Being Productive vs. Being Busy: What’s the Difference?

By Elisi Studios

At first glance, being productive and being busy appears to be the same thing. We see someone who is working with something at their desk or someone else heading somewhere with a determined look on their face and are often impressed. However, it turns out that one of those people is being productive while the other is simply being busy. What’s the difference?

Being Busy as a Form of Lazy

There are some people who, depending on their personalities and the circumstances that they’re presented with, get into the habit of being busy as a purposeful means to pass time in the easiest way possible. This is a form of self-imposed busy work. It’s especially common amongst those who are paid on an hourly basis as they often don’t have an outside incentive to be productive during their time. As long as the hours are put in, that’s what matters to them.

Having Too Many Plates

Then there are those who are as productive as they can be, but they have put their energies into too many plates at once. They were always taught to give 100%, and they have defined that to also mean that they must be as involved in as many different areas as possible. However, the result of that is that something needs to give, and that is often something that shouldn’t be what’s giving, like family and self-care.

Benefits of Being Productive

Something that surprises many is that moving their focus from being busy to being productive really does allow them to do more with less with the things that are not as important but that are still important. In other words, spending more time with family might result in less time at the office. However, being able to physically and mentally recuperate from how busy they were before often allowed them to be much more productive at work with the time that they did spend there.

Working Smarter

This is the biggest difference between the two. It’s not simply the hardest-working person who experiences successes in life. It’s the one who works smarter and who focuses on what’s truly important to them when they look deep within themselves. Is joining yet another committee worth spending even less time with your family, with working on your physical health, taking some “me time”?

It’s okay to say, “No.” Of course, if you feel bad about passing up on something, communicate that too, but, if it’s in your own best interests and in the best interests of those you care for if you don’t partake in it, politely turn it down, and focus your time on what does interest you, what calms you and what centers you.

Keep Things Simple

If you want to be productive, not busy, simply keep your life, well, simple. Whenever possible, focus on one task at a time. Of course, multitasking will be necessary from time to time, but minimize it, and don’t take pride in being able to do it for long periods of time. That type of work is too taxing. Also, you cannot dive deep into something and really hit the flow of productivity if you’re constantly switching tasks.

Want to Get More Done? Here is How to Stay Productive Every Day

By Elisi Studios

If you get distracted it can take you around 23 minutes to get back on track. We live in a world full of distractions. It may be more fun to interact with the distractions instead of doing what’s important. 

Below we’ll look at how to stay productive in a world where you want to do everything but work. 

Focus on One Task

When you multitask you may believe you’re getting more done. Yet, you’ll find if you do the tasks separately not only will you get them done faster, but you’ll do them better as well. 

When you do one task at a time it’ll help better focus your mind and keep you on track.

Perhaps you’re multitasking and don’t even realize it. This could be listening to music or having a movie or show on in the background. Try to turn off the noise as it’s just another distraction.

Try doing your most difficult task first. That way all tasks after will feel like a breeze. If you do the simple tasks first you may find you don’t have the energy to do the more difficult task later. 

Change Your Environment

Maybe you’re completing your tasks in a location where there is a lot of foot traffic or noise. Perhaps you’re too comfortable in your current space and can’t force yourself to work. If either of these is true, try finding a new location to get your work done. 

Put Devices Away

Another form of distraction is devices. When you need to get something done, make sure your phone or tablet isn’t near you. You’ll be more likely to avoid the temptation of looking at them. 

Turn off notifications as well. The sounds can draw you towards your phone and distract you from your tasks. 

Make a Schedule

One way to get yourself to be productive is to create a routine. Make a schedule of what you would like to get done each day. If there is something you need to do every day, make sure it never leaves your calendar. 

Once you have everything in your schedule, create deadlines for yourself. Make sure to write the deadlines down, otherwise, you’re less likely to follow them. 

Get up Earlier

To start the day right you need to get a good night’s sleep. Otherwise, you won’t have the energy to get through the day. 

Once you get up in the morning, try setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. Then you may not feel as rushed to get things done in the morning. Your levels of stress will be reduced. 

