7 Methods to Gain Confidence in Yourself

Confidence is the one character trait that will make or break your social game. Having a nice personality to boot is a major plus of course, but without confidence you will never be able to show it in its full glory.

Many of the worlds most successful people credit their success to their confidence. Yet they very rarely explain what methods they used to build up that level of confidence. That is something we fill focus on in this article.

So without further ado, lets get into the strategies you can use to build your confidence.

1. Don’t Fear Failure

The main reason we lack confidence, is because we are afraid of failing at what we are trying to accomplish. Ever been scared to go up to your crush and ask them out on a date? This is a very common example of where our fear of failure overrules our confidence.

Think about it this way: you will never get the outcome you desire if you fail to act. Get in the mindset of telling yourself that achieving your goals is more important than a temporary setback.

Know that you are not alone in this struggle. Even the most successful people in the world have been scared of failing.

When you catch yourself in a moment where you feel like your confidence is slipping, take a deep breath, count to 3, and go for it. Set that fear aside and work towards achieving that goal!

2. Don’t Worry What Others Think

I feel that this one is closely linked to the previous point made. Take the example of asking out your crush again. Not only might you be afraid to get rejected, you might also be worried about what your friends or the people around might think of you after you get rejected.

You have to realize that we always overestimate the level of attention other people pay to us. You might have something embarrassing happening to you, and you will sulk over it for days. While the people who saw that likely have already forgotten it within 10 minutes of it happening.

My personal way of tackling this issue was adopting stoic philosophy. See point 6 for more information.

3. Accomplish Your Goals

Have you ever noticed that when you finish a tough workout or complete an important goal, you get a rush of confidence? If you have been looking at self-improvement for a while, you might have been told numerous times that you should always make your bed right after you wake up, so that you start the day with a goal already completed.

That is simply because a large part of our confidence is build up via accomplishments. Whenever we do the things we wanted to do, our brain gets a little bit of a dopamine rush. Plenty of research has shown a direct correlation between your dopamine and confidence levels!

In order to maximally benefit from this, get in the habit of setting small goals for yourself throughout the day. These can be as simple as walking into the office and saying hi to your boss, or your professor if you are a student.

If you set these simple goals you will get your dopamine rush, and your confidence levels will likely rise as a result!

4. Exercise

This is perhaps the one method that I personally used to greatest effect. I have never been too comfortable with my body, and the gym really changed that.

I went from wearing hoodies and larger clothing, to being super comfortable in a tight t-shirt all due to exercise. Now I will say that this took some time.

Sure you will feel great after your first couple of workouts, but real change takes time. I can promise you the feeling after you have been working out for months and can actually see noticeable results, are 10x better than the dopamine rush you get after a workout.

Keep exercising, stick with it and the results will come flooding in, I promise ya!

5. Comparison is the thief of joy

Something all of us have done a multitude of times is compare ourselves with someone else. It is basic human nature, and we subconsciously use it as a metric to determine our standings in society.

It can often be a viable tool to keep us on the correct path, like comparing how many hours we study in relation to other classmates might give us an indication if we are doing enough to keep up. It can however also have drastic negative impacts in our lifes.

Comparing ourselves to more successful people, especially if they are in a position that we want to attain, can create feelings of frustration, sadness, and depression.

Remember that life isn’t fair. Everyone has advantages and disadvantages that heavily influence our current situation. It is easier said than done to not compare yourself to others.

The most effective strategy I have used is that of stoic philosophy (see below)

6. Adopting Stoic Philosphy

Stoic philosophy has been around for thousands of years. At the very core of the stoic philosophy lies the notion that we must not worry about the things we cannot control, only worry about those of which we can affect.

This goes right in line with the above points. The stoics do not worry about what others think of them, as it is not under there control. In a similar fashion they do not compare themselves with others, because what good does that do for them.

The stoic philosophy is way too vast to explain in this small section within the article. I will be writing a lot more on this philosophy in the future, so stay tuned. But for the time being, make sure you search other websites teaching this philosophy, because it can really change how you see yourself and others.

