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How To Improve Your Productivity And Performance

Damien Thomas



Improve your productivity and performance

Jim Kwik is the founder of Kwik Learning, he is a world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance, accelerated learning and productivity. For over two decades Jim has served as the mental coach to many top celebrities and CEOs.

Jim Kwik has dedicated his life to sharing his strategies and techniques to help people unleash their true genius and brainpower to learn faster and live a life of power, productivity and purpose. By following his techniques, you too can learn to improve your memory, learn to speed-read, increase your decision-making skills, and unleash your ‘superbrain’.

Throughout Jim Kwik’s career, he has shared his amazing techniques with students at universities such as NYU, Harvard, Columbia and Stanford. He has also worked with companies like Nike and GE and Zappos to help their executives and employees get the most out of work and life.

Jim Kwik has a fantastic collection of videos on YouTube. I hope that you will enjoy the productivity tips from Jim’s interview below.

How To Improve Your Productivity And Performance By Jim Kwik

The average person, I read, opens up Instagram 150 times a day. So if you’re not doing it that much, because I certainly am not, somebody else is doing it! So if you are picking up the phone the first thing in the morning, this is the challenge.

First of all, there are these four primary brain wave states, beta is what you and I are in right now, we are awake, delta is when you are fast asleep. In between those two states, theta and alpha, are extremely important brainwave states for learning.

So theta is the state right in and out of sleep. Theta is the state that we call creativity. When you are at your most creative, usually it’s coming because you’re in this theta state of state, and you know this, when you’re in and out as sleep, or you are close to like you’re so deep, your mind goes and you come up with ideas.

You know what puts you in that theta state are showers. Have you ever noticed like when you’re in the shower, you come up with some of your best ideas, because you’re in that brainwave state.

So a big part of my work is taking the invisible and making it visible. Like when I do these demonstrations, I always tell people that I do it because I want you to see that there’s a method behind the magic, that when somebody does something that’s extraordinary, in athletics, in education, in technology, with the human body, there’s always a trail, because genius leaves clues.

And a lot of times these geniuses and I say genius, not like IQ, I mean people who excel back in their area of expertise they don’t know how they’re doing it, because they are unconscious about it, because they’ve been doing it, it’s second nature to them, since for so long. And so what I like to do is deconstruct that, and then show people how to learn it more quickly.

But when you’re in this theta state … showers put you in that theta state, that’s why I took five showers this morning, just to prepare for this conversation. Above theta though, is the state called alpha. (Right below beta where you are most aware and awake). Alpha is a state of learning, accelerated learning, it’s the state of relaxed awareness. This is the state we go into when we meditate, because your critical mind is set aside, and you just absorb information unconsciously.

Remember, Recall, Retention

Do you know what puts you into an alpha state? Television. Have you ever noticed that if somebody is watching the game, or somebody’s watching their favorite TV show, and you are trying to have a conversation with them?

They literally are in a trance, they don’t hear you, because of the television programming, which might be an interesting word, you know, ‘programming’ and putting people into a trance, but that’s the alpha state, that’s where information is just going inside your mind.

So we train people how to learn languages faster, and learn facts better by putting them into an alpha state, a relaxed state of awareness. And we can do that by design. People don’t realize this, and this is the whole thing.

I really think this should have been taught back in school, because school was a great place to learn what to learn: math, history, science, Spanish, important subjects on what to learn, but how many classes were on how to learn?

How many classes were on how to think critically, how to make good decisions, how to solve problems, how to focus and concentrate, how to read faster, how to remember more, right? They teach you three Rs in school reading, writing, arithmetic, but what about remembering, what about recall, what about retention, right? Socrates says, “There is no learning without remembering”, and that’s really the basis of it all.

But I would say that, knowing you are in this alpha, theta state first thing in the morning, you are very suggestible, right? And if the first thing you are picking up is your phone, then that really is rewiring our brain, for two things, the danger is that it is going to really decrease your level of productivity and performance, number one, it’s training you to be distracted, every Like, Share, Comment, everything is just making you just pay attention to everything else and rewiring your brain, so when you’re having a conversation with somebody, you can’t even focus because you have trained your brain to do otherwise.

That is why mindfulness is so important, whether it is meditation or something else. I don’t meditate every single day just to be at peace and be in the Zen state. I do it because it’s a mental exercise, it improves my cognitive capabilities, meaning that when my mind goes somewhere else, that’s the opportunity, because when I pull it back with my breath or visualization, I build that muscle.

