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7 Ways To Avoid Being Busy for No Reason

7 Ways To Avoid Being Busy for No Reason

There is really no point in being caught up with the day-to-day drama of acting busy. Being more fulfilled, active and attaining results is not in how hard you work but actually in how smart you work. Rather than focusing on burning energy, focus on getting more results. When you start channeling your energy properly, you will become less busy and more fulfilled.

Here are seven ways you can stop avoid being caught in meaningless busyness:

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1. Emphasize what is important now

Most times we consume ourselves with things that are important but are not urgent, and sometimes we go for what is urgent and that is not important. Finding the right balance between the two pegs you picking what is important now and leaving the rest for later.

2. Have a schedule

Many people jump into activities like a bull chasing a prey. At the end, putting ourselves in so many activities could make us victims for the slaughter. The best way is to understand that there should be a routine or a schedule to organize your activities and make you prioritize. A schedule is a road map to make you function at your best or at your prime. For example, if you are spending seven hours to sleep at night, stick to that schedule. Once you start sticking to schedules and doing what you should do at the time you are meant to do it, you will start freeing up time and become more productive.

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3. Learn to say no

No matter how much you want to get yourself involved engaged into something it may not be worth your time and energy. A lot of things are not worth your attention. Learn to screen what you need to get involved in and those things you really need to ignore. Learn to say no. Spending your time and energy on tasks you actually care about makes your life much more fruitful than when you spread yourself too thin.

4. Do not multitask

It is easy to feel that you can get so much done by multitasking. But this could be a delusion. Our brain is wired not to focus on more than one thing at a time. You are only getting yourself unnecessarily busy and losing focus when you try to get so much done all at once.

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5. Focus on strategy rather than on expending energy

It is easy to get so bugged down that you run from task-to-task without setting aside time for thinking. Thinking and spending time with yourself affords you the opportunity to tap into your inner-self and develop strategy or processes that will make your job lighter.

6. Learn to delegate

It is so tempting to want to be involved in everything that comes our way. We cannot be a master of all. There is no harm in finding someone who can translate your intentions into actions. Delegate as much as possible so that you can free up space to do what will realize more goals.

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7. Know yourself and what works for you

Truthfully, we are all not the same. Some people can function at higher capacity and others may not. It is easy to cook up several guidelines and hope we all put it to heart so as to function better and be more productive. But it doesn’t always work this way. Rather than engage yourself all the time, know what works for you and tap into it. Do you function and work better at night or during the wee hours of the day? Learn to identify what works for you that will make you optimize your performance better rather than being caught in busyness.

At the end of the day, the benefit of maintaining your health should be enough reason to follow the reasons put before you from the above points. Look inwards and find a balance to expending energy and gaining more results for your work.

Featured photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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