Do you ever envy other people because they seem to have it all? The ones who are amazingly productive and structured and most importantly; it seems like it doesn’t take any effort at all for them to complete difficult tasks! It seems like they just stroll through life without stress and worries. They have fulfilling lives and interesting hobbies. They have time and money for everything they want to do.
Have you ever wondered why these people have it so easy while you have to hustle for everything you want? Does it look like they get everything they want, presented on a silver platter? Well now, I’ve found the answer to all these questions!
Do you want to know why they have it so easy? I’ll tell you!
That’s right! Most people don’t have it as easy as it seems. There might be exceptions on that rule but generally speaking, everyone is working hard to achieve what they want. There might be people who are privileged by genetics, family and status – I don’t deny that. But these privileged people shouldn’t make you jealous. They won’t learn the value of hard work and diligence until later in their life and they’ll pay for that. So it is best to learn this at an early age. Be happy you have a difficult life. Struggles are exactly what make you stronger,
So, why do some people make life look like a breeze? I’ll tell you! Because they are very organized and structured into productive habits! Routines that have become embedded in their daily actions (consciously or unconsciously) These provide a lot of benefits that contribute to personal growth and success.
In this post I’m going to go over some of the habits that have aided me in becoming more productive in my everyday life. And I’ve noticed that this are also the habits of successful people. These routines have also helped me in developing my personality and skills on different levels. I feel they are essential for personal growth. If you can master some of these habits and you are able to stick to them you’ll get a lot of benefits out of them.
They are mostly difficult to keep and it will take some time to get used to them (so they run on auto-pilot). So I’ve added some tips and tricks from my own, personal experience that have helped me to keep these habits. For you convenience, off course ;)
If you don’t care that much for my rambling, I’ve included a short summary at the end of this article which en-captures the essence,
#1) Wake Up Early
With early, I really mean freaking early. Like 5 or 6 am every day. You can only get a day off when you plan the day where you are going to sleep longer.
But why should I do that? Me so sleepy *sadface*
I’ll tell you why! When you get out of bed really early there is a high chance you’ll get more stuff done that day. You have more time to do the things you want to do! You can also avoid morning stress and breakfast skipping by taking your time for these things. Having to rush out of your bed to your work is a surefire way to mess your mood up for that day.
But I need x hours of sleep, how can I manage this?
I’m a huge believer that your body will auto-regulate your sleep cycle. So it will tell you when you should go to bed. Whenever you get tired (yawning, hard to keep eyes open, dozing off,… ) it’s time to hit the bed.
But my horoscope tells me I’m a evening person :(
There is no such thing as a morning person or an evening person. It’s just a description of the habit your body is most used to. If you give it some time your body will grow used to waking up early … eventually. But it can be pretty tough though ;) It takes 21 days to form a new habit so stick to it for that period!
Okay! Sounds awesome :D but how can I do this?
There isn’t really any strategy to waking up early but I have to admit it is tough. So here are some basic tips that have helped me get my ass out of bed so early;
- Choose an alarm you like. Don’t make it something obnoxiously loud and chaotic. Pick something calm and soothing like house music or classical music. Waking up early is hard enough as it is, you don’t have to kick yourself in the face while you are at it.
- Put your alarm out of reach. Don’t test you willpower at 5am , ever. Nothing is more tempting than a snooze button at 5 in the morning. Put it on your desk, across the room, tape it to the ceiling. Just make sure you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
- Put some slippers/warm clothes next to your bed. Greet your morning feet with some comfy, warm slippers to avoid crawling back into unconsciousness.
I’ve said this before but a lot of people don’t realize how important it is. We only live our lives with our heads. We need. I repeat; We NEED to have a moment where we can just turn of our mind and have some inner silence.
Meditating is for hippies dude, why should I even try this?
Meditating is associated with a lot of benefits. It reduces stress levels and blood pressure. It makes you less reactive to your environment. You become more grounded, clear of mind and self-aware.
All right, I guess that doesn’t sound so bad, I might give it a shot. How can I do this stuff?
