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Health: How to Get Thicker Hair Naturally

If you have thinning hair, there is no need to spend money on expensive treatments and products. There are many natural remedies to help you get thicker and voluminous hair.Hair loss is a common problem nowadays. As hair is regarded as an asset that enhances one’s physical appearance, balding or thinning hair is a problem that many want to correct as soon as possible. Some of the common factors contributing to thinning hair are excessive physical or emotional stress, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, pollution, allergies, use of wrong hair care products, poor hair care routine, and heredity.

Here are the top 10 ways to get thicker hair naturally.

1. Eggs

Regular protein treatment is essential to enjoy stronger and thicker hair. For a protein hair treatment, the best ingredient is eggs.

  • Take one or two eggs, depending on the length of your hair, and beat it properly. Apply the egg on wet hair and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. Wash your hair with lukewarm water and shampoo. You can use this protein treatment once or twice a week.
  • Another option is to mix together one egg yolk, one tablespoon of a hair oil of your choice and two tablespoons of water. Use this mixture to massage your scalp thoroughly. Follow this remedy once a week to enjoy thicker hair.

2. Olive Oil

Olive oil will also add body to your hair. Plus, it will help soften and strengthen your tresses.

  • Massage your hair and scalp with warm olive oil and leave it on for at least 30 to 45 minutes. Rinse it out thoroughly and wash your hair using a mild shampoo. You can also leave the oil on your hair overnight and then shampoo your hair the next morning.
  • Another option is to mix olive oil with some honey and apply the mixture on your hair. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes and then wash your hair.

Use either or these remedies once or twice a week.

3. Avocado

Avocado can also be used to get thicker hair as it moisturizes and adds body to your hair. Plus, the vitamin E in this fruit contributes to the overall health of the hair shaft.

  • Make a mixture of one mashed avocado, one mashed banana and one tablespoon of olive oil. Massage it on your scalp and leave the mixture on your hair for about 30 minutes so that the nutrients are absorbed by the scalp. Finally, rinse it out and shampoo your hair.
  • You can also make a hydrating hair mask by mixing two tablespoons of wheatgerm oil with half of a ripe mashed avocado. Apply this hair mask on freshly shampooed hair and allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes. Rinse your hair thoroughly and then shampoo your hair.

Use either of these avocado hair masks once a week.

4. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds can also be used to prevent hair loss and enjoy better hair growth.

  • Soak two to three tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water for eight to 10 hours. Grind the soaked seeds to make a fine paste. You can also mix two teaspoons of coconut milk in it. Apply the paste on your hair and scalp and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes before washing your hair with lukewarm water. When done weekly on a regular basis, this remedy will prevent dry scalp and help you enjoy thicker hair.
  • Another option is to use the water that the fenugreek seeds soaked in overnight as a hair rinse. This will encourage hair growth and help you to get rid of dandruff. Use it once or twice a week.

5. Indian Gooseberry

The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and exfoliating properties present in Indian gooseberry can help a lot in maintaining a healthy scalp and better hair growth rate.

  • Mix one tablespoon of Indian gooseberry or amla powder in two tablespoons of coconut oil and heat until boiling. Strain the oil and massage it onto your scalp before going to bed. The next morning, shampoo your hair as usual. Do this on a weekly basis.
  • Another option is to mix one-quarter cup of warm water in one-half cup of Indian gooseberry powder and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Apply the paste on your hair and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off. Do not shampoo your hair for a few hours. Follow this remedy every few weeks.
  • You can also take the Indian gooseberry fruit and its extract as a dietary supplement for healthy hair.

6. Castor Oil

Massaging your scalp regularly with cold-pressed castor oil is one of the easiest ways to get thicker hair naturally. Due to its high viscosity, it coats the hair thoroughly and protects against hair fall. Plus, being high in vitamin E and fatty acids, it promote hair growth.

  1. Heat a mixture of equal parts of castor oil and coconut oil. Simply using castor oil will also work but it tends to be too thick.
  2. Apply it on your head and scalp and massage in circular motions.
  3. Comb your hair to distribute the oil throughout your hair and remove tangles.
  4. Cover your hair with a towel moistened with warm water.
  5. Leave it on for at least one hour and then shampoo your hair as usual.
  6. Follow this remedy once a week to enjoy lustrous and thick hair.

7. Aloe Vera

aloe vera gel

Another very popular ingredient that can be used to enjoy thicker hair is aloe vera, thanks to its moisturizing quality. It will also help restore the pH balance of the scalp.

  • Extract the gel from one or two aloe vera leaves and rub the gel onto your scalp. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing your hair with lukewarm water. Do this once once or twice a week on a regular basis.
  • Another option is mix two teaspoons of coconut milk in fresh aloe vera gel and apply it to your scalp. Leave it on for about half an hour before rinsing it off and shampooing your hair. Repeat once or twice a week.
  • You can also consume one tablespoon of aloe vera juice daily on an empty stomach to enjoy better hair growth and overall health.

