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10 Things People Do Every Day Which Make Them Unproductive

10 Things People Do Every Day Which Make Them Unproductive

How do you define success? What distinguishes the successful and the unsuccessful may be that thin line of getting more done in less time. Successful people are more productive and do not do these things daily.

1.Not getting enough sleep

Sleep is essential to your well being. Sometimes people tend to take this for granted. They think the less sleep you have the more time you have to work. However, when you sleep between 7-9 hours a night, you are more energized to complete your work during the day. You are focused and energized as you optimize your sleep.

2.Multitasking

The brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, you alter your productivity. Some may feel doing so much at once could prove efficiency and get more done, but studies on multitasking reveal that such reduces your efficiency and performance. Even when you might be able to proceed on many fronts at once, it is still a slow and an error-prone way of working. It is better for you to focus solely on one task which will get you all the work done much faster.

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3.Having a negative mindset

No matter how productive you want your day to be, if you do not possess a positive mindset, nothing will seem to work. Negative opinions or negative thoughts of how things will turn out will limit what you can achieve so try and encourage yourself to possess only positive thoughts. Change your mindset, believe in what you can achieve daily.

4.Noise

Noise can be devastating. Some people think that noise can make you improve and the pressure determines how much work you can accomplish. It is understandable that certain noise is part of our lives. But we can get thrown off by the slightest commotion like swinging doors, frequent phone calls, or street noise. Productivity can be altered by such disruptions so it is better we do well to reduce the noise around us. If it is within our control, make sure you fight them off with some noise reduction methods. Perhaps you need to switch off the TV, or get yourself noise canceling headphones, try to reduce the noise around you.

5.Trying to be perfect

In a bid to try to reach perfection we spend so much time fixing every little detail of a task that we do not have enough time for more important tasks. When you try to perfect things you deter yourself from getting more done in less time. Perfection is a dreaded unicorn and doesn’t lead us anywhere but in circles. It is better you understand your limitations and offer the best you can and move on to the next task.

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6.Not prioritizing

Prioritizing means getting the most important things done first. Yet what is urgent may not be important and what is important may not be urgent. Trying to make a balance between what is important and urgent allows you to delegate tasks and pay attention to what should be done immediately.

7.Social networking

We all want to be on top of what is going on within our social circles. We feel it is an obligation or mandatory to get plugged into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at least once a day. But the sorry news is that these social media sites are designed to cut down on the much work you can get done during your day.

8.A cluttered workspace

It is easy to judge a productive person or not by the workspace he works from. According to a survey by OfficeMax many Americans believe clutter has a negative impact on their lives and work. Workplace clutter damages productivity and hurts your professional image. Try to clean up your workspace at least once a week to improve your productivity daily.

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9.Not asking for help

Asking for help doesn’t make you stupid or less smart. Rather it does make you productive and efficient. There is no shame in needing help with something. It only signals your limitations. Rather than beating yourself in confusion, seek help and direction, and you will get more done in less time.

10.Setting too many goals

There are only a number of goals we can reach within a set time. Yet people chase after quantity. Being productive however should focus on quality over quantity. This means being realistic and more purposeful in your approach to hit goals. Setting too many goals doesn’t get more done rather it leaves you divided. Set fewer goals that are attainable within the time frame allotted for them.

Reach maximum efficiency, be more productive and do not do any of these things.

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Featured photo credit: hikabu via flickr.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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