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12 productivity hacks for the new year

by Ana Lopez
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With a new year come new goals and new opportunities. It’s also the perfect time of year to kick bad habits and start healthier ones. Plus, now is a great time to upgrade your New Year’s resolutions for 2023 to be more productive both at work and at home.

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Until become more productive in the new year, here are 12 productivity hacks to embrace. And no. You already know to look after your health, eliminate distractions, take breaks and brighten up your workspace. So I’m not going to bore you with those tips.

1. Create a mind map.

You can visualize ideas and concepts with a mind map. It helps you structure information, analyze it, understand it, synthesize it, remember it and generate new ideas through visual thinking.

As with any great idea, simplicity is key.

Unlike notes or linear text, mind maps structure information in a way that resembles how your brain works. Due to its analytical and artistic nature, this activity engages your brain in a much deeper way, enhancing all cognitive functions. Plus, it’s pretty fun.

Another perk? You can use mind maps for the following:

  • Brainstorm
  • Take notes
  • Plan your calendar
  • Collect and analyze information from multiple sources
  • Stimulation of creativity

Best of all? A mind map can be drawn in three easy steps:

  • Write or draw the idea you want to develop on a blank page. I would suggest using the page in landscape.
  • Create a line connecting each of the subtopics to the central topic.
  • Then do the same for the subtopics, generate subtopics as you see fit and connect them together.

2. Use procrastination to your advantage.

Some people like to live on the edge by waiting until the last minute. It’s not always ideal. If we wait until the last minute, we can complete tasks faster. You can probably thank Parkinson’s law for the fact that work expands over time.

But other procrastinators consciously procrastinating to achieve more. This idea is mentioned in a book by John Perry structured procrastination.

“The core idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing nothing at all. Procrastinators seldom do anything at all; they do marginally useful things like gardening or sharpening pencils or diagramming how they’ll reorganize their files when they’re ready. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If the procrastinator only had to sharpen some pencils, no force in the world could make him do it. However, the procrastinator may be motivated to perform difficult, timely, and important tasks, as long as those tasks are a way of not doing something more important.”

According to Perry, you should organize your to-do list to take advantage of it. Things that are most important and urgent are at the top. The bottom of the list is for important things that might not be that urgent (or terrible) to check off. Working at the bottom of the list “becomes a way of not doing the things higher on the list.”

So while you procrastinate, you can check things off your list. It’s a win-win situation.

3. Keep a record of your achievements.

When a person feels successful and successful, he is more productive than when he gets discouraged by his progress or doubts his abilities. Keep a diary or an app of your achievements every day. It boosts productivity and lets your brain know you’re moving forward.

In fact, it’s common for workplaces to have recognition boards that celebrate team members’ accolades and show appreciation.

4. Don’t play the blame game.

It’s easy to blame yourself or someone else for mistakes, but that’s rarely productive. You only put more pressure on yourself and are put off by blaming yourself. Instead, learn how to spot your mistakes and fix them.

You shouldn’t blame others either. Offer a helping hand if something is not being done instead of pointing the finger. You never know what other people are struggling through outside of work, so if you see a colleague struggling, help them.

5. Postpone gratification.

Science has long suggested that for success in many areas of life, delay gratification is more important than giving in to impulses and temptations. Fortunately, this is not something you are born with. In other words, it can be developed.

A general research in this area is the “Marshmallow Experiment‘, but delaying gratification doesn’t mean you have to give up on dessert. For example, you might find yourself wanting a snack and tell yourself to wait 10 minutes before getting up to get it. After completing an important work assignment, you may decide to check social media.

Over time, these steps will build into the discipline you need to succeed in your resolutions in 2023.

6. Take stock of your obligations.

You accept new tasks indiscriminately if you don’t have a full inventory of your current obligations. They often conflict with your goals and prevent you from moving forward with your upcoming projects, so they shouldn’t be a part of your life.

Although it may sound contradictory, freedom can only be experienced if certain boundaries are set. Understanding what to do can help you avoid things you shouldn’t.

7. Use the paperclip strategy.

Using the paperclip strategy, Trent Dyrsmid, a novice stockbroker, became a success with some determination and a clever trick.

Dyrsmid always had two jars on his desk, one empty, the other filled with 120 paperclips. After he finished calling, he moved a paperclip to another jar. When the once full jar was empty, he stopped.

A visual cue is a great way to track your progress. The rewards keep you on track and motivate you to get things done.

Here are a few paperclip strategies from productivity expert James Clear:

  • Do you want to do 100 push-ups a day? Each time you fall down, move a paperclip and do a set of 10 throughout the day.
  • Do you have to send 25 sales emails every day? You need 25 paperclips and every time you hit send one goes to the other side.
  • Do you want to drink eight glasses of water a day? Slide a paper clip every time you finish a glass, starting with 8 paper clips.
  • Do you take your medicines three times a day? Take three paperclips and throw one in the trash every time you swallow.

8. Always be on time.

Yes, being punctual is polite. However, that’s not all. Being on time tells your brain that you are in charge of your universe – managing not just your time, but your life. It makes you feel better about yourself, making you more productive at work, at home and everywhere else.

Being late, especially chronic lateness, causes anxiety and stress. Whether unconsciously or not, guilt fuels a downward spiral that impairs efficiency. If you want to be more productive in the new year, you need to be punctual.

If you’re struggling with this, you might want to set calendar reminders for meetings, decline last-minute requests, under-schedule yourself, and set time pillows.

9. Create a “force function”.

If you don’t feel motivated to do the work, consider a “mandatory function.” According to Dan Martell, a forcing function is “any task, activity, or event that forces you to take action and produce a result.”

So how does it work? It’s all about setting yourself up for success, says Martell. He gives an example of going to a coffee shop a few times a week to work, but forgetting his power adapter. Before his computer breaks down, he has about three hours of work time.

10. Make marathons work for you.

Frankly, it’s not realistic to leave out everything that makes life fun. Nevertheless, as you start the new year, consider ways to turn your favorite activities, like Netflix marathons, into productive ones.

How? You can reply to an email or do five minutes of exercise between each episode of your favorite show. If you’re watching something more light-hearted like a sitcom, you can even use this time to plan your week ahead, fold laundry, or book appointments.

11. Give back.

The greatest untapped source of productivity is a sense of service to others, says organizational psychologist Adam Grant. In his book “Give and take,” he shows how helping other people motivates us to achieve even more by focusing on our gifts and talents.

While it may seem that “other-immediacy” would prevent us from achieving our goals, it actually pushes us closer to them.

12. Always finish what you started.

Trying to deal with multiple open loops will prevent you from focusing on new challenges. Complete your tasks and projects, no matter how big or small, to prepare clearly and neatly for your new challenges.

In the words of Robin Sharma: “Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic.”

Image Credits: Rakicevic Nenad; Pexels; Thank you!

The mail 12 productivity hacks for the new year appeared first on Calendar.

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