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10 Simple Steps To Be Productive And Kill The Procrastination Beast

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10 Simple Steps To Be Productive And Kill The Procrastination Beast

Have you ever experienced this? You are so tired and worn out after a long workday that some of your primary body functions have temporarily shut down.You are not able to think, speak or walk properly. Heck, let`s be honest. If your mother watched you limping towards the bathroom to brush your teeth, she would seriously be wondering about if she had given birth to a Quasimodo (hunchback).

The Problem? Even though you are putting in more hours at work, you somehow can`t seem to catch up. Your never-ending growing to do list is not the real problem. The real problem is what lurks behind it – the big and dreadful procrastination beast, which is growing more each day.

You feel that you are awfully close to the breaking-point…where you either will be drowned by your to do list or eaten alive by the procrastination beast. Can you relate? If so, it`s okay. I`ve been there too…Relax. Breathe. There is still hope.

Here’s the 10 Simple Steps To Be Productive And Kill The Procrastination Beast:

1. Setting a correct goal

It`s important that you have clarity, so you will be able to set a correct goal. Something that might be worse than failing to reach a correct goal, is to actually reach a wrong goal. Let`s say that you were going to learn to play ice hockey. That was your ultimate goal, and you knew that it was the path you wanted to take.

A good first step would for instance be learning how to skate. Instead of aiming for that goal, you somehow, don’t ask me why, found out you wanted to learn how to run faster. Even though, learning how to run faster might be a cool goal to reach, it will bring you nowhere closer to learning how to skate. You get the point.

Then over to one of the most underestimated steps…

 

2. Your BIG why

This will actually be the real make it or break it factor. It`s within our human nature to resist going out of our comfort zone. Why? Because we think it`s uncomfortable.

If your ´why´ is not big enough, you won`t be able to fend off the excuses when you have to push yourself doing the necessary tasks, whether you feel like it or not. The bigger your why, the greater your chance of actually sticking to plan and reaching your goal.

You should have a burning desire, which will make you unstoppable on your way to your goal. Have you found your real why?

Good, let`s move on.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

3. How?

Knowing how to reach your goal is crucial. If you don`t know how, then you could do research and google the topic. A good tip is to find someone who has already accomplished what you want to accomplish, and replicate the method. It can either be finding a mentor or just paying an expert to show you the way.

In the end you basically need to find out how to reach your big hairy goal, and then break it down into smaller manageable steps.

We got the how covered, then over to the…

 

4. When?

It`s essential that you set a deadline for your big hairy goal, and for your smaller goals. A deadline will make you push yourself out of the comfort zone in order to get cranking. And the most important thing?

If you set a deadline, you MUST do whatever is in your power to actually meet that deadline. If not, you are conditioning your mind to expect to fail the deadlines you set. The worst part? Setting a deadline will lose it`s effect. So how do we keep track of all the activities? Let`s answer that in the next step.

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” – Harvey McKay

5. The master to do list

You should have a master to do list. What does that mean? It means that you should have only ONE to do list, which contains all the tasks that need to be done.

When I was working for one of the biggest companies in Norway, some of the people who were perceived as the most valuable and productive employees by the company had several to do lists. I asked them two simple questions: how many to do lists they had and if they had full control of all their to do tasks.

The answers were always the same, they were never 100% sure how many lists they actually had nor if they had full control of all the tasks. If you don`t know how many to do lists you actually have, you certainly don`t have full control of all your to do tasks.

How many to do lists should you have? If you answered one, a high five to you.

 

6. Support

They say that when it comes to a fight, there is strength in numbers. That is also the case when it comes to reaching our goal. And let`s face it, you are really preparing for a fight against the procrastination beast.
When you have mapped out the necessary tasks in order to reach your goal, sticking to the plan can be hard.

That is why it can be a good idea to share your goal with people you trust, and which you know will support you. If your goal was to start with mixed martial arts and to compete in the UFC, your mother would probably not be the biggest supporter. And it`s understandable. Who wants to see their child being beaten into a pulp?

It is important to actually pick the right supporters. Nothing is worse than having people who don`t really support you, being a part of your cheerleading crew. That negative person might poison and demotivate the rest of the cheerleading crew, and last but not least, you.

The next point is also very important. By mastering that skill, you can truly become unstoppable.

 

7. Laser focus

They say that the person who has the ability to focus on only one single thought for 2 minutes straight, will have the ability to accomplish anything. You want to be that person, right? It`s okay. Just start practicing.

So the real key to focusing is really to remove ALL distractions.

