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7 Productivity Beliefs That Get You Nowhere Fast

There’s a fine line between smart and stupid, and sometimes our motivations can make that line a little blurry.

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We’re all looking for faster, more productive ways to work, but sometimes our positive intentions can override practicality. In other words, what sounds like a good idea at the time can quickly turn into the worst idea ever.

However, we often don’t know what a good idea looks like until we try. Taking risks is important – buying down risk is better.

There’s a fine line between smart and stupid, and sometimes our motivations can make that line a little blurry.

Related: 7 Simple Tips to Boost Your Productivity at Work

Make sure you’re on the right side of the line by avoiding these seven workplace beliefs:

1“Let’s work through lunch so we can leave sooner.”

The reality is, when you work through lunch you find yourself not only hungry but angry and cranky later on, falling into what’s known in the medical profession as “hangry.”

OK, this may not be a medical term, but it should be.

2“I’m just going to check email real quick.”

checking-email

Just as there’s no such thing as one beer, there’s no such thing as “real quick” when it comes to email. It takes time to open email, read through it, compose your thoughts and assemble them into one cohesive message, not to mention reviewing that email before you hit “send.”

If checking your email is a must, set a limit of how many you will review and stick to it.

3“I’ll follow up with you later.”

Sure you will. This is essentially the same thing as saying, “I’m going to procrastinate as long as possible because I don’t want to do [task].” Timing is of the essence and sometimes you do need to wait for others.

If you’re the one waiting for a response, be sure to identify a deadline for when said person will get back to you by. Doing so creates commitment and accountability.

Related: Yossi Hasson on Mastering the Art of Productivity

4“If I arrive early into work then I’ll leave early.”

Not gonna happen. Not unless you’re the boss and you set your own hours, because let’s face it, you’re not going to be the guy or gal who leaves at 2 p.m while everybody else is working just because you arrived before the sun came up.

5“Let’s grab just one drink after work.”

one-drink-after-work

There’s no such thing as “just one drink.” Going through BUD/S (Navy SEAL training), there was a saying that was constantly pounded into our heads (take that as you may): “Two is one. One is none.” In other words, always have a backup – for everything. Strangely, drinking is no different.

6“I think I’ll utilise the boss’s open-door policy.”

This isn’t a good idea either. Even though bosses lay claim to openness to hear everyone’s gripes and issues, the reality is whatever you say to your boss won’t be forgotten.

Cognitive biases (mental shortcuts) inhibit our decision-making because we’re unaware of their influence, and saying to your boss, “I think we can be more productive by …” isn’t likely to disappear after you leave his or her office. I’m not saying ignore the issue, just find another avenue to solve it.

Related: 5 Inexpensive Workspace Improvements That Boost Productivity

7“I’ll just file this under miscellaneous and come back to it.”

Yeah, right – along with the 800 other files and emails categorised under the universal “miscellaneous” tag.

This is similar to bookmarking webpages to peruse later. Want to know how many “favourites” I have saved in my browser? Probably close to a million. Want to know how many I actually visited? Maybe five.

The bottom line is nothing beats now. Save procrastination for later.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV

The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.

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The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

What You Put In Is What You Get Out – Create Your Own Success

The secret to curating a successful life starts with what you put in.

Allon Raiz

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You are what you eat, the saying goes. Your physical and even mental health are highly dependent on what you eat (or consume) daily. There are four fundamental factors of a system:  Input, boundaries, purpose and output. All systems are mostly defined by the combination of these four factors.

A professional athlete will be very diligent about what they consume in order to achieve the best possible outcome, and sprinters will have different guides and regimes to marathon runners. Essentially, high performing athletes curate their input, or design their own lives, to produce a favourable output.

The same is true of the high-performance entrepreneur — they too should be curating their input, not just in terms of what they consume through their mouths but more importantly, what they consume with their ears and eyes.

Related: For Shatty Mashego Success Lies In Maintaining A Positive Mindset

Positive inputs

A few years ago, I began to recognise that even though I might wake up in a good space in the morning, by 10am I would be feeling negative regardless of my daily practices. I had already established the discipline of recording and recognising my successes daily, as well as repeating daily affirmations and visualisations, yet within a few hours of starting my day, I found myself in a negative space.

I couldn’t figure out what was causing this; but after some analysis I realised that my daily routine included listening to talk radio on the way to work, catching up with the news on Twitter before my first meeting, and reading the morning paper which was neatly laid out on my desk. It quickly became clear that my negativity could be attributed to my over-consumption of bad news.