7. Practice Makes Perfect

This is starting to become a common theme here in my articles, but I cannot stress it enough. You got to practice, practice and practice. This stuff is hard work, and it doesn’t come quick. The longer you spend time practicing these techniques and honing your skills, the more of a positive impact you will see in yourself.

A Healthy Way To Express Your Emotions

Human’s are very emotionally complex beings. It is safe to say that most people struggle a lot with their emotions. It is not always easy to control and understand what you are feeling, and often times we are left at an impasse and don’t know how to react.

So how can we express our emotions in a healthy way, if we can’t figure out what our feelings are telling us.

Before we are able to delve into techniques that you can use to express yourself in a more positive manner, we have to get an understanding of what our feelings mean.

How can we understand what our feelings mean?

1. Be mindful of your emotions during the day. I think simply paying attention to your feelings when you are in the moment experiencing them, is one of the most powerful ways we can use to understand how we react to emotions. If you do this for an extended period of time, you will be able to know exactly what you will feel in a given situation. It is a foreshadowing tool that allows us to plan ahead and ensure our emotions don’t get the better of us.

2. Journal about your emotional experiences everyday right before you go to bed. Being mindful of your emotions during the day is useful in realizing what we feel, but the deeper understanding is often missed. That’s why I suggest to take 10 minutes before you go to bed to journal about your emotions. This will allow you to reflect on them in a more meaningful way than to simply acknowledge them.

3. Be compassionate towards yourself. It is often the case that we judge ourselves harshly. Just remember that no matter what emotions we experience, it is natural and a lot of other people will have felt it at some point as well. Never try to downplay the emotions you are feeling for any reason whatsoever. What you are feeling is what you are feeling and it is important!

4. Talk about your feelings with others. With any problem in life, looking at it from different angles is crucial in your understanding of it. We can often suffer from tunnel vision when we look at our own struggles. Find someone close to you that you trust and ask them how they deal with the emotions you are experiencing. There is a good chance they might have discovered something that you haven’t, or they will give you a piece of advice you didn’t think of yourself.

Don’t expect to be an expert in your first day of doing any of these. It will take some time before you become truly proficient. It really is not difficult, just do the 4 steps above and you will naturally come to some very fruitful conclusions about yourself.

Expressing Emotions in a Healthy Fashion

Now that we know what our emotions mean in our own personal context, we can dive into the techniques that you can use to express them in a positive way.

Journaling

Journaling makes the list yet again, and for good reason. Journaling about expressing your feelings can have multiple benefits. One of them is that it provides a good overview.

Let’s say that someone you love has hurt you. Before you confront them about it, write what you plan to say in your journal. I can guarantee that when you finish and read it over, you will be making changes. You may even realize that your original message might not come over very clear, or that it is rather harsh.

It is especially powerful if you are experiencing anger or rage. Instead of going off and shouting at someone, write it down first. It will calm you down and you can vent by writing, instead of potentially destroying a relationship.

For this kind of journaling to be useful, you should always carry a small book and pen with you. Emotional situations will come and go during the day, so make sure you have your journal with you at all times.

If you are more artistically inclined, you could also draw instead of journaling as a means to vent your emotion. Draw or paint something that represents the emotions you are experiencing. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words!

Discuss your problems in an emotionally mature way with someone else

Being emotionally mature is not only about being able to deal with your emotions, it is also a tool that directly translates to your ability to express them.

Boiling up emotions and not letting them out is never a good idea. Sure you can journal and exercise to relieve anger for example, but at the end of the day you and you alone are still stuck with it.

Sharing this feeling with someone will provide a relieve that no other technique can replicate, so it is definitely an important one.

It is also a technique that anyone can use, even if you are alone and feel isolated. If you don’t want to share this with friends or family, there are plenty of online forums where you can share your experiences anonymously.

You will receive a lot of useful feedback from other users, who will often be very supportive of your issues.

I will also add that seeing a medically trained individual like a therapist or a psychologist is something you should really consider if you feel that the above tips are not working. These are great people that will make a unique solution catered to your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact them!

Never do anything right after a spike in emotion

Letting our emotions get the better of us rarely results in a positive outcome. Now I am not saying that if you are overcome with love for someone that you shouldn’t act on it in the moment, but beware when doing this with negative emotions like anger and sadness.