A crash course on how to laser focus:

  1. Mute or turn off your cellphone. If it`s muted, put it away and don`t look at it until you are finished completing your task at hand.
  2. Turn-off the Internet connection. You think that you are doing research by googling stuff, but what you are really doing, is ruining your own focus.
  3. Let people around you know that you are busy, so you won`t get interrupted

The next step might be the hardest part…

 

8. Self-discipline

Self-discipline is about doing the necessary tasks no matter what, whether your feel like or not. You have to brainwash yourself. You have to put your feelings aside, program your mind and become an unstoppable machine.

The good news? It will become a little bit easier, the more you practice it. However, be prepared that it will be a constant battle. Do you want to know a little secret? By learning the skill of self-discipline it will become a catalyst for all other activities you need to do in order to stop procrastinating and become more productive.

Kop Kopmeyer wrote about 1000 success principles (4 books). At the end of the last book he wrote that the most important principle for success is self-discipline, without that none of the other principles will work. Yeah, you know the importance of self-discipline by now.

Then it`s time to…

Conquer-Self

9. Grow some courage

In order to achieve your goals and get the success you dream of in your life and business, you need to be able to move out of the comfort zone. You need to stop worrying about what everyone else will think about you. It`s scary, right? Yeah, I know.

What if you make a fool out of yourself and what if people will be talking about you? You have probably heard the cliché “It`s better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.” It`s a cliché, we can all agree on that, nevertheless, it`s still true.

I will let you in on one more secret. People will be talking about you no matter what. Whatever you do, you can`t stop it. So if people are going to talk about you anyway, you might as well build the future you want. Stop whining and stop trying to think about excuses.

Just grow some courage. Okay, so you are all pumped up now? And your self-esteem is on it`s peak? Awesome. What`s next?

Use your good self-esteem and…

 

10Take action now!

When you have done all the steps above, there is no need for more analyzing or thinking. You have already done that. Enough talk. It`s time to do the actual walk and kill the procrastination beast once and for all!

You can do it. Just remove your butt from your chair and just do it! Take action now!

 

Now is the time to kill the procrastination beast before it kills you. Please leave your comments below!

Tor decided to leave his six-figure job in order to follow his passion - to help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can do what they love. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to double your productivity in 7 days.

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Apeh Kelvin Chibueze

    Jul 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Your writings inspire one and lift off the burden of past regrets on procrastination. I’ve dwelled on procrastination for long and it has really eaten Me up. I’ve that potential to accomplish my vision but how to go about it considering the task involved has really tied Me down all because of procrastination. Yes, I’ve gotten the light! Thanks Man.

  2. Connie

    Jul 30, 2015 at 2:39 am

    TOR, this article will be very helpful. I’m changing careers, even though I am staying in the medical field. This will be of great help in planning things out. I look forward to reading more of your articles. Thank you.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jul 30, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Hi Connie,

      thanks for your comment.

      I`m glad that you found my article useful 🙂

      Feel send me an email if you need any sparring regarding planning or productivity 😉

      Have a great day.

      Best,

      Tor

  3. Brent Jones

    Jun 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Awesome Post, Tor! Shared it on all my networks. 🙂

    I like the point about WHY.

    One of my mentors once told me, “Figure out why and how will reveal itself.”

    Seriously, when we can mentally envision what success will look like, it’s 1000x easier to accomplish great things!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Thanks, Brent.

      I really appreciate your support and you sharing the post.

      You are AWESOME 😉

      Yup, one of my mentors actually told me the same line…(true story).

      A strong WHY will make you be able to endure all the challenges, the hardship, go outside your comfort zone and do A LOT of things you REALLY don`t WANT to do…

      …but you will do it, because the big PRIZE at the end of the journey is so WORTH it!

      Have a great day,

      Tor

  4. Sonia Thompson

    Jun 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Hey Tor!

    Killing procrastination is so super important for entrepreneurs, so I’m glad you covered this topic.

    My favorite step is the one about 1 to-do list. I generally only work with one, but as I’ve started working on some bigger projects, I see the importance of writing down ALL the steps that need to happen, and then that then allows me to figure out what’s on the critical path and what’s not – which then helps me create a proper daily task list.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Hi Sonia,

      great to see you here.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Having ONE to do list will totally change your day, your way of working and yes…increase your productivity tremendously.

      By ONLY having 1 to do list, using the 80/20 rules prioritising the most important tasks at any given time, and sorting the priority of the tasks using the ABCDE method, helped me to increase my productivity with 200% in my previous six-figure income job.