8. Henna Leaves


Another easy way to get thicker hair naturally is to apply henna. Henna leaves will give your hair a rich natural color and make it thicker, softer and less prone to breakage .

  • Grind a handful of fresh henna leaves with a little water to make a fine paste. Let it sit for two hours and then apply it to your hair. Cover your hair with a shower cap. After a few hours, wash your hair thoroughly and shampoo your hair.
  • Another option is to mix sufficient water in henna powder to make a paste with a yogurt-like consistency. Instead of plain water, you can also use green tea for better conditioning. Keep the henna paste aside overnight. The next day, add one raw egg and two teaspoons of lemon juice to this mixture. Apply it to your hair and leave it on until it dries completely. Finally, wash it off and shampoo your hair.

Note: Make sure to wear your gloves when using henna and apply the paste using a hair brush to avoid staining.

9. Flaxseed


Being rich in omega 3 fatty acids and protein, flaxseed can also help in promoting thicker naturally.

  • Soak one-quarter cup of flaxseeds in water overnight. The next morning, boil the flaxseeds in two cups of water over high heat while stirring occasionally. When the thickens to a consistency of foamy jelly then turn off the heat and strain the gel. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to it. Allow it to cool and then use it as a hair gel. This flaxseed gel is particularly good for those with curly or wavy hair.
  • Even eating freshly ground flaxseeds can help promote shiny and thicker hair. You can also take flaxseed oil.

10. Healthy Diet

healthy diet milk

A healthy diet rich in protein and various vitamins and minerals is an essential prerequisite for healthy and thicker hair. Protein and B vitamins, in particular, promote thicker and longer hair.

So, include more milk, eggs, Greek yogurt (has more protein than the regular yogurt), poultry, fatty fish, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fresh green vegetables in your diet.

Follow these remedies religiously and you will notice improvement in your hair texture and thickness in a matter of weeks.


4 Rules to Manage the Boss

from Tickled By Life by Guest Tickler

Two  critical skills which the highest performing managers have in spades are the ability to influence and persuade. The most obvious targets for your powers of persuasion are your team, and sometimes your peers in different departments; but just as you need to manage down or sideways , it's also critical you know how to manage upwards.

Do it well, and you'll shine. Do it badly and you could muddy your reputation and find yourself being passed over for advancement.

To help you make the right impression, here are four simple rules to remember, which will move you in the right direction.

1. Find out what the expectations are – and exceed them. Sounds obvious and simple – yet in my experience it's neither! Try to answer the following questions:

Do you actually know what your manager's top priorities are?

How clear are you about the order of priority your manager has for each area of your performance? How clear do you think your manager is about his/her expectations of you?

Sometimes expectations are written – but more often than not, they are unwritten expectations, which your boss may never have really clearly articulated to themselves, let alone you!

Put it this way -  if you don't know for sure what will score you top points with this individual, you may find yourself chasing down the wrong rabbit hole.

And this is NOT about currying favour, or ingratiating yourself. This is about having a clear understanding on both sides about what is important, so you both know and agree where you should focus most of your time and attention. It actually makes your job easier.

So – if you don't know the answers to the questions above – make a date in your diary to discuss this with your boss! (And before you actually have that meeting, make sure you read technique 4!)

2. Anticipate and address a boss' concerns The trick here is a technique from what we call Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and is about being able to see the different "perceptual positions" around an issue. Put simply this means seeing something through someone else's eyes, so you understand their thoughts, feelings, worries and perspectives.

An obvious way is to ask them! And we'd definitely encourage you to fnd the right opportunities to do just that. However, sometimes there's neither time, nor is it appropriate. So what do you do then? You put yourself in their shoes. And when we say in their shoes – we mean wearing their shoes and looking through their eyes!This is not how you would feel in their shoes. You're not them!

So, this is easier said than done. But here's a few killer questions to ask yourself:

What will my  boss be anxious about?

What do his bosses expect of him?

How does what I do to help him/her look good?

If I/we do "x", what might he/she be concerned about?

By answering these questions you'll be much clearer about what you need to do to both pre-empt and address their concerns. It also significantly increases their perception you really understand where they are coming from, which in turn significantly  strengthens the trust and relationship between you.

3. Consistently look for ways to add value. This is a really simple rule. Bosses are more likely to listen if you speak in "can-do" language, and you are organised, and sound enthusiastic and eager to deliver results.

Look ahead when discussing a project, rather than dwelling on what's already occurred. Follow through on promises. And adopt a "no-excuses" policy. Failing to produce results almost guarantees a boss will doubt your abilities. So, if you haven't quite achieved what you set out to do – rather than saying what you've not been able to do, start with what you have achieved; be specific about what barriers there were, and summarise your plans to get back on track.

