In a perfect world we'd all be friends with everybody, we'd all be super-duper nice to each other, we'd all be happy for one another, we'd make time for everyone, we'd be 100% selfless, we'd love life 24/7... But that's a bloody fantasy. We certainly are not living in a perfect world- there are not enough minutes in the day, humans are assholes, jealousy is rife and life is most definitely challenging. But there are ways to tweak your life in order to make yourself far more productive and happy. It all starts with being a bit selfish. Yep, the opposite to what your parents tell you to be growing up. Being selfish is taken out of context a lot- but what it really means is to concentrate on what you do, what you love and what you want to be. And trust me once you start being a bit more selfish (focusing on yourself) you'll find you'll feel a lot more fulfilled. Here are 20 ways to be more content and productive:
1. Stop Answering The Phone
Unless it's a complete emergency, stop answering the phone. Have call back times set out for yourself Monday-Friday e.g 11am, 2.30pm, 4.30pm. This makes you more focused and prepared for phone calls and keeps your head in the game during those periods.
2. Define Your Uniform
It may sound strange but define your uniform. This is an important aspect of personal branding. If you like wearing blue jeans, a turtle neck and white trainers (we're looking at you Steve Jobs) then buy multiples and wear this daily. If you like wearing quirky cufflinks, wear them daily... Not only does it save you time thinking about your outfits in the morning it also becomes an identifier for clients/ potential clients: "You know your man with the blue rimmed glasses" etc.
3. Know Your End Goal
The first step in having any motivation in life. Your goal could be your fitness, family life, relationships, work, whatever it is. Visualise the end goal in your head for 5 mins every night before you fall asleep. Play it out in your head like a scene in a movie. This is incredible for your subconscious and is great for reminding yourself why you're doing something when you're feeling low.
4. Always Take On Projects That Scare You
Never take the easy option. This year we were told by our boss to organise an event in Ireland's largest theatre a mere 8 weeks before the show date. Insane, I know. Myself and the team were terrified we would never fill the place and none of us had ever produced a 2K capacity show. Result? We achieved everything and more from the event. Our adrenaline kicked in big time. Humans are built to survive so you'd be surprised more than none how much you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.
5. Never Sit On The Fence
No one likes an indecisive person, they waste time and waste too time trying to please people. You can't please everyone. Just stay true to your gut feelings.
6. Email Yourself
Sounds ridiculous but I do this maybe 3 times a day and sometimes in the middle of the night. If I make notes anywhere else away from my desk, I forget them. A creative idea or a reminder can come to you at any time of the day. This keeps those lightbulb moments logged and ensures you don't forget to follow up on that all important thing next time you check your mails.
7. Don't Be Jealous
I have to lay it down- there is nothing and I mean NOTHING worse than people that possess this trait. Jealous, resentful people get absolutely nowhere in life, trust me. Try to alter how you perceive things. If that dickhead is doing well, ask yourself why. He's probably not giving a fuck about what other people think of him. You'll be happier if you can mind your own business and be happier for others.
A no brainer but sleep is so important for your overall health. Also napping is my secret weapon- cat naps in the afternoon on weekends help me get recharged for the week ahead. Set a 'lights out' rule and follow this to the minute as much as possible during the week.
9. Schedule Your Workload
We've all dreaded going into work because of 2-3 big things we've been putting off tackling. The first thing you should do when sitting down at your desk in the morning is to write a bullet point list of what needs to get done for that day and date it. Prioritise the large ones for first thing in the morning and stick a couple easier tasks in between to break up your day. Start bullet pointing emails- people don't read big wordy mails but they'll look through action points/lists.
10. Stop Arranging Pointless Meetings
Travelling to and from meetings is a waste of time. Calling board meetings in work daily is also a waste of time. Do you know why? Well because everything discussed during the meeting is always followed up with an email. The emails are where the decisions are made. More emails, less meetings.
11. Stop Giving A Fuck About Everything
When you start caring about the little restaurant down the road serving room temperature milk or the lad in work who never flushes the loo after himself then you are the one with the problem. Humans are shitty, lets get over that. Stop letting trivial things annoy you. Focus on your end goal.
12. Be Good To Your Friends & Family
Make time for the people you really care about. They'll be the ones there for you when shit hits the fan. Check in on your top people every week and remember to always ask them if they're okay.
13. Get Rid Of Rusty Nails
If you're moaning about someone all the time chances are you just don't like them. Life is too short to waste time investing yourself in people that don't give a shit about you. Make sure you can count on one hand people that you can rely on in any type of emergency or time of need. Fun friends are great but real friends are priceless.
14. When You're Cross Do Nothing
Never act out of anger. Breathe. Write yourself an email or call your mate to have a rant. Put that issue aside and come back to it in a few hours, chances are you'll feel differently about it then.
15. Overcome FOMO
Remember the end goal, the mission- that pint or night out won't get you there. And plus you're usually not missing out on anything.
16. Spend Time Alone
I know way too many people that literally cannot sit at home by themselves. Its vital to be able to sit in your own company and not feel itchy. Head out for food alone. Travel abroad by yourself. Find your 'meditation' be it going to the gym, reading, walking, painting or listening to music- whatever it is that lets you switch off and think about absolutely nothing.
17. Never Look For Approval
Never look for approval- you'll never get it. Never put a ceiling on your success either. And what I mean by that is, never set goals to please parents, friends or peers. That's not happiness. Do what you love and chose to do what you love. It may cause heartache but if people truly care about you they'll be happy for your happiness.
18. Be Honest At Work
Tell your superior what your goals are and if there are elements about your job that you're not happy about. You'd be surprised how often these expectations and concerns are acted upon. If you don't feel you're being listened to then maybe thats a warning sign.
19. Clean Daily
We all make excuses not to do the cleaning but do these three things daily: make your bed before you leave the house no matter what. Tidy your desk before you leave the office everyday and clean your bedroom before getting into bed. Making these three things your habits will naturally make you more productive and again keep you focused.
20. Buy Headphones
No better way to get shit done in the office than when you're "plugged in". Buy a decent pair of headphones, not earphones and hit up a good playlist on Spotify while you're working. Making particular playlists for particular tasks is a great way of speeding up your productivity. Your brain will associate certain songs with certain types of work. Music has been proven to help repetitive tasks easier.