Month: March 2022

50+ Productivity Tips to Take Your Success to the Next Level

productivity tips

Do you struggle with staying focused, motivated, and productive? Here are 50+ of the most definitive productivity tips to take your success to the next level.

50+ Productivity Tips to Take Your Success to the Next Level

Here’s a comprehensive list of all the main tips, tools, and advice for improving your productivity and motivation.

There’s a lot of information here, so consider bookmarking this page for future reference.

Which tips work best for you? Which tips would you like to try out?

  • Time-Boxing – Schedule a certain amount of time in your day to complete a task. Often getting something done requires that we first identify a convenient time and place to actually do it. When time-boxing any activity, set very specific goals such as, “I will go to the gym tomorrow morning between 7AM-8AM,” or “I will work on my taxes Saturday afternoon between 2PM-3PM.” When appropriate, set an alert or timer, so you remind yourself when to start and work for the fully allotted time. You can also use a daily planner or calendar to create an outline of each day for the week – as well as create a breakdown of your complete daily routine to find opportunities to make changes.
  • Prioritize – Focus on what matters most each day. You only have a limited amount of time, effort, and willpower to invest each day, so it’s important that you invest it wisely. Make a list of the top 3 tasks you want to complete each day – try to avoid being distracted by tasks that aren’t as immediate or important. (“I really need to pay my bills today,” or “I need to start that project that is due by the end of the week.”) If you could only get ONE thing done today, what would it be? That’s a good place to start.
  • Say “No” – Know when to simply say “no” to people’s requests or new projects. If you say “yes” to everything, you will never get anything done. (“Sorry I can’t work with you on that because I need to focus on this,” or “I’m going to stay in this Friday night to catch up on some things.”) As Warren Buffett once said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” Similarly, it’s important to know when to quit goals you’ve already wasted too much time or energy on (or no longer care about), so that you can redirect that energy to more important things that still matter to you. Your time matters – so make sure you are saying “Yes” to the right things.
  • Get Up and Move! – A lot of work requires us sitting for long periods of time, so it’s important to get up and move around when you have the chance, even if it’s just going for a walk, doing a quick round of push-ups, or standing up for a few minutes. As someone who works a lot on my computer, I practice a scattered workout throughout the day to keep my mind and body active.
  • Control Your Devices – Technology can make work easier, but it can also be a huge distraction. One of the best ways to eliminate distractions is to minimize notifications and alerts that don’t serve any immediate purpose. You can also leave your phone in another room (or far away from your desk) so you’re not tempted to keep checking it, or block certain websites during work hours that only waste your time.
  • Take Short Breaks – Most people can only focus on a task for 45-60 minutes at a time before they start getting tired and unfocused. This is why it’s so important to take micro-breaks throughout the day to keep your mind fresh and energized. Just a 5-10 minute break (such as having a conversation with a friend, eating a quick snack, or spending some time outside) is a great way to hit the “reset” button before you sit back down to work.
  • Checklists – It can seem simple and commonsense, but a daily checklist is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable and stay on track with your goals. We often forget to do the small things because they seem so obvious, but a checklist can help remind you and avoid making stupid mistakes.
  • 2 Minute Rule – If you can complete a task within 2 minutes, it usually makes sense to just do it right away. This could include responding to an email, paying a bill, or putting out the trash. It helps to have a healthy sense of urgency with tasks that are right in front of you rather than leave it off and try to remember to do later.
  • Drink Water and Eat Healthy Snacks – During a busy workday we can sometimes forget to keep our bodies nourished and hydrated. It’s important to make sure you drink plenty of water (keep a bottle by your desk) and eat healthy snacks (nutrition bars, salads, nuts, fruits) when you start getting distracted or fatigued – it could mean you are running low on glucose, which plays an important role in boosting willpower and energy levels throughout the day.
  • Control Social Media – Social media is one of the biggest distractions while working – it’s also a place with a lot of stress, anxiety, and negativity that can suck up your energy. Consider minimizing your social media use to a limited time within the day, turn off unnecessary notifications, and build a positive digital environment that actually motivates you and inspires you.
  • Schedule When to Check Email – Email is another thing we are constantly refreshing and checking throughout the day. Unless you’re waiting for an email that is super important and needs your immediate attention, consider scheduling time to check emails (such as once in the morning, once after lunch, and once in the evening). Try to avoid checking emails during leisure time and off-hours so that you can turn your mind off from work-related stuff.