Your boss has pressures of his own. Don't add to them.

4. Know your style – and know their style; and adapt your behaviour to suit their preferences. A great analogy from relationship expert Shay McConnon is that of the "hot chilli trap". What is this? It's when someone assumes that, because they love hot chilli, everyone else does too! Patently, some people do not like hot chilli!

If you're in a foreign country you at least attempt to learn "please" and "thank you" in their language and show respect for their customs. It's just courtesy. You adapt your own behaviour to show respect for the differences of perception.

To assume, because we speak the same language, we see things in the same way  – is quite clearly erroneous, yet we still persist in believing the mantra "treat others as you'd like to be treated."

Absolutely not! Treat others as they would like to be treated.

So what does this mean for you in your relationship with your boss? It means the more you get to understand their style and preferences, and tweak your style to match, the more likely they are to warm towards you. If you lean towards an eye for detail and precision, but your boss just wants the big picture – give it that way. What is their biggest strength? Capitalise on it. What is their central goal? How can you assist? If they are extroverts who like to talk through ideas, provide that opportunity. If they are introverts who like to be able to read through something, and ponder it first, present your proposals in a way which will help them assimilate the information and ask questions.

Respect how they like to be treated.

And what if they don't show the same trespect for you? Well, that's a subject for another article!
Shona Garner is an experienced Executive and Business Coach, specialising in helping managers build top performing teams, and increase their own standing in the organisation.
For a straight talking, practical guide to the top four secrets of every outstanding manager, visit

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Overcome Your Fears - 6 Questions and Answers

Fear is one of the major blocking obstacles against your success. You tend to compromise with your circumstances and prefer to continue your status quo condition because you are afraid of making decisions. Since you lack in courage you cannot move forward in your life with liberty.

On the other hand successful people are those who take risks in life. Successful people understand that taking risks will lead them experience new horizons in their field, will give them more vision and more confidence,  give them wisdom and success by exposing them to more and more challenges and consequently help them achieve their dreams. Such people keep taking new risks in order to achieve what they want to achieve. Whenever there is a doubtful situation they take the next baby step in order to determine whether it is fine to move ahead. In case they fail, they take one step back and re-determine their direction using their analytical skills. 

So if you would like to live a successful life, you must defeat your fears. The reasons for being under the clouds of fear might be because of several doubts or unanswered questions in your mind.  In this article, I have compiled and answered a few of such queries in order to boost your confidence level:

Question-1: Do I have enough info in making this decision?
Answer: You may or may not have the full information as of now. However you can gather all the facts by consulting the right professionals, by reading books, by discussing with your friends and well-wishers, by posting your questions to online forums, by studying the market and by taking advice from experienced people. Once you have collected all the information, write it on a piece of paper; positive points on one side and negative points on another side. Now read them slowly with full focus. Once done, you are all set for making the decision.

Question-2: What if I fail?
Answer: Consider the worst case scenario as this gives you inner strength and makes you prepare for it. However if the worst case as per your thinking is a serious disaster then reduce your risks by reducing your goals, your investment, energies, efforts etc. Change some of the points from your original plan and re-asses the worst case.

Question-3: Do I have the capability to do it:  
Answer: See if you can learn it by reading, training, counseling or brain storming. Believe in your inner powers. List down the capabilities required for a specific task and start polishing yourself in each domain one by one. This might take some time but once you learn and polish your skills you will be able to make wonders in your domain.

Question-4: What will people say?  
Answer: People will comment any way. It's your life and you have all the authority to do what you want to do in order to achieve what you want to achieve. Don't worry about social factors, instead focus on your plans and decisions. Evil social factors will die their death one by one once you start producing the results. Strengthen your thoughts, avoid the unnecessary criticism and you will be able to set new trends in your domain.

Question-5: Is anyone else afraid of same thing? 
Answer: Yes everyone is afraid of failures but only bold people make bold moves to accomplish things. Remember, common people see things while they are happening whereas smart people make things happen.

Question-6: What If I am trapped in tragic Situation:
Answer: To overcome a tragic fearful situation is to think of a genius person and imagine how he would have acted under the same condition. You will definitely get a new idea to try.

Closing my article by emphasizing one more time to throw your fears away, convert your risks into new opportunities, execute your plans and live like an independent and prosperous soul. Your inner confidence, your guts and your will power can make things happen. If others can do it you can do it too so believe in the power of now and go ahead and grab the success.