You can fit in time to exercise, drink coffee, take a shower, anything that will help get your mind more motivated. 

Take Short Breaks

Remember to leave time for breaks in your schedule. Working all day isn’t realistic. You’ll be more stressed and fatigued. 

Do the opposite of what you had been doing. If you were sitting, get up and walk around, and vice versa. Try to keep from thinking about the task you were doing before to get the full benefit of the break.

Try taking five-minute breaks throughout the day. 

How to Stay Productive in a Fast-Paced World

Hopefully, you have a better idea of how to stay productive now. It may not seem like these methods work at first, but remember you need to do them continuously to make them a habit. There is no quick fix. 

Review our blog to learn other habits you can start to improve your life. 

How to Effectively Harness the Power of Bullet Points

By Elisi Studios

Writing in a journal can help heal physical wounds faster. If you’re an avid journal writer, you’ll likely know the benefits that this practice brings, such as mental clarity and a boost to memory.

But, have you ever considered writing a bullet journal? Such a practice could help you stay organized and help you to get more work done.

Drawing attention to important information and helping your habits stay on track by creating mini headlines, explore how to use bullet points effectively.

1. Keep Them Short

Your bullet points should be short. If you can say something in three words, why say it in ten? This will help draw your attention to the point, remind you of exactly what you need to do, and help you effectively do it.

You can then explain your bullet point further below the header if you need some extra clarity.

2. Keep Them Concise 

There is no point in having a short bullet point if it isn’t concise and to the point. You should keep all of your bullet points easy to understand. 

Remove any words which detract from the main point. As you skim your bullet journal, it’s important that your points are concise to keep you focused!

Furthermore, your bullet points should be used for only the most important points. Don’t add irrelevant points as these will detract your attention.

3. Limit Bullet Points

If you’re bullet journaling to help you stay on track, you will find that it’s important to keep your points focused. 

Therefore, limit those which can’t be achieved that day. Your bullet journal should help you move throughout your day and remind you of what you need to do. It should not hinder you and have you pondering exactly what you meant earlier. 

4. Reduce Punctuation

You’ll find that when you have poor grammar, it’ll be harder to focus on the bullet point at hand. 

This is not quite as important as having short bullet points. But, you may find that although you felt called to add 10 exclamation points, they’re actually distracting!

You wouldn’t write a work email with terrible punctuation as it will make you look bad, so don’t do this in your bullet journal.  

5. Do What Feels Right

After building the habit of bullet journaling, you’ll find what works best for you. Over the first few weeks, you’ll quickly figure out whether doodling helps you focus or whether having more white space keeps you focused. 

Then, when you’ve found the magic formula for bullet journaling, stick to it! This habit has huge benefits such as boosting your creativity, keeping you on schedule, and improving your mental health.

Bullet Points Are Popular for a Reason

You may be wondering whether using bullet points is the right option for you. But, it’s certainly worth a try. 

Nowadays, a lot of the content we read online is written in bullet point format. This is because it works at keeping our attention. So, it should work in your own journal too! 

If you’ve found this article useful, it may be time for you to invest in your own bullet journal. Try our online bullet journal today.

Achieving A Work-Life Balance Using The GTD Technique

By Elisi Studios

People waste a lot of time. How much? One study involving small business owners discovered they wasted an average of almost 22 hours every week.

You might be wasting time right now, reading this to distract yourself from whatever it is you know you should be doing. Do you struggle to make the most out of your day? A productivity system may provide the discipline you need to stay on track.

Getting Things Done, or GTD, is a technique that can boost your productivity. Never heard of it? Written almost twenty years ago, it’s still considered one of the best books on productivity.

We’ll cover the basics.

What is the GTD System?

The Getting Things Done system doesn’t try to tell you how to do your work. Instead, it focuses on how you organize and tackle your daily obligations. The idea is, without organization, you won’t know where or what to begin.

Trying to remember everything is — well, it’s a waste of time. David Allen, the creator of the system, advocates the use of a to-do list or work calendar. This way, you can concentrate on the task and avoid being overwhelmed.

The Five GTD Methods

There’s a lot to unpack from the GTD methodology. It was a self-help book after all. But when trimmed down to its five basic tenets, it’s easy to understand.

