How to Overcome Distractions and Interruptions

September 7th 2010

Distractions are a normal part of life in our busy societies and for those of us in cities, it is even more regular with the close living spaces, constant activity and likely busy jobs that we find ourselves in as well.  Perhaps that isn’t you and instead you enjoy a more peaceful lifestyle with calm surroundings?  Either way, you are bound to get distractions and interruptions when you want (or should) be focused on something else so it’s important to learn to overcome distractions.

Distractions obviously cut away at our productivity even if you don’t feel like they do.  Just a few minutes each hour in your working day of distractions can really add up, easily towards a few hours a week, and many days per year if it was all tallied up.  Overcoming that and gaining back that time will not only make you more productive, it will also minimize the stress from backlog, procrastination and overworking since these are all partly created by interruptions and poor productivity.

Optimize Your Work Areas

Depending on the kind of focused work or pleasure you seek, you will definitely need to adjust your approach but it is important to optimize your work area to HELP you keep your attention instead of losing it.  These items will vary to some degree from person to person and so you can adjust them to suite your style best.  Just ask yourself with each item you consider or keep around you, if it will truly help you focus or will it make you lose your focus?  The following are just a few ideas to help you optimize your work areas.

  • Purposefully using signs or indicators to inform others that you are busy
  • Keep a clean, uncluttered area where nothing will stead away your attention
  • Face your work and keep your back to other people, busy areas or ongoing distractions like a roadway or a busy coffee shop doorway
  • Eliminate your email and internet distractions
  • Turn off your cell phone and let any calls go to voice mail by leaving a greeting stating when you will call them back.

Don’t Work Too Long or Too Tired

Often people only have the ability to focus when it is getting to the 11th hour.  This is caused by procrastination and then the stress of the situation overcomes the person so they are finally able to get down to business and start working.  Unfortunately, for most people, procrastination leaves them with not enough time to think calmly and typically in a rush when time is running out to complete the work.

Working long hours on something without breaks or sleep if not only not that healthy, but it is really unproductive.  You should never try to stay focused on something when you are very tired or if you have already been working for long hours.  The mind cannot concentrate at these times and so you are always better off to either take a short nap or even your normal sleep  to recover some rest and attention or to at least take a break.  Short 10 minute breaks from a task can really help to refocus

You must avoid this to be productive.  You should ALWAYS do your focused work and especially your important work at the best time of day for you.  Learn more about Focus in my Productivity Series here or grab the eBook from my resource pages.

Maximize Your Best Hours Every Day

Each of us has an optimal alertness level in our bodies with our biological clock and it is tied very closely to our sleep patterns.  Our most productive hours are often learned from trial and error but they a good indicator of our highest alert levels.  Take advantage of this for focused work and set aside time during the day that is during your most productive hours.  Using specific time day after day on similar tasks or work also has been shown in brain research to heighten brain activity and strengthen brain mapping when done consistently.  So, using consistent hours of your best productive time will certainly help.  The trick is then to stick to those hours.  It takes discipline to make that happen and my best tip for you to do this is to block out time each day or your calendar when you are unavailable to do other things.  Make this your focused time, no other work, minimal or no distractions and use those hours for your best work.

Make Interrupters Your Focus Once Interrupted

This may seem counter intuitive but believe me, it has a purpose long term.  When you are interrupted by someone there is no way to gain that back, you are already interrupted.  And pretending to multitask or simply half listening is no way of dealing with the distraction.  Instead, what you should do is switch your full attention to the person interrupting you.  If it is a thing or something in your environment, you can likely focus on then eliminating and preventing that from interrupting you again.