      The result was that I was actually able to do in 2 hours what I normally spent 8 hours of doing.

      Side note – this is how the ABCDE method works:

      I Prioritize the tasks using the ABCDE method:

      A :Tasks I must do – serious consequences if it doesn`t get done
      B: Tasks I should do – mild consequences if it doesn`t get done
      C: Tasks I could do – no consequences if it doesn`t get done
      D: Tasks I delegate
      E: Tasks I never do

      You never do a B task before you have done alle the A tasks, and you never do a C task before you have done all the B tasks, etc.

      Have a great day!

      Tor

  5. Hanna

    Jun 22, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Good useful article Tor – my biggest challenge is the WHY, seems it’s just not BIG enough so any tips on finding your WHY would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for the share.

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Hanna,

      first of all, regarding finding your WHY. Since I don`t know what type of project you are talking about, it`s hard for me to give a specific feedback.

      THAT being said…

      if you have a challenge to find your big WHY…

      well, most likely you just don`t have a strong WHY for that project / journey.

      Having a PASSION and a strong WHY is like chemistry with someone when you are on a first date.

      Either you have it, or you don`t.

      However, there might be a few exceptions to this.

      Let me tell you this…

      Visit my website and contact me. Shoot me an email with more details, and I can probably give you a much more detailed answer to your specific situation 😉

      Best,

      Tor

  6. Daniela Uslan

    Jun 22, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Hi Tor,

    What a great list of suggestions! One of the tips that I struggle with the most is self discipline. Even when I have a clear goal, a clear WHY, and support, I find myself getting off track and going on Facebook or wasting time. Also having one master list. That sounds so daunting, but yet so simple. I will have to try it! Thanks for the tips!

    Daniela

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Hi Daniela,

      thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

      You have the clear goal, a clear WHY and support?

      That`s great! 🙂

      What you should do is to focus on FOCUSING (yeah, I wrote that sentence on purpose).

      The key about focusing is to remove all distractions; turn off or mute your cellphone, be unavailable to people and TURN OFF your internet connection.

      Yup, you read correct 😉

      When you remove all distractions, and only FOCUS on ONE task at a time, you should be able to get your stuff done 😉

      Have an awesome day!

      Tor

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Daniela,

      thanks for stopping by.

      You found your clear goal, a clear WHY and support, right?

      That is GREAT!

      Your next step should be focus on FOCUSING (yeah, I wrote that sentence on purpose 😉 )

      You should remove ALL distractions; mute or turn off your cellphone, make yourself unavailable for other people, and turn off your internet connection.

      Yes, you read correct.

      When you are able to focus on ONE single task at hand, and not being distracted, you will instantly become more productive!

      You can do it 🙂

      Best,

      Tor

  7. Joanna

    Jun 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Great post, Tor

    I agree, realising that for the past (insert your number) weeks/months/years you’ve been hitting the wrong goals and ticking off your to-do lists things that don’t really take you where you truly want to go takes a lot of courage and is painful, if not devastating. But if you can take it and turn the learning into a new course of action, then the reward is awesome!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Joanna.

      Yes, heading in the wrong direction can be crippling for your journey.

      However, the good thing is to stop…and take a breath. Get an overview, and see where you are located compared to your target destination.

      It`s important to not beat yourself up if you took the wrong path, but just change the course and find the silver lining in the experience.

      There is nothing that is called good or bad experience. It`s just experience.

      What you do with it is up to you 🙂

      Have a great day.

      Tor

  8. Carol Amato

    Jun 20, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    What an excellent article! Loved each and every point you made – extremely helpful.

    Especially the ‘When’ and ‘Self-Discipline’ sections. Deadlines are great, but if we don’t have the self-discipline to carry them out, we’re lost. LOL Plain old kitchen timer works for me as well as accountability partner.

    Loved the quote you included by Napoleon Hill, so apt here!

    Thanks for sharing, and have a great weekend.

    Carol Amato

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Carol.

      Yes, self-discipline is perhaps the hardest factor when it comes to reaching your goal and succeed.

      However, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.

      A kitchen timer sounds indeed like a great accountability partner 😉

      Have a great day!

      Tor

  9. Andrea Beltrami

    Jun 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Epic list, Tor! These seem easy enough but oh how looks can be deceiving. Each one of these has taken a LOT of time for me to wrap my mentality around but I’ve gotten pretty decent at most. Now if I could just implement them all at the same time. Hahaha

    There’s still a nagging need to procrastinate when I’m afraid or when it’s a task I don’t enjoy doing. What can I say, I’m a work in progress…but aren’t we all! 😉

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts, Andrea.

