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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 July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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