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Junaid Tahir is a UAE based Telecommunications Manager. He is a passionate blogger and write articles on wisdom, stress management and leadership. His 125+ articles are available at his personal blog

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7 Home Remedies to Control Hair Loss

1. Regular Massaging with Basic Oils
Regular massaging of the scalp with lukewarm oil helps to stimulate the hair follicles. This is also an easy way to cure hair growth deterrents like dandruff and fungal infections. Regular massaging increases the blood circulation in the scalp. It is also useful for lowering anxiety or stress that is often the underlying reason for thinning of hair. Recommended oils for 3 to 4 times-a-week massaging schedule includes coconut oil. You can alternate this with mustard oil. Keep the oil on for at least six hours before washing it off with a mild shampoo. Other oils that can be mixed with coconut oil in trace amounts for faster results include almond oil.

2. Natural Concoctions for Preventing Hair Loss

Coconut milk is among the richest sources of tissue-nourishing, plant derivatives. It is an excellent home remedy for keeping the hair soft without depending upon chemical formulations and regenerating dead hair follicles. You can also use a concoction of coconut oil mixed with half the amount of Amla oil. Just add a dash of lemon juice to this mixture and you have an effective, dandruff-fighting and scalp-healing concoction that arrests receding hairline.

3. Nature’s Effective Hair-stimulating Juices

Wheatgrass juice is one of the most effective remedies against hair fall. It is known to decrease the shedding tendency of hair within a few weeks of regular intake. Aloe vera juice has a similar effect. However, aloe gel can be applied to the scalp too. This is helpful for preventing hair loss due to irritated, dry or infected scalp. After massaging the head with aloe gel, wash the hair with lukewarm water. This can be done twice, every week.

4. Slightly Demanding But Very Effective Natural Therapies

You can make your own hair fall-preventing medicine at home by frying some fenugreek (methi) seeds in coconut oil. Strain this mixture and apply it in minimal amounts, rubbed gently into the hair roots. Alternatively, you can boil some henna leaves in mustard oil. After cooling and straining this preparation, add drops of it in your coconut oil container that you are using for regular massaging.

5. Homemade Pastes

You can wash the hair with a paste made from Neem leaves. This is particularly effective for hair loss caused due excessive build up of scalp oil or invasive skin infections. For restoring the alkaline balance of the scalp and preventing hair fall, you can follow this with washing the hair with apple cider vinegar. Other homemade pastes that can be very useful include a mixture prepared from adding honey and olive oil to some cinnamon (dalchini) powder.

6. Arrest Hair Fall With Elementary Household Items

Before washing your hair, apply the juice extracted from crushed coriander (dhania) leaves. You can also use a mixture of curd and gram flour (chana atta) that should be kept-on for at least an hour before bathing.

7. Hair Fall Dietary Recommendations

For a comprehensive, hair fall prevention regimen, you need to be equipped with a diet plan that includes foods that can arrest hair fall and stimulate better scalp health. Recommendations here include eating more seeds and nuts (almonds and peanuts) along with green leafy vegetables like spinach and sprouts of a variety of dals (legumes). Basically, foods rich in calcium, protein and iron are vital for ensuring overall health of the scalp. Combine this with some basic dietary supplementation, i.e. using over-the-counter products that help to ensure wholesome nutrition for your hair. Regular intake of Amla juice ensures adequate amounts of Vitamin C but you can boost this with eating more guavas. Ensure you take a multivitamin that combines beta-carotenes, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin E and trace amounts of zinc and iron.
Source: ClickHere

6 Cs to Avoid in Life

By Junaid Tahir:

Everyone one wants to stay happy in life but only small fraction of people put efforts on the factors which can bring happiness. Some factors are required to work on and some factors to be avoided... In this article 6 factors are discussed which are recommended to be avoided in order to achieve extreme heights of happiness and peace of mind.

This is one of the extreme ethical crimes I can think of. You conspire when you plan secretly (alone or with others) against someone to do something which is harmful and unlawful. In the court of humanity this is a punishable act and nature always takes revenge form you for the things you do against humanity. 

While healthy criticism helps improve things but most of the time you criticize with no clear positive intention. The more you criticize this way, the more you pollute your own mind and build up negative powers which back fires in terms of added stress due to negativity. Also criticizing is an indication that you are not part of solutions instead  you are part of problems. So if you would like to live a happy life then no negative criticism please. 

Cursing is opposite of blessing which means the one who curses is away from blessing.  Both cursing and blessing are indirectly proportional to each other. The more you curse people the more you make yourself away from them and also from the blessings of Almighty. Control your thoughts to control your tongue. Daily audit at the end of each day will help improve your habit of cursing. This will improve your mental health and strengthen your inner powers. 
Your complaining attitude reduces your social circle. When you start complaining about circumstances, about people around you and so on, you give up your energies to strive and eventually you weaken your relations with others and also lose your grip on your goals. This act degrades you in your social group and eventually you lose respect. Try speaking positive or stay silent. 
Mind your own business. If you can't help don't complicate their problems. Don't confuse people by raising complicated questions.  Speak up only if you have a positive advice and neat intention. Remember, giving advice is a matter of honesty so put yourself in others' shoes; listen empathically and then advice in the best interest of your companion.   