      I was struggling a long time with these tips as well. However, when I became good at them, it totally changed my life.

      The difference between successful people and people who are not, is that successful people are willing to improve their most important skills ALL the time, and never be satisfied and procrastinate.

      When we are faced with insecurity or fear, procrastination has a tendency to appear.

      But the more we practice to go outside our comfort zone, do sparring with mentors and get used to handle uncomfortable situations, we will become better at it, and we will procrastinate less when we are faced with a new unknown situation 😉

      Tor

  10. Jenna Dalton

    Jun 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Great article, Tor. I love what you said to Sue too – in the comment above – about procrastinating by setting realistic goals that you’ll hit every time.

    I never thought of that being procrastination before but you’re right, it absolutely is!

    Time to go set some bigger goals 🙂

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Jenna.

      It means a lot 🙂

      In a nutshell; when you don`t perform at your best ability to reach your peak potential, you are actually procrastinating.

      It`s a lot like with the “slight edge” principle.

      Person A trains 1 times in the gym per week and just does the bare minimum workout, while person B trains 3 times a week and pushes himself/herself to the limit every single minute of the workout.

      You will probably not see a big difference between those two people when it comes to health and fitness after 1 week, after 1 month, perhaps not after 3 months.

      But after 6 months and more, the difference in their training is starting to show on the outside.

      After 1-2 years, person B will a lightyear ahead.

      How was it accomplished?

      By person B pushing himself to the limit, and doing it consistently.

      THAT is how you reach your peak potential FAST.

      At the end, your success is the sum of all the correct small activities you have completed every single day in order to bring you closer to your peak potential 😉

      Have a great weekend, Jenna.

      Best,

      Tor

      • Jenna Dalton

        Jun 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        That absolutely makes sense, Tor. I love that way of thinking and have always thought that to be the case myself – it’s not necessarily one big action that gets you results, it’s a bunch of smaller actions put together over time. Smart strategy, my friend. Keep up the great work!

        • Tor Refsland

          Jun 24, 2015 at 11:45 am

          Thanks, Jenna.

          The clue is to take a big hairy goal(DUMB goal) and break it down into smaller manageable goals (SMART goal).

          The same to you, my friend 🙂

          Tor

  11. Dennis Seymour

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Cool post Tor. Goal setting has been a problem for me over the years. I made it a point to address that this year.

    I’m getting things done, though it feels slow, but I am creeping towards accomplishing goals which is the important part!

    You know what would complete this? Tools! Haha 😀 Obsessed with productivity tools.

    Enjoy the weekend!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Dennis.

      The most important thing is that you are improving 🙂

      Rome wasn`t built in one day 😉

      Productivity can be of great assistance, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to how focused you can work on your most important tasks…every single hour of your workday 😉

      In my experience, too many tools can be counterproductive.

      Have a great weekend 🙂

      Tor

  12. Jane Gordon

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I have the biggest problem with the “procrastination beast”! Thanks for the tips! 🙂

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Thanks a lot for commenting, Jane.

      I hope that you will start to implement a few of the tips here, so you can handle the beast once and for all 😉

      Have a great weekend.

      Tor

  13. Andrew M. Warner

    Jun 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Hey Tor,

    Good stuff here.

    The big hairy goal concept is something that I try to do all the time. It makes it much easier when you actually get to break it down into steps you can take to move forward. I made the mistake before of just trying to do it all at once, which didn’t work.

    You did a great job with this post.

    – Andrew

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Andrew.

      I really appreciate it 🙂

      Handling a big hairy goal is like handling a 7 course meal. You don`t eat all the courses at once.
      You take ONE course at a time .

      Another big advantage when it comes to handling the smaller goals, is that once you complete a small goal, your confidence increases 😉

      Then you will have more confidence to tackle the next small goal, and when you are about to complete the last small goal (that completes the big hairy goal) your confidence is sky high, you have momentum and you are unstoppable 😉

      Have a great weekend.

      Best,

      Tor

  14. Kevin Duncan

    Jun 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Tor,

    Congrats on getting published at Addicted 2 Success! This site is big time. Congratulations, my friend. 🙂

    Procrastination is definitely a killer. It can be such a difficult habit for people to break, but once they do… well, suddenly their lives are ten times less stressful.

