Knowing how to take better notes can help us remember or reference things later to have more success.
While it may seem unimportant, learning how to take better notes is a useful skill to develop.
Why is it Important to Learn How to Take Better Notes?
Taking better notes is important because it will:
- Help improve our ability to recall and understand what we’re learning or want to remember.
- Lead to less stress especially when we have to reference something from the past.
- Improve our listening skills.
- Help our ability to focus on the present moment.
- Improve our creativity as we’ll learn how to connect topics or points discussed.
- Make us more productive, efficient and effective because we’ll have a system for capturing and recalling information.
Situations Which Require You to Take Better Notes
We have many situations where knowing how to take better notes can be a huge advantage. These include:
- Learning and studying.
- Brainstorming Sessions.
- Team meetings.
- One-on-one meetings and interviews.
- Educational settings such as conferences, seminars or training programs.
As we improve our ability to take better notes, we’ll gain more confidence to apply what we need. This will lead to more intelligent actions, which will help us achieve the success we want.
With our daily distractions continuing to increase, it’s important to prepare for better productivity to have great days consistently.
We all want to use of our time well and be as productive as we can be. How we use our time impacts what we accomplish every day.
What is Productivity?
Productivity is defined as “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.”
It’s the act of producing something or an outcome. It’s easy to confuse busyness with being productive.
If we’re always busy, it doesn’t mean we’re producing the right things to enhance our lives.
Why is it Valuable to Prepare For Better Productivity?
The ability to be productive doesn’t just happen. We have to give it thought to produce the results we want.
If we prepare for better productivity every day, benefits we can expect include:
- More clarity on what we have to do.
- Greater levels of focus or concentration when working.
- Faster progress by working less.
- More free time.
- Increased satisfaction with what we’re accomplishing.
If we don’t prepare for better productivity, we put ourselves at risk of getting distracted. We may also end up wasting valuable time on things or activities that aren’t important.
If you’re like me, one struggle you face consistently is to do what you know you should.
Even though most times, we know what’s best for us, we don’t always do what we know we should.
Doing what we know we should is important if we want to achieve meaningful things and feel good about ourselves.
Signs You Are Not Doing What You Know You Should
There are obvious signs that indicate you’re not doing what you know you should. These include:
- You procrastinate when you have things to do.
- You stay up late even though you have to get up early.
- You don’t take good care of yourself.
- You binge despite knowing it’s not good for you. This may include eating, drinking or watching movies.
- You don’t change things in your life even though you know you’re not happy or inspired.
One thing I have struggled with in the past is exercising consistently. Even though I knew it was important to do physical exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I wasn’t doing any.
The consequence was I gained weight and didn’t feel good about myself, which affected my confidence. When I exercised regularly and paid more attention to what I was eating, I got healthier. That helped me lose the weight I wanted to, which made me feel better about myself and gain more confidence.
The better we understand why we don’t do what we know we should, the more likely we’ll change our behaviour.
Knowing how to improve your sleep cycles is important because it will make a difference to your quality of sleep.
We don’t function at our best if we don’t get enough rest. If we learn more about sleep cycles, we can take appropriate steps to ensure we get a better night’s sleep.
What is a Sleep Cycle?
A sleep cycle is like a stage we go through every time we sleep. There are five cycles we can go through if we give ourselves enough time for sleep.
Each cycle or stage takes around 90 minutes. To get through all the cycles, it’s beneficial to get a minimum of seven and a half hours sleep every night. If we can give ourselves nine hours of sleep, that’s highly beneficial because we’ll get through six sleep cycles.
Benefits of Improving Your Sleep Cycles
Improving our sleep cycle will lead to better quality sleep, however there are additional benefits. These include:
- Waking up feeling rested and relaxed.
- Maintaining a positive mood which means having a healthy attitude throughout the day.
- Feeling more energised and alert.
- Having greater levels of focus or concentration.
- Staying more present which means higher productivity.
By giving more attention to what we can do to improve our sleep cycles, we can have highly productive days.
Knowing how to get unstuck and move forward is valuable to know because our daily pressures often slows us down.
Feeling stuck can be painful but staying there for a prolonged period is even more painful.
What Does it Mean to Be Stuck?
When we’re in a state of feeling stuck, it can cause:
- Mental turmoil and emotional stress.
