5 ways of increasing work productivity


 

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  1. Prioritize important tasks

At the commencement of each day, ensure that you have a list of tasks that are important and urgent. Ensure that priority is given to most important task that will have most outcome or influence on your goals. Prioritizing helps to identify most important tasks in order to do those tasks as soon as possible.

  1. Have a schedule of the important tasks

Always have a notebook where all important tasks that come to mind are written down. The aim of this is to identify as many tasks as possible that require your attention. Schedule or assign time to do the task based on priority and goals. Tasks which do not contribute to the immediate goals can be postponed or scheduled to be done after the most important tasks are complete.

 

  1. Have Deadlines

According to Parkinson’s law time expands to fill the available time. The longer the deadline, the more the time it takes to accomplish the task because the task expands to suit the time that it has been allocated. Whenever there is a task that requires completion, always assign a realistic deadline and stick to that deadline. This helps one to do more tasks as deadline creates limits and ensures that tasks do not take long to be accomplished.

 

  1. Do not procrastinate

Ensure that tasks that you have assigned yourself are completed on time. Do not postpone doing tasks that you can complete within the day. Procrastination is a productivity killer. It wastes time and energy. To avoid procrastination, stick to one task until you are done before moving on to the next.

 

  1. Avoid Multitasking

Avoid doing more than one task at any given time. Each task should be done with undivided attention until it is complete. Multitasking divides the energy and focus. It makes every of the tasks being multi tasked take longer than the scheduled time.

 

How to attain what you think is unattainable  


1. Believe that there will always be a possible path.
What you think is attainable is just a function of what you know at the moment. Once you start your pursuit you will learn a lot especially if you triangulate with others. Paths that you had never seen will become clearer.
2. Create great expectations
Great expectation create greater capabilities.
If you limit your goals to what you know you can achieve, you are setting the bar too low.
3. Have flexibility and self accountability. 
Flexibility is accepting and adjusting to reality. It is essential as it teachers one to accept reality. Self accountability on the other hand puts pressure on self. It views non achievement as personal responsibility and avoids blaming others for failure.
Adapted from Ray Dalio’s Principles.

Running the race with endurance


“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before uslooking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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Image: Marathoners during a training session, Source: Daily Nation

 

One of the critical skills which marathoners and other great athletes train for is endurance. They have a regimen for endurance training. It is not enough to be a great marathoner or a great talent you have to add endurance to the skill in order to breakthrough in that skill. Endurance is considered by Webster dictionary as the capacity to withstand unpleasant experience without having to give way or give in. At the basic definition it is the capacity to last or withstand pressure.  Running and winning races requires endurance.  For marathoners, they have to ensure buildup of lactic acid, it helps marathoners to have the right stamina, the right weight and fitness to run the race.

Similarly, believers in Christ need to run the race with endurance, some version refer to patience. The race of faith is a long race whose length is equivalent to believer’s life on earth. It has to be run with a lot of patience and care in order to build stamina and fitness to keep in the race.  This is to be done by fixing our focus on Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfected of our faith.  During the race the race endurance is required because the race comes with fatigue, pain, panting, thirst, which make the racing difficulty. Enduring makes winners because they withstand the pain, soreness, thirst and agony. They do not ley these discomforts pull them out of the race, they are so fixated on the prize that they do not feel the pain and the discomforts of the race. Likewise, we are exhorted to fixate our eyes on Christ in order to build endurance and patience needed to within the race.

Dealing with uncertainty


As the year starts one of the sure things is that everyone is uncertain of how it will end. Someone is starting school and does not know how it will end. There is someone who is planning to quit his/her current job and start a new one and is uncertain how it will turn. A parent is taking a kid to a new school. Maybe you have moved to a new neighborhood or a new house. Another person wants to start a relationship and is unsure about the new partner. Uncertainty abounds everywhere where one is doing a new thing for the first time.Uncertainty can be paralyzing and hold one from making progress. Uncertainty is uncomfortable, but it’s a necessary step in achieving maximal creativity and reaching breakthroughs. Avoiding uncertainty may reduce short-term anxiety, but it limits our potential, leading to premature decisions and missed opportunities.

