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55

A few techniques that I find useful are: Keep a journal and write your goals every morning. The act of writing is often enough to keep the intent in the front of my mind and I am less prone to falling into a behavior I'm trying to modify. Use a timer and only do 45 minutes of work. The time pressure helps focus you and if you fail you've only lost 45 ...


29

I like collecting things like this, so far throughout my life this has been a pervasive problem for me causing me years of depression and suicidal thoughts when I start to feel like I just can't get anything done. It's my hope that at least some of this can be useful to others. I don't expect anyone to read all of this, because I certainly wouldn't (I'd skim,...


25

My mother-in-law has said: "If you have a plate of frogs in front of you, eat the ugliest one first." Features of this quote: The frogs are your unpleasant tasks. They're not butterflies. One of those tasks is going to be the most unpleasant. Given that you have to do all of them, get the most unpleasant one out of the way first. Then, it gets easier. ...


20

If you're into crazy lifehacks, I highly recommend using commitment devices on yourself. Here's a list of tools for doing so: http://blog.beeminder.com/competitors [disclosure: I'm part of Beeminder, one of those tools]


19

It will be worth looking at Scott Hanselman's take on this - he gives a really good productivity talk 'It's not what you read, it's what you ignore', which is a personal favourite of mine. Particularly relevent for me is the section where he talks about News sites - making the point that if news is important enought, you'll find out some other way... EDIT:...


18

Get rid of your TV. I did it 10 years ago and never looked back. UPDATE: To complete my answer, I would like to generalize my rule. Whenever I want to remove a bad habit, I make it hard to indulge in the habit. If I don't want to watch TV so much, I throw the TV away. If I want to stop playing video games so much, I uninstall the games from my ...


17

I also used to get in "trap"s like these... The best way (IMHO) that I follow is to keep yourself busy i.e. give yourself short term and easy goals regularly. As these short term golss are easy enough and do not take significant time, you will not get demotivated and you'll also save time. Now those short term activities should be in sync with your long ...


16

I just recently started using what is called Seinfeld's productivity secret. Basically, you print a calendar for the whole year on a sheet of paper that you see every day (staple it to the wall over your desk) and set yourself a realistic daily target - for me, that is 15 minutes studying a foreign language every day. On every day you follow through on your ...


16

You have a habit you want to get rid of. Yes, this is kind of obvious, but it suggests reading through our questions in this tag. The following two ones should be very helpful indeed: How do I make myself stop doing addictive activity? How to control or change habits? (Full disclosure: one of the answers here is from me.) In your specific case, it might ...


12

I've tried a lot of book techniques, like keeping time sheets, banning internet domains in /etc/hosts, going on an internet and videogame diet etc etc, but none of those worked for me. A few years ago I came up with this method: I watchdog myself and whenever I find myself doing something dubious while I should really be doing things that have to be done, I ...


11

You are reading research, not fiction. Research by other people are the building blocks of your own work. It doesn’t matter that much what is written in the (whole) paper/book -- what is really important is what conclusions you draw from it, how it helps your work, your argument. Facts and thoughts in articles are the Lego building blocks for you work (which ...


10

Close every single window/app not related to what you want to focus on. Same way your computer has to store those running processes in your computer memory your brain does the same thing. Put on some creative/productive music. I've recently been having a lot of success with the Flamenco channel on Pandora. You want rythmic, uplifting and positive music ...


9

Going on a media diet helps. I came across that tip in Tim Ferriss's book 4-hour week. I tried that tip and it has been almost 2 years since I have gone back to reading news, mindlessly. Here is my blog post "Productivity Tip #12: Following news is a waste"


9

If you find that you aren't retaining the information after reading the article, why do you think you're going to retain exponentially more by reviewing it immediately afterward? I use spaced repetition techniques to increase retention when I'm reading articles. My process is that while I'm reading the article if I come across a point that I want to ...


9

I heard that pomodoro technique is very effective for reading. I googled around and found this blog >> Reading and effective note as one of the reference[1]. My friend also tried it and shared that it's very effective for her. I believe the reason behind the effectiveness is that Hippocampus[2] (the part of the brain that writes what you have read into ...


