What is habit?
Habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated frequently, and tends to occur unconsciously. Bad habits intrude your life and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Breaking any habit can be difficult. For instance, if a person smokes regularly, it becomes his habit and even if he wants to quit, it becomes difficult for him to give-up.
Psychologist and philosopher William James proclaimed that the entire life is nothing but a series of habits that we form repeatedly. The power of habit has been explained by various authors, world leaders and motivational speakers. One of the famous Authors, Stephen R. Covey, wrote a book titled “The 7 Habits of successful People” describing an approach to being effective in realizing your goals.
One can create excellence in big things, by developing good habits even in small matters. Keeping the desk clean, using mobile with discretion, removing the clutter from your mind, etc. All these can be practiced again and again easily. When you instill these habits into your life, you create the foundation for achieving your goals.
Here are 8 Habits of highly productive people that you may adopt to get the best out of you!!
1. Ruthlessly cut away the unimportant
That’s right. Try to focus only on the important things, and cut away everything that’s unimportant. There is no point doing something that is not needed for the desired results. So push yourself to quit wasting time, and bring yourself back to the production mode.
2. Allocate breaks strategically
Productivity declines over time without taking brakes. Take many small breaks during the day. The rule of thumb would be to take a 5 to 10 minutes break every 2 hours of work. Breaks are a highly effective way to boosting your productivity.
3. Remove productivity pitfalls
Things that limit your productivity must be thrown out. It can be the loud music you listen to when you work, your phone calls, alerts from your inbox, your slow computer, the internet, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These things trap you and prevent you from getting things done.
4. Tap into your inspiration
No matter what field you’re in, your inspiration is the key to your output. So, channel your inner muse. Keep on thinking and contemplating the things that motivates you. And definitely you will find that your focus increases thereby up surging your productivity.
5. Create barriers to entry
Don’t make yourself too accessible. If you’re too accessible, then you will face a lot of interruptions. Nowadays, people can connect with others very easily- with the touch of button (text, emails, calls, etc.). Therefore, guard your time to improve your productivity.
6. Optimize time pockets
Make the best of every minute. For instance, if you’re working for 10 minutes, ensure that you achieve maximum outcomes in those 10 minutes and then you can take time off. You usually get time pockets while waiting for people, commuting, chess app, reading books, or planning.
7. Set timelines
Be clear on what you want to achieve, and then set your timelines for them. When you set timelines, you commit to yourself to complete the work on time, hence, paving the way for the reality to manifest.
8. Automate everything possible
Technology today has made automation possible for a lot of things we do. Hence, find a way to automate every task and let it be your habit. If you outsource, delegate. Delegation and automation wherever possible will enhance your productivity.
By no means, this is a complete list. But as you focus on improving productivity by adopting good habits you will be inspired to adopt more such habits which are particularly useful to you.
Thanks for reading.
Public speaking has become more important today than it was at anytime earlier. While the content is the king, speaker has to be choosy about the language. We find that language used by some of the speakers is so compelling that listeners are highly influenced. I am detailing below 6 language techniques which make the speech highly effective:
1. Using clear spoken language: Spoken language is not the same as written language. Its sentences have to be short. The long sentences may work well in the written essay but in speech short sentences are better. Further, concrete words should be used rather than the abstract ones. Verbosity needs to be avoided, totally. Above all, greater use of restatement is recommended. But the same should not be repetition the words which you have already used.
2. Concrete language: The language when the listener can create images in his mind. e. g. we say “the legs of speaker were shaking and repetitively he was wiping perspiration on his face.” The above statement is far more effective than saying that the speaker was extremely nervous and did not know how to proceed with a speech.
3. Specific words: It’s better to use specific words rather than generic. e. g. when we say a president of a company it is specific but if we just say manager though president is also a manager, but it is not specific. Manager is more specific than saying an administrator. Indeed, the manager is also an administrator.
4. Figures of speech: Use of any figure of speech makes the speech very interesting. There are number of elements which when used with discretion dramatically improves the quality of the speech. Figures of speech are:
i) Metaphor: metaphor is application of a name or description to something to which it is not literary related. For example, one may say, “life a camera. Just focus on what is important and capture the good times. Develop from the negative and if things don’t work take another shot.” Another example would be- so often we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to enjoy the journey. Such metaphors used appropriately are highly appreciated.
ii) Hyperbole: when we exaggerate anything for emphasis that would be known as hyperbole. The following are the examples of hyperbole in views.
- An obvious and purposeful statement of exaggeration used for emphasis, dramatic effect, and to make a clear poem.
- How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
- “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
- iii) Personification: The attribution of human character to animals/inanimate objects or abstract notions is known as personification. Examples:
- Time leaps forward
- The starts winked at me
- The Sun smiled on the city as a new day began.
