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10 Things Introverts Do Which Make Them Productive

10 Things Introverts Do Which Make Them Productive

Introverts may be often misunderstood because of their quiet nature, but there are several areas where their quiet nature pays off. One of those areas is productivity. Here are 10 things that introverts do that make them productive.

1. They Are Naturally Creative

Creativity can be one of the most valued skills when it comes to productivity, and this puts introverts at an advantage because they have creativity hard-wired into them. Introverts tend to spend a lot of time in introspection, and this time alone is a breeding ground for great ideas. The trick is capturing the ideas in a place where they won’t be forgotten.

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2. They Are Intentional

Introverts tend to be naturally cautious people, approaching any task with great thought and care. While this could be a detriment if they allow caution to turn into paralysis, it can a great asset if they learn to utilize it to get things done. Being intentional allows introverts to be selective about the things they do and not taking on every project that comes their way. The art of saying no frees them up to get the most important things on their plates completed.

3. They Take Communication Seriously

Introverts don’t tend to spend a lot of time speaking in front of large crowds, or at least that’s the common thinking. In fact, introverts can be great public communicators because they take the task very seriously. Introverts are typically careful about how they portray themselves in front of others. This works in their favor because they’ll put a lot of time and prep work into making sure their public communication is top notch.

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4. They Are Detail-Oriented

Introverts are naturally observant people, and because of this, they’re not likely to overlook any detail. This can be really important to an introvert’s productivity because they’re not having to play catch up on something important that they previously overlooked.

5. They Are Independent

Introverts are often in a perfect position to get things done because they don’t often feel the need to rely on someone else to get things done. In fact, introverts are more likely to choose tasks for which they don’t have to wait on someone else to tackle. Being able to jump right into a task independently can be really valuable for productivity.

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6. They Disconnect When Necessary

Introverts need to recharge. They don’t run on a boundless source of energy. Fortunately, introverts often realize this and take steps to disconnect from projects if their energy level is acting as more of a detriment to their productivity than an asset.

7. They Choose Their Words Carefully

Communication is important to productivity because not all tasks can be performed by a single person. Introverts are sometimes a part of a team, and they can be a valuable part of the team because they’re careful about the words they use to communicate information. Introverts strive for clarity and precision in their communication, and this can help teams to know exactly what needs to be done.

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8. They Are Focused

While some people can be easily distracted from a task, introverts tend to be more focused. They’re able to devote all of their attention to a task until it’s finished. In fact, introverts often like to avoid interruption of their workflow as much as possible.

9. They Are Attentive

When it comes to productivity, few things can be worse than communicating important task information whose attention isn’t completely focused on taking in the information. Fortunately, introverts are great listeners. They’re able to take in information with great understanding while also asking clarifying questions if they don’t understand something the first time.

10. They Plan Ahead

Introverts are often relentless planners. They don’t tend to enjoy being surprised, so they try to foresee every possible outcome that might come along. They work great with paper and pen and can serve teams well in making plans for maximum productivity.

Featured photo credit: Man Standing Alone/Joshua Earle via download.unsplash.com

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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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