  • Organize Your Workspace – Your work environment has a big influence over your work habits. If you’re in a messy, disorganized, and noisy environment with a lot of distractions, it’s going to be harder to stay focused than if you have a clean, organized, and quiet workspace that encourages concentration and relaxation. Consider doing a tidying marathon in your workspace to give yourself a fresh restart. Once you’re organized, add some decorations (pictures of family and friends, plants, sentimental objects, motivational quotes or affirmations, or a whiteboard) to give your workspace a boost of positive energy.
  • Go to Bed Earlier, Wake Up Earlier – While not everyone is an early bird, research shows that even night owls can benefit from trying to go to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Try to shift your sleep schedule just one hour back and see if you notice a difference. Sometimes that extra hour in the morning can make a huge difference to your overall daily routine and habits, especially if you use it wisely.
  • Step Back and Breathe – Life can be so busy that we forget to take a step back and breathe sometimes. A short breathing meditation is a great way to temporarily disconnect from work and recharge yourself, even if it’s just 10 deep breaths before starting a new task, going to a meeting, or jumping on a conference call. Sometimes you need to take a step back to give yourself the opportunity to step forward even stronger.
  • Shorter Meetings – If you have a lot of meetings at work, it’s important that they are used efficiently and not turned into a waste of people’s time and energy. Many people see most meetings at their job as pointless. When necessary, meetings should focus on 1-3 specific goals – and they don’t need to be longer than 15-30 minutes (unless they are a training session or brainstorming session). This lecture on the science of meetings by Steven Rogelberg has a lot of great tips and suggestions.
  • Productivity Apps – One huge benefit of living in today’s world is that we have a lot of helpful productivity apps that can improve our motivation and accountability. It’s nice to be able to quantify your progress, such as how many times in a week you exercised, meditated, or succeeded with a new habit. There are many types of self-improvement apps out there, including health apps (monitoring sleep, diet, physical activity, steps you take), stress apps (guided meditations, ASMR, relaxing music), and productivity apps (habit trackers, motivational reminders). However, beware not to become too “app crazy” – these tools should be designed to change your real-world actions, not distract you or give you more things to worry about. They should be making your life easier, not harder. Start with just one new app that fits with your current goals and see if it works.
  • Plan Ahead – While it’s important to focus on what’s in your power in the moment, it’s also essential to have a long-term vision in mind. We can’t predict what exactly our future will be in life, but one nice planning exercise is to create a timeline for your goals, including what you want to accomplish within the next week, month, year, and decade. It may or may not happen, but at least you are working toward something in the far future. As one common saying goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
  • Listen to Music – Music is one of the most common tools we use to change our mental state. We can use it in a variety of ways to reduce stress, improve focus, uplift our moods, or energize ourselves. What’s the best type of music to listen to while you work? It depends on the type of work. I personally like to listen to a lot of ambient, classical, or instrumental music while I write, since music with vocals/lyrics tends to distract me when doing “mental work” (such as writing, reading, studying, or brainstorming). Ultimately, choose music that fits your individual preferences and works best for that specific task or situation.
  • Break Tasks Down – Having trouble getting started? Try to break down tasks into smaller parts to make them easier to work on. For example, instead of trying to write a 10 page report all at once, focus on completely just one page at a time. Sometimes we need to think smaller to overcome motivational inertia. If we try to bite off more than we can chew all at once, we will easily get frustrated and want to give up. One good question to ask yourself is, “What is the smallest step I can take in the right direction?” Start there and keep going.
  • 80/20 Rule – One of the most popular concepts when it comes to productivity is the Pareto Principle or “80/20 rule.” The basic idea is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. By keeping this rule in mind, you can identify what your most important tasks are throughout your day. What are the 20% of your actions that lead to 80% of your results? What activities are absolutely essential? Often by focusing more time, attention, and energy on those tasks, you can maximize your results more efficiently. For example, if you’re an online business that gets 80% of your customers through social media, than that’s an avenue you want to explore more and continue to put valuable time and effort in.