    No need staying up until 4am cramming for an exam (because you started studying weeks ago). No need trying to lose 20 pounds in 7 days for your high school reunion (because you started your diet three months ago). No need stressing and worrying over the things you wish hadn’t waited until the last minute to tackle.

    It’s freeing!

    Great steps you’ve shared with all of us, Tor. I’ll be tweeting this shortly.

    Congrats again! Hope you have an awesome Friday and weekend.

    -Kevin

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 20, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Kevin.

      I really appreciate it, buddy.

      Yes, I totally agree with what you are saying. The difference between suffering from procrastination and being able to live a productive life is like night and day.

      If you don`t kill the procrastination beast and building your dream, you will be building someone else`s.

      Thanks a lot for your great comment.

      Have a great weekend.

      Tor

  15. Peter Banerjea

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Hey Tor!
    Excellent post as usual. Reading your posts is a quick way to get a shot of adrenaline! Keep writing mate!
    Peter

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Peter,

      thanks for stopping by to comment and for your kind words.

      It`s comments like those that makes it worth all the hard work 😉

      Have an awesome day!

      Tor

  16. Anthony Metivier

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:25 am

    All good points, Tor!

    I too like the “big hairy goals,” concept. It begs another metaphor: the big strong comb (or brush).

    But what do you do with the hydra-effect? I mean, what do you do when tackling one item on your to-do lists means creating another to-do list?

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Anthony.

      Here is how i deal with the “Hydra-effect”.

      If you have a task A on your to do list, it spawns into several subtasks, I use a technique I call the Dependant Subtask principle.

      It works like this:

      Task A spawns into 5 subtasks.

      Task A – subtask A1
      – subtask A2
      – subtask A3
      – subtask A4
      – subtask A5

      You need to complete all 5 subtasks in order to complete task A. If there are dependencies among the subtasks, you range them from A1 to A5, where A1 is the subtask you have to complete first, then A2, A3, etc.

      In other words, I don`t create another to do list, I just take a big task and split it into several subtasks.

      I hope that helps.

      Best,

      Tor

      • Anthony Metivier

        Jun 27, 2015 at 7:51 am

        I like the Dependent Subtask principle. I’m going to put it to work – thank!

        • Tor Refsland

          Jun 27, 2015 at 9:49 am

          Great, Anthony.

          Good luck.

          And let me know how that goes 🙂

          Tor

  17. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Hi, Tor,

    Great article! I like setting “big hairy goals” – I don’t always hit them but it’s amazing how many happen.

    “Focus” is my word this year – after consulting with you, I check email much less now.

    Thanks for the info,
    Sue

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Sue.

      The secret with “big hairy goals” is actually not necessarily to reach them, but that you will push yourself to achieve a BETTER results than if you didn`t set a high goal.

      Nothing is worse than to procrastinate by always setting realistic goals, which you will hit every single time.

      Setting goals is like training in the gym. If you never increase the amount of weights you lift, you will not progress according to your true potential 😉

      Focus is indeed an important ingredient when it comes to increasing your productivity, reaching your goals, being present and more happy.

      Best,

      Tor

  18. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 19, 2015 at 2:58 am

    The three things that I like here that have proved to be the most beneficial for me is having a why, having a plan, and taking action. When you have a why for what you want to do in life and you wake up to your why and a dream, you have motivation. After you have motivation, you need a plan of action, and after you have a plan, you need to take action. This are the true keys to success for me and you nailed it in detail in this article. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tor Refsland

      Jun 19, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks for commenting and for your kind words, Lawrence.

      Yes, reaching your goals isn`t really that complicated.

      It`s actually SIMPLE (but not easy).

      If you were going to go skiing for 10 kilometers the first time in your life, and you had never done it before, you would probably suck at it.

      The weather might be bad, your technique would be probably be far from perfect, and your skis might not be prepared in the best way.

      However, the only thing standing between you and the 10 kilometers finish line, is if you decide to QUIT.

      It doesn`t matter how bad the weather is, how tired and fed up you are, or how much you suck at skiing.

      If you have a strong enough WHY and you continue to move forward, you WILL reach the finish line eventually.

      That is basically how reaching your goals work 😉

      Have an awesome day.

      Best,

      Tor

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Life

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Can Give You the Productivity Boost You Need

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how meditation makes you more productive
Image Credit: Unsplash

Of all the productivity hacks I’ve tried over the years, none has had as much of a positive impact relative to the time I put in than meditation. Just 8 minutes per day to be precise. Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries. Once primarily used by practitioners of Buddhism to reach a higher level of consciousness, science has since shown it has a lot of more earthly benefits as well.