Corruption is a phenomenon of moral or economical deviation from the ideal. Corruption is a world-wide social disease which has spread like jungle fire and impacting millions of lives every day consequently polluting every society. May it be financial corruption, Ethical corruption or Relationship corruption, it is consistently polluting societies aDnd families. The more you earn with illicit acts the more you push yourself away from the state of contentment. Illegal acts always have reaction exactly equal or more than the magnitude of the actions you do. 

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About Author: Junaid Tahir is a passionate blogger. He writes articles on Leadership, Stress Management and Life Enhancement subjects at his personal blog
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The 8 Habits of Highly Productive People

Productive people are conscious of how they spend their time
What do you define as a “productive” person? Is it the ability to robotically churn out work, hour after hour? Is it the amount of discipline one has? Is it the speed at which one works?
Before we can discuss what makes a productive person, we should first define what productivity is. The common notion of productivity is the ability to churn out a lot of work in a short span of time. True, but not complete. IMO, true productivity is the ability to create a lot of high impact work in a short span of time. This is the kind of productivity we should concern ourselves with, not other kinds of productivity which are more empty / busy work that create no impact in the long term.
For example, let’s say Peter types very fast and can reply 1000 emails a day. That doesn’t make him/her productive, because there’s little output (product) to speak of (unless the emails contribute to tangible, high impact outcomes). However, if John completes just one task in a day that has more impact than the 1000 emails put together, then he’s more productive than Peter is.
The past few months have been my most productive months for the year. I ran/spoke at a total of eight workshops/speeches, including one in Hong Kong last month. My latest workshops have drawn in the highest number of participants to date. I created and ran 30DLBL, the first ever 30-day personal development challenge of its kind online, and had the honor of running it with over 1,200 of you in this special journey. I wrote, did the design and launched 30DLBL Program (both guidebook and workbook), which has sold over 200 700 copies (as of Aug ’12)! Personal Excellence grew almost double in subscribers from Sep through Dec (just 3 months), from 9k to over 18k, making it one of the biggest personal development blogs online today.
At the same time, I’ve also been managing other work, such as 1-1 coaching with clients (I’m handling about 5-6 clients on average at each time), administrative aspects of the business, writing Personal Excellence articles/guest posts, maintaining the site, etc.
A few days ago I finished designing my lineup of workshops next year, and earlier this week I conceptualized the idea for a new book. That’s all while maximizing other aspects of my life, such as keeping to my exercise regime (I exercise daily now), having a positive social life, keeping in touch with old friends, all at the same time.
I think productivity is really how you manage yourself, and the habits you practice. By selectively practicing certain habits over others, you can get a lot more output for your time. Here, I’ll share with you my eight top habits in productivity. Practice them and watch as your productivity sky rockets thereafter. :D

Habit 1: Ruthlessly cut away the unimportant (and Focus on the important)

The first habit of productive people is to slice and dice everything that’s unimportant.
Whenever I go to my work desk, I write down a list of things to do for the day. I then evaluate which are the most important things out of the list, first circling them, then ranking the items. After which I’ll challenge these items to see if they’re the best use of my time. What impact does doing these make? Can I be doing more high value tasks? Doing so helps me ensure I’m working on the absolute most important things for the day.
Then, for the non-important ones, I either push them to a later date or find a way to take them off the list. (Learning how to say no to others is very important here.) Those who have the 30DLBL Program might recognize this as the 20/80 List in Day 8. It’s my favorite daily self-management tool.
For everything you’re doing now, ask yourself how important this is. Does this bring you dramatically closer to your dreams? Does this create any real impact in your life in the long term? Is it the absolute best way to spend your time or can you be doing more high value tasks? 
If the answer is ‘yes’ to all the questions, keep this task. If not, perhaps it’s time to ditch it. No point doing something unimportant! Say you’re handling a project that makes no difference to your business after it’s completed. It wouldn’t matter whether you take an hour, three hours, or one week to do it—it’d still make no difference at the end of the day!
It’s part of knowing what your end objective is and doing things that serve this objective. Read: Keep Your End Objective In Mind.
Many people tend to wrongly classify regular tasks as high value tasks. A good tool to set them apart is the Time Management Matrix that classifies our daily activities into 4 different quadrants. Your most important tasks fall under Quadrant 2. I’ve written about it extensively complete with diagrams and recommendations on how to deal with tasks in each quadrant, so read them here: Put First Things First.
Going by the questions I raised above, my most important tasks are the ones that bring me closest to my dreams when I do them. For example, working on my blog allows me to reach out to more people out there, which lets me achieve my end vision of enabling others to achieve their highest potential and live their best life. For you reading this now, I’d like to think that you found this blog partially through my efforts in reaching out to people out there, and partially thanks to the universe. Hug smiley Thank you for being here at the blog. This is why I prioritize Personal Excellence blog development over all other tasks, such as writing guest articles, getting new speaking engagements, etc. While other tasks help me progress in my goals too, they’re not as effectively as working on my blog.
It doesn’t end with correctly identifying the high value tasks. Often times, we’ll be imbued with a stream of random, miscellaneous requests throughout the day. I used to give immediate attention to these things. Say random request # 1 comes in and I’ll do it immediately since it takes just 5-10 minutes, max. This is the same for random request # 2, #3…. all the way to #20. After a while, I realized these things take a lot of my time and I don’t even get any meaningful result out of them.  Not only that, I never finish my high value tasks. I may think I’m being very productive when I finish the random things, but truth is it’s just fake productivity.
So nowadays, I use a separate “do later” list for these urgent tasks. I dump all the incoming tasks here and work on my 20% high value tasks (that lead to 80% of the value I get in the day). At the end of the day, I allocate a time slot to clear these tasks. I batch the similar urgent tasks, then clear them at one go. Turns out I’m always able to get them cleared in an hour or less, compared to the few hours I’d have taken if I attended to them in the day.