Below are some suggestions on how to deal with uncertainty derived from The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking, a book by Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane. 

 

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Source: Wikipedia

 

  1. Balance uncertainty with healthy habits. Uncertainty is all about risks and has to be managed with other less risky activities. Uncertainty can be balanced with healthy habits, rituals, and routines in other areas of our life. Create routines and habits that are predictable that act as a support system.
  2. Start small. When striving to form a new, positive habit, start small. Define the target habit or routine specifically and find a trigger to spur consistency. Create incentives for yourself, but anticipate that some level of failure will accompany the process.
  3. Don’t rely on will power. Willpower is not very reliable. It adds to uncertainty and frustrates certainty hence don’t depend on will power. When it comes to new habits, willpower is a finite resource. We cannot rely on it alone to achieve our new desired behavior. Create defaults and reinforcements to make your new routine easy. For instance, when starting to wake up very early and you not been used to you have to put on an alarm. In addition, you can ask a neighbor or friend to call you very early and make sure your are up.
  4. Practice uncertainty. There are ways to do this, including playing games like poker, chess, video games as well as naming and accepting the uncertainty verbally, or experiencing uncertainty in safe situations like at a movie or a sporting event.
  5. Responsibility transfer. It sounds complicated yet it is basically what majority do. In this case responsibility transfer is prayer.  Sit down, kneel or use other posture and transfer the responsibility to God(The all knowing and all powerful). Tell Him of all your worries and anxieties and leave them to Him to solve. This takes of the heavy burden of uncertainty from the individual and helps the individual to focus on other things.

10 things not to pursue


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There are things that one should not actively pursue or out more effort on them because they are subject to the laws of diminishing returns. This means that the more one puts effort to pursue the lesser the returns or the lesser the rewards. This is “The Backwards Law” which has been explained in chapter one of Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Mark Manson explains that a good experience is itself a bad experience; accepting a bad experience is a good experience. This paradox exists in almost all aspects of life especially those related to health and relationships. While some activities just require rote repetition such as driving, cleaning and hence more effort equal more rewards. Reward and effort in complex activities do not respond to this linear association. For such activities the more you work or focus on them the lesser the rewards. This especially works for activities which intertwine emotions, intelligence and effort. Pursuit of rewards in such activities results in frustrations because they obey law of diminishing returns. These are some of such activities and pursuits you should not be actively pursue because the more you pursue them, the more elusive they become:

  1. Control – The more desperate one seeks for control of others or of self the more control becomes elusive. the more one puts effort to control their feelings, moods and impulses, the more powerless one becomes. Emotional life is usually unruly and ungovernable and the best effort towards controlling it to put less effort in attempting to control it. Likewise, controlling and influencing others is very difficult when one puts a lot of effort to do it.  Conversely, the more ones accept others and their weaknesses the easier it becomes to control and influence them.
  2. Purpose – The more one pursues deeper meaning or purpose to their lives, the more self-obsessed and superficial one becomes. The more one tries to find meaning and support the purpose of others’ lives, the purposeful one’s life becomes.
  3. Freedom – The relentless pursuit for more paradoxically leads to less freedom. It is only by limiting oneself that experiences more freedom. It is only by choosing a few things in life that one is truly capable of truly exercising freedom.
  4. Happiness – Attempts and efforts to be happier results in unhappiness. It is in accepting unhappiness that one can find true happiness.
  5. Security – Attempts to be more secure produces more anxiety and insecurity. It is in being contented with insecurity that one feels secure.
  6. Love – The harder we strive to influence and make others fall in love with others the lesser the others accept and love us. In fact, the more we attempt to love others, the lesser we love ourselves. It is in loving oneself and accepting self that one finds love.
  7. Respect –  Respect should not be pursued.  the more one strives to be respected the lesser the respect shown. Conversely, the more one respect others without demanding respect, the more the others show respect.
  8. Trust – When one puts a lot of effort to gain trust, the less trust they gain from others. Instead the more one trust others the more others incline to trust one.
  9. Confidence – The more one strives to be confident, the more one heightens insecurity and anxiety. On the contrary when one accepts anxiety, faults and the more one becomes confident in their own skin.
  10. Change – The more one yearns for change, the more one feels that enough has not been done.  Whereas, the more one accepts self, the more one accepts stability, the more one grows and evolves.