As Healthline reports, meditation improves concentration, reduces fatigue and stress, brings a sense of relaxation and improves sleep patterns, among other benefits. All the above reasons explain why some of the most successful people rely on meditation to thrive in their professions. Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo executive and the current CEO of Linkedin says that meditation has made a huge positive impact on his productivity. Similarly,  Ray Dalio, who is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes a big part of his success to meditation.

5 Ways Meditation Helps with Productivity

Before I get to my own meditation routine that takes just 8 minutes of my time daily, let me first go over in general how meditation can give you a huge leg up in your career and business, backed by studies.

1. Improves Your Attention Span

There are tons of factors that improve productivity, but one that plays a very important role is the ability to focus. Being attentive enough to complete the task at hand means you’ll finish your work with higher accuracy and better efficiency.

According to Pubmed, several studies have shown the efficacy of meditation in reversing parts of the brain that cause mind wandering and the inability to concentrate. Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications, says that meditation is one of the things that has helped him focus the most.

2. Increases Neuroplasticity

For a long time, scientists believed that brain development only happened during childhood and then ceased. But recent discovery regarding the neuroplastic nature of the brain concludes that our brains actually continue to change and adapt through experiences. In other words, the brain is continually reorganizing itself by creating new neurons and new connections.

Meditation is one practice capable of changing your brain’s structure and functions. In fact, Harvard Researchers at MGH have shown that meditation increases grey matter volume in your brain. What this means is that it causes more neurons to accumulate in one space.

Another theory that explains how meditation boosts neuroplasticity is that it increases cerebral blood flow (CBF). By placing you in a state of relaxation, blood is able to flow more freely leading to better oxygenation and nourishment in your brain. With increased neuroplasticity, your ability to acquire new skills and positive habits increase.

3. Sharpens Your Memory

A major benefit of mediation is that it boosts one’s working memory capacity. The working memory determines how much information the central nervous system can hold and process at any time. It’s like the Random Access Memory in a computer.

A study was done to investigate the effect of active meditation on individuals’ working memory capacities. Researchers had the participants take part in a 45-minute meditation exercise twice per week. After a couple of weeks, they recorded the results and discovered that the respondents’ working memory capacities had increased by more than 30%. Put simply; they could hold and process 30% more information than the average person.

The study proved that meditating increases the working memory capacity. With a larger working memory, you can take on more sophisticated tasks and handle them efficiently.

4. Improves Cognitive Thinking

As you age, your cognitive functioning deteriorates gradually. The resulting deficit weakens your ability to reason, remember and process information. All these are factors that can make you less productive at work and in other areas of your life. Good news is, practising meditation and mindfulness can help with that.

To examine the impact of meditation on cognitive function, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study. They asked 48 undergraduate students to attend one of two classes: a nutrition class or a mindfulness class. The result? Those who attended the mindfulness class saw marked improvements in their exams afterwards, while the nutrition group saw no statistically significant improvements.

One factor that can explain this outcome is that meditation improves the balance of the left and right sides of the brain. Synchronizing both brain hemispheres allows for greater processing power and neural communication.

5. Reduces Stress

Stress is something that people experience on a daily basis, and more so at work. According to the American Institute of Stress, work-induced stress is the most common form of stress. Based on a recent survey they did, at least 80% of Americans experienced stress at work, hampering productivity and leading to mistakes.

Thankfully, having a meditation practice as part of your routine can lower stress and make you more productive. It goes beyond just stress reduction, however. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Daily Has Changed My Life

My personal journey with meditation has been nothing short of life changing. What if I told you there was a productivity hack that only required 8 minutes of your day, and as a consequence, will double your attention span, mental stamina, and ability to function under stress? What if I told you, thanks to just 8 minutes a day, a once self diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) sufferer now frequently loses track of time as he ticks off one item after the next on his daily to-do lists? Yes, that’s what meditation has done for me, and I believe it can do that for anyone.

The meditation routine I follow is based on the best selling book “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. As a meditation guru, Victor sought out to devise a meditation program that fits in with the ultra busy lifestyles of Westerners while still delivering the main benefits the practice at its fullest provides.