The same goes for people interrupting you.  Since the distraction already occurred, your lost your focus, so now is your chance to make sure the person interrupting you knows it and is less likely to do it again. This is not the time to play nice when you are losing your most productive hours.  Often people stop and ask, “Can I bother you for just a minute?”, or “Can I ask you something, it will just take a second?”.  These are the perfect time to be honest and maybe just a bit brutal to send a strong message to them.  You should respond, “Well, you have already distracted me now and this is my block of time to focus on X.  It is important to me to use this time for my planned important work and so no, I don’t have a minute right now, but I will in an hour (or at 3:00).”  You can tell them whenever you want to be available to them or even when they should come back but if you do not state that NO, you will not give them a second of your time, the you will never prevent the distractions from occurring in the future.  Make the distraction obvious by stepping or turning away from your work and face the person.  Never claim you’ve been interrupted by them if you are at the same time, pretending not to be.

This focused response is one that will be heard loud and clear and will give you surprising results.  People will clue in to when you are focused or how you are working when you do not like to be distracted and most people will have enough common sense not to repeat it, so your time (if kept consistently) will become even more and more on focus with less distractions.  Once you are finished from your focused work, ensure you follow up on any commitments to call someone back, or give a chance for someone who did need that minute of your time to now have it.  If you respect them by returned the opportunity, they will respect your focused work time even more.  This is not only for business; it is true with family, friends and colleagues alike.

One final tip is that you may want to even give people some kind of sign or indicator when you are focused and don’t want distractions.  Something as simple as a closed door, or a specific object on your desk, or something like having headphones on, or literally a busy do not disturb sign all could do the trick.  What is important is to be consistent, return contact to any interrupters you sent away via phone, email or in person and make the most of your productive time by eliminating distractions and preventing interruptions.



Posted by Mike King under Learning | 7 Comments »

How to be More Productive with Any Software Application

May 7th 2009

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I’m a quick learning of software applications and I’ve done this by venturing into complex programs when I was very young from my interest in 3D graphics and video editing.  In spending much time in these types of applications over the years I have developed the skills to quickly learn any software application and I think I can help others to develop some of those same skills if practiced.  So these are the things I find work best to learn a new application and become more productive in it.

Understand the Software’s Purpose and Usage First

This is the first step because if you don’t know what an application is supposed to do, it is very difficult to learn and apply to how you think it might or should be used.  Depending on how you come across a new application, there are usually additional resources available to quickly get familiar with the application.  If you don’t know, look it up online, ask others who might use it and find out from the manufacturer or author who the software was built for and why?

If you know the applications purpose, you can look at it from the perspective of the intended user and that is the first step to quickly learning it.  If you attempt to learn an application from a user’s perspective it wasn’t designed for, chances are, you will become frustrated much easier or disappointed.

Test Out All the OptionsPreferences - Options

The first thing I do is go and find the options.  I don’t try it, explore it, start some simple project or doing anything else first.  I always check the options.  I’ve learned that this tells a lot about an application and it also typically quickly shows some functionality of the software that you may not find out about with general use.  Often options hide things like advanced menus or toolbars that you’d have a hard time finding otherwise.  I love an application that has lots of configuration options and it always helps me to learn quickly what I can do with it.

Options often reveal ways to add, configure or setup the software to your own personal liking as well.  The quicker you do this, the more comfortable you will feel with the application and it will help to make you feel like you are in control of it, instead of it in control of you, which is exactly what you want when learning an application.

Run Full Screen so you Have no Distractions

Most software nowadays has an option to run full screen, and if not, it can at least be maximized.  This is simply a good way to eliminate other computer distractions so you can focus on learning that application, and that application alone.  I have a bunch of tips in this previous article on how to maximize your productivity on your computer and most of those can be helpful in this step as well for learning this new app.

Read the Quick Guides and Manual if its Complex

Simple software might be easy enough to pick up on your own just by playing with it for a few minutes or perhaps an hour or two.  However, if you cannot master an application in a couple hours, it is likely complex enough to have a user manual and that user manual will usually be quite helpful.  Yes, there are some bad user manuals out there but most have useful tips or at least they are a good reference to browse through to find any features or areas you haven’t yet explored or learned on your own.

