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5 Powerful ‘Brain Hacks’ That Will Rocket Your Daily Productivity & Focus

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If you’re like most people, you likely find yourself frequently wishing there were more hours in the day to accomplish all the important things on your To-Do list.  It seems like no matter what you do there’s always more and more in life that calls for your attention, while many of the truly important things get put on the back burner when we run out of time in the day.

Does any of this ring a bell?

If so, then I’d like to offer you a few of the most powerful ‘mind tricks’ I know that can help you dramatically increase your daily productivity and focus so you can get more done in less time.

Read the rest of this article only if you’d love to learn how to sharpen your focus, be more motivated, and blast through your daily tasks so you have more time available to do whatever else you enjoy in life.

 

Brain Hack #1:  Shrink Your Mental Deadlines

If you think something is going to take you an hour, give yourself 40 minutes instead. By shrinking your mental deadlines, you’ll be able to work much faster and with greater focus.

You should also schedule time on your calendar every week for focused, quiet concentrated “Golden Hours” or “Power Time” where you only work on your most important activities for a designated amount of time. To do this effectively, it’s important to close your email, silence your phone, and unplug from social media during these timeframes. That is, unless your most productive task happens to include any one of those mediums.

 

Brain Hack #2:  Create a “Stop Doing” List

A “Stop Doing” list is as important as a “To Do” list. We use a To Do list to help us gets things done, but how many counter-productive habits, rituals and routines are we allowing in our lives to continue robbing us of the results and lifestyle we truly desire?

By creating a “Stop Doing” list, and committing to it, we can systematically purge out negative habits and replace them with better, more productive ones.

An easy way to do this is to get out a piece of paper and make a list of any/all the habits, routines or people in your life that are actually making you less productive and taking you farther away from your intended goals or desired quality of life.

Now, this requires you to be totally honest, truthful and transparent with yourself about what’s in your life that could be holding you back or stealing happiness in some way. But when you’re willing to step back and look at your own life and situation objectively, it becomes much easier to see the reality of our situation and be able to make rational decisions about what needs to be done in light of the bigger picture. Thus progress can be made where it otherwise couldn’t.

 

Brain Hack #3: Review Your Productivity at the End of the Day

Try this: Every night before going to bed, take the time to write down the top 3-5 highest priority items that you resolve to complete the following day. These should be tasks that directly move you or your business closer to your goals.

Then at the end of each day, before you create your new list for the next day, take some time to review your list from the current day and ask yourself what went well and what you could’ve done better. Celebrate in your mind what you did accomplish, but also apply a little constructive criticism to yourself for anything you may have slacked on.  Then just rollover your uncompleted tasks to the next day’s list.

The most difficult aspect of being ultra-productive is you driving your day instead of your day driving you. Start your day by looking through your tasks each morning and making a conscious decision to allocate your time and focus on the most important and highly leveraged tasks before anything else. Then review your progress at the end of the day and make adjustments where necessary.

 

Brain Hack #4:  Avoid Multitasking

Don’t multitask. Multitasking is something we all do these days. The problem though is that our brains just aren’t cut out for it. When you multitask, you’re actually interfering with your brain’s ability to perform at it’s full-capacity.

Yeah sure, we can all walk and chew gum at the same time. We can can fold laundry while talking to a friend on the phone. Clowns can also ride a unicycle while juggling brightly colored balls.

These are all role tasks that don’t demand a lot of brain power. But in most cases where brainpower and creativity are critical, multitasking is really lesstasking. When you make shifts in your activity from one context to another, you risk dropping things from your short-term memory. You also disrupt the mental flow needed to perform at top-efficiency.

Do one thing at a time, minimize context shifts, maximize brain power!

 

Brain Hack #5:  Use “Brainwave Entrainment” Audios To Increase Focus & Productivity

Brainwave entrainment is a 100+ year old science that uses special tones and sounds to influence a person’s brainwave patterns, which have been proven scientifically to help change one’s state of mind, such as how focused they are.

Let’s briefly explore how it works.

Your brainwave patterns show what’s going on inside your head.  Different brainwave frequencies show that you’re in different states of mind. For example, they may show that you are sleeping, or relaxed, or intently focused.

Brainwave entrainment can be used to tap into the frequencies associated with heightened focus and increased productivity, and brings your brain waves into harmony with them.  The result is more clarity, more creativity, enhanced focus, and increased personal output.

You simply put on your headphones and play a special MP3 audio based on what kind of mindset you want to entrain.  You can even do this while you’re working, writing, reading, doing chores, etc

 

Do you have any ‘brain hacks‘ that help you live better?

If so, share them with us in the comments below!

