8 Tips to Help You Become Super Productive

Jim Kwik gives lessons on how to stop procrastinating, how to remember things easier, and how to be happier with your life. These are my notes on his talk.

1. Understand that NOT doing things makes you feel trapped. So it is actually doing things that will free you and make you more satisfied with your life. Doing nothing feels bad. Accomplishing things feels great. You choose.

2. Do things that are hard. Do not take the easy way out, ever. Overcoming obstacles takes grit and grit is what it takes to accomplish goals. The more your grit muscle is worked out, the stronger it will be, and then it will become easier to overcome obstacles in the future. People who seem to accomplish so much in their life make things look so easy and we think, ‘I can never do what she does.’ But those people do not accomplish so much because they find things easy, it is because they have a strong grit muscle that can handle doing things that are hard.

3. Keep a to do list and every night write as much on it as you need to do the next day. When you wake up in the morning, choose just three things from the list that when at the end of the day you ask yourself ‘did I kick butt today?’ the answer will be ‘hell yes!’

4. Doing big things is hard and overwhelming, but doing one very small thing is easy. Don’t look at a book and say, ‘I don’t have time to read this book,’ instead say ‘I do have time to read one sentence.’

Getting started on a project is the hardest thing to do and looking at a big task all at once makes it even harder to get started. Instead, focus on one very small thing.

Don’t think ‘I need to floss tonight.’ Instead say, ‘I am going to floss one tooth.’ Easy! Then of course you will end up flossing all your teeth, just as you will read more than one sentence. Perhaps, flossing one tooth is even daunting because the real task is remembering to floss. Perhaps the floss is hidden and by the time you finish brushing your teeth you forget. Well, make your one simple task to pull the floss container out and leave it on the sink.

5. Procrastinating, or even just not finishing something, may come from not figuring out the ‘why’ you want to do it in the first place. If the ‘why’ is strong enough you will figure out the how. So if you can’t figure out the how, instead, look at the why and figure out what you need to motivate you.

Typically, this can be done by connecting the ‘why’ to the heart, not the head. The head is where smarts come in, but the heart is where the passion lives. So connect your heart to the project and the ‘how’ will likely show its face.

6. Use your olfactory sense (and other senses) to remember things.

For instance, say you are studying for an exam. Study while keeping an opened orange on your desk, don’t wash your fingers after you peel it. As you study, smell the orange scent. Then, on exam day, get the smell back on your fingers. This connection will help you remember. In one study, people were given test material to study while submerged under water. Then, they were tested on what they studied. One test took place on land. Another test took place underwater. Guess in which place people tested better? Yup. Underwater.

7. Compartmentalize every space in your life. Your bedroom is for sleeping. Your kitchen is for cooking. Your bathroom is for bathing. Your office should be just for producing work. Just as you should not write or work on the same laptop that you watch YouTube, you should not watch TV or play games while in your office.

Your brain needs to focus on one thing and not be confused on what that one thing should be at any given moment.

8. Give and share what you know. All things in life give something back, or contribute something to the world, so shouldn’t we, as humans, do the same? It is only natural and will actually make us feel more connected to others, to earth, when we give back to the world. And feeling good about yourself makes you more productive.

If that is not strong enough motivation to share yourself with others maybe this will help. When you share what you know by writing or talking about it, you actually learn it better than you did before. This is how new knowledge becomes permanent knowledge. I use Brain Bank for this exact purpose. I write articles, not necessarily to share, but just as notes on an article or topic that I want to reinforce for myself. I suggest you create an account at Brain Bank and start storing your knowledge there as well.

Bonus Tip — Shut the f-ing TV off! You can accomplish almost nothing, or dramatically slow the pace at which you are producing something, if your brain’s attention is fighting between your work and some brainless entertainment.

* note — most of these tips come from Jim Kwik, who was interviewed by Natalie MacNeil. The video can be found here. The title of this page says its about speed-reading, and so does the video title, but it is not.

Originally published at brainbank.cc.

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