A lot of painful arguments could have been avoided if people would not act when they experience a strong dose of emotions. Strong emotions will overrule most logical thinking for a certain amount of time.

Often times when someone is outraged, they can say very hurtful things towards another person, something they would never have said otherwise. It is important to realize that when we are emotional, we have no regard for the future anymore.

Trying to avoid this is quite simple (theoretically). You just have to walk away when you feel like you could lose control and just blurt out whatever comes to mind.

I hope you enjoyed and learned something useful when reading this article. If you are holding on to build up emotions, now is the time to let go in a healthy and positive manner so that it may enhance and secure your relationships with the people around you. I wish you the best of luck on your adventures!

3 Reasons Why Resting is Crucial for Your Productivity

There are moments in our life where we just need to put in the time and get work done. We need our day to be as productive as can be.

The idea of getting work done isn’t really synonymous with resting, although research has shown that resting during your busy days can make the time you actually spend working infinity more productive.

Let’s explore some of the way’s your productivity thrives on rest.

1. You will make better decisions after your break

It is common knowledge in the scientific community that on average, humans can concentrate on a task for a maximum of 90-120 minutes. Sure you can work longer, but your efficiency in doing so will drop drastically.

In reality, you will already see a drop in your productivity around 60 minutes into working, however it is nowhere near as big of a decrease as the 90 minute mark.

One of the best methods to ensure that you are always working with peak performance is to make use of the 50/10 method. It is an extremely effective method that will allow you to study for 12+ hours with ease if utilized correctly. It got me through my engineering degree, so trust me, it works!

Giving your brain that 10 minute break also enhances your ability to retain information. It is especially effective when studying. That is why if you have a test or an important meeting, make sure you are not doing anything work related 30 minutes before.

It gives your brain a much needed break, plus the last minute notes you have just been revising will actually stick in your memory!

2. Progress happens when we rest

Anyone who at some point in their life was into sports or going to they gym, know that progress is made when you rest. The same applies for our mind.

It is important to stress that the break you take needs to let the brain rest. Do not pre-occupy it with other activities like actively scrolling through social media. Put on some nice music, sit back, and just let your thoughts wander.

During these few minutes of peace, our brain is able to incubate and process the information that we have just learned. It is able to structure all that information, and get ready to receive a new load.

Often times when we are stuck with a problem that seems almost impossible to solve, try and take a break. When you let your mind wander by itself, you will be surprised what it can come up with.

I have solved some of the hardest questions in my engineering studies when I was in the middle of a supermarket because I decided to get some fresh air and take a break from my studies. Nothing beats that eureka moment.

3. Breaks can improve our creativity (by walking)

Breaks allows us to take a step back from our otherwise busy lives. They are the reason why shower thoughts are a thing. Taking our mind off of our work and letting it wander can produce some very useful insights.

There has actually been scientific evidence to support that walking, opposed to just sitting, can illicit the greatest creative response. So if you are stuck with a complex problem, you can literally walk away from it. For a bit.

Taking that walk will likely produce some creative insight into the problem. Something I have personally found when I do this, is that while I don’t dwell on the current solution that I’m working on, I will actually start to look at the problem from a different angle.

I’ll admit that I am not the most creative person out there, but if even I notice such a difference, I’m sure you will too!

What are some ways you can incorporate breaks into your busy schedule?

  1. Make sure you keep your workspace as your workspace. Don’t take a break in the same place that you work. Your brain will recognize your place of work, so make sure it knows when you are taking a break. The most common example if you are working in an office is to try and not eat your lunch at your desk. Simply eating your lunch at another location is a great and easy way to sneak in an extra break.
  2. Sleeping is the king of resting. You can take as many breaks during the day as you want, if the time you sleep is not adequate enough, you will lose a productive day. Missing just 1 hour of sleep at night can already have a noticeable impact on our performance the next day. Make sure you know how much sleep you need and ensure you get it every night!
  3. If sleeping is the king, power napping is the queen. There is nothing better to give you a mental boost in the middle of the day than a 20 minute power nap. We have all experienced that afternoon dip right after lunch. It’s a very common occurrence that humans have a sort of energy crash in the afternoons. I personally take a 20 minute nap everyday after I have lunch to combat this. I can say that my productivity in the afternoons is just as good as in the mornings! Thank you power naps!
  4. Home is home, don’t make it a place of work. The usual advice I would give is to just switch off when you get home, no work allowed! Of course with the whole corona pandemic, a lot of us have to work at home. Try and work in a designated room in your house, and don’t bring it into other areas of your house.