The 3D software I use has hundreds of pages of user manuals and they ar e jammed full of useful tips, workflow suggestions, details and examples on how to do certain things, shortcuts and many other useful bits.  They are always worth browsing and reading straight though if the manual has enough good content in it.

I also recommend you make your own notes for items you think you will use in the future or want to try.

Check Online for Tips on that Software

Many applications have there own communities of followers or fan sites or forums online now a days.  These are excellent resources for finding additional tips for a piece of software.  They sometimes have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that might answer some common questions you have.  Forums are great places to ask questions as well or to get support from the manufacturer or author if you need some help with the software.

Another often overlooked method of learning software is to search for and follow free tutorials.  There are literally hundreds of tutorial sites out there and thousands of applications that have tutorials written for them.  Many of these are free and can be easy to find for your application by doing just a few Google searches using keywords with your software name and “free tutorials” or “tutorials” or “help guides”.

Keyboard Shortcuts Keyboard Shortcuts

This one is definitely my favorite.  I love keyboard shortcuts for applications and is actually one of the first things I learn if I know I will continue to use that application often.  Shortcuts allow you to run commands, open windows or navigate the options and features in an application much quicker than having to mouse to those locations every time.  When I’m working in an application, I keep my left hand on the keyboard pounding out all my known shortcuts and my mouse can stay in hand doing the mouse actions, instead of all the menu and options work.

I use a 7 button mouse and actually put man y keyboard combos and commands right on the mouse buttons using its driver software.  I can customize this on a per application and it makes it must faster to access what I without moving my hand away from the mouse.

You can often find keyboard shortcuts and shortcut cheap sheets online as well that people have build if you want a quick reference card for all the shortcuts.  Some user manuals and applications have this built in so you can easily refer to it for learning the shortcut keys.

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

Last but certainly not least.  You must not be afraid to explore in an application.  You will never learn how to use it, if you don’t use it and the more you explore and learn about the application, the more likely it is that you will know that tool or feature when you really need it and can then immediately be useful with it.  Often there are multiple ways of doing things and if you explore an application, you can often find quicker alternatives to complete the same task.  The last thing you want is to be repeating a task using some difficult slow process just because you don’t know how to use the application.  I see this everyday with common applications like excel and word where people struggle with formatting options and simple features just because they have never taken the time to learn a few features that are designed to help in those areas.

Watching an others use an application is often useful as well since you can see how they use it or what features they use that you can learn from.  I love it when I notice someone do something in an application that I didn’t know was possible and then can ask them and quickly adopt that method myself.

So, I hope these techniques will help you to master an application and ultimately, be more productive with it.

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 5 Comments »

Maximum Productivity: Perspective

November 7th 2008

This article is part of a series called, "Maximum Productivity " in which I’ll explore the topic of perspective.

See the rest of the series here:
Intro: Maximum Productivity: Series Introduction
Part 1: Maximum Productivity: Perspective
Part 2: Maximum Productivity: Attitude
Part 3: Maximum Productivity: Focus
Part 4: Maximum Productivity: Persistence
Part 5: Maximum Productivity: Adventure
Part 6: Maximum Productivity: Connections

I guess the first point to understand is what is productivity?  While productivity as a definition is simply producing readily and abundantly, that itself leaves a huge gap for what you are producing.  And that is where I will start things off in this series by looking at life, tasks, work and everything people do and wish to do from a perspective that matters or has some purpose!  Being productive is useless if it’s not on the things that matter to you.  So perspective is first.

Perspective

Perspective is really about looking at where productivity can be applied in your life.  It’s about taking a step back to analyze your situations and environment to see what it is you want to be productive at.  This allows you to put more efforts and productive work towards the things that are in some way meaningful to you.  To gain that perspective there are a number of things you can do to change your normal perspective and realize what does matter.