Here is the gist of the “8 minute meditation” that I practice every day right before I go to bed:

  • Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  • Find a comfortable sitting pose. This could be in a cozy meditation chair or sitting with your legs crossed on a yoga mat
  • Close your eyes slowly as if you were planning to sleep. Avoid squeezing them or shutting them involuntarily.
  • Next, start taking slow, deep breaths.
  • With every inhale, envision that you are breathing in light. Follow the light as it enters your body.
  • With every exhale, imagine breathing out all the tension and negativity that you have been harbouring. Relax every muscle from those on your face, chest, back, legs all the way to the tips of your toes.
  • As you breathe in and out, your mind will most likely start to wonder. Do not get upset. Just slowly bring your awareness back to your breathing. Imagine catching a fish and just letting it go.
  • Continue this until the timer goes off. Then, slowly open your eyes again..

A big part of the magic happens in meditation when you do it consistently. For me, with every day of practice, my ability to stay focused on my breathing and stay present increased during those critical 8 minutes. And as my ability to do those seemingly simple things improved, that’s when I started to notice all the tangible benefits of meditation I mentioned earlier.

Meditation is not a new concept. And it doesn’t require you to invest anything that you don’t already have. This is one of the greatest benefits of meditating; it doesn’t require any special equipment or registration for training. Essentially, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. To me, meditation dare i say is the greatest productivity hack of all time.

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5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Hitting Rock Bottom

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At one time, the term rock bottom was completely foreign to me. I can remember feeling really bad for anyone who claimed to have ‘hit rock bottom.’ What devastation they must feel. Their whole world must have just collapsed. How will they go on? I was soon to find out.

My journey to rock bottom

I’m not gonna say I had it all but for the most part, my world was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect and I’ll admit, I was sailing through on a song and a prayer. I lived in a nice house in a posh neighbourhood with my partner and in 2010 I purchased my first business, a hair salon.

I belonged to an amazing networking group of successful women. I was well respected in the community and had lots of friends. You could say my life was pretty good. However, this didn’t last for long.

Three years after the purchase of the salon I closed the doors and declared bankruptcy. Six months after bankruptcy, I walked out of my abusive relationship with nothing to my name.

I was a shell of a person. I had nothing and in my eyes, I was a complete and utter failure. At 52 years old, my whole world came crashing down on me and I for the first time in my life, was absolutely terrified.

I walked around in a daze for months. I was completely empty inside, both emotionally and mentally. I had no desire to rebuild my life. There was little life left in me to work on. I secured my old job at the salon I was at prior to my business purchase. Every day I had to face people who I’m sure were disappointed in me and most likely laughing at me behind my back.

I was a loser. They knew it and so did I. When you hit rock bottom, any and all self respect and self confidence you ever had goes right out the window. You’re constantly embarrassed and feel worthless all the time. However, one day something snaps when you look in the mirror and can’t stand to look at the person looking back at you. This is without a shadow of a doubt the moment some confidence and hope arises to change.

I looked in the mirror one day and I didn’t recognize the person staring back. She was sad, empty, blank and lifeless. This wasn’t Iva and I so desperately wanted her back. I missed the optimistic, bubbly and outgoing girl that used to stare back at me in the mirror. And I was determined to get her back.

I had reached a point where I was tired of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of telling myself I was a loser and a failure and that I would never amount to anything. But I was mostly tired of just existing with no purpose or passion.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

The climb out of rock bottom

I started devouring self help books and reading any and all blogs I could on how to get your life back on track and how to find self love and self worth again. I read inspirational quotes and listened to motivational YouTube videos day in and day out. I journaled and cried and prayed and meditated. All the things I have never done in my life, I was doing daily without fail.

Slowly, Iva was emerging but she was so much different this time around. She had hope, faith and determination and nothing was going to stop her or stand in her way of rebuilding her life. My journey out of rock bottom took almost a full year to complete but in that time, I learned so much about myself, people and life.

Here are the 5 life lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom:

1. Failure isn’t real

There’s no such thing as failure. I’m not even sure why this word exists. You had an idea or a plan, tried it, and it didn’t work. You learn lessons from this and you move on. Always remember one very important thing: you tried. Most people don’t even bother. Believe in yourself.

2. You’re not stuck anywhere

If something isn’t working or isn’t good for you, leave it. I was terrified to leave my abusive relationship because I knew it meant I would lose everything. And I did. When I finally took the plunge and left, everything in my life changed for the better. Have faith!

3. Change is fun and scary, but do it anyway

Although change is terrifying, it’s necessary. We don’t grow in our comfort zone or in our misery. Sometimes you have to do things that will scare the daylights out of you..do them anyway. This is where you learn and grow. You meet people and you experience things you never would have if you stayed in your comfort zone. Take the leap.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

4. Everything is temporary

The good and the bad. Nothing is forever. No matter how horrible your situation is, it won’t last. It will eventually go away or maybe even turn out great! Embrace all the good life has to offer you and learn the lessons the bad will give you. Have patience.