5 Strategies You Can Use to Decrease Emotional Stress

We experience emotional stress when our emotions are affected by extended pressure in our environment. It can have different levels of severity, ranging from lack of motivation all the way to depression. Before we get into the methods to cope and resolve emotional stress, lets go over some symptoms.

The main things you will experience when you have too much emotional stress:

  • Feeling tired, anxious, or depressed
  • Frequent headaches
  • Signs of holding stress such as clenching jaw, grinding teeth, shoulder and neck pain.
  • Irregular sleep
  • Upset stomach and other digestive issues
  • Heaviness in your chest (often associated with increased difficulty to breathe)

Note that likely you will not have all but some of the above mentioned symptoms.

So, lets get into some of the strategies that you can use to lessen emotional stress.

Get to Grips With Your Struggles by Journaling

Before we are able to tackle the problem, we need to know what it actually is. Journaling about your daily experiences is a great way to get an in-depth overview of what is going on in your life.

When you journal, I suggest to really dig deep and focus on the emotional aspect of your day. It is all about paying attention to your thoughts and feelings and gaining a greater understanding about them. Writing a couple of paragraphs in the evening before you got to bed is an excellent way to get to know yourself better.

You are bound to come across some emotional stress triggers as you write and reflect on what you have written. Once these are identified, you can workout what needs to be done to either avoid them in the future, or to prepare yourself for the next time you experience it.

Rest your mind

Emotional stress affects us the most when we are focused on it. I know when I get stressed out, I can spend hours on end just dwelling on the issue. This is quite an unhealthy coping mechanism, and doesn’t provide any solutions.

I always try to find activities to do in which I don’t have to actively “be present”. Take watching a movie for example. Your brain is given something to focus, instead of dwelling on your inner troubles. Other examples can be reading a book, engaging in a loved hobby, or just talking to a close friend about how much you love your pet.

Exercise in another great activity since it boosts your body’s ability to deal with stress as well as lets your brain relax.

Practice Mindfulness Via Meditation

Mindfulness is a practice that can bring the body and mind to a place of peace and calmness. This is a strategy that is especially useful for those moments where we feel overwhelmed by our emotions.

What mindfulness teaches you is to live in the moment and not only feel but to understand the mind-body connection that we all have. It will help you figure out what calms you down, and this can be applied when you come across your emotional stress triggers.

It is a very viable tool to keep your emotions in check. We all know that we make bad decisions when we are too emotional, and being able to avoid this is just one of the many benefits of mindfulness.

Once we get comfortable with mindfulness techniques, we can apply it whenever we want. Remember that practice is key and it will take a while before you become proficient with mindfulness and meditation.

What are some other things I can do?

Stress can also be directly linked to deficiencies in other area’s of your life. Make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle first before you try any more advanced techniques.

The first suggestion I have is to make use of a routine in your life. Having a routine makes implementing solutions much easier. You can find our article about how to create one here.

There are other aspects in your life that contribute directly to your ability to handle stress:

  • Getting enough sleep. The best way to get a good sleep routine is to go to bed and waking up at the same time every day of the week.
  • Exercise regularly. The minimum suggested is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.
  • Maintaining a varied diet to ensure you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

Talk to a Therapist

It will come to no surprise for me to say that if you feel that you don’t have full control over your emotions or have seen no improvement but have tried everything you can yourself, that you should seek the help of a trained medical professional.

Therapists and other trained staff will be able to not only have a good conversation with, they can also provide you with a custom road map on how to solve your individual case.

Wherever you are in life, keep on grinding and everything will sort itself out, I promise you that!

5 Ways to Enjoy Being Social

For people like myself, who are quite introverted and lack an aptitude to social engagement, being social can be a major challenge.