Habit 2: Allocate breaks strategically

The second habit of productive people is to allocate breaks strategically.
I don’t think being productive requires you to work non-stop like a robot. On the contrary, it’s by doing that that you become less productive. While the number of hours spent on work increases and the amount of work accomplished seems marginally higher, the work done per unit time is lower than your average. Not only that, your work done per extra unit time actually decreases.
If you think the above sounds confusing, not to worry! Here’s a simple example to illustrate my point. Say you want to write a book. You can usually type 1,000 words in an hour working on your book. This goes well for the first 2 hours, and you clock 1,000 words per hour. However, at the third hour, you feel tired, and you type 500 words in the third hour instead. That’s -500 words less than your usual output! In Economics, this is known as the Law of Diminishing Returns.
Rest is important. No matter how much you want to work, there are areas of your life that work can’t fulfill, such as love, family, health. That’s why our life wheel is made up of different segments, vs. just 1 big segment. Each segment is distinct and unreplaceable by others. By “rest”, I’m referring to any segment of your life that’s outside of Business/Career/Studies. Taking time off charges your batteries so you can sprint forward when you return to work.
Earlier this year, I did an experiment. I went for a period where I continuously worked without stopping (save for necessary breaks like sleeping, eating, etc). I also went for a separate period where I would work, then space in break times in between work, such as catching up on emails, exercising, walking around the house, reading books, going for a walk, catching up with friends, a short nap, and so on. What I found was this:
Output decreases over time when there are no breaks (despite reaching the point of diminishing returns)
With breaks, the output can be maintained at a consistent high
*Drawings are very empirical, but you get the idea!
What this means is when I work non-stop without any breaks, my productivity keeps slipping until it’s near 0. However, when I take breaks, they help me start on a high note when I get back. Even though there are “down-times” away during the breaks, the high output more than makes up for that. Hence, by strategically placing my break times, I’m able to maximize my output. Rest, hence, does not prevent me from getting more done – it enables me to get more done. More time spent on work does not necessarily lead to more work done, but applying the above strategy AND combining it with increased time spent on work will maximize your output.
If you’re self-employed or on a flexible work schedule, you can put this into practice easily. Even if you’re in a 9-5 job, you can still do it all the time. Whenever you feel unproductive, throw in a quick break. Walk away from the desk, get a drink from the pantry, go for a toilet break, talk to a colleague about work. You’ll be more perked up when you return.

Habit 3: Remove productivity stoppers (i.e. distractions)

The third habit of productive people is to remove productivity stoppers.
Productivity stoppers are things that limit your productivity. They can be the music you listen to when you work, your slow computer, unwanted phone calls, alerts from your inbox on incoming mail, the internet, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These things trap you and prevent you from getting things done.
What should you do then? Well, remove these stoppers! Or go to a place where they’re no longer an issue. For example, a big productivity stopper for me is the internet. When I write my articles while online, I have the tendency to click to other sites. I’d check my mail, after which I become distracted by the new mail. The mail would lead to follow-up work and replies, which take time. By the time I’m done, a good 15-20 minutes has passed. Then within minutes of working, the same cycle repeats. So instead, when I’m writing, I unplug the LAN cable from my laptop and move my laptop to my bed (which is what I’m doing now as I’m writing this article). It’s a lot faster!
Go about your daily routine and observe when your output slows down. What’s distracting you? How can you remove it? Experiment and try working in different places. Adjust your environment. Make tweaks here and there. The more productivity stoppers you find and remove, the more productive you’ll be.