These pursuits are less rewarding because they involve one’s mind. It is the mind that is responsible for pursuing happiness and it also the mind which is recipient of that happiness. The more effort the lesser the effect that is perceived by the mind.

 

 

Light tomorrow with today


   “Light tomorrow with today” Elizabeth B. Browning

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tomorrow depends on today. What you do today not only impacts today but consequences of today will be experienced tomorrow. Much pain that is experienced today is mostly a consequence of actions done yesterday. Resolve to take actions that will lead to better tomorrow.

Gather the firewood  and energy that is needed to light tomorrow today. Do not enjoy pleasures that will tomorrow result in pain and hangovers. Deny self that which will make tomorrow miserable. May your actions make better tomorrow. Some good actions may not result in immediate pleasure today but can make tomorrow better.

Two ways of living


Today I just want to share a quote by Albert Einstein.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is living as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein. 

 

 Each of this choices affect how one views life.

One of them is living as though nothing is a miracle. To live as though nothing is a miracle you have to be in control of every dimension of your life which is not possible.

On the other hand to live as though everything is a miracle you have to relinquish control and accept that you are not in control. You have to accept the surprises that life brings along and enjoy living irrespective of circumstances because everything is a miracle. 

 

Personal responsibility


According to Pereboom (2014) the personal responsibility is the capacity of the individual to make choices and dictate their actions and subsequently influence the consequences and experiences encountered in their lives. It is the willingness or readiness to be held accountable for one’s action or inaction because the individual is in control of personal actions and inactions.   Personal responsibility manifests in various dynamics which are discussed here in.

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  1. Having a deep sense of purpose. People who are personally responsible for their lives have a keen sense of purpose. They do not live anyhow because they believe that they have a purpose to fulfil. They therefore take actions and responsibilities that are aligned with that purpose. This helps them to effectively manage their time as their actions, hobbies and interest are all focused on the attainment of their purpose.
  2. Effective decision making. The second manifestation of personal responsibility is effective decision making. Being personally responsible means that one must work hard and work toward making choices that are effective and aligned with one’s goals and purpose. The individual who has taken personal responsibility knows that the outcomes depends with the decisions they make. The individual who has understood personal responsibility has to endeavor to make the right choices by consulting widely, reading and reflecting to ensure that they make value choices.
  3. No scapegoating. Individuals with personal responsibility do not blame others. They do not find scapegoats to accuse for personal failures and mistakes. They accept that they have made a mistake and choose to learn from that mistake. The individual with personal responsibility usually realises that blaming others will not solve the problem. They know that blaming others only makes them feel better for the moment but does nothing to solve the problem. Even when others have played a role in the failure, they strive to learn the lesson and find ways of rectifying the problem instead of blaming others.
  4. Self-acceptance. Not blaming others does not necessarily imply blaming self. People who take personal responsibility do not necessarily blame themselves for the mistakes nad failures they encounter. They recognise that some of the factors were beyond their control. Instead, the focus of personal responsibility is taking charge to identity and rectify what could have one wrong. People with sense of personal responsibility acknowledge their shortcoming and seek out help from others who are better positioned to assist. They do not give excuses to cover up for their shortcomings. Instead they work hard and identifying and acknowledging their shortcoming while working towards the improvements of the identified weaknesses.
  5. Continuous improvement. People who take personal acknowledge that change is inevitable. While status quo and comfort may be appealing, people who want to take charge and be personally responsible for their lives acknowledge the need to continuously make improvement. They continuously self-assess and self-evaluate in order to identify how they can make improvement in their personal lives or in any other aspect that could help them attain their goals.

In conclusion each individual has personal responsibility over their lives and all that pertains to it. Personal responsibility implies self-awareness about the influence that individual’s action has on one’s life. It is an attempt to be in control while letting go and asking for help on factors that out of one’s control.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr.

