Special Report

The Key to Becoming More Productive Is This

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11. Don’t compare yourself to others

“Comparisonitis” is a curse, Wood said. She is averse to telling people how long a task should take before it’s completed because there are too many variable factors and the time it takes for one person to achieve a goal is not necessarily the same time it takes another person. But this is not a bad thing, she noted. You don’t become more productive overnight. “Change is an ongoing conversation and patterns — good or bad — develop over time.”

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12. Look at the bright side

This is a simple way of saying you should learn the science of optimism, according to Oliveri. This is one trick she thinks people should remember to do in order to be more productive. Several studies have shown a link between optimism and happiness. Feeling positive about yourself is likely to result in overall well-being, too. Other research suggests that lack of hope is linked to higher rates of despair in some people.

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13. Plan tomorrow today

It’s a good practice to take some time at the end of the day to get clear on your activities for tomorrow, Wood noted. This will help keep you organized and you will save time figuring out what to prioritize, which is time you could spend working on your goal.

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14. Keep a to-do list

Whether that list is short or long depends on the person. What’s right for you may not be right for someone else. “Everyone’s life and demands on their time and energy are so, so different,” Oliveri said. But she does recommend keeping a list. “Because if it’s not written down, it will be stored in your mind and cause you anxiety.” Thinking about all the things you have to do instead of working towards completing the task is very distracting.

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15. Focus on important, not urgent

Spend the majority of your time on important actions that move your goals forward as opposed to the urgent ones, Wood said. “The so-called urgent actions are things like phone calls, texts, alerts — and they are often things people need of you as opposed to what you need, she noted. Therefore, they are a distraction that should be eliminated.

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