Advertising
Advertising

7 Simple Ways to Work 10 Times Faster

7 Simple Ways to Work 10 Times Faster

If you’re having trouble staying on task and getting the most out of your day, there are actually several simple ways to maximize productivity so that you can go to sleep feeling accomplished and happy with your progress. They won’t require big life changes, only little tweaks, and you’ll be so happy with the results. Here they are:

1. Wake Up Early

Successful people swear by waking up early. At that point, the world is quiet. You haven’t been affected by the distractions of the day, and you get a moment to yourself. Use this time to be your most productive or create a plan for your day. If you’re not an early bird, try setting your alarm just 30 minutes earlier each day until you can comfortably wake up at dawn.

Advertising

2. Make a List

Making lists is a great way to feel productive. Keep the list small so that it does not look overwhelming. Make sure to cross things off as you go to keep your stamina up and your motivation strong. Be sure to keep the list in a place that you can reach it easily. There’s nothing worse for productivity than having multiple lists strewn all over the house. Just make one main list, and make sure that you keep it close by.

3. Set Goals

We can all be more productive if we have something that we’re looking forward to. If you have a goal to eat dinner with your friends at 6:00 p.m., you’ll be more likely to finish the tasks on that handy list that you made. You can even set bigger goals like paying off debt or reaching a specific number of people for your business. No matter how big or how small, you have to set them.

Advertising

4. Get Accountability

Being productive is so much easier when someone is keeping you accountable. It can be something as small as telling your mom that you want to work out every day or announcing it to the world on a blog post. Either way, telling someone else about your goals for the day will make you more likely to reach them.

5. Do The Most Difficult Task First

It’s human nature to put off the most difficult task. This leads to more procrastination. However, if you start each day by completing the one thing you are dreading, all of your other tasks will seem small by comparison.

Advertising

6. Treat Yourself

When you do have a great, productive day, don’t forget to treat yourself. When times are tough, you have to give yourself a little reward. Even something as small as getting an ice cream will make you feel great about all you have accomplished.

7. Make Your Goals Visible

If you have set goals that you want to reach every day, make sure they are visible to you. You can do this by putting your goals on a big dry erase board or writing them on sticky notes that you put on your monitor. The point is that they are supposed to be in a place where you can look when you are feeling unproductive or weak. Those reminders of yours goals should be enough to push you forward to succeed.

Advertising

Ultimately, there are many ways to become more productive. You can use an item on this list or a combination of them until you find what works best for you. We’re all motivated in different ways, and what’s most important is that you spend some time trying to find out what helps you to get your goals accomplished. Good luck, and if you have any other productivity tips, please leave them in the comment section below.

More by this author

Catherine Alford

Catherine is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions.

11 Reasons Why It’s Important to Follow Your Dreams How to Make Money Right Now How to Have a Successful Garage Sale 30 Money Questions to Ask Your Fiance BEFORE Marriage 42 Amazingly Free Things That Will Make You Smile

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next