In my personal experience it comes from a fear of discomfort. There are certain aspects of a social situation that I will expect to happen, and then proceed to get stressed about it. I will go over 5 ways that I have used to not only become more comfortable, but also start enjoying social events.

1. Talk About What You Want to Talk About

One of the reasons why I used to despise any social interaction, was that I rarely felt a connection with the people I was talking to. It took me a while to realize that this was simply because I was always taught that you had to talk about what the other person wanted to talk about, and they rarely had the same interests I had.

So I had to find a way to make a social interactions more interesting for me, without dominating the conversation and only talking about me. One of the ways I have enjoyed being more social is attentively listen to someone else talk, and the moment they mention something that is an interest of mine, to move the conversation in that direction.

That way I am still showing interest in what the other person is saying, but I am now more involved in the conversation. This is a great recipe to become someone who is nice to talk to!

2. Aim to Build Meaningful Relationships

A big part of enjoying to be more social comes from our expectations of what such a social interaction means and what it leads to. I personally despise small talk. It does not interest me one bit, but more importantly it never leads to anything meaningful.

I am not a very social adept person and have never been good at social interactions of any kind. A bit introverted and rather socially awkward if I’m honest. However, when I know that a conversation leads to something meaningful, all that awkwardness disappears.

I can say I am grateful to have discovered this because it has really helped me.

Now, in order to expect a more fulfilling interaction, set a goal for yourself to achieve. The goal can be as general as you want. For example if you are just going out with friends, set a goal to talk about at least 5 different topics over the course of the meeting.

Making it like a game has allowed me to enjoy being more social. Definitely give it a try!

3. Avoid Any Unnecessary Stress

I have noticed that a lot of the enjoyment that is associated with socializing can be drained by certain stressors. Take the example where you will drive with a friend to a party or any other social event. There is a good chance you will also drive back home with this friend. This can create unnecessary stress since you might want to leave the event early, but don’t dare say anything as you do not want to ruin it for the person that you are riding with.

If you are stressing about this, it will show in your conversations and in the general way that you carry yourself for the evening. I suggest to limit this as much as possible.

Try to make a list of personal experiences you have had where a situation external to the social event stressed you out, like the example I mentioned above. Getting rid of this stress will make any situation more comfortable for you!

4. Set boundaries

Other peoples behavior can have the tendency to sap the enjoyment right out of any social situation. I think most of us have at one point dreaded to go to that family gathering, where we expect a load of intrusive and often times very personal questions by people that we are not close to at all.

This is also in a way related to the previous section about stress. One thing we can do about these situations is to set our boundaries.

I’ll take a personal example out of my life. I struggled a lot in my first year of university, and so at family gatherings the questions “how is uni going?” bothered me a lot. I didnt like to feel stressed out going to these family “reunions”. So I told myself before hand, if someone asks that question, simply reply with: “It is a bit stressful at the moment so I don’t really wanna talk about it. After all today is my day off!”. Note that the last part I said with a happy tone!

What this teaches your subconscious is that, once such an “annoying” situation pops up, we are completely capable of dealing with it in an effective way. That we don’t have to worry because we got this. This will guarantee a reduction in the discomfort you feel when engaging in social events.

5. Repetition is Key

If my engineering studies have taught me anything pertaining to social skills, its that repetition is a sure-fire way of becoming proficient at any skill.

If you apply the skills mentioned in this article, you will only notice a real change if you put yourself out there. Make it a habit of going to social events once or twice a week and working on the skills that will allow you enjoy socializing.

When you practice these skills, there will come a point where you don’t even have to think about them anymore. It will all come naturally. When you reach this stage no one will ever have guessed that you had trouble with social situations!

Note that the general consensus of this article is to make you more comfortable. Being in your comfort zone allows you to present yourself as you truly are. There are no effects of your nervousness at play. If you have a nice personality to boost, people will genuinely want to spend time around you and conversations will flow effortlessly. Keep working on your self!

The Aesthetic Life

We all know people on social media who make daily posts about everything they do. They seem like such cool and adventurous people. They are always living new experiences and have a desire to share that with the world. It almost seems that nothing can get these people down, and that they are always happy and live an extremely fulfilling life.