Nash Ryker is a Breakthrough Accountability Coach for solopreneurs, with a passion for helping them end procrastination, build success habits, and make faster progress on their business or personal goals. His coaching program offers step-by-step daily accountability support to achieve breakthrough results for any important goals you want to achieve.  Book a complimentary 30-minute strategy call with him today at www.Breakthrough.Guru

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Corey Hinde

    Apr 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    attack your life with the 80/20 rule, think about it every day, revisit it constantly. Use lists, review them constantly. Develop a 5 year plan

  2. G SCHWEI

    Nov 6, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Wrong attitude prior going to sleep – note your accomplishments, and give credit to those whom helped you.

  3. Claire

    Feb 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Brainsync.com is great for audios also. I also use weekly & monthly planning over daily planning as its less stressful

  4. Casandra

    Feb 15, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Great list. I use journalling to keep me on track. Writing down what I’m working or and struggling with help clarify things and focus my mind. Once something is written down and it doesn’t suck up all my mental power because I stop thinking about it. I try to write in my teamspir.it logbook at the end of every day!

  5. Kamron

    Feb 12, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hey Nash!

    I love the clarity and easy to follow nature of this post 🙂 I’ve actually done up a “Stop doing” list and a “Keep doing” list hahaha. One thing I like to do every single morning is perform a morning ritual which includes a section where I instill beliefs that I will be productive and creative throughout the day. Prominently for school, I enjoy chanting to myself “I am acing school, I am, I am, I am”, it reinforces my brain to actively seek the activities that promote “acing school” and it helps a lot! For example I just received my marks for a PDH assessment task; 100% A +! So yeah hahah

    Number 1 in your list is especially helpful to me because I find if I know I have time to procrastinate – I will. So if I challenge myself to complete homework or a personal project in under 30 minutes or whatever, not only does it make me feel satisfied about completing my work but my brain will become accustomed to these “Mental Deadlines” thus promoting more productivity and a faster brain start.

    Thanks again for an amazingly helpful post!

    Regards, Kamron

  6. Nikola Gjakovski

    Feb 10, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I specially like number four because I do it most of the time! It’s same as “I would rather take 12 bags than taking two trips”. Number 3 I am missing also so I would save this text as a reminder. Thanks Nash

  7. Kosio Angelov

    Feb 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Take short breaks every 40 – 50 minutes.

    Exercise on a regular basis. It really helps with energy and concentration overall. And don’t feel like you need to hit the gym. Take a walk. Take the stairs. Do some jumping jacks for 5 minutes next to your desk. Any physical movement is better than none.

  8. Naomi@businessstart-ups

    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Nash,

    Really good list of tips. Brainwave Entertainment is new to me. I will definitely be looking into it!

    Thanks for the great read.

    Naomi

  9. Bastiaan

    Feb 6, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Some very good tips! I love the one about not multitasking. I now from my personal experience that doing several things at a time is very, very unproductive.

    Doing one thing at a time gives you much more satisfaction and will get you in a flow.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Rudi Middleton

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    My productivity nemesis was ToDo ‘Baggage’ The little jobs you put off that mount up, become a chain you keep dragging around until you’re confidence to achieve anything is at gutter level. All of the hacks above should help you avoid this scenario. Great post.

  11. Daniel

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I agree with the multitasking issue. I think we are all guilty of that. Focus on one thing and tear it up!

  12. Aida

    Feb 5, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Writing down a specific goal and putting it up on my work desk always helps me ^^

  13. Linda

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Concerning Brain Hack #5: Use “Brainwave Entrainment”.. I’ve used Tibetan singing bowl sounds with success when I want to focus on a task.

  14. Anita

    Feb 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Great tips. Especially reviewing what you’ve accomplished. Every time I measure my results, my results improve.

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Success Advice

The 6 Step Process for Delivering Critical Feedback in a Constructive Way

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We have all been in the position where we knew we needed to have a difficult conversation at work that involved delivering constructive feedback. Maybe a major deadline was missed, there was a clear decline in performance, or someone blatantly dropped the ball. Most of us avoid delivering the feedback, and the conversation can get pushed back again and again, wasting valuable time and money.

Delivering constructive feedback is challenging, and uncomfortable for most people, even highly trained leaders. Yet, delivering and accepting feedback is one of the most important keys for success. So why do we avoid these conversations? Because we never learned how to have them.

Open, honest, direct communication is not a skill we are taught in school. There is no “How to Have Tough Conversations” 101. As a clinical psychologist that specializes in couples work, I see just how important communication is in maintaining thriving relationships. I understand that good communication is the foundation of every successful relationship; both intimate relationships and your work relationships.