There are a lot of different ways to meditate. You have expressive meditation techniques (which involve shouting, twitching, shaking, bouncing, chaotic movements,…) and you have the relaxing meditation techniques. I recommend you to just try both and see what works the best for you. Be aware that neither of them is easy. It will take some time before you can really express yourself or can really empty your mind.
SO MUCH CHOICE :( What do I pick?
It is recommended to start with an expressive type because people have a lot of emotions, energy and stress locked up in their bodies and are socially conditioned to keep it there. So the first thing you’ll have to do is to let it all out. The kundalini meditation from Osho is great for this. Here are some instructions you can use to get started,
Another method is to start with guided meditation, You can find some free guided meditations by clicking on this link
Pro-tip! If you think an hour is to long, just start with half an hour and build your way up.
And then what? after I’ve shouted and danced like a hippie?
I’m currently doing Zen meditation for twenty minutes a day. Here’s how it works;
- Sit down in a comfortable position (relaxed environment, don’t do it in the middle of traffic or crowd)
- Stare at something for twenty minutes
- Don’t think, don’t move
I doesn’t sound easy because it isn’t :D The first time you attempt this, your mind will go crazy. You’ll move around constantly and your mind will never be calm. The twenty minutes will seem like an eternity. But over time you’ll get short flashes of clarity where you are just witnessing your environment without any interference from your mind. After a while you’ll see all the benefits from meditation. Just stick trough the beginning!
#3) Keep An Agenda & Plan
Productive people plan in advance what they are going to do with their day. They have short term and long term goals which they can check daily.
I have like the best super crazy photographic memory and structured planning agenda gadget EVER.
No, no you don’t.
No, I guess I don’t :/ How can I do this?
Keeping track of what you want to get done is a great way to staying organized. I recommend you buy a small book that fits in your pocket and you can bring with you everywhere, accompanied by a pen. Or you could also use a smartphone to keep track of your assignments and goals. To stay on top of things I recommend the following;
Write down 3 things you NEED to get done that day (or start with 1 and build up). Focus all your energy on these three important tasks. Don’t allow yourself to go to bed if you haven’t completed these tasks.
- Pick the tasks that are actually important. It doesn’t matter how much time you have left to complete it. When something is important, it should be handled. When you think you have loads of time left you’ll be procrastinating the important tasks forever. These are the quadrant 2 tasks from the book; “seven habits of highly successful people” by Stephen covey.
- I recommend using evernote to keep track of notes and to do-list. This can be synchronized to your smartphone (which is pretty cool IMHO)
Taking care of your body is just common sense. It is something you’ll be using every day for the rest of your life. It is the best investment of time you can make because it is the ONLY thing in this world you’ll be sure of that you’ll always need it,
But I don’t really need it. And my couch is like really really comfortable :/
Everybody needs exercise. It is a basic need like sleeping, eating and social interaction. If humans weren’t supposed to move we wouldn’t have any muscles. Exercise has like a bazillion benefits on weight, energy levels and mood and soooooo much more. It’s the poor mans’ way to happiness :).)
If you want to find out what your recommendations for cardio and weight training are, you can click on this link
All right I guess I could do some exercise once in while, how can I keep this habit?
Great question! Here are some tips that have helped me with this habit;
- Start small and build it up. Don’t expect to run for half an hour when you haven’t run for a while and don’t expect to make great progress after one training. As with all things that provide lasting benefits, it takes time to build up. Training is a process of growth. Just take one consistent step at a time and you’ll bring down mountains. (This can actually be applied to everything in life) I’m a believer in the fact that everyone is basically the same. What another man can do, I can do. And this is a great mindset for conquering challenges.
- Get informed. There’s no shame in asking for help or information. Only the fool pretends to know everything. That doesn’t mean people have the right to treat you as an inferior though ;) So when they mock your knowledge, realize it says more about them than it does about you. People shouldn’t judge you if they don’t know you.
- Keep track of your progress. Take a picture of your body and write down how you feel. Glue it to the mirror and mark it as day 1. This is the person you’ll never be again. Make a new picture every month and compare at the end of the year. This way you’ll know how much progress you’ve made. When you feel down and lose the motivation and think nothing is working. Just look at those pictures again
- Stick to a workout routine. Get a professional, individualized workout plan that is suited for your goals. This way you’ll be sure you are doing the right thing from the start. You can easily make a lot of mistakes that can demotivate or even injure you.