One quick glance at their Instagram account and you have yourself wondering what kind of life it must be like. But what really is it like to live an aesthetic lifestyle?

Individuals who live the “Instagram” lifestyle see their life as a piece of art. It has to be judged, looked at, and admired. They will go above and beyond to make their life score higher on some aesthetic criteria of how they think society judges them.

The main issue I see with this kind of a lifestyle is that it is more important to rack up experiences and to live in temporary moments of glory rather than a life of continuing accomplishments.

You might join a cooking class for a week or 2, do a self defense class for a month, and then learn tango for a few months after that. These are all fun experiences, but once the experience has been experienced, you quit.

You think that you need new adventures in your life. You fear that your life becomes boring, and this doesn’t score high on the aesthetic criteria you base your life on. But this also means that you do not become proficient in anything you do.

If you look back over your life and ask yourself the questions, what Have I accomplished? What have I truly become proficient at? What is your purpose in life and how have you spend the past 12 months working towards that? Have you made any progress or where you to busy wondering what other people thought of you?

The fear you have of societies judgment robs your future self’s ability to live a truly meaningful and accomplished life.

If this sounds familiar, or is something you know you struggle with, then you need to be honest with yourself. Think about all the activities that you have done in the past month. What was the purpose behind them?

You have to do things for the sake of enjoyment, or the promise that it will help you sometime down the road, not for recognition by your friends or whoever.

The age of social media certainly hasn’t made avoiding this any easier, and it is alright if you struggle with this. Realizing our errors is already half the battle. Know your purpose in life, and work towards it relentlessly.

Do not worry where other people are in their life. Focus only on what you have control over, which is yourself!

5 Steps to Increase Your Emotional Maturity

Emotional maturity refers to being able to manage your emotions in any given situation. Being emotionally mature is key to maintaining healthy relationships, whether they be romantic or not.

If you wonder what this trait looks like, picture that friend or family member that is always able to keep a cool head, no matter how tough the situation. That individual is able to perform well under stress because they understand how their emotions affect them, and are able to deal with it effectively.

Here’s a look at 5 steps you can undertake to improve your emotional maturity.

Emotional awareness

Before we even start to think about improving how we regulate our emotions, we need to be able to correctly interpret them. Without any emotional awareness, we would simply be grabbing in the dark.

Here are a few steps to take to become more emotionally aware:

  • Know the feeling is present
  • Acknowledge it
  • Identify the feeling
  • Accepting it
  • Reflecting on the experience
  • Being able to forecast emotional responses

Browse our site for a more in-depth explanation on how to cultivate emotional awareness.

Emotional Responsibility

The trademark of someone who carries emotional responsibility is that they realize that feelings are only controlled by the person experiencing them. Regardless of how badly someone may treat you, understand that only you are in control of how you let your emotions affect you.

Carrying this responsibility also greatly improves your communication skills. Instead of saying “You make me so mad when you do that”, try saying “I feel so angry when you do that because…”. This puts less emphasis on blaming the other person, and more on creating a heart-to-heart conversation on the issue at hand.

This way of communicating is also one great way to enforce the fact that you and only you are in control of your emotions, both how you experience them and how you portray them to the outside world.

Another great method to cultivate emotional responsibility is to journal about how you experience emotions and how you project these on your partner, friends or family.

If you know examples from the past when you got really upset or angry at someone, reflect on how you dealt with the situation. If you don’t know any past examples, just observe how you react in future situations and reflect on that.

How did you handle that situation? Do you think you reacted justly? If not, figure out a more appropriate response and keep it in mind for next time!

Self-Discipline

Although self-discipline isn’t often associated with emotions, it can be a real lifesaver in stressful situation.

We have all experienced moments where we let our emotions get the better of us. This can be lashing out at a loved one or punching a wall out of pure frustration.

Fostering self-discipline is one of the most straight forward methods to get these kinds of outburst under control. You can create self-discipline in any aspect of your life, and it will transfer over to how you manage your emotions.

The main steps for creating self-discipline:

  • Know the area you need improvement in
  • Set goals
  • List and remove temptations
  • Make a habit out of it

For a more detailed look into self-discipline browse out site.