- The piercing look almost broke the glass
5. Art of restatement: The restatement is an extremely effective way of putting across your point. However, it is important that you should not use the same words or the same sentence again and again. Use language which expresses the same idea but in different words. Imagination and application of mind will do the trick.
6. Creating emphasis: The speaker may use contras. Rhetorical questions can be asked to create a dramatic effect on the listeners. Contras are when you talk of totally opposite things together. Likewise rhetorical questions are such, which leave the audience aghast.
One of the most popular speeches of 20th century is ‘I have a dream’ by Martin Luther King. In this speech, he uses all types of figures of speech. In fact only their adept use has made the speech so popular, and so effective.
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There are many qualities that a Manager in today’s competitive environment must have. But the most important quality of Leadership that he/she must possess is problem solving ability. The leader must never practice “shoot the messenger of bad news”. Unfortunately many do.
For a true leader anyone who brings a problem should be a ‘welcome guest’.
Problems abound in any organization. These may be small ones or big disasters. Simple to solve with a little attention or gigantic which may scare anyone. The biggest difficulty happens to be the wish to put the problem under the carpet so that it is not visible. This emerges out of fear – that I may be blamed. But like any other evil, the small problems may sooner or later become massive in size. At that time solutions become difficult though critical. Maybe for the very existence.
So the manager must identify precisely the nature of the problem and define it as clearly as possible. Remain calm. Maintain poise. And take all the necessary action to solve it. What are the qualities necessary for honing this essential skill? Not one, but many! These are listed below:
1. A near perfect Management Information System: Near perfect because perfection is never achieved. It’s important to keep on improving. It’s important to follow the excellence which you can always pursue. But wait until perfection because perfection is a mirage for humans. Only nature is perfect.
2. A passionate belief in the purpose. You must have a strong purpose. You must not underestimate the importance of the job at hand. Unless you do your best in solving problems with a strong passion you cannot master this unique but essential skill.
3. Solving a problem is a process which requires patient application of mind. Patience and imagination of the two necessary keys for the person wants to excel in the art of problem solving. You need to enjoy applying mind and people around you will also do the same. If constant growth is your goal, there could be no easier method than to follow it with patience using your imagination.
4. Dogged persistence: Persistence is the core quality that you must develop. You must understand that if any problem has to be solved, you need to pursue the action towards resolving the same with nothing less than a dogged persistence. Often the problem remains partly sort and emerges the game because of lack of persistent follow-up of the issue. Keep reviewing but never ever give up!
5. c: One must be open towards learning throughout one’s life. Often your ego comes in the way of your learning. You start thinking that this is something with that you have been doing and you know it very well. You take things easy considering that you have full knowledge about the subject. In fact, no one ever knows enough. There is always a lot to learn from your own experience and that of others, from books or from any other source.
6. Look at your problem from different angles. Just as a photographer tries to portray the object from different angles, bringing out the life in the subject; likewise when you view the problem from different angles you will be able to chart out alternative solutions. You need to have an eye for detail so that you do not overlook anything. If nothing escapes your eyes and you are willing to spend time in exploring be alternatives you are hitting in the bull’s-eye.
7. The next step is to identify the most suitable solution to the problem. After you have worked out multiple solutions it becomes time to find out which ever is the best. This exercise also requires close watch, patience, open mind, openness to criticism and collaboration with the people who know the subject. Selection of the ideal solution is critical . It’s importance should never be undermined
A Manager can perfect the essential skill of problem solving by developing the above qualities with day to day practice sincerely and consistently.
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Often, we find that we become sad due to some small reason. It could be anything which happened not as we had visualized. It could be erroneous behavior of somebody we relied on and things like that. But sadness never helps us. It further aggravates the problem. We lose time. We lose energy too. When we are sad, we do not feel like doing something which will be self satisfying. In fact we would not like to work on any project where application of mind and some physical efforts are required. So what should we do? In any case we should try to conquer the malady and come out of it. But how can we do that? I am giving below some such actions which have proved to be very useful if you suffer from the state of sadness.
1. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is focusing on the present. When we are sad and when we know that sadness is not going to help we should encourage ourselves to do something creative. No doubt mindfulness is difficult. But with practice it can become a matter of habit. It will have multiple advantages. You become a better manager of time. You will understand that sadness is sheer wastage of time which can be better utilized by doing something which you love. Time is better utilized in doing something creative.
2. Learn to forgive others and also yourself.
Oftentimes, it is observed that primary reason of becoming sad is our observation that we have not lived up to the demand of the situation and/or occasion. We have not carried out our duty the way it should have been done. Thus we tend to become sad because of our own mistakes. At such times, you need to realize that it is not abnormal. People at all levels make mistakes. Try to think if you have met anybody who doesn’t make mistakes; you will find none. Thus, there is no reason to be upset with you. Forgive yourself and move on. Sadness can also occur when we are betrayed by some of colleague, family member, social associate etc. But in reality people are always more concerned with their own interest. Therefore it is not something uncommon when there is a clash of interest they will not bother about our expectation from them even if they had promised to do. But, as you must forgive yourself, you need to forgive them as well. This will surely bring peace.
