10 ways to improve how you think

This post originally appeared on Quora in response to the question “What are the things that you do or use in order to make yourself more productive and smarter?”

I find I get the biggest boosts in productivity (and ‘smarts’) when I improve how I think. Here are the top 10 ways I do it:

  1. Keep your mind clear – have a system for recording every thought, idea and task (including emails you need to respond to) so your mind is clear to focus on the bigger things. I use the Things App synced across devices via the Cloud.
  2. Get inspired – I find the biggest leaps in productivity (and growth) happen when I’m inspired by someone or something outside of myself. That’s when I get the biggest things done. For me personally, I listen to podcasts and Audible books when I’m on the go.
  3. Put the Kindle App on your phone – and open the Kindle App instead of your social media apps. I learnt this from Charles Chu about a year ago and I’ve read more than 20 books since then.
  4. Get at least 8 hours sleep – it helps you more than you know.
  5. Exercise – it makes you stronger, in and out.
  6. Have a morning routine – it primes you for the day.
  7. Meditate every morning – it keeps your mind clear and centred throughout the day.
  8. Work on things you love first – when you wake up in the morning, work on your most exciting project first. You’ll kick-start the momentum for the rest of the day.
  9. Work somewhere different – I find that working at a cafe keeps me focused because there are no distractions, it’s more fun, and I can get coffee and food without interrupting the ‘work’.
  10. Schedule ‘thinking time’ – I take 2 hours whenever I can to sit down with priming questions and a large piece of paper (or mind mapping software) and ‘think’ about every part of my life. I often tell my team that conscious ‘thinking’ is the most under-utilised tool we have, and this is a way to consciously use your mind to improve your life.

And when you put all of these together, well, that’s when you get the best results.

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Director of Strategy + Innovation | Co-Founder at Web Profits
I co-founded Web Profits in 2006 with the belief that there's always a smarter and better way to do things. We're now a digital growth consultancy with offices in Australia, Singapore, and the United States. I'm passionate about personal and professional growth, and I like to surround myself with people who are as well. I have substantial private board experience, and have successfully launched an IPO.

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I’m the co-founder of Web Profits, investor in a number of different companies, and have successfully launched an IPO. Get access to 95% of my best life hacks.