  • Consistent Sleep Schedule – Healthy sleep habits are probably the most important factor when it comes to both physical and mental health. Numerous studies show how losing even one hour of sleep at night can increase stress and anxiety, make you more angry and irritable, and cause you to make more mistakes at work. No matter if you’re an “early bird” or “night owl”, it’s important you keep a consistent sleep schedule on a daily basis, usually within the range of 6-10 hours per night.
  • Focus On How Good You Will Feel After You Finish – When it comes to daily chores and responsibilities that we often find boring, tedious, or even painful, it’s important to remind yourself how good you will feel once you finally get it over with. Sure, it sucks to spend that one Saturday morning working on your taxes – but remember how good you will feel when it’s all finished and you don’t even have to think about it anymore. Other people will be rushing to get things done before the deadline hits, and you can give yourself a pat on the back for completing it early and relieving yourself of future stress. While it can often suck to get annoying tasks done in the moment, we underestimate the “high” we get once we actually do them.
  • Delegate Tasks You Really Suck At – If you’re working with a group or team, it’s always important to keep in mind everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. The best productivity in team settings comes when everyone knows where they fit best. If there are certain types of tasks you really suck at (or strongly dislike), it may be a good idea to see if someone else is willing to take those duties off of your back. This is an important principle for managers and leaders, but it can also apply to individuals as well. No matter what you need help with (whether at home or at work), you can probably find someone to hire who is willing to do it for you or at least offer guidance.
  • Minimize News, Current Events, and Celebrity Gossip – It’s very easy to get wrapped up in news, politics, and current events that only suck up your time and energy. Some of us probably spend more time arguing on the internet with people than we do actually working. Mass media can be particularly damaging because so much of it focuses on creating negative emotions like fear, anger, or disgust to grab our attention and manipulate us. This is one reason I’ve made it a habit to consume at least one good news every day to remind myself that not everything happening in the world is terrible and tragic. It’s also helpful to just “tune out” more (turn off the TV, stop spending so much time on social media) so that you can focus on things that actually influence your life on a practical level.
  • Remind Yourself What You Like About Your Work – Our minds have an inherent negativity bias no matter what it is in life, especially when it comes to our job or career. It’s easy to go into work everyday thinking, “I can’t wait for my coworker to say something stupid,” or “I know the boss is going to give it to me today,” but what about the things you like about your job? How often do you think about those aspects – or even feel grateful for them? Try to make a list of the positive things about your job (a coworker you really like, helping people, getting paid) and reflect on it whenever you feel negative or overwhelmed. There are probably other jobs out there that would be an even worse fit for you, right? Of course, if you truly can’t identify a single thing you like about your job, then it may be time to consider making a serious change. Not all jobs are created equal – it’s important to find one that works for you personally.
  • Follow Up With People – In any group or organization, the most important aspect of efficiency is communication and making sure everyone is on the same page. This is why checking in on people and following up with them is essential. Haven’t heard from someone in awhile about that project? Find out how they are doing, ask them their current status, when they expect to finish it, what problems they are running into, or if they need any help or assistance with anything. In modern organizations, a team of teams mindset can help pull together different aspects of an organization to make sure it is acting as a single organism – but this requires that there is constant feedback and information flowing between everyone.
  • Acknowledge Your Past Success – We sometimes forget to look back on our lives and be proud of our past successes and accomplishments. We become so trapped into looking at where we want to go in the future (our “current goal”) that we neglect to acknowledge how far we’ve already traveled in life. What are some past success stories in your life? Consider creating a list and saving it as a positive resource to revisit and be inspired by. In general, positive memories can be a powerful source of happiness, inspiration, and motivation if we know how to reflect on them wisely. If you can identify your success in the past, you can use that to fuel your success in the future.
  • Find Your Flow StateFlow is a popular concept in psychology where you become so immersed in an activity that you lose your sense of time and self. It’s often described as a state of “peak performance,” which is highly rewarding becaause you feel equally skilled and challenged to overcome any obstacle you come across. Different activities put different people into flow, so it’s important to find the type of work that you can get lost in for hours.