1. Capture

Stop relying on your head to keep everything straight. The first step of the GTD process is to capture every task at hand. And by capture, we mean to get them out of your head and written down on a piece of paper.

Your organizational system doesn’t matter. Choose what fits your fancy. The important part is to, without fail, jot down even the most trivial of tasks.

Whatever you use, make sure it’s convenient and available. The worst thing you can do is tell yourself you’ll write it down later — and then forget.

2. Clarify

Since you’re listing tasks as soon as they come to your head, they’ll need some clarification. Perhaps you remembered you need to finish a college essay. Don’t leave it on your to-do list as complete college essay.

That doesn’t give you a good place to start. Break it into pieces, such as researchessayconstruct outline, and so forth.

3. Organize

Now that you’ve broken your tasks into smaller parts, take some time to prioritize them. Remember to consider the deadlines of these projects, as well as your workload.

During this step, you should also categorize similar actions. Have a lot of writing to do? Clump those assignments together.

4. Reflect

Priorities change. As more tasks spring up, you may realize an assignment was not as stressing as it was before. You should spend a few times each day skimming through your list and making changes should you find them necessary.

As well as looking for changes, you should reflect on your current tasks. If you don’t look at your list to keep yourself organized, then what’s the point of making one?

5. Engage

With an organized list full of simple actions, you’ll know which task to start first. Keep your priority system in mind and work through your list at your leisure. Not only does this system erase the anxiety that comes with disorganization, but it also gives you the clear guidance you need to get started.

And getting started is everything.

Stay Organized With Elisi

The entire GTD system is hinged on the use of an intelligent and convenient planner. Simply put: Taking notes on your phone won’t be good enough.

Instead, consider the Elisi app. It’s a comprehensive digital journal that features a calendar, a to-do list, notes, and more. Try the Elisi app and see how it can increase your productivity.

Pomodoro Timer, A Time Management Tool You Should Try

By Elisi Studio

Time management is of the essence, and it’ll take some focus and concentration to put these sorts of practices into place.

Thankfully, there are plenty of time management tools that will help you out tremendously. Regardless of what sort of task you are focusing on, the tips in this article will help you get focused and stay focused.

Start with these tips so that you can use everything from apps to Pomodoro Timers to get help.

1. Use Time Management Tools on Your Phone or in Your Web Browser

There are several apps you can put onto your phone that will help you focus. Some of these apps you can look into include Forest, Wunderlist, Evernote, and Elisi.

If you want to use a time management timer, there are also apps that can let you make use of the Pomodoro technique. By striking this balance with your workflow, you’ll get the most out of these strategies.

Whether you download an app on your phone or use a web browser as a timer, you’ll have the help that you need.

2. Learn the Pomodoro Technique and Use it Regularly

The Pomodoro technique is one of the best productivity hacks that you can use on a regular basis.

With this technique, you are on and active for 25 minutes and take breaks of about 5 minutes.

The science behind this technique is that experts say your brain can’t focus for much longer than 25 minutes at a time. By voluntarily taking a break and then getting back to work, you will keep your mind fresh and avoid burnout.

3. Go For a Walk and Get Outside During Your Breaks

To really get the most out of the Pomodoro technique, be sure that you are moving your body and getting some fresh air.

When you walk, you increase your blood flow, which also increases the blood flow to your brain. You can also rejuvenate yourself by going outside and taking in some sunshine.

Both of these matters can keep you fresh and energized so that you feel great when it is time to go back to work.

4. Add a Meditation Practice to Your Time Management

The mental and productivity benefits of meditation can’t be overstated.

When you add meditation to some of your breaks, you will have more clarity and better cognitive function. Doing this will help you sustain an inner peace that will also carry you throughout every workday with a positive mindset.

Get the Most From Your Time Management

When you put these time management tools to use, you’ll be able to earn more money, study more and get more done.

Whether you work a 9-to-5 office job, are your own boss, or just want to study hard and retain the information for an exam, these tips have you covered. You’ll be able to maximize on this by not only using the Pomodoro technique but also incorporating some apps or tools that can be helpful.