Below is a 6-step guide to providing constructive feedback:

Step 1: Clarity on the Goal of the Conversation  

The first step is to get clear on the goal of the feedback conversation. Are you planning to see a change in performance, simply communicate how you felt, or receive an apology? Get clear on what you are hoping to get out of the conversation. Be honest with yourself about what you need, what is most helpful to the relationship, and what is most helpful to the organization. Getting clear on the goal also ensures you are speaking with the right person.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

Step 2: Invitation

Set up a time to talk. Feedback conversations are not meant to be had in the hallway. It is important that both parties can set aside adequate time and have the space needed for dialogue. Additionally, there must be respect for both parties’ need for time to process information. For example, if you are delivering feedback, and the receiver needs time to process the feedback before responding, setting up a subsequent meeting will be most helpful.

Step 3: Ownership

Own the role you played in creating the situation. When you model ownership of blind spots, failures, or missteps, you set the stage for the receiver to do the same. For example, you may acknowledge that you were not aware of how to support your employee and not aware of the problem until x situation occurred. Equally important as owning your role, is owning your emotions. Own your emotions using “I” statements. For example, “I felt disappointed when I realized your sales performance had substantially declined”.

Step 4: Open, Honest, Direct Feedback

Feedback that dances around the problem does not do anyone any good. It only increases anxiety on behalf of the receiver, and potentially causes the feedback to get totally lost. The conversation needs to be open, honest, and direct. For example: “I felt concerned when you did not attend the last two strategy calls this month…It brought up questions for me about your commitment to the company.”

Step 5: Listen, Validate and Accept

When providing feedback, it is important both parties maintain an open mind, and respond in a way that communicates validation and acceptance. As soon as an individual gets defensive, feedback cannot be taken in, and the value of the conversation dramatically decreases. When providing feedback it is important to listen, validate, and accept your receiver’s viewpoint. Notice, I did not say agree. This looks something like saying: “I can see why X led you to commit Y , I understand you were under a great deal of stress/dealing with a personal situation/frustrated.”

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

Step 6: A Clear Plan for Moving Forward

In providing feedback, the magic is that now things can change! If feedback is never given, relationships end, things will stay the same, businesses will die, and money will be lost. If you have gotten to this step, that means you did the hard work, and now you get to put change into action. A clear plan includes an acknowledgement from both parties regarding what they will do differently to prevent the situation from occurring again, and how they will stay accountable in making the change happen.

The good news about delivering feedback is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, giving and receiving feedback is one of the most surefire ways to open yourself up to massive growth.

As a giver of feedback, it is your job to model openness and a desire for growth, so that the receiver may take in the feedback and make the necessary changes. Exceling at feedback delivery will help you set you apart from others and enable you to achieve extraordinary relationships, in both your personal and work lives.

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Success Advice

Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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5 Essential Skills to Drive Success in Every Niche

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There are many people who don’t have the courage to launch a business in a niche as they think they don’t have the right skills and experience to obtain success. While there are specific skills which determine the success in every niche, there are also some general skills which ensure success in any business you would try.

Below are 5 essential skills you need to drive success in every aspect of your life:

1. Ambition

When you launch a new business, you need to be prepared for difficult moments such as fighting the competition and winning your target audience. Moreover, if you follow some successful entrepreneurs, you should keep in mind that they also faced difficulties and continue to experience them. So, how does a successful entrepreneur get over all the difficulties?

The essential skill you need to possess is called ambition. Set small and clear milestones in your development plan and use your ambition to go over each difficulty and finalize what you had in your mind. It doesn’t matter how hard the path is going to be. Visualize your target and put in all the efforts to achieve it. Staying organized and scheduling each step to get things done are some of the techniques you can use to achieve success.

2. Listen to those around you

While listening to your instincts is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is not enough. As your business develops, you will have an entire team to manage and lead to success. Therefore, you cannot be a successful leader and have success in every niche unless you learn how to listen to the people around you.

You should listen to your employees and discover what they are expecting from you. This is the way to follow if you want to keep your team motivated and help them give the best of themselves.

On the other hand, you will need to listen to your customers to improve your products and services and provide excellent customer support. By listening carefully to the voice of your customers, you will be able to stand out of the competition and ensure their loyalty towards your brand.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Courage

When you decided to become an entrepreneur and build your own business, it means you are a courageous person. Courage will help you harness the power of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel a specific action will bring more success to your business.

Apart from doing intensive research on your ideas and developing the exact steps you are going to follow, you will need the courage to implement them. Not all the ideas will turn out to be successful.

Regardless, you will have something to learn from each success or mistake and this will help you move your business even further. When you have the courage to follow a path which is not very familiar to you, this is going to be the moment when you will widen your horizons and exceed your limits to achieve success.

4. Creativity and imagination

If you already implemented your idea and you see that it works, you most probably think that you don’t need to change anything to achieve more success. You need to keep in mind that customers’ preferences change and your competition is waiting for your mistakes to “steal” your clients.

