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5 Easy Ways to Be More Productive TODAY

productivity

Productivity.

Have you ever had one of those days where you sit down in front of your computer at work and suddenly it’s lunch time and you’ve barely gotten through all your emails? Or when you get home and sit down for “just a moment” to relax and suddenly it’s time for dinner? I feel like we all have these dilemmas that make us feel unproductive.

Which brings me to the point of today’s post. Today I will give you 5 easy things you can do to instantly boost your productivity at work or at home. Let’s jump in:

1. Get Up!

Whether you are sitting at a desk at work or sitting on the couch at home, you need to get up. It has been proven that people who exercise on a daily basis are more productive than those who don’t. So take a walk around the block, go to the gym during lunch, or even just take a lap around the office. The important thing is to get your body moving in order to kickstart the rest of you.

2. Conquer Your Tough Tasks First

It is easy to waste your morning on mundane tasks, but if you decide to focus on your hardest task of the day first, you are more likely to complete it (and everything else on your list) sooner.

3. Take a Break

When you feel like you’re hitting a wall, stop! Taking breaks is actually a good thing. Someone who takes short breaks throughout the day will be far more productive than someone who stays chained to their desk. Sometimes your brain needs a break in order to find out a new way to do something, so do your brain a favor and take it.

4. Stop Multitasking

At this point, we have all been told that multitasking is actually less productive than focusing on one thing at a time and yet, for some reason, we keep multitasking. Make an effort to focus on at least your main tasks on a one-by-one basis.

5. Build a Routine

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Making something routine is a great way to boost productivity. You can make it part of a routine to take breaks, stop multitasking, or even focusing on hard projects first. When it comes to my personal routines, I have a secret weapon and today I am going to share it with you!

My secret weapon is an app called Fabulous. This app helps you turn anything into a routine. From making your bed each morning to blocking out distractions at work, Fabulous can help (and the best part is that it’s entirely free)!

For example, I have a set of 7 “habits” that I complete each morning. The app starts with an alarm at a certain time each morning. That’s when you start your “habits”. There is a timer for each habit and once the habit is complete you click a big, satisfying button. Once you have made it through your routine the app congratulates you and you continue with the rest of your day. Try it for a few days and you will see just how productive (and fabulous) you can become!

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4 Tips to Telling Someone Something That Matters

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“Telling someone how you feel is honestly the hardest thing ever.”

-Unknown

Many of us have been shaped by the self-made-man or self-made-woman motif.

There’s a lot of John Wayne swagger in our images of being successful and together.

And yet, if you dig underneath the neatly coiffed outward appearances, all people experience personal and growth challenges.

One downfall is keeping what’s inside to ourselves.

Too often we find out stuff was going on with someone only after they’ve removed themselves from the conversation.

I recently attended a memorial service for a friend of a friend, and the huge temple was packed and overflowing with mourners.

This man was so lovingly regarded by so many, and yet—though people had been somewhat aware of his depression—nobody knew it would go to the depths it did, having him take himself out… unexpectedly, in the twinkling of an eye.

He had a long reputation for being the cheerful and jovial one. Apparently that personae remained in place until the very end.

If we tell our own truth, others often sense the safety to do the same. The rub is for both ourselves and others to be willing to get outside the standard ways of acting and being with each other.

Not like wearing all our insides on our sleeves, and yet putting the masks and guards down as part of our full repertoire can create a safe space of openness.

In many respects, telling others serves our greater good.

Want to realize that you’re just like everyone else? Tell someone what’s going on with you.

Want to find voices more supportive than those in your head? Tell someone what you’d like to achieve.

Want to be sure you achieve what you say? Tell someone and ask them to hold you accountable.

If we only ever simply capitalized on this last action, which flies in the face of our supposed “independence”—choosing to make ourselves accountable—how much more might we live in life when we have someone holding us to our word of how we want to live it?

What can you tell someone today to plug into resources outside of your own?

Here’s a few tips for telling someone something that will move you forward.

Bare

Want to see if someone is there for the long run with you? Show them the real you right away.

A wise man once said that, if you want to see if a relationship has stickability, put your worst foot forward.

That doesn’t mean actually try to sabotage anything, but most people are always trying to look their best and show up all “together”.  If you can reveal your warts as well as your wonders, you can see what wart-bearing capacity is over there early on.

