by Thomas Oppong for Bergen Review Media
Successful people don’t just drift off to the top. Getting there requires focused action, personal discipline and lots of energy every day to make things happen,” says American author and entrepreneur Jack Canfield.
Jack couldn’t be more accurate. Don’t let old habits hold you back in life. Take control of your habits and improve the quality of your life.
Build a system for everything you do
It pays to build systems to keep your life on track. In “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big,” author Scott Adams explains: “ … A system is something you do on a regular basis that achieves your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.”
Systems are the foundations of a better life and great work. Using systems can make your life easier.
A system provides you with an inner guidance system and a equip you with the power of habit. A structure in your life and some routines that help you every day and keep you on the right track is better than a single shot at getting something done.
Start anything with a clear goal and focus on a system to achieve it. Many people have different successful systems that guide how they work and what actions to take at any point in time to achieve the bigger purpose.
If your current system of work doesn’t work or give the desired results you expect, make a change, create a new system and take steps every day to stick to it. By spending a little bit of time figuring out what will work best for you and your habits, you can put yourself in a great position to get out of your head and get things done.
Reserving an hour each day for something you absolutely want to get done can be a great system that can help you achieve your big goal.
Guardian’s Oliver Burkman says, “…focusing on a system means focusing on what you can control (your actions) rather than what you can’t (the endlessly unpredictable external world). Keep working your system and you’ll maximize the chances that success will find you.”
You can start building systems one habit at a time. Focus on incremental progress and consistency to lay the foundation for getting things done. A daily or weekly routine, a consistent application of even small habits, will transform your life more effectively than striving for an overwhelmingly large goal without a consistent routine to achieve it.
A better life starts with a great daily routine
As simple as it sounds, routines are the key to improving your health, productivity, wealth and total well-being. creating a daily routine can make a big difference in your life. How you start and end your day determines everything.
That means, developing a system to guide to guide how you use your time when you awake, when you first start working, when you finish your workday, and even how you use your evenings. How will that change your life?
It will help you get a great start to your day, and finish your day by preparing for the next day. It’ll help you build productive routines, and help you focus on what’s important, not just what’s urgent.
Make time for high-value work
Don’t start your day until you have it planned. — Jim Rohn
Spend the first hour of your work day on high-value tasks.Don’t begin the activities of your day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Every morning, get one most important thing done immediately. There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like you’re already in the flow. And the easiest way to trigger this feeling is to work on your most important task in the first hour.
Use your mornings for high-value work. Lean to avoid the busy work that adds no real value to your work, vision or long-term goal.
Low value activities, including responding to notifications, or reacting to emails keep you busy and stop you from getting real work done. Make time for work that matters. In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen says, “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
Research shows that it takes, on average, more than 23 minutes to fully recover your concentration after a trivial interruption.
Don’t tackle tasks sporadically throughout the day
To increase your ability to focus, researchers suggest ideas for both boosting our ability to concentrate as well as reducing distraction.
You can improve your ability to focus if you can boost your ability to concentrate. Reducing distractions can change how you work for the better. Everything competing for your attention when you want to single task can waste your precious time.
In 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, Peter Bregman writes, “To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing where to focus.”
Time wasters such as impulsively checking notifications is a major distraction at work. The few minutes you waste on reactive tendencies doesn’t help your work.
Learn to single-task without compromise
Single tasking changes everything. In an age of constant digital interruptions, it is no wonder you’re having trouble ignoring distractions.
If you really have to focus on that task, limit the time you have to spend on any given task. Add dates, and due time to your to-do lists.
Push yourself to deliver within the specified time and move on. Single-tasking is one task at a time, with zero tolerance for distractions.
Try the Pomodoro Technique to improve your chances of success when you embrace single -tasking habit.
Focus on one task for about 30 minutes, then take a 5 minute break, and then move on to another task or continue the task.
Read widely, with maximum curiosity Pick up a book every day. Even for just a few pages. Reading puts your brain to work. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to your body.