Emotional Honesty

Emotional honesty is all about expressing your true feelings to the outside world. Emotionally mature people will always let others know of their true feeling and never put up a fake front.

Practicing emotional honesty can also make us learn about ourselves and help us become more self-accepting. Other people might notice this and in turn will be more honest with you as well.

It is an all around great way to improve you as a person as well as enhancing relationships with loved ones.

Despite it’s vital importance to our mental well-being, I am of the opinion that society actively discourages emotional honesty. And it is a big problem. If you would like to read more about this issue, please read my dedicated article on the issue!

Reflect, reflect and reflect

Once you have made a plan to work on your emotional maturity, the only way to know if you’re making progress is to reflect.

I suggest you journal about your feelings every evening before you go to bed. Lets take an example and say that you want to focus on being more emotionally honest. Before you go to bed, write and reflect on the examples throughout your day where you had to express your emotions. Did someone ask you how your day was going? Did you respond honestly? This way you can gain some insight into your progression journey.

I think it is important to mention that it is not important where you are right now. If you work on the 5 tips above, you will see yourself grow. You just have to stick with it.

I wish you all the best on your road to improvement!

Enhancing productivity with the 50/10 method

We have all had that feeling of regret where we wished we had just been more productive with our days or weeks. I know I sure have had many of those, and if you have clicked on this article you might have just had one of those days!

If you are looking to become a more productive person, whether you are a student or working behind a desk, this is worth a read.

So what is the 50/10 method and why is it so useful?

The 50/10 method itself is very simple and self-explanatory. You work for 50 minutes, and you take a 10 minute break. This method was designed based on data analysis showing that on average, people can work undistracted for a little less than 1 hour at a time.

Giving ourselves a break every 50 minutes essentially gives our brain some breathing space, so that it can redirect its focus once again.

I can personally vouch for its effectiveness. I stumbled across this method when I was in my 2nd bachelor year in university, and the results were nothing short of life changing. I have this method to thank for a lot of my academic success and still use it to this day!

Common mistakes made

Despite it being so easy, I see a lot of people making one crucial mistake that really hampers the effectiveness of this method. The mistake is that they do not utilize the break effectively.

The main purpose of this break is to give your brain some peace and quite. This does not mean scrolling through social media or being on your phone for 10 minutes, as this still requires the brain to work. So even though you are not working, you are not resting either.

When you take your break, make sure you are doing an activity in which your brain does not have to work!

The main things I like to do:

  • Put on some music, and get lost in my own thoughts
  • Journal
  • Going for a walk outside
  • Meditating
  • Reading a book
  • Socializing with friends (preferably not on my phone as it becomes a huge distraction)

Make sure you set a 10 minute timer so you don’t lose track of time!

Make this a habit

If you want to succeed with the 50/10 method, it is very important that you make a habit out of this. That means before you start working, you remind yourself that you are going to use this method.

I have struggled with this myself a lot in the past. I took too long breaks, or went days without using this method. It is no wonder that my productivity was all over the place.

I have found that working with timers really cement this method into my mind. Whenever I start working, I am already setting a timer for 50 minutes without even realizing it. I really suggest working with timers!

Just remember, it is okay if you struggle with this method or forget to use it. Just get back on track once you realize you realize you left it!

Routine

We have all been at a point in our life where we said to ourselves, “enough is enough, I am going to be more productive from this day onward”. You start setting all kinds of crazy goals, like making an exercise and diet plan, or telling yourself that you will now finally start to learn that new language you’ve always wanted to know. Fast forward a week from now and likely your life will have been no different than it was before you made all these promises to yourself. Trust me, I know this feeling all too well and it sucks.

How come we are so sporadic to change our life one day, but completely lose this the next?

This sweet rush of wanting to turn your life around is what is called intrinsic motivation, and also explains why most people fail to stick with it. Motivation is very similar to emotions, they come and go, which can often appear at random times. Once this feeling has worn off, so has your desire to see through the change you wanted to make. Most people do not have the discipline to keep working at it once the initial motivation has worn off.

This however does not mean you are lazy or unmotivated. It is simply indicative of a lack of structure in your life, a lack of a routine.

What is a routine and why is it so important?