Each communication platform — from Twitter to the radio — has the power to depress anyone who consumes its news, but the combination of all three was toxic to me. It affected my mood, concentration and, invariably, my output. In a single decision, I eliminated these three platforms from my daily ‘diet’ and instead curated a different morning experience to see whether it would change the output. Instead of the radio, I decided to listen to either music or an audiobook; instead of Twitter, I decided to call a friend; and I didn’t renew my newspaper subscription.

The results were instantaneous. This experiment set me on a mission to see what else I could deliberately curate and design, so I began to strategically design my life to inform the successful and positive output that I desired. I subscribed to online newsletters that were informative and thought-provoking, such as Brain Food by Shane Parish; I cajoled my management team to begin listening to audiobooks at the same time that I was doing so to ensure that we included positive discussions in our bi-monthly meetings; and I ensured that there were always three litres of water in my immediate surrounds to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Create your own success

In case you haven’t experienced the lightbulb moment yet, the simple explanation is this: All systems have inputs and outputs, and the quality of the input results in the quality of the output.

If you see yourself as the curator of your input and as the architect of your environment, you can start to create the inputs, set the boundaries and define purposes to result in the output that commands entrepreneurial success.

Related: Daily Practices for Cultivating a Positive Work Culture to Support Your Business

If something really affects the quality of your life — whether it’s your attitude, your mood or the clarity of your thought processes — it’s time to relook the design and start to curate an environment that is conducive to your success.

And, if you’re concerned about missing out on what’s happening, always remember that, if a news report or update has a direct impact on your life, the chances are high that you will hear it through your friends and family.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

Follow These 8 Steps To Stay Focused And Reach Your Goals

Decrease the amount of noise in your head.

Nina Zipkin

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Accomplishing a goal can be hard work. But even if a project is something you are passionate about and want to complete, distractions such as social media, doubts and other tasks can make it nearly impossible to concentrate on it. Don’t fret. We’re here to help.

Check out these eight steps to help you prioritise and clear your mind.

1. Stop multitasking

Instead of trying to do a million things at once, take a step back and tackle one task at a time. And while your inclination might be to start your day with busy work – like checking emails – and then move onto to the harder things, you should try to get your brain moving by challenging yourself with with a bigger, more creative endeavor first thing.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

2. Block out your days

A good way to hold yourself accountable when it comes to quieting the noise all around you is to specifically block out time in your day – maybe it’s 30 minutes or an hour – to spend on a given project.

Colour code your calendar or set a timer to make sure you are accomplishing the goal at hand.

3. Get your blood pumping

going-for-a-walk

You can’t focus if your are stuck inside and staring at a screen all day long. Turn off your computer and phone, and go for a walk for 20 minutes. The fresh air and the movement will clear your head. Also make sure that you are drinking enough water and getting enough rest.

4. Help your technology help you

A platform like RescueTime, a software that runs while you work and shows you how you are spending your day, could help you understand why something is taking longer to complete than it should. Options like Cold TurkeyFreedom and Self Control block out the internet entirely to keep you off your Twitter feed when you should be meeting deadlines.

5. Meditate

Get a recommendation for a yoga or meditation class, or even make it an office outing so everyone get some time to quiet their minds. Or look online for a plethora of apps and platforms whose stock and trade is mindfulness, like Meditation Made SimpleCalm and Headspace.

For slightly more of a monetary investment, you could look into wearable tech like Thync, a device that produces electrical pulses to help your brain decrease stress.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win

6. Change up what’s in your headphones

headphones

While background noise might help block out a loud office or construction outside your window, you need to be careful that what you are listening to isn’t distracting you more.

Music with lyrics can sap your focus from the task in front of you, so consider trying classical or electronic music instead. Or use a playlist that is familiar to you, so you aren’t tempted to turn all your attention to the new sound.

7. Streamline your communication

If you find that all of your focus gets trained on getting your inbox down to zero, think about how you can get yourself out from under a relentless deluge of email. Ask yourself and your colleagues to think about whether this conversation would be most effective through email, on the phone or in person.

Taking five minutes to walk over to someone else’s workspace will save you the time and energy invested into a redundant email chain and clarify how you want to attack a problem more quickly.

Related: 7 Steps To Achieving Our Higher-Level Goals

8. Find an environment with the right kind of noise

To be the most effective, you need to strike a delicate balance between too much noise and total silence. According to David Burkus, an associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University, “some level of office banter in the background might actually benefit our ability to do creative tasks, provided we don’t get drawn into the conversation,” Burkus wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

“Instead of total silence, the ideal work environment for creative work has a little bit of background noise. That’s why you might focus really well in a noisy coffee shop, but barely be able to concentrate in a noisy office.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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