It gives us freedom to roam the expanse of space, time, history, and offer a deeper view of ideas, concepts, emotions, and body of knowledge.
Roberto Bolaño says, “Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people’s ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.”
Your brain on books is active — growing, changing and making new connections and different patterns, depending on the type of material you’re reading. One of the best ways to gain knowledge is self-education. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop. As long as you are genuinely interested in what you are studying, don’t stop.Make the most of your time and get the best education you can can offer yourself. People who take the time and initiative to pursue knowledge on their own are the only ones who earn a real education in this world. Take a look at any widely acclaimed scholar, entrepreneur or historical figure you can think of.
Formal education or not, you’ll find that he or she is a product of continuous self-education. Lifelong learning will get most of your questions answered. You don’t even have to commit long hours everyday to learning. Whatever time you decide to put in your own education, stick to it. What are the most interesting topics you wish to know more about. The goal here is to find as many sources of ideas and knowledge as possible. Brain Pickings is a good place to start. It’s one of my favorites. And it’s free. Go subscribe and you won’t be disappointed.
Find other blogs, websites or online courses that can broaden your horizon. Read expert opinions about topics of interest on Quora.
It’s a game-changer in the world of question and answer websites. Look for answers to some of your most important questions at places people normally ignore.
Cut back on social distractions
In the age of constant connectivity, distraction is at its peak in life and at work.
Our minds need urgent purification to improve focus, replenish attention, and encourage creativity.
The average adult checks their phone 50 to 300 times each day. And we tap, swipe and click on our devices 2,617 times per day, according to a recent study. We spend more time online than we do asleep. Chris Bailey, author of Hyperfocus, writes, “Our smartphones provide an endless stream of bite-sized, delicious information for our brains to consume. It’s easy to get hooked, even to feel addicted. And most of us would prefer not to feel this way.” I have turned off most of the notifications on my phone.
I choose when I want to check my notifications. I have consciously planned to check social updates at a set time to avoid distractions when I am doing focused work.
Every time you pull out your phone to scan your feeds, your brain is building a habit loop that reinforces itself to encourage the habit.
Notifications prompt task-irrelevant thoughts and disrupt attention performance even if you don’t interact with the device.
The buzzes, beeps, emails, alerts, and notifications never end until you do something about it. An increasing number of psychologists and doctors are concerned about our relationship with smartphones. “It’s a spectrum disorder,” says Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, who studies addiction. “There are mild, moderate and extreme forms.” And for many people, there’s no problem at all.
According to David Greenfield, a clinical psychiatrist and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, smartphones can easily take over your life, because they’re always screaming for attention. Being constantly plugged in affects our sleep patterns, posture and more in our bodies and minds. Our lives are becoming more wired all the time, hence the need to take over and control your relationship with mobile devices before they become the only thing you deeply care about at the expense of your relationships.
If you feel your phone is taking over your life, schedule digital detox on your calendar. Start balancing your digital life with real life.
Do a 30-day challenge
The challenge most of us have is starting and sticking to healthy and productive daily routines.
You can start with a 30-day challenge to develop the perfect routine that works for you.
What do you want to improve.
Write them out on paper, along with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
Start with a few habits you can consistently focus on building.
Report on your progress each day.
Adjust anything that is not working on a case-by-case basis.
Then do an assessment after 30 days to see how your new routine is working for you. If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.
You don’t always have full control over your workday, but you can plan and make the most of your day to help you accomplish your life and work goals.
You can use them to make sure the most important stuff gets done — from working out, to spending time with friends and family, to developing a side business, to reading and engaging in other hobbies.
If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly, my free weekly digest of the best posts about behavior change that affect health, wealth, and productivity. Join over 50,000 people on a mission to build a better life. Courses: Thinking in Models, and Kaizen Habits.
This article first appeared on Medium.
Written, Compiled & Edited by
The Bergen Review Media Team