  • Explore your passions
  • Discuss and even debate with others
  • Read books that question or expand your views
  • Ask others for their opinions and stay open minded
  • Write your will or obituary for yourself
  • Explore and understand the legacy you want to leave
  • Imagine yourself in other people’s situations and challenges
  • Look at how your creativity can change your perception
  • Study and learn new things to gain new understanding
  • Ignore your gut or instinctive response

All of these things can help you to step back from what is normal in your life and analyze new situations from a distance.  It’s critical to CHANGE and EXPAND your views on every subject without limiting yourself to your old beliefs.  It’s often those new areas that will truly let you see not only what you can do to be productive but also why that is important!

Identity

The way you see things is a big part of one’s identity so expanding that and exploring it deeply is done to really take a deep look at oneself.

  • Do you know what drives and motivates you to do the things you do?
  • Could you explain all of your actions to others and would you be happy to hear that explanation?
  • Is the time you spend on things productive to you?
  • Are you OK with that whether it is or isn’t?
  • How much time do you spend productively?
  • Can you change that and do you want to?

The things you consider to be productive should be the things you enjoy doing and want to do.  That is part of what drives you to do it and so of course this drive has to come from within to have any lasting impact.  That is why I encourage you to reflect on those questions above, answer them truthfully and look at what reveals itself.  It’s impossible to just become productive overnight and it is a slow process to change since it’s your identity, not just your productive actions, that must also change to shift to seeing that new perspective that is required in everything.  That perspective change will enable you to learn easier from new experiences and adapt quicker to changes.  This will make controlling your productivity much easier. Expanding and seeing with more perspective is also helpful to look for improvements, optimizations and ways to be more productive.  Instead of just thinking the current way is the only or best way to do something, you can accept suggestions, changes and help to increase your productivity.

Who Do You Do It For?

This concept of perspective applies not only in looking at productivity directly and seeing areas to improve that but also in why you do it.  What makes you want to those things and motivate you to improve.  To what end?  Do you have something to achieve in working at those areas?  Some people do it for approval, to be liked, to make themselves happy, to meet others.  Some do it for status, material things, health or longevity.  I personally look at productivity more from an angle of service to others.  I want to do things that are productive not only for me, but for others, for strangers, for family, for new friends, old friends, and for God.  Those are things that I highly value they motivate me to drive forward in creating more time, more productivity and more results in the areas that are service oriented.

So who do YOU do things for?  Can you say that you are working with a purpose, a mission and set of values?  I hope if you don’t that you stop to take a look at why you do things, what will leave you happy if you only had short time to live and that you are able to be productive with the things you want out of life.  That, my friends, is what perspective is for and I hope I’ve been able to shed a little bit of new light on this first article in a series for maximizing your productivity.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23

Posted by Mike King under Life & Personal | 16 Comments »

Maximum Productivity: Series Introduction

November 3rd 2008

I’ve looked at various topics here at LearnThis.ca around improving your productivity in your life through techniques, tools, skills and practices but I’ve never linked or presented many of them together.  This is an introduction only for the start of a series of articles that do just that and it will look at maximizing productivity in all areas of your life.  I’ve learned from everything I read that personal development has a fairly high level of overlap in how things can be applied and even though there are very specific things to look at with each article, book or coaching idea, there is also a lot of overlap between them.  This series will examine how those overlapping themes can be learned, applied and mastered for maximizing our productivity.  So, please read through the topics and come back for the rest of this series!  Subscribe to my RSS feed or email feed to ensure you don’t miss any!

Perspective

I guess the first point to understand is what is productivity.  While productivity as a definition is simply producing readily and abundantly, that itself leaves a huge gap as to what you are producing.  And that is where I will start things off in this series by looking at your life, tasks, work and everything you do and wish to do from a perspective that matters to you!  Being productive is useless if it’s not on the things that matter to you.  So perspective is first.

Attitude

Next in the series will be to explore attitude.  So much about personal development and certainly this site is about your attitude towards things.  This is no less true when it comes to learning and mastering productivity.

Focus

The right knowledge and attitude towards something is useless if you have no time or attention spent on it.  Focus is absolutely required to become productive and really, it is a key part of the action steps.  We’ll look closer at how to apply focus in our lives and to gain the most from doing it!