8

If you really want to change, you may need to work on: Knowing why it is important to be on time (intellectual) Understanding how to be on time (practical) Feeling it is important to be on time (emotional) Making it easy for yourself to be on time (environmental) One of the reasons you have not changed already is that the sanctions imposed by your ...


8

The key is to start the task you plan on doing. Once you started the task, it will be easier to get the motivation to complete it. You should also set small prizes for yourself if you finish a task, and only receive them once the task is complete. This could be a fun way to do things, nut as I said before, you must first START. Now, get of your ass and ...


7

There are three factors that create a habit. Cue, routine, and reward. Theory A simple example is a rat put inside a maze, with a hidden piece of chocolate. On a clicking sound, the door to the maze opens. The rat smells the chocolate, wanders around the maze, takes a lot of wrong turns, but eventually finds the chocolate. The experiment is repeated ...


6

I think your main question should be why am I reading all these papers and textbooks? What do I want from a particular paper? What kind of information am I looking for and what do I expect to learn from it? I read somewhere that the amount of information that is generated currently doubles about every 10 years. I'm not entirely sure that this number is ...


6

Find something that is even more addictive and beneficial. People only have an issue with seemingly addictive activities when they are perceived as undesirable, and they tend to do them for lack of better (more inclination) things to do. That said, I'm not sure if the activities you described are addictive or are just regular distractions that should be ...


6

I read the excellent book Your Brain At Work. It explains how these types of behaviors are addictive and they become harder to shake loose from the longer you wait. So the way to stop doing them is twofold: Train your conductor (the part of your brain that does the conscious thinking, or rider if you prefer the rider-elephant analogy) to recognize these ...


6

I'm no expert on this but I've been reading the book "Willpower" by Baumeister and Tierney. In this book the writers state that willpower is a limited resource. If you want to do things that rely on willpower, like changing habits, you should change only one thing at a time until it you've changed it into a new and good habit that you like. If you try to ...


6

A partial solution is always better than no solution. If you want to change yourself, focus on congratulating yourself for partial success instead of punishing yourself for incomplete success; then the success will grow. Let me re-frame it this way: You already have a solution that works (wrapping your fingers), and that's great! Honestly; it's an ...


6

I wonder if it makes more sense to have a small-yet-healthy breakfast, and opt for a bigger lunch. Read the link here and decide for yourself: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679722/the-data-that-proves-breakfast-is-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day My main issue is that I spend a lot of time on breakfast. Making breakfast or eating breakfast? ...


6

You have a habit you want to get rid of; namely, staying up too late. I'd suggest you look through previous questions with this tag. These two ones are probably most helpful: How do I make myself stop doing addictive activity? How to control or change habits? Any ideas on how to trick my mind into wanting to go to bed? I think this is mistaken. It's ...


5

Daniel Pink provides some very good advice along these lines in his book "Drive". In it he describes the science of motivation that suggests that motivation is dependent upon autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy deals with how much one controls the process and performance outcomes. Increasing this at the lowest levels, tends to increase the motivation ...


5

If you can, read it later. There are dozens of great services, like Pocket or Instapaper, that allows you to save texts, files and even entire web-pages to read them later, when you have finished your other tasks. They are great, since you can also have offline versions of site-pages and you can install them on tablets/smartphones. This should prevent you ...


5

I suffered the exact problem. Over the years, I've learned a couple methods/tools that helped. But in general, it's more of a habit/process issue than the lack of hardware. I'll first talk about some tools: For browser tabs, I like 'one tab' or something like 'simple window saver' (for chrome). Just find a session managing extension that helps you quickly ...


5

Recharge Your Batteries You could meditate, breathe, or simply enjoy your food. It might help to change things about what you eat, where you eat etc. An improved diet is likely to improve your productivity. Eating outside can be revitalizing. Putting on soothing music can help you unwind and shed stress. If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, ...


4

First, and as a general approach, I'd pick ONE "habit" and try to break it. Then I'd look at the next habit. This point is separate from how you actually do that. They (who ever they are) have said that it takes about 21 days to create a new habit. What they mean is something like working out or what ever -- force yourself to do it for 21 days and that ...



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