  • Sleep on Big Decisions – Most types of work require that we make big decisions every now and then (even the simple question of whether or not we should “stay” or “leave” a particular job is a huge choice that we shouldn’t take lightly). When it comes to any type of big decision in life, it’s often best to give yourself time to “sleep on it.” There’s something about a good night’s rest that can help put things into perspective and allow you to evaluate a decision from a fresh clean slate, rather than impulsively responding to something in the heat-of-the-moment.
  • Put a Fun Twist on Ordinary Activities – The key to healthy work is sometimes just knowing how to make things as fun and enjoyable as possible (the old “whistle while you work” philosophy). There’s a lot of research about the importance of balancing “work” and “play,” and studies suggest that putting a fun twist on ordinary activities can make them more engaging and memorable. There are many different ways to accomplish this, such as turning things into a game or friendly competition, or listening to music/dancing/singing, or trying to beat your “high score” with a specific task. Be creative and find what makes things the most fun and enjoyable for you (without hurting the quality of your work).
  • Give Yourself Credit for the Small Wins – Each day there are “small wins” that you should pay attention to and give yourself credit for, even if it’s just showing up to work, not losing your temper, learning something new, or making it through another day. While these may not seem like the most glorious “wins,” they count for something, and we should learn to give ourselves more credit for everything we do right (or things we don’t do) and continue to build off of that. Sometimes growth and progress are happening slower than we’d like them to, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. What “small win” can you give yourself credit for today? To start, give yourself credit for reading this article!
  • Work From Home – It’s becoming more common in today’s world for people to work from home. Many people enjoy the benefits of not having to commute, not being stuck in a noisy office, or being surrounded by other employees. The comfort of working from home can often give us a productivity boost – it’s nice to be in an environment you have complete freedom and control over – as long as we don’t get too distracted or think of it as a “day off.” Make sure you have a designated space or office at home to focus on work and give yourself a chance to settle into your new routine. If your job doesn’t currently let you work from home, start with small requests such as a one-time, “Can I work from home today?” If you can prove it won’t hurt your performance, you can start asking for a certain number of days per week.
  • Drink Caffeinated Beverages Responsibly – Drinking coffee, tea, or energy drinks is a common habit for most working people. Caffeine can definitely give you a quick boost of energy and focus to help you get out of that morning fog and keep you energized throughout the day. Try to drink responsibly within the morning hours when you most need them (7AM-12PM), then consider a quick lift-me-up at some point in the afternoon (often between 2PM-5PM people experience another dip in energy levels, usually after lunch time). Make sure to still drink plenty of water and eat healthy food throughout the day. Caffeine shouldn’t be used to curb your appetite until dinner time, or drink so much throughout the day that you crash right after work. Be smart, use it in moderation, and find a balance that works best for you.
  • Be On Time – It’s commonsense, but being responsible and showing up on time to work and meetings shows that you really care, you can be trusted, and you take your job seriously. While everyone may show up late every now and then (for unforeseen reasons), you should try your best to be as reliable as possible. If you have a habit of showing up late to things, then try showing up 5 minutes earlier than usual to make up the difference. As the famous Woody Allen quote goes, “80% of success in life is just showing up.” Being where you need to be when you need to be there is essential.
  • Write Things Down and Be a Diligent Note-Taker – Don’t trust your brain to remember everything. Often we can forget key details or instructions unless we write them down somewhere for later. Taking notes during important meetings, conversations, or brainstorming sessions can go a long way. Studies show that writing things down (and even drawing ideas) can improve our thinking, memory, and problem-solving skills. It’s important we act on the information we consume, otherwise it will often go “in one ear, out the other.” Always have a pen and notepad by your desk for random note-taking.
  • Deescalate Workplace Tension and Hostility – All work requires working with other people to some extent, and that can often invite unnecessary drama and conflict that hurts everyone’s performance on the job. Learning important social skills, such as how to defuse heated arguments, is an essential and often underrated aspect of productivity. There will likely be clashes between different ideas, personalities, and interests, so it’s important to invite healthy communication and debate without taking things personally. Listen to other people and show respect even if you happen to disagree with them – it will save you from a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety in the long-term.
