval of quiet, you can get serious stuff done.
Dan Ariely, author of bestsellers such as ‘Predictably Irrational‘ and ‘The Upside of Irrationality‘, mentioned in a blog, “The two hours after we become fully awake are, potentially, our most productive.”
That said, merely getting up early is not enough. If you don’t have your to-do list ready, you might end up frittering away your time. Before going to bed every night, it’s advisable to write down 5 items to tick off when you get up and place that note right next to your phone or alarm clock.
2. Become an 80/20 thinker
If you wish to earn disproportionate results in life, you need to zero in on the 20% activities where you hold a domain expertise or where your true calling resides.
In short, you must identify the ‘vital few’ and cut down on the ‘trivial many’. The indefatigable focus on those 20% high-value activities will result in excessive 80% returns. This is the core of the 80/20 principle.
Become an 80/20 thinker and identify which 20% of your work results in 80% of outcomes. That gainful portion should be improved upon and multiplied
The 80/20 principle, sometimes also called ‘Principle of Selectivity’ and ‘Pareto Principle’ was proposed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto.
3. Avoid early morning social media fix
I think when it comes to talking about technology, my train of thought hurtles to the malevolent facets before chugging to the benign ones.
Look, I am not against social media. But there is stuff we do that totally drives me bonkers.
I know a lot of people and so would you for whom the day starts with checking updates on Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp and what you have. They do this while they are still in bed. It’s an early morning dopamine fix.
Step out and breath in fresh air. Your withdrawal pangs should arise from missing out on the daily morning run or exercise not from missing out on social media updates.
4. Take risks
5. Whatever you are working towards, practice every day
Don’t stop until you reach your potential. I read an article sometime back, don’t remember the author now. It said that 99% of the new year resolutions flounder because they fail to take the leap from mere items-on-a-page to become daily habits.
If you want to become a writer, you must write every day. Push yourself even if you are not feeling like it, even if you are not in the right frame of mind, even if the ideas are not coming. Same goes for all other endeavours. If you want to lose weight, you must eat less and exercise more. There is no rocket science to it. But you have to do it every day.
See, in this age of instant gratification, you have to keep your radars fixed on the long-term results. Vincent Poscente, the author of ‘The Ant and The Elephant’ asserts, “Change is gradual. Efforts should be consistent.Worthiest efforts consume loads of time and energy before they bear fruit.”
6. Become a process addict
“I’m addicted to the process of the battle scars, the setbacks, the lack of, you know.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
You may not reach every goal in life, but even if you don’t, you will still end up learning a lot more than doing nothing. If you wish to run a marathon, you know the process to get up to that level is going to be hard when the only sprinting you have done in your life is with your kids in neighbourhood block.
Unless you absolutely fall in love with the process, you may not get there.
7. Speak the truth, always
8. Don’t be a perfectionist about everything
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing you will never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily towards your goals.” – Bruce Lee
We only have a finite amount of time in this world. You certainly don’t want to wake up at 65 realizing that you never did what you always dreamt about.
One of the biggest hurdles thwarting our efforts is our stupid fixation with perfectionism. Until I write the perfect article, I won’t press publish. Until I have a perfect idea, I won’t start my business. Trust me, you won’t even know when your affection toward perfectionism has crossed over into procrastination.
Take the leap of faith and just do it. You will have ample opportunities to ‘perfect’ your business idea or whatever it is.
“Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.” – Bre Pettis and Kio Stark, The Cult of Done Manifesto
9. Dip into your savings from time to time. Retirement is overrated.
The famous Canadian novelist and Booker-prize winner Margaret Atwood once said, “In the end, we will all become stories.”
We all are here for a very short time. While it’s important to save for the rainy day and post-retirement phase, you should not tie yourself down to the level of asphyxiation.
The online financial pundits – most of them are on the rolls of banks and mutual funds – talk about the urgency of saving or investing for retirement as if a failure to do so would lead to a financial apocalypse.
A little dip into the bucket for a family vacation or a foreign language program is not going to kill your post-retirement dreams. On the contrary, time off from the daily drudgery might get you new ideas and set you off on new adventures.
10. Learn to stay positive no matter what
If there is something like the most hackneyed piece of advice ever, it’s got to be this. I might be the millionth person saying this, but this one is the core tenet. Stay positive even when the odds seem insurmountable.
“Our reaction to a situation has the power to change the situation.” – Anonymous