Persistence

Productivity is something that seems to come and go for a lot of people.  We all go through phases in life so of course there will be variation, but maximizing productivity is about applying the right techniques to be consistent.  With all the things that can get in the way, we need to be very persistent to make this happen.  We’ll look specifically at how to do this once you’ve captured segments of great productivity.  Keeping it going is the real payoff!

Adventure

Everyone knows how challenging life can be and that it seems to throw stuff in our way all the time.  Most people think of those things as obstacles to avoid and prevent but what about the adventure that comes with those obstacles.  Most of the great stories in life and of people are always about ridiculous odds, crazy circumstances, difficult challenges, surprising events, and all kinds of other things that just don’t happen every day.  Looking to make some of these things happen is a great way to expand your ability to produce and we’ll discuss how those adventures can improve your productivity.

Connections

All this work is lost within a single person’s life if it isn’t shared with others.  You’ll also require the help of others if you really want to be at your maximum productivity.  This article will explore the value of connections and relationships in maximizing your productivity.

See the rest of the series here:
Intro: Maximum Productivity: Series Introduction
Part 1: Maximum Productivity: Perspective
Part 2: Maximum Productivity: Attitude
Part 3: Maximum Productivity: Focus
Part 4: Maximum Productivity: Persistence
Part 5: Maximum Productivity: Adventure
Part 6: Maximum Productivity: Connections

Posted by Mike King under Life | 9 Comments »

Maximize Your Productivity on Your Computer

March 25th 2008

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Nowadays, people spend a lot of time on computers, whether its for work or at home, its a regular part of life. When you are actually trying to accomplish something on your computer though, its VERY easy to get distracted from your task and find yourself completely off topic or doing something you didn’t even mean to start doing. The internet makes this extremely easy since most computers are now hooked up to the internet all the time and everything is just a few clicks away.

Well, this article will give you some ideas to make sure you make the most of the your computer time by eliminating some of those common computer distractions. I recommend doing most of these things all the time on your computer so your time spent is always easier to keep on task and productive, but you may want to start by only picking one or two of these suggestions or perhaps by only doing them all when you are REALLY choosing to be productive. My question to you then though, is why wouldn’t you always want to be more productive?

So, I’m sure there are many more distractions but I believe these cover most of the common ones. I use windows but most of these apply to MAC users as well, some things will obviously have different names though. Here’s what you can do to eliminate those distractions and maximize your productivity:

Shutdown Tray Applications

Not only will this eliminate some of the distractions, flashing icons, and color eye-candy, but it will also save system resources so your computer responds faster which helps you get more done. There are many applications that put an agent or service into the tray icon and many of them allow you to either hide the icon or simply choose NOT to launch it at startup. Anything that really does need to run and has a tray icon can be hidden using the option to hide inactive tray icons.

Hide the Task bar

The whole task bar in windows can be very distracting. It shows the tray, flashes when a window has been updated but not yet viewed and it constantly reminds you of other applications open (if you have any). Hiding the task bar can really help you to stay focused since you won’t see these distractions as easily.

Use Full screen Mode

Personally, I prefer this method over hiding the task bar. Most applications will allow you to run them in full screen mode (F11 usually, try it now!) which eliminates all window borders, covers the full screen so you can’t see any other applications, task bars, etc. This is a great way to stay focused on what you are doing in one application. This is available for all common applications, try it out sometime I think you will find you get a lot more done when you use this feature!

Don’t Use Instant Messengers

Instant messengers are sure convenient. A convenient way for others to interrupt you that is. If you are wanting to be productive, simply turn them off. Putting your status as off line or busy is an option but many instant messengers play a sound or show a message even when it detects your contacts coming on and off line. You don’t need to see this, so turn all those options off. Its even better to just completely shut off your instant messaging applications.

Loose All Email Notifiers

I’ve written previously about tips to use email more effectively , and the main point to use for this is to shut off your email, kill all the email notifiers and simply don’t use your email. Whatever you are working on, as long as it isn’t email itself, you don’t need any incoming messages or spam to distract you. Just shut it off!