Share

When you’ve tested the wart-bearing waters—or as another way to do so—share something with someone that you most don’t want anyone to know.

In the world of romantic relationships, it’s a great way to start to really get to know someone beyond the “looking good” phase of initial dating. On each successive date, share the one thing you most don’t want them to know. Ideally, for the game to work, they do the same.

If you start at your deepest “most don’t want them to know” then, on each successive date, you’re working your way up. After a month or so of dating, talk about learning that someone can be with you warts and all.

Sure, it takes trust…but you have to first be the change you want to see, yes?

Dare

Ask someone if you can trust them enough to reveal to them your big dream.  Will they be supportive? Will they empower you?

Asking is a good first step because you don’t want to throw “pearls before swine”.

Then, tell them.

Care

If you really care enough to have that big dream fulfilled, ask them if you can make promises to them about what you’ll do by when you’ll do it to activate that dream.

Ask them to hold you to account for doing what you say by when you say you’ll do it.

Ask them if you can schedule times to check in with them on your progress.

Ask them to be bold and supportive in pointing out to you when you’re not being who you said you’d be or doing what you said you’d do.

The degree to which you commit to empowering them to hold you to account is the degree to which your dream will be realized.

“Tell the truth, or eventually someone will tell it for you.”

-Stephanie Klein

In The Back Forty, we say you have yet to do what you came here to do.

If you’re here to play a yet bigger game – no matter what you’ve accomplished thus far – it will take baring, sharing, daring and caring…to bring out the ALL of you in a NEW way.

We created The Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Program for just this reason: to have you saying what really matters, and getting over and beyond the challenges that have held you back from realizing it. Those challenges are really your best friend, helping you get there, if you approach them powerfully.

Check out A Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Program here, to ReNEW the ALL of YOU.

4 Steps to Up Your Active Re-Intention

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“Intention leads to behaviors which lead to habits which lead to personality development which leads to destiny.”

-Jack Kornfield

Many great and creative minds say it’s all about intention.

“Our intention creates our reality.”
-Wayne Dyer

 

“Let the power of intention lead the way.”

-Sharon Salzberg

 

“All that counts in life is intention.”
– Andrea Bocelli

 

“A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

And many also say a good intention and $1.85 will get you a cup of coffee.

“Many of our intentions die after we have put their harness on.”
-Henry S. Haskins

 

“Men with good intentions make promises. Men with good character keep them.”
-Ronald Oliver

 

“It’s not intentions that matter. It’s actions. We are what we do and say, not what we intend to.”
-Kristin Hannah

 

“There is always a gap between intention and action.”
-Paulo Coelho

For those who haven’t already resigned themselves to no possibility (which many have, whom we can’t reach anyway), we can wax eloquently on the potential for our lives, careers, dreams and purposes for being on the planet.

Yet, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary question, the unasking of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans.

“Will you really? But really really??”

Often the closer we actually get to a dream’s or goal’s fulfillment, the more a myriad of forces come alive to make that last yard truly the longest. It’s far easier to talk about the goal “one day” being realized than to close in on it, see beneath and beyond the mental and subconscious tricksters that come to bargain us away, and actually get it done.

Steven Pressfield addresses these sly forces in “The War of Art”, classifying them all as “resistance”. They show up in what’s commonly known as “the fear of success” in forms such as perfectionism, doubt, distractibility, irritability, confusion, procrastination, etc.

In The Back Forty, with a lifetime of making and unfulfilling on so many intentions already, it requires a real leaving of the past in the past to get up the courage to again intend with a vengeance.

That’s why we’re here in this journey together. We look at the past as simply R & D, research and development, for who we came here to be and what we came here to do. So, any intention play we’ve done before was simply practice, not carving our inability into stone.

Here are 4 ways to up your practice of Active Re-Intention in your second half/best half of life.

Clean Up

You don’t want to put icing on a cake of poop, so first get real, down and dirty about where you’ve spoken bold intentions before…and didn’t git ‘er done.

You might make a list for yourself and then ritualize the letting go of that past pattern by burning it. Or, you might check in with people who knew you when you were playing big for something and then saw you disappear.

People are forgiving, and we all love redemption stories. However, with yourself or others, cleaning up the mess from previous intentional misfires can help you listen to your Self with fresh ears.

Buck Up

Get your bold on…with measured sobriety.  Be willing to make some big demands on the Self you are now, stake some outrageous claims on your possibilities, and have some unrecognizable declarations pass your lips.  

Then ask people if you’re crazy, or if it can be done.

For those who say you’re crazy, ask them why. For those who say it can be done, ask them specifically how and why.

Measure the responses, then ask those you trust to measure the responses, and choose your friends wisely. Your producing the result in the face of no agreement is always possible, and yet your ability to enroll others in your intention and have a world pulling for you and holding you to account is a more powerful approach.

Buddy Up

Don’t do it alone, yet again, just like you’ve always done, with your Lone Ranger, maverick, Rebel Without a Cause, self-made man/woman, “I’ve got this” false confidence.

Get a buddy. Commit to specifics and by whens. Put your ass on the line. Agree to pay money if you don’t meet your milestones. Give yourself big rewards when you do.

The greatest single key to delivering on your intention is having someone to be accountable to beyond yourself.

Show Up

For your Self. Use your buddy and your commitments to them (and your Self) to let this be the time you actually did what you said you’d do by the time you said you’d do it.

There’s so many forces that will come up here to slow you down, turn your head to one side or the other, or convince you it wasn’t a smart or worthy idea in the first place.

Go Nike on yourself.  Just do it. Take the actions required by the intentions. Again, and again. And when you don’t, go back to Clean Up and start all over.

“Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.”
-Dr. Steve Maraboli

Poll: What is Your Favorite Thing to Read About?

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At The Back Forty, we have been blogging for roughly eight months and during that time have posted over 130 different articles across more than nine different topics. We do our best to come up with lots of unique content to share with you!

Today, I would love to get some feedback about your favorite things to read about! Do you enjoy reading about funny midlife stories? Do you like to be inspired? Are you looking to learn more about different aspects of midlife?

Just pick a topic below and see how your favorite topic compares to the favorite topics of some of our other readers!

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Expert Tip #10: Believe!

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As I sit down to write my final tip in this series, I am realizing that this tip is the easiest…and the hardest tip to follow.

What is so easy and yet so hard?

Believing.

None of the tips I have given you will be of any help at all if you don’t truly believe that your future will be even greater than your past.

Believe that you do have power over your future, believe that you can achieve your dreams, believe that it’s not too late, just believe.

Today I ask you to do your part. You can help turn around the cultural conversation around aging, simply by proving others and the media wrong.

As you leave this post series, I want you to truly believe that your best creativity, ingenuity, relationships, careers, health, fitness, and self-expression are all still ahead.

Midlife is just the beginning! Do you believe?

 

Thank you for reading my Winning Midlife Pro Tip Series and remember to always believe in yourself!

See other tips here!

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Expert Tip #9: Play Again

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Have you ever said, “it’s just not the right time”? I bet you have. After all, with age comes knowledge and some things need to happen at a certain time in order to succeed.

Or at least that’s what we think.

If you take a moment to think about what you have held off on doing because it’s not the right time, you might just be surprised.

Maybe you didn’t go after a job because you didn’t think you had the right qualifications, or you didn’t ask someone on a date because it wasn’t the right time, or even you haven’t written a book because you don’t have the right connections or knowledge.

Here’s the thing about waiting for the right time, it might never come. That’s not to say that if the right time never comes then you can never achieve your goals, it’s quite the opposite. You can achieve your goals regardless of if it is the right time to do so or not.

Often when someone says that it isn’t the right time for something, they really mean that they don’t want to make a mistake. The fear of failure is what is really driving you, not the proper timing.

This is what brings us to today’s tip. Stop being afraid and start to play again.

Pick a goal and go for it! Forget about the right or wrong time and just start playing. Yes, you might get a little dirty along the way but that’s half the fun!

Come back next week for Pro Tip #10 and remember to get inspired, take action, and take risks this week!

See other tips here!

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Expert Tip #8: Become Curious Again

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Curiosity is something that has a general air of positivity surrounding it. Curiosity causes invention, creativity, creation, excitement, and more. So, it is no wonder that a wonderful way to help you win your midlife experience would be through being curious.