Habit 4: Tap into your inspiration

The fourth habit of productive people is to tap into inspiration.
I can’t stress how important this is to maximizing your output. No matter what field you’re in, your inspiration is the key to your output. For example, an inspired programmer creates programs that changes people’s lives for the better. An inspired structural engineer designs effective building structures. An inspired marketer creates breakthrough marketing plans that touches people’s hearts. An inspired writer writes continuously. A highly inspired musician writes one song after another
I fully grasped the impact of inspiration when I started my business and was in charge of my full schedule. I realized during the times when I’m inspired, work is simply effortless. Taking writing as an example. The words will flow and I don’t even need to process them. They get transferred as thoughts in my mind straight to the keyboard. My last article How To Finish What You Start was completed in one night, which is much faster than my normal articles which can take as long as a week (for series posts). That’s because I was very inspired when I was writing it. On the other hand, when I’m uninspired, nothing comes out. It’s like when opening a tap and there’s no water, save for one to two drops.
What do you tap into your inspiration then? Do you just idle, waiting for inspiration to strike before you do any work? That’s allocating your control to your external world, which really isn’t what this blog is about. I often hear people say they’re not planning to write because they’re not inspired. I think it’s not about waiting for inspiration to strike but about learning to channel into your inspiration.
How do you do that? It’s simple — think about what inspires you in life. Is it helping others grow? Connecting with people? Being recognized for your work? Working with the poverty? Helping the unfortunate? Being #1 in your field? How can you achieve them? Find out your motivators, then use them to drive you.
My biggest inspiration is to see others achieving their highest potential and living their best lives. I love seeing everyone living to their highest being, and if there are ever anything blocking them I’ll feel all ready to rip it away, so I use this to drive me in everything I create. When I’m writing a blog entry, I’ll start by thinking what is an area people are facing blockages in, then I channel into that energy.
30DLBL was created because I noticed while many people pursue self-help, not many know how to translate what they read into practice. I got inspired to create a personal development program which would encapsulate my best strategies and lessons on how to live our best life. This program would consist of a series of tasks, at a manageable pace of one task a day, which would both trigger immediate action and create tangible results. And hence, 30DLBL was born.

Habit 5: Create barriers to entry

The fifth habit of productive people is to create barriers to entry.
A great thing about our world today is that it’s easier than ever to reach out to someone. Everyone is just a sms/phone call/email/Facebook message away. At the same time it has become a highly distracting place to live in. Every few minutes, there’s a new request coming in. Your phone rings and it’s a telemarketer; You get an sms from a friend who’s bored at work; You get a new email and it’s some unrelated, unimportant mail; You get a Facebook mass events invite from someone you don’t know; Your calendar sends an alert about an appointment you already know… the list goes on.
There are constantly messages coming from all different directions, shouting for your attention. Each one of them serves an agenda that’s not yours. And every time you pay attention to them, you’re distracted from doing what matters… to you.
What do you do then? To get real work done, I recommend you put up barriers, so it’s hard(er) to reach you. Unplug your phone, switch off your phone, close off your inbox, set a personal rule where you only reply to emails after X days. I’m not saying disappear from the face of the earth, but do that during your work hours at least, especially when you’re working on an intense project. After a while, people will get used to it and adhere to the rule in order to reach you.
For example when I was working on the 30DLBL Program last month, I blocked out my calendar from other appointments. When my friends wanted to meet-up, I explained I was working on an important project and I wouldn’t be free for a few weeks.
On a daily basis, sometimes I’d switch off my phone and only check it at the end of the day to return the messages and calls (my telecom automatically sends a message if there are missed calls while I’m unavailable). I set up my blog contact form as my official contact channel, and list out common requests on that page so that people can get their answers even before they contact me! For those who contact me, they know that a reply is never guaranteed, and no reply can usually be considered as a “no.” (See Tip #11 of How to Say No to Others.)
By making it harder for others to reach you, you filter out a lot of unimportant “noise” from outside, and that lets you work on your Q2 goals (see Habit 1). It’s not about being difficult or putting yourself above others (nothing of this sort) – it’s about focusing on what matters to you and creating real value you want in your life so you can then do the same for others.