- Reduced levels of motivation.
- Lack of clarity and confusion.
- Slow progress towards what we want to accomplish.
- Low levels of positive expectancy or happiness.
Commons Reasons People Get Stuck
There are many reasons why we feel stuck and some of these include:
- Having too many things to do with no clear criteria for prioritising them.
- Lacking self-confidence to pursue something.
- Not believing in ourselves and our ability to achieve what we want.
- Ignoring problems or pretending we don’t have them.
- Comparing our progress or success to others.
- Not having plans resulting in not knowing what actions to take.
- Believing we don’t have the resources to reach our goals.
- Being afraid to fail.
- Criticising ourselves for mistakes we’ve made.
- Doing the same things hoping to get a different result.
Having ways to get unstuck will help us get back into action and move towards the things we want.
One way to become more productive is to adjust your habits to support you in accomplishing what you want.
Our lives and our results are the accumulation of our habits. To make changes that will last, we have to review what we’re doing, what’s working or not working.
Once we have that awareness, we can take relevant actions to identify and form habits that will help us.
As our habits are like deep roots, changing them can be challenging. We often experience resistance which plays out as excuses, justifications or stories we tell ourselves why changing something is not the best idea or won’t work for us.
How Habits Work
Before we adjust our habits, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of how habits work. We can break habits down into these stages:
As we know more about what’s happening at each stage, we’ll notice what’s happening when we’re going through the process of adjusting our habits.
As we’re living such busy lives, having the ability to cope with overwhelm, without losing focus, is a distinct advantage.
It doesn’t take much for us to start feeling overwhelmed because we have to deal with many things in our personal and professional lives.
Things That Can Cause Overwhelm
Whenever we feel overwhelmed, it means certain things are happening or playing out for us. Some of these include:
- Lack of clarity on what’s most important now.
- No clear criteria for managing priorities.
- Having more things to do than we have time available to do them.
- Not having the confidence or competence to do something.
- Failing to set boundaries with others.
The Costs of Overwhelm
Even though feeling overwhelmed is self-generated, it’s not a pleasant experience to have. The costs of overwhelm include:
- Emotional turmoil which can cause irritability, frustration or anger.
- Failing to meet deadlines.
- Not being able to focus well which can cause poor quality work.
- Having low confidence and motivation to get things done.
- Losing self-trust and trust with others.
Being able to cope with overwhelm means we’ll still complete things without losing focus.
If we want to perform better continuously and achieve more, getting things done before deadlines is a useful habit.
Some people thrive in meeting deadlines. Others may find leaving things until the last minute can be stressful or overwhelming.
It’s important we have a better understanding of which strategy works better for us and continue to improve.
As I’ve continued to become more productive, I’ve found that getting things done before deadlines works better for me. Whenever I leave things right until the end, I find I’m not as effective.
It also affects the quality of my work because it usually isn’t to the standard I’d like it to be.
I once had a colleague who liked to leave things until the last minute because deadlines motivated her. There was a noticeable change in her physiology when she had to complete something by a certain date and time.
Doing less to become more productive sounds appealing, but it also goes against most productivity concepts.
One definition of being productive is the ability to do more, in less time. The more productive we are, the more we should be able to get done.
The challenge with this concept is that it’s highly unlikely we’ll run out of things to do. As we get more things done, there will be more things we’ll want to get done.
The Costs of Always Doing More
Being in a mindset of always doing more to be productive can be costly because:
- We’ll generate more stress because of the pressure to get things done.
- It can affect our health and well-being.
- It can cause us to work more, to the point of becoming a workaholic.
- We won’t have as much time as we’d like for other things in life.
- It will affect our ability to stay focused, which will lead to poor performance and results.
There is a more intelligent way to be more productive, while doing less, and still achieving our outcomes.
A new mindset we need to adopt to be more productive by doing less is, “Less but better.”
As we get started with a new year, it’s normal to want to perform better this year than last year.
One decision we can make to elevate our performance this year is to choose to spend more time with other achievers.
As we become like the people we spend most of our time with, find out why being around other achievers can elevate your performance this year in this post.
Having inspiring and supportive people in our lives will make us better performers. Please revisit this post and find out things you can do to elevate your performance this year.
Question: What is one action you will take that will support you in being a better performer this year?