Consider these tips so that you have a time management system that serves you.

50 Things to Boost your Happiness (2/2)

26. Treat yourself to the most wanted gifts you can afford.

27. Reject something that you have been hesitating over or feel restricted by.

28. Decorate your room, or simply re-paint the wall with your favorite color.

29. Discard, sell, or donate items you haven’t used for more than one year.

30. Ask for repayment of a debt that someone owes you.

31. Stick to a small task every day, such as learning a foreign language, playing the piano, and meditation. (Try Elisi Habits!)

32. Go to a concert or a live music venue.

33. Follow the restaurant reviews and try a delicious new food every month.

34. Plan and begin a new project. (Why not with Elisi Project?)

35. Learn to swim!

36. Plant something and watch it flourish and flower.

37. Watch some classic TV shows and old movies that you used to like.

38. When you have some free moments, sit and meditate for a while.

39. Put on your favorite old clothes and go to a grassy space and bask in the sun.

40. Go to an amusement park and go on exciting rides.

41. Upgrade your home network and clean up your computer files.

42. Go for a walk by the sea or by the water.

43. Find a safe way to do a challenging activity that you have never tried before, such as skydiving, hang gliding, or diving.

44. Learn to bake and make some cookies or cakes for your nearest and dearest.

45. Visit an exhibition or a museum.

46. Teach your parents some new skills, such as how to take good photos on their mobile phone or how to manage their life with Elisi, and make some small gifts for them.

47. When you finish the day’s work, take a hot bath and fall asleep truly relaxed.

48. Go shopping when you are feeling relatively affluent.

49. Take friends and families to the countryside for camping and picnics.

50. Write down three small things every day with Elisi that make you happy, and read them at any time!

(By Elisi Studio)

50 Things to Boost Your Happiness (1/2)

1. Take a weekend trip or a short holiday—go, see, and eat!

2. Buy some flowers and put them in a prominent place at home.

3. Clean your room and change the sheets, quilts, and pillows.

4. Rearrange your furniture; place a new carpet in the room.

5. Buy a projector and a Bluetooth speaker, and watch a movie at home.

6. Try some fresh, new perfumes.

7. Turn off your phone before going to bed and read a book before sleep.

8. On a diet or after exercising, allow yourself a cheat day to enjoy food.

9. Plan a long trip. Choose the route, browse the attractions, and make an itinerary.

10. Visit a crowded supermarket and feel the buzz of being surrounded by many people.

11. Wash your clothes, dry, fold, and stack them.

12. Choose a light-to-use mop or vacuum cleaner and clean the floor.

13. Gather a few friends together to play cards or other games, and have dinner.

14. Go for a bike ride and discover different scenery.

15. Take photos of family or friends, print them out, and put them in a photo frame.

16. Get in touch with old friends you haven’t contacted for a long time. Chat about current events, work, feelings—and even gossip.

17. Climb to the top of a building or a hill and look down.

18. Choose a comfortable pen and a beautiful notebook, or write down your mood with a handy app. (Ummm… Elisi Notes!)

19. Play an interactive game like a room escape, a live CS, or a go-kart with your friends.

20. Share a drink with your loved one using two straws at the same time.

21. Make some simple dishes and give yourself a nutritious meal.

22. Carefully comb your pet’s body once.

23. Buy some comfortable sportswear, put on your headphones, and choose a favorite route to jog.

24. Go to a club and dance with your friends.

25. Clean up your email and delete apps that you haven’t used for a long time.

Honestly, Saving Bucks Is Not That Hard

Have you ever been discouraged by the high down payment on a house or the cost of that car you’ve been wanting for a long time? Have you been depressed by the slow or even negative growth of the number in your savings account?

While nowadays, our minds tend to get derailed by the impulse to seek pleasure, it’s not surprising that even highly paid workers complain about how hard it is to save money. However, despite the fact that the cost of living has grown rapidly in recent years, has the ability to save money become a fortress that can’t be attacked?

Honestly, it hasn’t.