Get Rid of Desk bars, Gadgets, Side Trays and Docks

All of these features and tools are helpful to get some information to help organize or launch your applications but they aren’t really useful to getting done the things you want to do on your computer. Load your application you want, and then focus on that application. You don’t need all these extra tools to be pushing information in your face and getting in your way. Turn them off, uninstall them, replace them with a simple launch tool or menu that doesn’t constantly get in the way. Most docks and gadgets are built to simply look nice, but they are more distracting than useful. Auto hide them or simply quit them once you are setup to do some productive work.

Disconnect the Internet

OK, take a breath. Its OK, you’ll be OK if you are not online for just a little while. The internet is the biggest distraction of all on a computer and that web browser can be just as evil as your email when you are really trying to accomplish something. Just unplug your ethernet connection, or kill power to your modem/dsl, or disable the network connection in your control panel. All of these things work and will definitely deter you from using the internet and getting distracted by it. Whenever I do this I’m always surprised that after a little bit of work I’ll catch myself seeing an error message after loading a web browser completely unaware. Seeing an error that the internet connection is unavailable and realizing why, reminds my to stay focused, and its easy to then close the web browser and get right back on task. If the internet was active, I’d find myself wasting 1/2 an hour before even realizing I loaded the browser. Its kind of scary that this is required, but it definitely works, give it a try yourself.

Radio Music

OK, nearly everyone has a music collection on their computers now and while this is VERY convenient and nice to use, its still distracting and hard to keep yourself from looking through your song list, building play lists, rating songs and listening to online music. Well, my solution is to listen to the radio. You don’t get to choose the music, you can’t spend any time organizing or rating the songs, you simply listen. No wasting time on the music itself. So, if you can’t start your music collection playing and just leave it going all day without EVER switching to your music application, then the radio is a great alternative.

Clean Your Computer Area

Distractions don’t only come from your computer itself. Often your work area is just as distractive with toys, garbage, food, gadgets, people and other things around. Cleaning up your work area can make it far easier to focus with no distractions and just a little tidiness can go a long way.

Dim the Lighting

Lighting can be distracting at a computer, especially flickering or bright reflections on your monitor. If you can dim the lights and work in a comfortable room where your monitor is easy on your eyes and lit with ambient lighting and not too bright, its much easier to work for extended periods of time.

Improve your Work Area

V1 Flagship Computer Desk The same goes for having a comfortable desk and chair that are comfortable that properly fit your posture and room. You may even want to consider getting a better work station and computer desk. Here is a sweet example of what looks to be one productive computer desk. This computer desk is available from The Vision One .

Habits Require Practice

Being really productive is not just a one time thing. If you take some of these items and practice them at home and at your workplace (if you use a computer) then you can certainly make the most of your computer time. Developing a habit of these and practicing them on a continual basis will train you to stay much more focused at your computer and be far more productive.

Do you have any tips to add that help you be more productive at your computer?

Posted by Mike King under Life | 7 Comments »

Passion Enhances Productivity

March 21st 2008

Passion is one of those things that can be explored from so many angles. You may be interested in one of my previous articles about finding your passions and expressing your passions if you did not see them. This article looks specifically at how passion enhances productivity. This could be in the workplace or in home/personal life, but there are definitely impacts on productivity when a passion is what drives a person in that area. Here are some of the ways that I’ve learned how passion enhances productivity.