Taking Nouns And Turning Them Into Verbs

The basis of my work is really about taking nouns and turning them into verbs. So what do I mean by that? It’s like so many people, they wake up and say, “Oh, I hope I have energy today”, or “I have motivation today”, things that they have, right? I have creativity, so I could write today or make videos, or I have memory, or I have focus and concentration.

Those aren’t things you have, those are things you do, and so you don’t have love, you do loving things. You don’t have energy, you do things that give you energy. Just like that applies, same thing with learning.

You don’t have focus, there’s a process for doing focus. You don’t have a memory, there are steps to improve your memory, or to remember things better. Creativity is not something you have, there’s actually a process for creativity.

So you should never suffer from writer’s block or anything else like that, because that’s where if you don’t understand how you work, when I was talking about self awareness and understanding yourself, I think if somebody wants to improve their self esteem overnight, just study your brain, you’ll get a boost of confidence and pride instantly, because it is the most incredible … I don’t even know what to call it, a device, a supercomputer, or what, in the whole universe.

It’s not just about going out to Mars and all these other places, I want to go in here (points to head), because this controls what? Everything, our careers, our income, our health, our relationships. You know, whether or not you get complete.

The Forgetting Curve

We were talking about this before our conversation here, when you’re training for Ironman and triathlons and everything else, is how much of it is mental? Like everyone knows what to do, but do they do what they know? Because common sense is not common practice, and it’s a myth that knowledge is power.

Knowledge has the potential to be power, but it only becomes power when we use it, when we apply it. People think they should get points for buying books and sitting on the shelf, and it just sits there, and it becomes like shelf help, not self-help, right?

Or somebody will go and learn something, or listen to a podcast, or a show, or they’ll go to a conference, they’ll pay all this money, but they don’t do anything with what they learn. And part of it also is because they forget it.

Everyone knows there’s a learning curve, but there’s also a forgetting curve. Did you know, like the forgetting curve says that if you learn something once, within 48 hours, 80% of it is gone. So you listen to a show, you watch something on YouTube, you go to a conference, you read a book, within two days, the majority of it’s gone.That is why memory is so important.

So the first thing, don’t touch your phone, because it is training you to be distracted. The second thing it’s training you for, which is almost worse, is it’s training you, rewiring your brain to be reactive.

Reactive, meaning that you’re in this relaxed state of awareness when you first wake up, you pick up your phone, you get one text with bad news, or one voicemail, or one email, and you know this, this has all happened to us, you’re in a bad mood for the rest of your day, because you’re so impressionable, you’re in that hypnotic state.

And it affects you and you can never have a quality life, and be the best version of ourselves, be an elite mental performer, or high performer, when you’re responding and reacting to everybody else. My friend, Brendon Burchard says, “An inbox is nothing but a convenient organizational system for other people’s agenda for your life.”

How can you have vision for your life? I did a whole episode on my morning routine, like 10 things I do every morning to jumpstart my brain and I also have an evening one hour routine, to get into sleep, to maximize my sleep, because sleep is so very important to be able to do.

But one of the processes I do besides, you know, blackout curtains and cold and temperatures and breath and stuff, meditation, is I don’t touch a screen, because it creates blue light, and most people should know this, the screen on your laptop, your phone, everything else, emits this blue light, which inhibits the melatonin production, which helps you to relax and go to sleep, so no screens.

But the other thing I do is, I write down to three things I want to accomplish the next day personally, and the other three are professionally. So now when I wake up, I have a vision for my life. Like this is a win today, if I just get these three things done personally, and three things professionally.

Be a Thermostat, Not a Thermometer

When it comes to my phone, I don’t touch my phone until I get at least one thing done, and that’s my test, if I could just do that. And it’s not always perfect, but it’s about progress, right? Because practice makes progress, right? And there’s never going to be a perfect, and I think people need to find what works for them.

But I would say again, to step out, trust yourself as the expert instead of somebody else and test it, you know, maybe for one week, keep your phone outside your bedroom for just one week, and don’t touch it for the first hour a day, and spend the first hour a day being a thermostat, not a thermometer.

Because a thermometer, what is its function? It reacts to the environment, and that’s a kind of crappy way to live, we react to environment, we react to the weather, we react to how clients treat us, we react, but to the degree we are happy, is that we have the location of control inside.

Right? All the studies show that the happiest people are the ones that feel like they have the control over their happiness, and not put it to somebody else, a person or a place or something going in the economy or politics or anything, right? So a thermometer reacts to the environment, but a thermostat is different. What does that function? It sets the environment, it sets a goal, it sets a temperature, and then the environment raises to it.

► I highly recommend checking out the wonderful Jim Kwik here: