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what you can accomplish in 10 minutesThere are 1440 minutes in a day. I realized how long this was yesterday when I was reheating my lunch in a microwave. Two and a half minutes seemed like eternity.

This got me thinking about how much can be accomplished in just 10 little minutes: a race can be won, a business idea can be born, a satisfying meal can be cooked. The list goes on…

So here is my dilemma.

If so much can be done in a matter of 10-15 minutes and most of us stay busy all day long, why do we not feel like we have done much and go to bed hoping that we will be more productive the next day?

My guess is that we do not plan our days intelligently enough, so we let mindless activities and useless chatter suck up our precious time.

This is what happens to me. And I bet that this is what sometimes happens to you as well.

That is why I came up with the list of 10-minute activities that are fun, useful, creative, satisfying or helpful to others. If we can incorporate at least 2 or 3 of them each day, I believe that we will see huge positive changes in our daily routine.

So let’s not allow time-wasters to shorten our minutes and have our days go by without leaving their mark in our memory.

40 Things we can Achieve in 10 Minutes:

1. Take a nap.

Who cares if it is 2 p.m.? Some pretty convincing studies demonstrate that power naps are not only enjoyable, but are beneficial for some types of memory tasks.

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overcome lazinessDo you know this feeling – you are neither tired, nor stressed out, nor overwhelmed. Just a little bit bored, a little bit apathetic, a little bit unmotivated, and a little bit of everything that makes you not want to work… or think hard…or feel obligated to do what you know you should be doing.

There is just some kind of mental resistance that does not allow you to be productive or creative. As if someone has turned off the inner switch of your excitement and desire to make things happen.
I wonder where this feeling comes from and what it is all about?

I know that when I felt like that as a girl, my parents usually called this delicate emotional state of mine – being lazy. Well, if I had to come up with a definition of commonplace laziness – the symptoms would match, but it is still hard to accept that years later– conscious and hard-working individuals can fall prey to something as banal as laziness.

But the fact remains – there are days when we leave some of the tasks on our to-do list unchecked, and there are days when we resist doing anything.

So how do we overcome this laziness state? How do we turn our excitement and productivity back on? How do we re-motivate ourselves to get going?

Some of the tricks I use to get myself back on track

1. Have a plan. Often laziness strikes us when we are not sure what to do next. We lack clarity of what has to be done and why. If this is the case a detailed daily plan or a to-do list can quickly eliminate confusion and funnel your efforts in the right direction.

2. Act on impulse. Do not over-think work. Even the slightest spark of desire to get something done is enough to start your inner productivity engine going.

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Have you noticed how sometimes time passes laboriously slowly and you continue to look at your watch every two minutes hoping to make it go faster? And there are also times when you have so much to do that you think “How am I possibly going to get it all done in a day?”

Why is it that sometimes we waste time and other times we find ourselves caught up in a frenzy of activity? How do we find the right balance and boost our productivity without having to sacrifice our family time?

After analyzing my own work patterns, reading tons of scientific research on time management, motivation and efficiency, I found that there are 10 primary productivity mistakes that cause 80% of our work stress and make us fall behind even on seemingly simple tasks. And I am not just talking about chronic procrastinators here.

Many productive people I run into, waste on average 2-4 hours a day, doing things that actually decrease their productivity, concentration and cognitive performance!

If lately you have been feeling tired, overwhelmed and underproductive here are 10 Things you should Not be doing:

1. Don’t start without a plan.

While most of us realize the importance of having a to-do list, when we are busy, it is easy to forget about planning and to just deal with things as they come in. Whatever is most urgent gets dealt with first. The least urgent tasks get postponed and often forgotten. But the problem is that getting urgent tasks out of the way rarely means being productive. If you want to ensure that you are focusing on the right things and using your time most effectively, get into the habit of planning regularly! Start each day by highlighting the three most important things you have to do and complete them first. This step alone will save you hours of wasted time and energy.

2. Don’t wish you were somewhere else.

We can spend hours wishing we were somewhere else, doing something better. But the problem is that while we are daydreaming – we are neither getting the work done, nor are we spending this time enjoying ourselves. In fact, the only thing we are doing is actively demotivating ourselves from taking any kind of action, prolonging what we already perceive as drudgery even more.

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One day the Devil gathered his wisest advisors together to decide how to enslave people. After a few minutes of discussion the first advisor said, “Let’s convince people that good does not exist and slowly their hearts will become harder, until they care about no one, but themselves.” “No” – answered another advisor, “People are intelligent and they will realize that if evil...

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“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose”Thomas Edison.

If lately you have been feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with how much you have to do, if you believe that you can be more productive or learn to manage yourself and your time more efficiently, if you have an incredibly busy week ahead of you – take a few minutes to read about the 7 Biggest and Boldest Time management Lies that are the main cause of our stress, burn out, and procrastination.

You might be surprised to catch yourself telling at least one of these lies before lunch time! 🙂

1. I Can Do It All!

This is one of the most frequent lies I tell myself. And then some few hours later, I have to admit that I was wrong. There simply is not enough time to do everything we usually plan on doing. Nor is there the need to do all of it. Often we are the ones who willingly put too much on our plate and then stress out about it.

So next time the thought “I can do it all!” crosses your mind – take a few deep breaths, relax and remind yourself that effective time management is not about doing more in a shorter amount of time. It is about enjoying what you do and doing it well!

2. It will Only Take a Minute!

This is another frequent lie I am guilty of. It just seems easier to get small tasks off your hands first and then dedicate yourself fully to the priorities on your list. However, priorities are called this, because you should complete them “prior” to any other tasks.

Do not kid yourself with the idea that “This will just take one minute”. Nothing ever takes just a minute – and even if it does, any such interruption usually costs you anywhere from fifteen to thirty five minutes of your productive “flow” time.

3. If I only had more time…

We often rationalize that if we only had more time we would be able to accomplish more. But the truth is that we are not going to get more than 1440 minutes a day, regardless of what we do or do not do. And no Time Management System will help us accomplish this. What makes the difference is not how much time you have, but how you choose to spend it.

4. I can do it better/faster than anyone else!

I often catch myself with this white lie. In fact, it might not necessarily be a lie. You could do something better and faster than your colleagues, assistants and employees. But it does not mean that you have to do it. This is so important that I am going to repeat it once again. Doing something better and faster than other people DOES NOT mean you should do it!

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questions-to-beat-procrastinationHave you ever said that you are going to do something, wrote it down in our to-do list, but then despite all of your good intentions, somehow you didn’t do it?

These uncompleted tasks suck our energy, make us feel guilty and don’t let us relax for one second, and yet we continue to postpone them!

Why do we do it?

Psychologists say that it is because we are genetically coded to be “avoidance machines”! We are hard wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. And when I say pain, I actually mean any task that: a) sounds boring or not urgent, b) requires certain amount of effort, c) doesn’t inspire or motivate us. 80% of the tasks fall under all three categories.
As it turns out the most effective way to avoid procrastination is NOT applying inhuman mental effort and force yourself into doing something. Nor it is waiting till the last moment when the task appears into “Urgent! Must be done today! Seriously, it can’t wait!” category and then complete it in 15 minutes. The smartest and easiest way to overcome procrastination is use your weaknesses to your own benefit.

How to make procrastination work for you?

Usual motivational techniques teach you to think of all the benefits that you will achieve after completing the task. This method does work, but for most of us promise of future reward is not nearly as stimulating as a threat of punishment.
Professional self-help coaches know about it and are actively using this information to “motivate” their clients into following through with their goals.

What they do is ask their clients Three Little Questions:

1. The first question is about your goal. You are asked to state what it is that you would like to achieve and figure out step-by-step plan of how you can do it.

2. The second question sounds somewhat strange, “Can I hold you accountable for this goal?”  At this point your mind goes, “Hold on a minute…accountable? Me?!” and you start to suspect that it is not going to be pretty, but you summon up your courage and say, “sure! You can hold me accountable!”

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19 signs procrastinationProcrastination is a subconscious attempt to delay the inevitable. It is a tiny hope that somehow, what seems difficult or boring now, will prove to be easier or better still unnecessary later on. And you should not discard that possibility all together. Miracles do happen!

Yet, you can tell that you are compulsively procrastinating when:

1. You get a sudden strong desire to make a 3rd cup of coffee or to grab a snack
2. You become easily annoyed by clutter on your desk and without a further “adieu” you start cleaning out the drawers
3. You become annoyed by clutter on your colleague’s desk, so you volunteer to help them clean it.
4. You go on smoke breaks, even though you are a non-smoker.
5. You check your mail box every half an hour, so you will not miss an important email, just like you did that one time 2 years ago…
6. You have 20 tabs opened on your computer (half of them from youtube.com)
7. You are excited about sending all of your friends a funny joke that you accidentally stumbled upon five minutes ago.

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