3. Start doing some exercise.
Exercise takes away your attention away from the current sadness. You start to focus on doing something which requires energy as well as application of mind. Survey reveals that this type of distraction is very valuable to conquer sadness. You don’t have to run a marathon. You can simply go for a walk but in a lively place. If you are a member of a club and it is within your reach then go to the club and enjoy the company of your friends or even other people who are not very close to you. It will change your mood. The change in atmosphere will also help.
4. Ward of negative self talk
It has been observed that when you are sad you start thinking of the past when you were in similar state. This has, unfortunately, a snowballing effect. You must remind yourself that you have to deliberately come out of undesirable state. It is your interest not to remain in that state. It will definitely require your initiative determination and action. Not easy! But with practice it becomes achievable.
5. Company of happy people
It’s a good habit to remain in the company of happy people. You should choose your friends. You can surely avoid company of people who are themselves morose, who are feeling that they are undergoing some kind of depression. Such people will only aggravate the problem. Even if you are doing good some problems are bound to be there. In company of positive people, you look at the situation as a part of life. You will not see your problems in the magnifying glass. Thus, it’s best to be in company of happy people. Besides, when you are in the state of sadness, try to find someone to whom you can talk and who generally makes you feel happy. If it is not possible to reach out to them, just talk to them over the phone but come out of your state of sadness.
6. Use distraction
If there is something that you have been postponing, think of that and start working on the same. Let it a kind of useful distraction. You can even start playing with your pet if you have one. You may read a book that you have been wanting to read. Do anything that will take you away from the current state. But somehow you have to try your best to change. Or just go out and do something, some work of yours which is either pending or which can resolved with some effort.
6. Shift to a well lighted, lively place
It is been observed that if you tend to stay in a place which is not well lighted you remain sad. If you are sitting in your own room and you find it boring, because you have not brought about any change, its better to find some lively well lighted place. Go there in any which way particularly when you’re not in a happy mood.
Listen to live music
If you’re fond of music then try to pick up some nice happy songs which you have been enjoying in the past. It will renew your happy memories. Music is a wonderful tool for changing your mood and making you at peace with yourself. If at all music does not interest you, which is very unlikely, then you can start working on any of your favorite hobby. Spend some time on it so that you don’t keep on brooding over things which have brought about state of sadness.
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A day well-spent is a day cherished. We always find some days in our life where we achieve much more; all that has been planned is easily taken care of. At the end of such a day, we actually feel refreshed. There is no sign of the fatigue that bogs us down on days where nothing much has been achieved. So what causes this seemingly strange paradox? The answer lies in our personal productivity.
Personal productivity is the output an individual can achieve given the time he has and the tasks he is supposed to perform. Personal productivity is very satisfying for the inner consciousness. It is a primary source of self-confidence for an individual and boosts his or her moral and raises the self-esteem. It is the very foundation of success. An individual who is highly productivity on a day-to-day basis achieves a lot at the end of the week, more in a month, much more in a year and so on.
So why do people suffer from lack of personal productivity and remain busy in unproductive activities that keep a person occupied and waste his time? There are several reasons for this idle state of mind. These can be summarized as follows:
1. Lack of Focus: Many people do not proceed with any kind of focus or direction. Without any clarity on what is to be achieved; such people waste away their time waiting for things to happen rather than making them possible.
2. No personal goals: Every individual must have personal goals. These include family goals, financial goals, spiritual goals, career goals etc. People with no goals often find themselves being self-satisfied with little or no achievements at the end of the day.
3. Too many distractions: Anyone who wishes to achieve good results must give up this habit of ‘multi-tasking’ or trying to do various things simultaneously. Rather he/she must focus on doing one thing at a time quickly and efficiently before more on to the next thing.
4. Not preparing a To-do list: People who do not actively plan for the work day – preparing an agenda of things to be carried out during the day handicap themselves by relying completely on their memory and working on an ad-hoc basis. It is always better to have list of things ready before starting work and planning the available time accordingly.
5. No review: Even the best of plans may not always produce results. What is important is a continuous review of tasks to be achieved. This will enable unfinished tasks of the previous day to be completed on the day.
6. Staying happy and cheerful: Enthusiasm and confidence go together. People who are generally cheerful energetically move about the days and quite easily accomplish much more than those who remain serious and self-restrained.
In conclusion, whatever we achieve in the long term ultimately is a sum total of all the small actions we take on a day to day basis. In everything we do, we must strive to improve our personal productivity so that we can live fuller, happier, and more accomplished lives.