Therefore, you need to use your creativity and imagination to improve your products and services to meet your customers’ expectations. What is more, creativity can also mean that you are open to talk to new people and use their experience to improve something in your business.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

5. Continuous learning

If you want to drive success in every niche you will need to show a willingness to learn. You need to stay updated with what happens in your niche and what your customers expect from you.

Education is not only something for school. It is a lifelong process, and you should be open to seek knowledge and improve your skills with every opportunity. An efficient trick is to stay close to people who are already successful in your industry, ask their opinions on various subjects and learn from their experience.

The above five essential skills will help you build a successful business in every niche. A true leader is ambitious, knows to listen to the people around him, and is always open to learning from others.

No matter the size of your business, you will need to be creative and use your imagination to improve your products and services. These skills will help any leader develop new skills, stand out of the crowd, and strengthen his position on the market.

What skill do you think is most important to be successful in life? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

5 Key Investment Principles from Warren Buffett

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Warren Buffett is a mentor for a lot of traders. Why shouldn’t he be? After all, his investing principles have earned him the title of the world’s greatest investor. His way of working is a little contradictory to many others in the arena of online trading. He doesn’t invest the way it’s depicted in the popular media. He is the kind of investor who likes buying and holding.

Buffett has taught us that once you buy a stock, hold it no matter what. Forget that there is a recession in the economy or it is at its boom. Whether it’s good times or bad, you’re supposed to hold onto the stock.

Buffett doesn’t just buy stocks for the sake of holding them. He buys them for a specific reason. When those reasons no longer exist, he sells the stocks. He not only looks for good prices but sound management and a competitive advantage. He shared his opinion that companies such as IBM, Sears, and GM are great but they cannot stay competitive for long. Therefore, these companies shouldn’t be a part of your portfolio.

Why not learn from the pro himself and invest the right way? Here are 5 key principles to begin with:

1. Invest In What You Know

Before investing in a stock, it is very important to understand what a company does and how it makes its money. Ever wondered why Buffett has always avoided investing in tech stocks? It’s because he does not completely understand their business model. He sticks to what he knows.

This also explains why he prefers investing in Berkshire’s stocks. It represents a diverse mix of stocks such as utilities, banking, and insurance and consumer products. All of these are businesses that Buffett understands very well. No wonder he has invested a significant amount of money here.

“Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.”  – Warren Buffett

2. Before Buying a Stock, List the Criteria

It makes sense to buy stocks on the basis of criteria, right? After all, you’re ensuring that you don’t end up investing in something unfavorable. You could be searching for stocks in a certain industry with a set price to earnings ratio.

Buffett never makes the price of the stock the sole criteria of his buying decision. Sometimes, great companies end up taking a price dip because of the market situation. However, holding onto these stocks could still turn out to be favorable.

3. Be Aggressive During Tough Times

Generally, it’s not recommended to time the market. But if you’re a long-term investor, you’ll be fine no matter when you buy. This means that even during the tough economic times, you shouldn’t settle down. Keep on looking for opportunities. This is what Warren Buffett does because he knows that things will eventually turn around.

Buffett is known for capitalizing on opportunities during and after the great recession. Bank of America investment is one of the best examples of this. In his latest annual letter, Buffett said that “dark clouds will fill the sky almost after every decade. But it certainly will rain gold.” So don’t despair, keep on investing.

4. Don’t Worry About the Day to Day Market Movements

Along with other tips, Buffett also said that you must only buy a stock if you are comfortable holding on to it in case the stock market shuts down for a decade. Since you are holding onto the stocks for 10 or more years, there is no point in losing sleep over the minor swings.

Ignore the headlines about the trade wars, the government shutdown, and other chaotic news. Instead, you focus on learning the potential growth of your company over the course of time. The fact is, stock prices keep on changing, but it’s not significant if the company’s business still has a bright future.

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.” – Warren Buffett

5. Buy Buffett’s Stocks

Buffett keeps everything simple when it comes to investing. If you don’t want to do the guesswork and research to figure out which stocks to buy, simply invest in the stocks Buffett already owns. But, make sure you understand the business. Buffett discloses his holdings publically each quarter. He has capital in companies such as Wells Fargo, Apple, and Bank of America. To keep things simple, you can buy the shares of Berkshire Hathaway itself.

Warren Buffett hasn’t been successful all by himself. He has a team of investors who help him do legal work and give him investment tips. He’s also a part of an advisor network because he understands that an investor needs all the help he can get. It’s amazing that a billionaire like him still listens to others.

Now that you know how to invest like Buffett, it’s time you prepare your investment strategy. These principles are not hard and fast criteria, they are simply a discipline strategy all investors should stick to. Along with these, you can use math, technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and even stock charts to make a decision. You may not end up a billionaire, but you will avoid losses and make more profits than your fellows.

Which one of the 5 key investment principles from above resonated with you most? Let us know below!

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