Attitude takes the lead

Before discussing methods, we need to correct our attitude toward saving. There is no doubt that saving money requires strong resistance to desire. The difference between success and failure lies in how we treat this resisting process. If you regard it as torture, your mind will be totally engrossed with the idea of hardship, which will prevent you from clearly seeing the long-term benefits—and will definitely hinder you in pursuing them. But this scenario can be completely reversed when you become aware of how saving money enhances your capacity for self-control and leads you to a better life.

Remember the famous marshmallow experiment? The kids who succeeded in resisting temptation for 15 minutes got a bonus—two marshmallows instead of one. Your bonus for resisting temptation on a daily basis would be far larger than that. Maybe a house, a car, or sufficient funds to travel around the world, start a business, and support your children through a top-tier college. When you aim at how much you can get from resisting, you get a purpose for saving those bucks, leading to accumulation and self-development, not torture.

You track, you learn

Once your attitude is on the right track, you can start preparing. The first rule, the one that comes before everything else, is never spend more than you earn. Many people don’t take this seriously, as it seems so simple and like something “everyone knows.” However, this is exactly where people fall down. To observe that rule requires you to check and compare your expenses and income continuously, not just each month or once a year. You can rob February’s budget to pay January’s extra expenses, but you just delay your financial crisis, not solve it.

With the top rule rooted in your mind, the next step is to build your personal balance sheet. Set up a new spreadsheet with an encouraging file name like “See how I become a money saver.” You can set up your accounting cycle based on your pay cycle or any fixed period you wish. The key elements on your sheet include expenses, income, and balance. Under expenses and income, there should be different categories for what you spend money on and what your income sources are.

Besides the above three key elements, you should also add an extra line/column for notes. At the end of each accounting cycle, skim through the sheet and note anything you find worthy of attention, alert, and praise. As you review the sheet, evaluate your financial performance and you’ll start to learn how to do better in the future. This process will have you making improvements and moving toward your goal.

If building a spreadsheet isn’t your preferred method, try an accounting app that serves the same purpose. Choose your means, and do your job.

Time to save

Okay, we finally come to SAVING.

When it comes to saving and where to direct those funds, we have more than one choice. You can put your money in the hands of investment professionals and wait for returns. You may also consider investing in real estate, which is often a safe bet compared with other complicated financial products. However, all these options require that you have the necessary funds already. Those who are just starting out on their own or are trying to play catch-up have more limited choices, but you must start by saving from every penny you earn.

Your plan should begin with a real savings account, which you cannot use for daily expenses. To make it more conspicuous, you can give it a nickname indicating its future use, like “My first house.” Every time you see that name, you’ll be reminded of your goal, your intention, and the efforts you’ve made along the way. Together, these tactics help fuel your determination and defeat the impulse to spend that can rise out of nowhere.

To put money into that account, you can go with either a fixed or flexible amount. As the name implies, the former option requires you to save a fixed amount of money within each accounting cycle. Take a look at your personal balance sheet, and set up a number that is reasonable for you. Let’s say you earn $5,000 a month and you believe you’ll be able to set aside about a fifth of that each month. What you want to bear in mind is that you have to put that $1,000 under expenses, so that the money you’ve saved is out of reach, making it no different from what you’ve spent.

If you’d prefer to add a little novelty to your savings journey, you have some flexibility. There are, after all, 52 weeks in a year. Try this: Clip 52 pieces of paper and mark each with a different number from 10 to 520 (in increments of 10). Put them in a jar, and draw one each week—that number is the amount you’ll save that week. So if you draw 30, then you save $30 that week. If you’d prefer to start from 100 and increase by 5, go for it! The point here is to set a goal and meet it. Don’t forget to mark the amount you save as an expense on your spreadsheet or in your app.

Hey, look ahead

Envision the future. You’ll no longer be frustrated with saving money because you know saving is for the sake of a better life. You’ll keep improving your financial performance with what you learn from your detailed balance sheet. You’ll hold on tight to your goal and never let your savings account skip a beat. And one day the money in that account will fulfill its purpose.

You are ready to start from this moment because now you know that saving is not that hard. Start your personal plans with Elisi today!

By Elisi Studio