However, as we grow older we adapt a mindset that we know enough, that we are enough. After all, have you ever heard yourself or a loved one say things like, “that’s just the way I am,” “been there, done that,” or even “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?

As we age we seem to adopt the viewpoint that we no longer need to be curious, that curiosity is for the young. Here is the problem with that way of thinking. Everyone has had certain life experiences that shape who they become. There are some things that you hate simply because you have had bad experiences surrounding it before. Similarly, there are things that you love for the same reason. The problem with this is that each experience, either good or bad, puts on a new filter through which you see life. As more and more experiences create more and more filters, your view gets smaller and hazier.

The world is full of infinite possibilities, but if you are determined to see the world through your many many filters, you will miss so many of the possibilities that come your way.

You might be thinking, but all of these filters are different pieces of wisdom that I have gained throughout life. Isn’t wisdom a good thing?

Well, here is the problem with wisdom. Based on the small pieces of wisdom that we gain, we decide what we are capable of. These one-time experiences turn into pieces of “wisdom” that we have gleaned from our lives.

For example, at a relatively young age I cut my hair “short” it was to my shoulders and the first time my hair had ever been that short. In that moment I decided that I don’t look good with short hair and that I now had the wisdom to never cut my hair that short again. Is that really wisdom or is it just one bad experience that has shaped my entire life?

Maybe I would love short hair if I tried it again, but my previous filter has closed me to that new experience.

What are some of your experiences that you have always assumed gave you wisdom but might actually be limiting you? Maybe it’s something that you have always assumed is how you are, how life is, how relationships are. What can you be curious about this week?

Come back next week for Pro Tip #9 and remember to be curious this week!

See other tips here!

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Expert Tip #5: See Midlife Crises as Opportunities

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Regardless of if you feel you are in the middle of a midlife crisis or not, let’s face it, midlife is full of obstacles.

Between children, parents, work, and finances there are endless pitfalls that seem to spring up out of nowhere. These “crises” are going to happen and anyone who tells you that you can avoid them is delusional.

The key lies in how you face these problems.

Many people find themselves victimizing themselves over past challenges they have endured. How many times have you even blamed something in your present over what has “happened to you” in your past? By victimizing yourself, you are actually holding back your true potential.

This concept is also true for hardships that you currently find yourself in the midst of. Instead of feeling like a victim of these (guaranteed) changes, try to see them as opportunities to change for the better.

Come back next week for Pro Tip #6 and remember that the only person who can decide if you are a victim is YOU!

See other tips here!

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Expert Tip #4: Re-Evaluate Your Life

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Somewhat similarly to last week’s tip (Take Stock of Your Gifts & Talents), I have a question to ask you. When was the last time you actually sat down to think of your values?

I seriously doubt that anyone in midlife can say that they hold the same values as they did in their 20s, or even their 30s. Taking time to clearly lay out your values that have shifted as you have gained more life experience will make it possible for you to succeed at whatever you choose to do next.

If you hold onto values simply because that’s what you’ve always believed, you are setting yourself up for failure by relying on obsolete belief systems.

In many ways, life helps us discover our current priorities by using our most recent values. Therefore, don’t let your current and future opportunities and priorities be sabotaged by sticking to outdated priorities.

Come back next week for Pro Tip #5 and remember that you control where your life goes next!

See other tips here!

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Expert Tip #3: Take Stock of Your Gifts and Talents

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Everyone has gifts and talents. But when was the last time you actually took the time to take stock of those gifts and talents?

As you have been growing older, you have also been building skills and discovering talents that you didn’t possess when you were younger. Some of your talents were created by conscious planning while others you developed through a necessity.

By taking stock of those new gifts and talents that you have built, you have the chance to find new areas of interest and exploration that you didn’t even realize were an option before.

By the time you find yourself in midlife, you probably have far more skills that you have learned through unplanned exposure. Either you were forced to build the skill for a job or for your family and maybe one of those skills have become a passion or interest of yours.

You’d be surprised at how many possibilities exist for a person to reinvent their life focus. By discovering all of your gifts and talents, you make it possible to purposefully choose the direction you want to head towards next. Take some time and discover what your second half of life has to offer!

Come back next week for Pro Tip #4 and try discovering your newfound gifts and talents that have the potential to reshape your future!

See other tips here!

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