  • Be True to Yourself – Everyone can contribute something valuable to society if they know themselves. Often times “hating a job” isn’t necessarily about the specific attributes of that job, but that it’s simply a “bad fit” for that particular individual. Some people do their best work while surrounded by a lot of people, while others do their best work by themselves or with a very small group. Some people do their best work when it comes to physical labor or “hands on” work, while others do their best work when it requires mental labor and brainstorming. Ultimately, the more you accept yourself, the easier it will be to find a job or career that best suits you and your personality.
  • Experiment With Small Changes – Our daily routines are a constant work-in-progress. Always be willing to experiment with small changes to see what works best for you. A bunch of “small tweaks” over time can make a huge difference in the long-term, even if it’s simple things like changing your morning ritual, or changing your approach when dealing with a difficult boss or coworker. I’ve been actively working on my daily routine for over a decade now, but I still experiment with small changes to keep things fresh and keep growing. There are always ways to make small improvements if you know where to look and you’re willing to try new things.
  • Change Your Scenery – One of the easiest ways to change your mindset is to change your environment. If you find yourself trapped in old patterns, unable to brainstorm new ideas, or stuck on a problem at work, consider changing your scenery by stepping outside in the sun, going on a short nature walk, or moving your work to the local library or cafe. A different environment can help jolt new ideas and new ways of thinking, especially if you’ve been spending too much time sitting at your desk being bored and distracted. Studies also show that group brainstorming sessions tend to be more creative and generate more ideas when they are done outside during a nature walk, rather than just sitting in the same old conference room. The next time you have an important group meeting, consider doing it somewhere with a beautiful view to help stimulate everyone’s mind.
  • Save Your Good Ideas – Our minds are always generating new ideas, many of which we can’t always act on right away. How often do you have a good idea for a new project, but nothing ever materializes? Maybe you even have a great idea before bed, but by next morning you’ve lost it? When it comes to any type of creative thinking, it’s important to have some type of “ideas list” or “ideas journal” where you can record your ideas and revisit them in the future. For example, when it comes to writing I have hundreds of new ideas for articles that I haven’t written yet. This can be an amazing resource for when I’m looking for new inspiration. If I don’t know what to write about on a certain day, I always have a list of ideas to draw from if I need them. The best creative minds always have more ideas than they do current projects, and it’s smart for them to record all those ideas somewhere safe.
  • Practice Mental Rehearsal with New Habits – It can be difficult to change our habits or act in new ways if we can’t yet imagine ourselves actually doing it. This is why mental rehearsal – visualizing yourself performing a new habit – can be such a valuable tool for sparking change. By practicing new actions in your mind, you make it more likely that you will follow through on those actions in the real world; but without this mental rehearsal, it’s easy to just fall back into your old patterns. Identify one situation you’d like to act differently in. Decide what the best course of action would be in that situation. Take the time to visualize yourself performing that new action. Then the next time you find yourself in that situation, remember what you practiced and try your best to follow through on it. Rinse and repeat until the habit becomes second-nature.
  • Create a Reward to Look Forward To – Find healthy ways to reward yourself after a difficult day, even if it’s something simple like watching a favorite TV show, eating your favorite dessert, playing a new video game, or taking a relaxing bath. When you have something to look forward to after a hard day’s work, that can give you that extra boost of energy and motivation throughout the day. Research shows that creating healthy anticipation in life can be a powerful force when we use it wisely. You can also create long-term rewards to look forward to, such as planning a vacation over the summer, taking some “mental health days” at the end of the month, or saving up for a nice luxury expense like a new car or TV. Creating your own rewards provides the feeling that you are “working for something” in the future that matters to you, beyond just the paycheck or being able to pay your bills. What are you currently looking forward to? What type of rewards would work best to keep you motivated?
  • Be a Balanced Person – Your job doesn’t define you. In our materialistic world, people tend to believe that something only has “value” in life if it leads to more money or wealth. But work is only ONE aspect of life – and being a more balanced person requires we pay attention to other important areas, including our health, relationships, and well-being. If work is hurting these other areas in life, then it may be time to reevaluate and reprioritize what really matters to you. No one is lying on their death-bed thinking, “I wish I spent more time at work,” but people do often regret “Not spending enough time with family,” or “Not spending enough time taking care of my physical and mental health.”