Habit 6: Optimize time pockets

The sixth habit of productive people is to optimize time pockets.
Time pockets refer to pockets of time you have in between events. You usually get time pockets when waiting for people, commuting, walking from one place to another, etc.
Look at your schedule. What are the time pockets that can be better utilized? How can you maximize them? Have some ready activities to do during these pockets, such as listening to podcasts, reading books, planning, etc. You will be amazed at how much can be done in just a short amount of time!
For example, I spend a lot of time commuting. Even though I largely work from my home office now, I still commute a fair bit, say when heading out to meet friends, networking, business/lunch/personal appointments, giving workshops, and so on. While I try to schedule them at convenient places, there’s still downtime from walking from one location to the next, waiting for transport, traveling, etc.
So rather than let the time go to waste, I use it to do some work. I bought a smart phone last year (with a QWERTY keypad) so I can type articles on the go. I also acquired a dataplan so I can check my emails wherever I am. Last but not least, I make it a habit to bring a notebook when I go out to jot down ideas.
Amazingly, I’m highly productive during these time pockets. Because there’s nothing else I can do in this 15, 30, 45 minutes, I concentrate fully on what I’m doing. Right now, I’m actually typing this article on my bus ride home. Just a few days ago, I finished creating my 3-months plan from Dec ’10 to Feb ’11, as well as created the idea and book outline for my next book for next year, all while having lunch. That’s a lot of progress compared to if I had just spaced out, slept or idled away the time pockets.

Habit 7: Set timelines

The seventh habit of productive people is to set timelines.
This is a fundamental productivity habit. By Parkinson’s Law, work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This means if you don’t set a timeline, you can take forever to complete what you’re doing. If you set a timeline of two weeks, you’ll take two weeks. If you set one week, you’ll take one  week. And interestingly enough, if you set one hour, you actually can complete it by one hour too, if you truly want to.
So, set timelines. When you set timelines, you set the intention to complete the work by this time, hence paving the way for the reality to manifest.
I do regular goal setting to maximize my output. The 30DLBL Program was out last month as I had set the timeline for it to be released then. If I hadn’t done so, it would still be in the works, possibly for release this month, next month, or perhaps even never. This month, I’ve timelines for other projects, such as for an upcoming workshop, to start writing my next book, write new articles, have a second anniversary celebration at Personal Excellence (more on that next week!), release Personal Excellence Book version 2, and hit new readership targets at PE.  By virtue of just setting these targets and striving for them, I’m already increasing my productivity compared to if I didn’t set any goals.
Be clear on what you want to achieve (Habit 1), then set your timelines for them. What do you want to finish this month? What will make you look back and think that this is the best way you’ve spent today, and there’s no better way you could have spent it? Set that as your targets. From there, set your weekly goals. Finally, you can set your daily goals which become your day-to-day targets.

Habit 8: Automate everything possible

The eighth and last habit of productive people is to automate everything possible.
Technology today has made automation possible for a lot of things we do. Even when it’s impossible to fully automate the task, we can still use the systems to get a lot of the work done for us.
Keep a record of the things you do today, and see how you can automate them. Some of the not-so-productive tasks that we do on a regular basis are:
  1. Delete, archive, sort our mail
  2. Delete spam mail
  3. Paying our bills
  4. Appointment scheduling
  5. Planning our days/weeks/months (unproductive because it’s still planning vs. acting)
Here is a partial list of things I automate:
  • Mail: I have set up e-mail filters where all site requests and reader mail automatically go into my ‘Reply later’ folder.  I also have filters where newsletters and subscriptions go into different folders depending on what they are about. That way, my only job is to read e-mails and respond where needed, not to sort. (Check out: 11 Simple Tips To Effective Email Management and 3 Simple Tips To Achieve Inbox Zero Using E-mail Filters [Video].)
  • Scheduling: My schedules are somewhat automated. I set recurring items for things I’ve to do daily, weekly or monthly like paying the bills, posting new 30DLBL daily posts (for Dec 30DLBL), exercising (daily), training workshops, etc so I don’t have to worry about them later. It’s not exactly automatic in that I have to first create the entry, but once it’s set I don’t need to do anything about it anymore.
  • Tweeting/Facebook: I automate the tweeting and posting of my new posts. Every time a new post goes live, my twitter will have an announcement, which automatically feeds into my facebook as well
  • Book payments: My book payments are automatic. Whenever someone makes a purchase for one of my books, e-junkie (my payment vendor) will automatically generate an invoice, a download link and a confirmation email and send them to the buyer. The payment is automatically sent to Paypal.
  • Coaching payments: The same goes for my one-to-one coaching, where the payment system is automatic.
  • Coaching schedules: My coaching sessions with each client are set on a fixed day, fixed timing every week. Like #2, I have to first create the entry, but after that it’s automatic. That way we don’t need to arrange for a time slot every week and can get on with the coaching topics.
  • Site maintenance: I’ve set up my blog and forums to be as low maintenance as possible, to the extent where my only involvement is to write/post new content and reply comments. Many things such as the statistics, category count (in the sidebar), etc are automatically generated by WordPress.
I’m continuously looking for ways to automate my process, so I can spend more time on creating value for others rather than being stuck in busy work. By automating your to-do list as much as possible, you reserve your time for the absolute important things. If you get a deja vu feeling when doing something on your task list, that’s a cue to automate that item.
Source: PE

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