Passion Increases Enthusiasm and Energy

A person with a passion always demonstrates higher enthusiasm and energy toward activities in that area than someone without such a passion. It’s something that makes a person happy and excited and it automatically brings a person to a more alert, active and enthusiastic level. This is a powerful productivity step and is very contagious. This drives productivity by having better feelings and positive energy for the subject and influences others to see what is important and exciting to a person. Enthusiasm is very attractive to others so demonstrating this with a passion keeps you motivated and much more likely to have the support of others. Have a look at

Passion Keeps You Highly Focused

People always spend their time on things they love when given a choice, so knowing and living your passions increases your productivity by keeping you highly focused. Its easy to concentrate on something you love to do since distractions are less important. It still takes additional effort to learn to avoid distractions, I just know that being in an activity that I’m highly passionate about is a lot easier to avoid distractions than if its an activity I don’t enjoy as much. Takes chores or housework as an example. I am definitely NOT passionately about keeping a prestinely clean house so when I’m tidying up or doing dishes nearly ANYTHING can distract me from that. On the other hand, if I’m reading a good book, something I’m much MORE passionate about, hours can go by where I completely ignore other normal distractions (even phone calls and people at the door).

Staying focused longer term is important as well. Passionate activities are easier to plan for, revisit on a regular basis and have a desire to be involved with. This ensures you have a long term focus on that passion. Whatever the activity is, you’ll be more productive if it is practiced on a regular basis. This could be sports, relationships or other skills and hobbies. The more time and focus you put to it, the more productive you can be with those activities.

Passion Drives Change

Creative Commons License photo credit: Greg Melia

Change is something many people fear. I’ve learned by studying passions though that people have many less fears about change related to something they are passionate for than other areas. Ask yourself a few questions about your own passionate activities and then the same for regular things you don’t really care for.

  • Do you look for new ways to get involved with that activity?
  • Can you spend more time on that area?
  • Do you research or learn more about that topic?
  • How likely are you to try new things related to your passion?
  • Do you want to be more productive in this area?

I think you will find that you are much MORE willing to change when it comes to your passions. All the factors related to passions and those in this article relate to changing the way you do things. This leads to improving yourself and enhancing your productivity.

Less Stress with Passions

Stress is a massive productivity killer. Stress kills focus, it worries people, distracts them, and generally doesn’t result in much useful activities. The good thing about passions is that they are a LOT harder to be stressed about when you are doing things with passion. Passions drives people to enjoy what they do, which results in LESS stress. Even activities and jobs that are thought to be VERY stressful, can easily be enjoyed by people who love doing that. This is just another reason why doing what you love and being passionate about it can help with both handling your stress and by enhancing your productivity since you can more easily deal with the stress and not have it overtake you.

Continuous Thought

Being productive at whatever you want to do requires thinking time. If you are thinking about that more and more, you generally have more ideas, methods and ways to approach a problem so that you can get better at that task or activity. This kind of thinking happens when you are truly passionate about something. You will live and breath that topic and constantly be thinking about it. At work, outside of work, when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you’re involved in that activity and when you’re not. All this continuous time spent thinking helps you to be clearer, focused, more creative and ultimately more productive when it comes to actually doing that thing you love to do! This is very valuable in the workplace and its easy to see with the people who truly love their jobs, as they are not simply working 8 hours a day, but constantly thinking about their work (they don’t have to actually be working for this) and it pays off in their time at work. The same applies in reverse for things you love to do outside of work. Continuous thought caused by strong passions will definitely improve your overall productivity.

Creativity and Innovation REQUIRE Passion

Productivity to me and in my job definitely links directly to creativity and innovation. I have experienced that those who are more passionate about their work and truly love it, always are more creative and innovation. This leads them to produce new ideas, be willing to change and take new risks to improve things and it also helps steer and lead others where they may otherwise fall into a path of complacency. All of this happens more naturally when there is a passion driving individuals to do this steps. It is VERY rare to find innovators and lots of creative ideas where there are no passionate people working in that area. It can be found but it generally doesn’t last or at the very least, it doesn’t produce the same level of innovation that a passion based group would deliver. This demonstrates that continuous and high levels of innovation REQUIRE passion, and since those are important factors to me that bring about enhanced productivity, I believe that passion really is required to achieve this.

Do you know of other ways that passion enhance productivity? Please add a comment about it if you do. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Posted by Mike King under Purpose/Passion | 8 Comments »

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