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 Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential 2 Are You Right-Brain Dominant? (7 Right Brain Characteristics) 3 What Is Creative Thinking and Why Is It Important? 4 How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person 5 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

You may have heard someone say they are “totally right brained” or that they’re “a left brained person.”

There is a pervasive myth that’s been making its rounds for over a century: people have two hemispheres of their brains, and if they have a dominant left brain, they’re more analytical; and if they have a dominant right brain, they are more creative.

Before we go debunking this theory and then giving some tips for how people can access their creative brain centers, let’s first take a look at where the left brain/right brain lateralization theory comes from.

The Left Brain/Right Brain Lateralization Theory

In the 1800s, scientists discovered that when patients injured one side of their brains, certain skills were lost.[1] Scientists linked those different skills to one side of the brain or the other. Thus began the left brain/right brain myth that continues to this day.

Then, in the 1960s and 70s, Roger W. Sperry led 16 operations that cut the corpus callosum (the largest region that connects both brain hemispheres together) in order to try to treat patients’ epilepsy. Sperry wrote about the differences in the two hemispheres as a result of those surgeries.[2]

Sperry’s work was popularized in 1973 with a New York Times article about his lateralization theory—that people were either right brained (read: logical) or left brained (read: creative). From here, Sperry won the Nobel Prize for his work and numerous other publications spread the right brain/left brain myth.

Debunking the Right Brain/Left Brain Myth

If anything, the lateralization theory of the brain is a gross exaggeration. It is true that people have two hemispheres of their brains. It is also true that there are differences in the composition of those two hemispheres.

Advertising

However, the hemispheres are actually much more interconnected than Sperry’s work initially made it seem.

In a 2013 study,[3] scientists scanned over 1000 people’s brains, checking for lateralization. They confirmed that certain brain functions occur predominately in one hemisphere or the other but that, in reality, the brain is actually much more interconnected and complex than the right brain/left brain lateralization theory makes it seem.[4][5]

A New Metaphor for Right Brain/Left Brain

How do we get past this right brain/left brain myth?

First, let’s look at what contemporary cognitive science says about brain regions, and creative and logical modes of thinking.

My background is as an improviser and improv researcher. I wrote Theatrical Improvisation, Consciousness, and Cognition and think looking at improvisation and the brain can shed light on a new model for talking about unlocking the brain’s creative potential.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans have shown that while trained improvisers improvise (musically on a keyboard, rapping, and comedic improvisation) an interesting shift happens in their brain activity. [6]

A region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreases in activity and creative language centers such as the medial prefrontal cortex increase in activity. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is linked with conscious thoughts—that inner voice that tells you not to say something or criticizes you when you do.

Advertising

The medial prefrontal cortex is among the brain regions linked with creativity. So, instead of thinking about right brain and left brain, perhaps it’s more current and correct to think about more specific brain regions instead of hemispheres. Perhaps, it’s more useful to think about which activities and strategies will allow us to inhibit our dorsolateral prefrontal cortexes and allow our medial prefrontal cortexes to flourish.

How to Enhance Your “Right Brain” — Creativity

Whether we’re talking about right brain versus left brain, creative versus logical, or medial prefrontal cortex versus dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, we still know enough to talk about strategies to tap into your creative brain’s full potential.

So, now that we’ve dispelled the right brain/left brain myth and looked at a more contemporary, cognitive neuroscience theory of brain regions and creativity centers, let’s look at how to tap into the potential of your creative brain.

1. Performing Arts

One way to tap into your creative brain centers is to participate in the performing arts. Whether you improvise, act, or dance, the performing arts allow you an embodied experience that will help you snap out of your habitual, logical thoughts.

Another benefit of the performing arts is that it changes your attention. Attention and creativity are inextricably linked. When we improvise, act, or dance, we have to focus intently on our fellow performers. This means we are forced to focus less on our conscious, logical thoughts. This frees us up for more creative thinking and expression.[7]

One of the conclusions of my research on improvisation is that focusing intensely on fellow improvisers and the task at hand makes it more likely that we experience a flow state. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi,[8] a Professor of Psychology and Management defines flow as an optimal psychological state when our skills match the difficulty of the task at hand. Our perception of time is altered as we get into the zone and become more present and in the moment during our chosen activity.[9]

A flow state is a creative state. It’s the opposite of crunching numbers and forcing ourselves to work out a problem with the conscious regions of our brain. So, get up, improvise, act, or dance to access your creativity.

Advertising

2. Visual Art

Art teacher Betty Edwards[10] wrote a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Here again, we see that a shift in our attention can lead us to an increase in our creative thinking.

Edwards’ book gives art students tricks to shift the way they see the world. For example, one exercise encourages students to literally flip whatever it is they’re drawing upside down before they draw it. This forces budding artists to literally see the object in a new way. This shift allows them to focus more on the individual components and patterns of the object, which allows them to draw it better.

Shifting how we see things is another way we can access our creative brain centers. Take an art class to shut off your conscious, critical thoughts and start seeing things from a new, more creative perspective.

3. Zone Out

If there’s one thing creativity doesn’t like, it’s being coerced.

I think we’ve all felt that awful feeling of trying to force ourselves to be creative. When we force it, we’re really trying to force our logical brain regions to be creative. It’s like asking your gardener to perform your appendix surgery. It’s just not what she does.

Instead, stop forcing it. Take a break. Take a long walk or a relaxing bath or shower. Let your mind wander.

Whatever you do, stop forcing it. This break lets your creative centers rise to the surface of your attention and get heard.

Advertising

4. Practice Mindfulness

The final trick to start accessing your so-called right brain is to practice mindfulness.

Now, there’s a lot of different ways to go about mindfulness. You can take a more physical approach with a yoga class. Or you can try meditating to become more aware and in tune with your thoughts and feelings: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

You could also try to incorporate fun mindfulness exercises[11] into your everyday routine like forcing yourself to go on detours or pretending you’re a detective who needs to examine people and places closely.

Any way you do it, mindfulness exercises and training can help you become better versed in how your brain works and what your normal thought process is like on a day-to-day basis. If we’re ever going to reach our optimal creativity, we have to become an expert in how our individual brain functions. Mindfulness is one way to become your very own brain expert.

Mindfulness also has added benefits like calming us, slowing our breathing, and helping us become more observant, which are also great ways to start tapping into our creative potential.

Final Thoughts

So, it may not be correct to say that our right brain is our creative brain, but it is still a valid pursuit to try to optimize our creative brain centers.

The key to do so is to relax, become observant, shift your perspective, move your body, try something new, and, whatever you do, don’t force it.

Creativity can feel slippery. It can abandon us when we need it most, but by slowing down and looking at things from a new perspective, we can give ourselves a better chance of tapping into our ultimate creativity, even if that doesn’t exactly mean our “right brain.”

More Tips on Boosting Creativity

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next