- Share your goals Tell people about your commitments and goals so they will push you to accomplish these.
#5) Eating Healthy
A healthy body is the product of your energy output and your energy input. Balance these two out and you’ll be amazed what your body can accomplish!
There is nothing more I can learn about nutrition!
Nutrition is really really complicated, trust me :). There are so many contradictions your head will explode. I’m going to write a more in depth post about nutrition somewhere in the near future to go over the basics. But for now I’m just going to give some basic tips that can make a huge difference.
- Drink 3 liters of water a day, Your body consists mostly out of water and Is essential for so many functions. Don’t let yourself dehydrate and cleanse your body with this godly beverage. It will also make you less hungry so you’ll be less tempted to snack unhealthy things in-between meals. Tea is also a very good alternative.
- Stick to whole foods. Food that consist out of just one ingredient (rice, chicken, vegetables, nuts, oils, fruits, fish,…) is most of the time the best option! Highly processed foods should be avoided at all costs. Try to get about 80-90% of your diet from whole foods.
- Cut out fried foods completely. These are full of trans fat and saturated fats which cause arterial plaque which causes clogged veins which causes all kinds of health risks and cancers. Trust me, when you get older you’ll wish you’d started with this a lot earlier ;) You know it’s the best option, it Is just a little bit difficult to stay consistent is this. If you need some. When you do decide to fry something, opt for a healthy(ier) oil like canola oil or peanut oil (no, it won’t taste like peanuts ;))
- Spread your meals throughout the day! When you spread your meals you’ll be less likely to eat too much at a certain time because you are famished. Just take little, healthy snacks with you wherever you go. Like nuts and seeds, cherry tomatoes, rice cakes, fruit,… . And if you are pretty committed you can even cook healthy meals from advance and store them in Tupper ware. This provides convenient, healthy, easy meals whenever you need it. The freezer is your friend in this process :D
- Eat more vegetables! You can pretty much eat as much vegetables as you want. They are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals that’ll do wonders for your body. They will keep you full all the time and contain very low amounts of calories. They are great for weight loss and optimal health.
- Stop Smoking/alcohol! You know it is bad for your overall health. It affects every part of your body and excessive drinking and smoking even break down brain cells :o. It keeps your brain in a dormant state, never reaching absolute clarity. Make a commitment to yourself and handle this area if you notice you are having problems with this. You don’t want to regret this when you get older.
#6) Social intelligence
People who understand how important social skills and interactions are, realize that increasing social intelligence can lead to improved productivity and therefore lead to success. The person who has the ability to understand other people and see the world through their eyes, has great power,
Hey Hey, but how can this be a habit?
It is an essential type of behavior towards other people that will help you tremendously if you are able to stick with it. If you know the basics of interacting with people on a daily base, life will become so much easier. First off I would recommend reading “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen covey and “How To Make Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. These two books contain the essentials in how to treat people. It’s basically a manual for social interaction that will bring you many benefits. And after all, who doesn’t want to be liked?
I don’t like reading :(
All right, here are some key tips I’ve picked about interacting with people.
- The first book talks about a state of mind where everything is abundant (abundance mentality). There is enough for everyone. So whenever you need to make a deal with another person, you should move from that perspective. When there is scarcity you’ll notice that you will want more for yourself and arguments and conflicts will arise. But when you approach problems from a win-win perspective and abundance mindset you will create trust and the feeling of being understood with the other person. So always try to go for a deal where both parties can benefit from. If you can’t accomplish this, it is best to make no deal at all. This will create respect and build even more trust in the relationship.
- Another important concept is to understand someone deeply and empathically before you want to be understood. Handle from their point of view. When you act from their interests and desires and do it genuinely they will be glad to help you with anything. It is one of the most basic needs in humans, to be understood.
- Two people can achieve more together than the product of their individual work.