5. You have great power over your life

I was determined to change my life any way I had to. I did whatever I had to do to turn my life around. Was it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. I knew I had the power to change and it was up to me, and only me, to do that. No one could do it for me.

No matter where you are in your life right now, if things aren’t working out the way you expected, don’t worry. Things will always get better if you try to make them better. You can do anything you want. All you have to do is find the power that’s in you and unleash it.

Have you ever hit rock bottom? What advice do you have for someone who’s there? Share your ideas and advice below!

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9 Personal Growth Lessons I Learned From Being Bullied

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Wherever I went, bullying seemed to follow me. Whether it was school, work or even family, I could never seem to find any kind of escape. For years, I was stuck in the victim mindset, constantly asking myself what I did to deserve this kind of behaviour towards me. I decided to turn my struggle into a personal growth strategy to help others who might be silently struggling with what I did.

Here are some of the key personal growth lessons I learnt from my harrowing experiences:

1. Be the victim

Be the victim but put an early as possible expiration date on this. Realise that it is okay to feel sorry for yourself; it is okay to validate yourself by reinforcing the fact that you didn’t deserve what happened to you. This will help you give yourself the compassion that you need in that moment. Recognition of the hurt and validation are the first steps towards starting the healing process, but the key is not to hang around there for too long otherwise you will be stuck with a victim mentality.

2. Why?

This is a question that is often asked – why did this happen to me? Were the stars misaligned or is this karma for sneaking the last doughnut from the party? Rather than getting bogged down analysing why you went through the harrowing experience, focus on what you learnt from the experience. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as finding your voice and setting boundaries. Every difficult situation offers an opportunity to learn.

3. Focus on the lesson, not on the pain

Whenever faced with a tough situation, ask yourself, “What am I learning from this?” Often, when drowning in dire circumstances, we cannot see light and we fear that any light might be an oncoming train. The best way to deal with this fear and overwhelm is to refocus your thoughts. Oftentimes, the lesson falls under one of the following categories: perseverance, patience, consistency and my personal favourite – staying true to who you are.

4. Control the controllable

Within every difficult situation, there are always factors you can control: your responses, your disposition and your actions. Using what you can control, redirect your energy on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t do. Sometimes, what you can do is simply getting through your day and giving everything you can. This helps in building self-confidence and self-esteem.

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” – Steve Maraboli

5. You do you

It is a normal human desire to be liked by those around us. Avoid trying to change who you are based on what others say about you. It is very tempting to do this because we all want to feel accepted and want to feel that we belong. The more you do you, the more you will attract people who love you for the “real” you.

6. It is not about you

When people criticize you incessantly, recognise that they are battling their own demons and they are easily triggered. You are not the real reason for their hurtful behaviour, they are filled with fear, anger and hurt which they vent out to others. You can only give what you have and if fear, anger and hurt is all you have, it is the only place from which you will function.

7. You have the power to choose

It is easy to forget that we always have the power of our choices and decisions, while our circumstances may be overwhelming, we can still make wise choices so as not to become victims of our circumstances. We should never forget this power as this is what keeps us afloat and breathing when caught in a flood of difficulties.

8. Revenge is not the answer

While it is perfectly normal and human to wish revenge on those who have hurt us, it is crucial to note that what we wish upon others, mirrors back to us. Wishing your culprits to battle incessant sneezing while stuck in traffic controlling explosive diarrhea might give a moment of satisfaction, but is this something you are willing to risk mirroring back to you? I certainly am not. Put quite simply – negativity breeds negativity while positivity breeds positivity. Remember, you have the power to choose.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

9. Forgive

Don’t gasp so loudly. Yes, forgive those who have hurt you. Why? It definitely doesn’t absolve them of the hurt they caused you, but it releases you from the chains of negativity that are binding and rooting you in place preventing you from moving on. How do you forgive? Ask whatever higher power you believe in to filter those who have hurt you out of your life, sending them blessings and healing wherever they may need it in their lives while also blessing over positive outcomes for all of you.

I have used this technique personally and I swear by it. Sending blessings and healing while asking for positive outcomes, results in all these wonderful things happening to you as well. Giving what you have mirrors back to you. You have the power to forgive, let go and move on. This is a choice that you also happen to have the power to choose.

The next time you feel stuck and overwhelmed by your circumstances, revisit these personal growth lessons and apply them to your unique situation. You will be glad that you did.


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6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed

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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)

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