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Here’s How To Make You Productive Again

Here’s How To Make You Productive Again

“Be more productive,” is a phrase most people hear on a regular basis. It could be your boss giving you advice, your teacher telling you how slow your performing or your parents lecturing you. No one is pressuring you to be perfect, but being productive and boosting your performance is important. Although the phrase above is quite common, it is easier to say and harder to implement. People usually say “be more productive” but skip the part about how to be more productive.

Productivity is important to strive for in your daily routine. Everyone has their own approach for adapting to be more productive. Most of these methods have something in common with one other. These commonalities, when organized, can really help you raise your productivity a few notches. Here’s seven ways to make you productive again.

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1. Prioritize Your Activities

Always start your workday by sitting down with a list of your activities, and prioritize them into categories. See which activities need more attention and which ones have stringent deadlines. Develop a systematic approach to your daily tasks. Shuffling through your tasks always ends with you having a troubled mind; you won’t achieve anything by the end of the day. Just take the time, and prioritize.

2. Freshen Your Mind

Physicians believe that a healthy, fresh mind can achieve almost anything. One way to have a fresh mind is to exercise. So, start your routine by working out. Get your blood pumping by doing a normal exercise like jogging. When you’re done exercising, you are bound to notice that you feel more awake and have a clearer approach to the tasks ahead of you. Make a habit of working out first thing in the morning. You’ll start noticing improvements in your performance from this simple habit.

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3. Race the Clock

Set up a competition for yourself. Competing is one of the best ways to become motivated, and it is a great method to boost your performance. Set a time limit for yourself, and try finishing your tasks within that time frame. Do not force yourself to work unless it’s manageable. Try to avoid burnout. Remember, perfection is not the goal.

4. Take Short Breaks and Relax

Try taking a short break in between your tasks. A 30- to 40-minute break to relax yourself won’t harm your productivity. Don’t make it a frequent habit throughout the day, rather time your breaks and set them accordingly. Taking a break helps you reflect on your tasks in a much more relaxed way. Taking a break helps you come up with ideas to perform your tasks better and ways to be more efficient.

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5. Say No to Things That Are Unrelated

Have a phone ringing when you’re working? People usually get side-tracked by distractions like phone calls. Take a call only if it helps you with your project, otherwise let it ring or set it to silent. Keep yourself away from distractions, because they tend to break the flow of things which can affect your performance.

6. Do Check On the Clock Regularly

It’s good to race the clock, because it reminds you to keep your eye on it. Deadlines have a well-defined cut-off time. In order to complete your work within that period, you need to keep yourself well aware of the time.

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7. Get Help From People Doing Similar Tasks

If you find yourself stuck with a task you can’t handle, don’t hesitate to get help from the others. Asking for help isn’t a bad thing, and it helps you learn. Seeing how others complete a task helps you get insight on different ways to achieve a task. Always try to learn new things, and apply what you learn.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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