The second book just gives you straight up no bullshit tips in handling people. I’ve found these very useful and true. It gives you fundamentals in handling people, ways to make people like you,
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want,
Six Ways to Make People Like You
- Become genuinely interested in other people
- Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language
- Be a good listener
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interest
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
Yes, you probably have guessed it already :D Reading! There is so much information you can get from a good book. They are an easy and cheap way to relax or learn something new. They can take you away on adventures beyond your wildest dreams and spark new ideas and creativity
blarghhh, books me don’t like :(. I’d rather watch some tv. Why would I even bother reading a book?
I’ve been reading several self-development books lately and they have increased my cognitive abilities exponentially. Skills like comprehension, memory, perception, reading speed, attention, analytic skills and processing have improved dramatically. These can be very useful in almost every type of situation.
When you read, you are actively using your brain to soak up new information. You are constantly making new patterns in your brain. This will immensely reduce your chances of Alzheimer when you get older.
Yeah, I guess tv and video games don’t really contribute that much :/ I could read a book once in a while.
Exactly! Books have so much more to offer than the numbing soaps and programs that are on tv these days. Reading keeps your mind sharp and alert for any given task In your life. It will enable your life to live more fully and open to new experiences. I encourage you to evolve beyond the numbed down consciousness of modern society and explore your mental possibilities. Read about things you are interested in and absorb as much knowledge as possible.
My reading speed is pretty low though :/
I’m not going to say my reading speed is really great either but there are ways to double or even triple your reading speed easily by using some key concepts. Here are some links on this topic to get you going!
I’ve read the book on speed reading from Tony Buzan and found it quite useful. You have to realize though that it takes time. You need to practice speed reading regularly to train your brain to read faster. Make it a challenge to complete!
“The only person who is worse off than the person who can’t read is the person who doesn’t read”
#8) Creative Expression
Everyone needs an outlet of energy. You need something to express your emotions, energy and creativity.
Creative expression? You mean painting is key?Anything that activates your mind at its full capacity and allows to express creativity, imaginations, feelings and energy will be a key element of your personal happiness and success.
This can be pretty much anything. Painting, writing, poetry, drawing, sketching, dancing, cooking, writing, swimming, music, movies, crafts, tinkering, construction, running, tennis, golf, ballet, horse-back riding, card games, thinking, reading, magic, decorating,… . There are countless ways to express yourself in full consciousness. This is the same as finding a passion in your life. Something you love spending time and attention on (in full consciousness.) Everyone needs a passion in their live which challenges their mind and creativity to grow to greater heights. Do you know what your passion is in which you can creatively express yourself?
Yes off course.
Yes? you sure :),?
No :/ maybe
I’ll just give you some ways to find out what your passion(s) might be. Be aware that this can also change over time. Ask yourself the following questions to find out what you really love to do;I
- What would I be doing if I had everything I wanted in this world? If I didn’t have any responsibilities or duties?
- On what can I spend a lot of time without looking at the clock?
- What would I be doing if money were no object? (see video)
- What did I love to do as a child?
- What do people see as my interests and passions?
- What makes me smile while I’m doing it or after I’ve done it?
Ultimately, the best way to find out what you really love to do is to have as much new experiences as possible. Explore your interests and desires (yes I’m repeating this a load of times because it is THAT important).
The more experiences you have the clearer your image of yourself will become. This way you can separate the wheat from the chaff and live a live that will bring you more fulfillment and joy. And this will eventually reduce stress levels, enhance your mental capabilities (yes a lot of these habits contribute to increasing your brainpower – see a connection? ;)) and increase productivity indirectly.
Here’s another great article on finding your passion
So a quick-recap of all these elemental habits;
- Wake Up Early
- Eat Healthy
- Keep Agenda And Plan
- Social Intelligence
- Passion/Creative Expression
Anyways, these are the habits I’ve found key to being more productive. I might stumble upon more essential habits in the future and add them to this post. But for now I’ve covered the most important ones. I hope you’ve enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed writing this for my future self. I will use this information for future reflection on my life when I’m a period of lesser mental clarity.
If this post has helped you in any way feel free to share it with others or write your thoughts in the comment section below. I’m open to new suggestions if you feel like my article Is lacking something ;)