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7 Characteristics of A Highly Productive Mindset

7 Characteristics of A Highly Productive Mindset

You’re busy. You have so many things to get done for your work and your life. You spend all day “doing” things and running around. Then suddenly it’s 6pm and you’re wrapping up for the day. And you think back and realize that you accomplished a grand total of 2 things that day. How did that happen? You had at least 10 different tasks to complete and yet somehow none of them got crossed off your list.

I’m guessing you’ve experienced this before, maybe more often than you would like to admit. You feel like you’re “working” all the time but you never actually get anything done. It’s not because you’re a lazy person or don’t want to achieve your goals. It’s all because of your mindset.

Your mindset is everything. It is the foundation for every success and achievement in your life. What you need is to develop the right mindset. And if you want to reach those goals, it needs to be a productivity mindset.

What is a productivity mindset? Many people think they have a productive mindset or that they are being productive but really they are just being busy. They’re not actually productively completing tasks and finishing projects. Having a productivity mindset means that you are clear and focused on your goals and using all of your personal resources to achieve those goals in an organized manner.

So what are characteristics of a productivity mindset? Below are the aspects of a productivity mindset that you need to cultivate in order to be successful.

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1. Motivation

We all know that motivation is a key factor in working towards our goals. We need to have something that is pulling us towards achieving the success we want in life. And although motivation can be a fickle thing, it is absolutely vital in the first steps of a productivity mindset.

If you aren’t motivated to accomplish things and mark items off your to-do list, then it’s going to be pretty hard to be productive. A lot of research has been conducted on the relationship between motivation and achievement. We know that whatever you aspire to do, it is backed by some kind of motivation to get it done.

Set up your productivity mindset by establishing clear motivations. What are the motivating factors, intrinsic or extrinsic, that are driving you to succeed? Hold these motivations in the forefront of your mind and use them to help you productively go through your day.

2. Persistence

Although motivation is a huge part of what get’s you started working towards your goals, you also need to have the persistence to keep going, even when it’s tough.

Sometimes your motivation won’t be strong enough to pull you through rough times, especially when you feel like you aren’t making progress. Being persistent and never giving up is essential to long-term success. Because it is guaranteed that you will have struggles and you will have obstacles to overcome in achieving your goals.

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Persistence is the key factor in overcoming anything. Just keep trudging forward, even if it is only by a tiny amount every day. Having this mental attitude will strengthen your resolve and help you to be more productive.

3. Vision

In order to move towards our goals, we need to have a clear vision of what those goals are. If we do not know where we are going, how can we make a plan to get there?

Always hold a mental picture of the vision of the life that you are creating for yourself. That vision will guide you and help you to be more productive throughout your day. A great way to stay aligned with your vision is to use visualization. This is a hugely beneficial technique that athletes and top performers use to achieve their goals.

The power of visualization has been shown to help you take more action in your life and have more motivation towards achieving your goals. A clear vision is an absolute must if you want to be productive. Always keep that vision strong and allow it to help you guide your actions.

4. Positive Attitude

This is a must-have, not just for a productivity mindset but for a success mindset in general. You need to stay positive if you want to achieve any kind of positive results in your life.

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Your attitude is a big factor in how you live your life. And you can decide what your attitude will be. Although you may feel like you can’t control outside factors, you can always control your attitude and how you feel about things. Viewing things is a positive life is an absolute must. It is necessary to be productive and to help you achieve your goals.

We can all have negative thoughts sometimes, this is a normal part of being a human being. But the good news is that you can decide to change those negative thoughts to positive ones. You get to decide not to let the negativity rule your life. Stay positive and actively work on your productivity and see what kind of results you can achieve.

5. Get A Routine

Routines are great for getting into a mental state that is highly productive. The word “routine” may sound boring and uninspiring to you, but it is a fundamental element of setting up a productive day.

The best time to establish a routine is in the morning. This will help you get into the right mentality to be productive. Create a routine that allows you to awaken your brain, get you motivated and give you a clear sense of your vision.

6. Focus on One Thing

If you have a to-do list that has several items on it, you can easily become overwhelmed and not feel very productive. Actually, having too many items on your to-do list might even make you less productive.

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Focusing on one thing can be a great booster to your productivity. Pick one task each day that you feel is essential for you to complete. If you complete that one thing, you will feel accomplished.

Then, set out finishing that task before you do anything else. Don’t let distractions derail you, just keep working on that one thing. Once you accomplish that thing, anything else you achieve in your day is a bonus. This will give you a better sense of accomplishment and also help to motivate you to keep being productive.

7. Mindfulness

Being mindful can also help you to create a productivity mentality. Being fully aware of each moment can help bring you clarity and mental composure.

Be present in every moment throughout your day. What are you working on and why? Be mindful and intentional on what you are trying to accomplish. Every task you work on should align to your greater goal. If not, become more aware of the goal that you are working towards and what needs to be done to achieve it.

Conclusion:

If you are struggling with reaching your goals, take a look at your mindset. Having a productivity mindset is absolutely key to achieving success in your life.

Set yourself up for success by following these practices to create a productivity mindset. See how it can influence your life and potentially increase your productivity.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Melanie Kernodle

Copywriter + Content Strategist

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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