  • Analyze Your Mistakes and Failures – In theory we all know that mistakes and failures are a part of learning, but in practice it can be painful to dive into those failures and try to extract a meaningful lesson from them. Don’t be afraid to sit down and take the time to actually write about your failures in an open and honest way. Put yourself back into that moment, even if it’s a bit painful or embarrassing. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently?” or “Knowing what I know now, how would I have responded to this situation?” If you’re feeling brave, create a collection of failure stories (everyone has them) as a resource to reflect and learn from.
  • Don’t Compare Your Path to Anyone Else – You can’t compare your success to anyone else’s, because everyone is on different paths. Perhaps your friends and peers are already working steady jobs, getting married, having kids, or buying a home, and you feel “behind” because you haven’t yet reached these goals. It’s natural to compare yourself to others, but you have to remember that constant social comparison can often be a never-ending source of frustration and unhappiness. Ultimately, people have different goals, values, and priorities in life, and the most important thing isn’t how you compare to anyone on any specific metric, but instead that you are trying your best, making the most with what you have, and focusing on what really matters to you in this chapter of your life.
  • Learn a New Skill – Often the combination of skills we bring to a job is more important than any single skill we have. An employee who has experience with design, psychology, and music, is going to stand out over an employee who just focuses on design. An employee who is fluent in 2-3 languages is going to have an edge over an employee who is only fluent in one (especially when it comes to a job in customer service). In general, a unique skillset is going to make you a more unique employee, so sometimes the best way to elevate your resume is to learn a completely new skill or trade. That could mean going back to college, signing up for late night classes, or taking a workshop or online course. In today’s rapidly changing economy, a jack of all trades mindset is often necessary to be able to adapt and evolve with future job demands.
  • Avoid Common “Cognitive Biases” At Work – Our minds are prone to many errors that can hurt how we approach our work. Common biases that are hurting your goals include the “planning fallacy,” where we often underestimate how long it will take to complete a project, the “sunk cost fallacy,” where we often continue to invest time, energy, and money in lost causes, and “illusory superiority,” where we always think we know what is best even when it comes to topics we don’t know much about. Which cognitive biases are you most susceptible to? How are they influencing your work? How can you change your mindset or approach to avoid falling victim to these errors in judgment in the future?
  • Make Friends At Work – Healthy relationships make a huge difference in all areas of life, especially at work. To start, having friends around (or people you like) makes the overall work environment more fun, relaxing, and stress-free. They can also be a huge source of motivation. When you ask most people why they try their best at work, it’s usually because they don’t want to let other people down, including their boss, coworkers, or customers. When you make friends at work in all forms, it becomes more than just “getting the job done,” but instead turns your job into a meaningful social experience.
  • Think in Terms of “Systems” vs. “Goals” – Goals are often short-term thinking, while systems are long-term thinking. Setting a goal or deadline can be useful as a temporary motivator, but a system is concerned with long-term success, progress, and sustainability. Systems focus on cultivating the right process rather than any individual results. For example, you may not meet a specific goal in time, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t making real progress (or that you should stop doing what you’re doing). Be patient. Systems are about building the right habits and routines, and trusting that the results will come eventually (even if you don’t know exactly when).
  • Build Up Your “Mental Toolbox” – Taking care of your mind is important no matter what type of work you do, even athletes know that 50% of every game is mental. Everyone can benefit from learning helpful tools in psychology and mental health (if you’re reading this, you likely already agree). The more tools you have in your mental toolbox, the easier it will be to overcome daily obstacles and hardships. When you find yourself in a negative mood, do you know how to manage it? There are many options out there…write about it, talk to someone, exercise, do something creative, or go for a walk. Create a plan for how to respond to your negative emotions. Once you recognize that you always have a choice in how you respond to your mental state, you become more powerful in every area of life.
  • Believe You’re Close to a Major Breakthrough – It can be hard to notice any changes on a day-to-day basis. But just because you can’t see changes happening right in front of your eyes, doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress below the surface. We often go through “cocoon phases” where it feels like things are fixed and stagnant, then there is a rapid spike of transformation. Self-improvement isn’t linear – often there are long periods of plateaus, and even times when you feel you are taking steps backwards. Recognize that all of that is part of the process. You may be closer to a major breakthrough than you think, so hang in there and keep doing the right things.

That completes our list of motivation and productivity tips. There’s a lot of information here, but don’t get too overwhelmed.

Start by just choosing one tip and try it out for the week. Give it an honest shot and see if it works for you (or doesn’t), then move onto another piece of advice and keep building from there.

Remember that everything in self-improvement is a constant “work in progress,” so don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t magically change overnight.

Be patient with yourself, take small steps forward, and keep going!

Stay updated on new articles and resources in psychology and self improvement from The Emotion Machine:

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Heart Wisdom – Ep. 145 – Compassion in a Time of War Meditation

In this guided meditation, we open our hearts and extend compassion to all in this time of war.
May your struggles and sorrows be eased. May you hold yourself in great compassion. May you be safe and protected. May your heart be at peace. May your life be at peace.


The post Heart Wisdom – Ep. 145 – Compassion in a Time of War Meditation appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

The Bigger Picture


It’s been over two years since the start of the pandemic, and people are still talking about vaccines, masks and antiseptics.
But who’s talking about poverty, malnutrition, stress, pollution and environmental destruction?
Where are the trillions of dollars spent to resolving those problems that are at the core of our public health crisis?

You see, our priorities are upside down.
We deal with symptoms, but not their causes.
We focus on control, but not understanding.
We fight disease, but don’t cultivate health.
We see parts, but we’ve neglected the whole.

Our myopic attention prevents us from seeing the bigger picture.
And please don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying don’t get vaccinated, don’t wear masks or don’t use antiseptics.
What I’m saying is simply this:
Let’s not pretend that such actions are going to fix our civilization’s health crisis.

The enemy is neither the virus nor the unvaccinated.
The enemy, so to speak, is a system of thought and the social structures that arise from it.
But this enemy is unlike those in movies:
He won’t be defeated by fighting against him, but by understanding him, as well as changing the conditions that gave birth to him.

Disease doesn’t occur in isolation of the environment it appears in.
Disease is an expression of disharmony between parts embedded in a web of relationships.
Disturb that web, and disease arises.
Bring harmony back to it, and disease disappears.

We cannot disturb the planetary ecosystem and expect not to harm ourselves.
We cannot keep the entire human species under chronic stress and expect that it can cope with illness.
We cannot poison the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, and expect that we won’t get sick.

The health crisis is nothing but a result of a cultural crisis, which is a reflection of a consciousness crisis.
Hence, unless we see it for what it is and deal with it from its root source, it won’t go away.