A routine is essentially a set of tasks that are completed in a certain order and repeated each day. Take the most basic example of a routine: taking a shower after you wake up, eating your breakfast, and then brushing your teeth.

Everyone in the world has many routines like this all throughout the day, and for most of us, we do this on autopilot. Our brain is so used to doing the same thing in the morning we don’t even have to think about it.

The main reason it is so easy for us to do this, is because our brains love certainty and structure.

As David Rock from psychology today said: “Your brain craves certainty and avoids uncertainty like it’s pain”. The brain loves nothing more than a routine!

To put it into simpler terms, the brain loves a routine simply because it requires less energy. The brain will have to work much harder if you are unorganized and constantly asking yourself what you have to do next. But if its running a nice routine on autopilot, it gives the brain much more space for clearer thinking.

What does a good routine look like?

I will use my personal routine here as it has served me very well and allowed me to be very productive with my time. It was a routine I planned out when I was in my doing my bachelors in engineering and really helped me get that degree.

Lets see what I did and why!

Mornings

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning sharp. This meant that my alarm would go off and I’d be out of bed. I would eat a light breakfast snack, usually a banana or other piece of fruit. Then at 5:45 I would be out the door going to the gym (on my rest days, I would replace my gym time with either reading or getting started on studying one of my courses). Once I got back home I would take a shower and eat breakfast.

I followed this morning routine religiously. While in the beginning my brain did a lot of complaining, as it was used to a lot of snoozing and getting up late, after about a month or so it became the most normal thing in the world.

Once I was done with breakfast it would usually be around 8:30am depending on how long the gym session was. I would then devote all my time until 12:00 noon for studying.

Note that I never made specific routines for my study times, as it would always be changing. Some days I might have to go to class to do practicals, while others were just self-studies. The only thing I did was devote my time to my studies.

A big mistake often made in the making of routines is the idea that people have full control over their lives, which often is not true. Therefore loosely defining my school routine allowed me to deal with the variability that is university life quite easily.

Afternoons

From 12:00-14:00 I would make and eat my lunch, as well as spend the remainder of that time just relaxing a bit. From 14:00-18:00 I would once again devote all my time to my studies.

Evening

I would have dinner around 18:30 and spend the evening either with friends or just relaxing in my room. As with the morning routine, I kept this time quite open because in the weeks where we had midterms or project work due I would be working till I went to bed.

At 21:00 my evening routine began with closing off all electronics and I would read another chapter or so in a book. Then at 21:45 I would look for a nice place to stop reading, and go brush my teeth. This ensured that the moment the clock hit 22:00, I was in bed.

Some tips for you to make a great routine

  1. List all items you wish to complete

It is best to make 2 lists. In the first list you are going to write down all the items you do on a daily basis that are reoccurring everyday. This means breakfast, brushing your teeth, walking the dog etc. These are all specific tasks that have to be completed every single day.

The second list consists of items that have some kind of variability to them. Like in my personal routine, my studies was seen as variable, because on some days I had to self-study, some days I had practicals, and other days I had tests and mid-terms. These are the activities that simply wont be doing every single day.

2. Schedule your day

Divide your day into the morning, afternoon, and evening sections. It is important that you cater your routine to each stage of the day properly.

The morning is all about getting out of bed and being productive. Numerous studies have concluded that people are most productive in the mornings before noon.

At noon, the productivity sees a decrease in relation to the morning. Have your lunch and take a break here. If you are doing cognitive heavy task, I really recommend you take a nap of no more than 20 minutes. Personally this gives me a great boost and I really struggle to work productively if I miss this nap.

The evenings are all about preparing you for a goodnight sleep. We have all heard that sleep is enhanced if we stay of our computer and mobile phone screens about an hour before we sleep. This is very true and my quality of sleep has seen improvement since I cut my usage of these devices one hour before I go to bed.

3. Fill in the tasks and practice the routine

Now that you have your tasks and know how to schedule your day, all you have to do is write it down. Once you have a manageable routine, I suggest you stick with it for at least 30 days. Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power Of Habit” explains that it takes the brain roughly 28 days to normalize activities.

It will likely be that your brain complains for the first few days, but this feeling will gradually subside over time. I promise you that!

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