Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

How to Avoid Settling for Mediocrity 5 Tips for Making Your Own Path in Life 7 Characteristics of A Highly Productive Mindset

Trending in Brain

1 How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques 2 How to Memorize a Speech the Smart Way 3 How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways 4 11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation 5 How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 18, 2019

How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

Critical thinking is the art of filtering through information to reach an unbiased, logical decision that guides better thought and action. It can be learned through powerful techniques listed in this article.

Before you read further, it is important for you to know that critical thinking is a state of mind, not a tool or strategy.

If you are bogged down in the trivial day to day matters of your professional and personal life, learning skills to develop your ability to think critically can help you rise above these issues and focus your energies where they are needed – to solve problems and accomplish objectives.

It stands to reason that the better the learning techniques, the better critical thinking and reasoning will be. My experience in helping people grow means I know exactly what is needed to teach critical thinking (hint: it’s not just pondering over the problem).

There are 5 powerful techniques that form the base of critical thinking:

  1. Analytical thinking
  2. Communication
  3. Creativity
  4. Open-mindedness
  5. Problem-solving

Once you learn the techniques listed and start employing them in your daily life, you’ll quickly start to notice a change in the way you approach problems and consequently, how you resolve them too.

Advertising

1. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is the gathering and breaking down of information into small bites that help make sense of it.

To use it for critical thinking:

  • Be very clear on why you need the information. This is to recognize your limitations and employ foresight to overcome them.
  • Gather information from as many sources as you can: peers and experts, podcasts, relevant literature and any other place you can think of.
  • Rephrase questions multiple times to get different perspectives on data available and possibly arrive at different solutions.
  • Break down the data into factual subsets and relate each to the issue at hand.
  • Think on paper to make new connections. Write, doodle, make mind-maps or use spreadsheets. Data presented visually can help you make new connections make sense of emerging patterns.
  • Tidy up the workplace. Once data has been gathered, your workspace and your brain will both be cluttered with excess information. Neaten the physical space and clear your mind with meditation. The change in focus will help you view the information in a new light, potentially helping you reach newer, better conclusions.

Want more information and tips on adopting this powerful technique? What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success has all the information you need.

2. Communication

Communication is a key technique for critical thinking as it gives you access to the thoughts of people around you.

Data can be communicated through audio and visual means and in many cases, through careful observation of body language:

  • Ask for different points of view and seek justification for the same thing. When you invest in the matter, you will be able to explore all options to reach the best solution.
  • Listening without interrupting and only asking questions or voicing concerns once the speaker is done helps you make better connections.
  • Be 100% focused on a verbal or written discussion, you can better hear/read the opinions of the people involved.
  • Paraphrase the speaker/writer’s point of view and ask for affirmation. This enables you to pay full attention and use the input to think critically.
  • In a meeting, subtle communication cues are given by the body language of fellow attendees. An imperceptible frown, a small nod, pencil tapping etc. will all give you clues to what they are really thinking, just in case their actions are not in sync with their words!
  • Active observation, where you are watching and listening intently helps you know what to make of the information that is being passed around. It gives you clues to the general opinion about the topic under discussion and opens up new possibilities.

The information you gather through such communication will be invaluable in thinking critically to arrive at a decision that is holistic and unbiased.

Advertising

3. Creativity

Critical thinking is an art, and like any art form, its lifeblood is creativity. To really learn critical thinking, you need to include elements of creativity in the process!

  • Brainstorm with your team in an all-new location or work-shadow an industry expert to step out of your comfort zone. You could be surprised by the ideas that flow at a picnic or a game of billiards!
  • Gather data and tabulate it in the form of colorful, eye-catching charts, graphs and mind maps. The simple exercise makes your mind bring data together in different ways and presents them so multiple unique conclusions can be reached, giving you the flexibility to choose the best one.
  • Play brain games such as Sudoku or chess to appreciate how different factors can be manipulated to reach a preferred outcome. These games help make connections between previously disconnected nerves, giving your brain the power to find multiple pathways to answering problems.
  • In a similar vein, you can forge new neural connections by learning a new skill, a new language or even a new recipe!

I break down creativity in my other article What is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It. If you want to be good at critical thinking, you need to adopt creativity!

4. Open-Mindedness

It’s easy to say you’re open minded but is your mind really open?

To get an idea,

  • Be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and how these will impact the matter at hand.
  • Hear an opinion that conflicts with your own without forming a response before the opinion is fully voiced.
  • Acknowledge that there may be more than one approach to solving a problem and that they may all be right in some way.
  • Consider your true feelings when you will implement any required changes.
  • Disregard your long-held beliefs and assumptions and let go of habits.
  • Imagine the decision-making factors placed on weighing scales. Are they balanced?

Open-mindedness is a powerful technique for critical thinking. New possibilities can be uncovered, helping you resolve personal and professional matters in a manner that doesn’t frustrate you or alienate the other party.

5. Problem-Solving

Critical thinking is heavily dependent on problem-solving. An effective critical thinker will be a problem solver with the foresight to anticipate roadblocks and negative outcomes, and the experience and presence of mind to resolve them quickly and move on.

Advertising

One of the most effective problem-solving methodologies is the 5 Whys Analysis. Invented by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motors in the 1950s, it has been used successfully by the automobile giant to get to the root cause of problems.

The idea behind this is simple: start with the end problem and keep asking why until you get to the root cause of it.

The general idea is that asking why 5 times from the effect is enough to get to the cause, hence the name. However, the methodology does not limit the questions to 5, and why can be asked as many times as need to peel away the layers until a satisfactory answer is reached.

To use the 5 Whys Analysis, start off by listing the problem and writing why in front of it. The next point in the list should be answer to the first why with another why in front of it. Continue answering the question asked above followed by a why until you’ve asked the question 5 times and answered it six times. 99% of the time, the last answer will be the root cause of the problem stated in the first point.

For example, consider the a commonly given scenario where a vehicle does not start.

  1. Vehicle will not start. Why?
  2. Battery is dead. Why?
  3. The alternator is not functioning. Why?
  4. The alternator belt has broken. Why?
  5. It was old and worn out. Why?
  6. The car is not maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

By this example, it is clearly demonstrated that 5 whys were asked to reach the root cause of the problem.

Advertising

The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

Over the years, the 5 Whys Analysis has been adopted by millions to reach the root cause of their personal and professional problems. Industry giant Six Sigma has also incorporated the 5x Why Analysis in the Analyze phase of their DMAIC methodology.[1]

Final Thoughts

Is critical thinking a new-fangled notion? Not at all. Its history can be traced back to Socrates who questioned commonly held beliefs. This practice was carried forward by leading scholars and thinkers from different times such as Aristotle and Plato, Colet and Moore, Descartes, Galileo and Newton.[2]

Today’s world is dependent on critical thinking to resolve all sorts of issues. It is now indispensable for issues ranging from personal relationships to professional jobs and those involving the global community.

The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly, they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

More About Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Mariya Pampova via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next