 

Reference

Pereboom, D. (2014) Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

How to be more optimistic at the start of the year


To have a fascinating start of the year one must have optimism. Optimism is seeing the better and the bright side of life. Successful optimists tend to be more include towards viewing the good things that are happening in their lives which empowers them to be more productive and focused than pessimists. The following are some suggestions on how to increase optimism in this year for better results.

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  1. Set long term goals and visualize yourself having achieved those goals. If you want to increase optimism you have to formulate very clear and certain goals and then visualise yourself having achieved those goals. This increases excitement and confidence as you will feel like an achiever who has already accomplished those goals.

 

  1. Record your progresses every day. Every day in the evening have a time to review and to think about the progresses made during each day. Write each small increment and progress as this enhances self-confidence.

 

  1. Practice gratitude. Each day practice gratitude. While still focusing on your goals, it is always important to pause and be grateful for the present. Feel happy for what you have. To manifest gratitude, make effort to visit and interact with the less fortunate and those in need.

 

  1. Keep the company of optimists. Pessimism is highly contagious and one must guard against pessimism. Even after setting goals and visualizing yourself having achieved them, and even after recording progress and being grateful, it is possible to slide back to pessimism if one keeps company of pessimists. To sustain optimism, you have to be surrounded by the company of other optimists. While pessimists sap your energy and motivation, optimists multiply your energy and keep you motivated with hope and words of encouragement.

 

 

  1. Be a lifetime learner. To be optimistic one has to make commitment towards learning. Make a goal to learn a new thing every day, every month, or every year. Have a commitment to learn something beyond your current knowledge as this keeps your mind active and equips you with the skills needed to achieve your goals. In fact, learning is the most practical step towards achieving the set goals.

May you be filled with energy as you pursue optimism in world that is full of negativity and pessimism.

5 resolutions to have in 2020


It is obvious that most people make resolutions for the new year. In fact, it is wise to make resolutions and have goals to achieve during the new year. There are resolutions that one can make and have a better year and have higher prospects of succeeding and finishing the year on a high note.

 

  1. Take stock and charge forward. Evaluate yourself and ask whether there were battles you won last year and also evaluate whether there were battles you did not win. Ask yourself some of these questions in order to honestly take stock and make better decisions during this year. Are any of those battles worth continuing? Why didn’t you win them last year? What can you do to win them this year? How can you make those things you liked most about last year happen more frequently?
  2. Commit to doing something new each month. The aim of this is to expand the scope of thinking and experiences. Do one new activity for one month consistently and then assess how the activity has impacted or improved your life. Some of the new things that one can commit doing are reading a book every day, writing a thank you note to someone. These new activities are likely to create new powerful habits that can significantly improve one’s productivity.
  3. Make a commitment to fitness. If you can, join a fitness club, an exercise group or a team sport. Join a fitness works better mostly because it involved a teas and involves other people that will make you accountable towards the attainment of fitness goals. The reason why fitness is a priority is because the demands of twenty first century and the lifestyle is making people live sedentary lives where they are seated all day long staring onto screens and food has become more affordable and available making one likely overeat. The lifestyle diseases are on the risk hence the need to prioritize fitness in the new year. Doing fitness with a team will not only make your workouts more productive, but they will also be more fun. Plus, you get the advantage of having others hold you accountable to your workout commitment.
  4. Practice the one-a-day-at-a-time principle. Don’t strive to do too much. Just do one thing at a time. You cannot make everyone happy all the time but you can choose to do something extraordinary each day. Find a customer, colleague, relative or a friend each day and do something remarkable. Resolve to use one-a-day principle in 2020 to make your business and life better.
  5. Develop financial discipline. Decide to make a budget for every month. Clearly record your expanses. Track your spending to take control of your finances. This will help you identify unnecessary expenditures that can be cut out while ensuring that additional income is saved and invested wisely.

The list can be extensive but it is better to have just a few resolutions which can be followed and implemented. Have a remarkable 2020.

 

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