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Increase Your Willpower With Just Three Simple Steps

Increase Your Willpower With Just Three Simple Steps

Willpower comes from character. If deep down we want something, we can find million ways to see that thing done. But if we go against the things we really want to do, we can be seeking the willpower to complete tasks forever.

There is no increasing willpower in a direction we don’t want to see ourselves going in the future. There is only willpower when it comes to the things we truly want. However, willpower needs to be nurtured every minute of our life. It is something like a code. We should feed it with motivation every day and give life to it.

Every self-motivating word becomes useless when we find ourselves in a situation where we want to give up. That’s the exact moment when we need to find the inner willpower that will give us the momentum we need.

Here are three simple but powerful tricks to increase your willpower.

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1. Get a good sleep

If you think that sleep has nothing to do with willpower, try to watch funny cat videos on YouTube until four in the morning and then go to work the next day. Not only you will be the most unproductive person in the room, but you will also be the most negative person around.

Willpower comes from healthy and well-fed brain. If we don’t satisfy the smartest organ in our bodies, we will never get it to serve us. The starting point for doing something productive is getting a good night’s sleep.

We need to sleep between six to eight hours a day and not a minute more or less. I’m personally satisfied with six hours a day because (as Robin Sharma says) I honestly think that sleeping more is a waste of time.

Experiment on yourself. Try to see how much sleep time you need to be rested. And don’t forget that over-sleeping is a habit. It’s scientifically proven that you don’t need more than eight hours, so don’t cheat yourself!

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2. Write out and stick to your plans

It may sound baloney, but plans alone, written on a piece of paper or electronically, increase our willpower drastically.

When we write things down (especially on a piece of paper) we make our mind visualize how our day, week, month and even whole life should be formulated. Writing stuff down takes our timeline to a whole other level.

Two of my favorite authors, Napoleon Hill and Robin Sharma, explain how powerful it is to write things down, in particular to have something like an everyday prayer. I will kick through my shame wall and I will introduce my own everyday prayer:

Bit by bit, day by day, I will increase my income up to ****Euros until February 2015. I am willing to dedicate my time in achieving that goal and weight down all the things that block my way. Every day I will support my positive ideas with my (the thing I am working on) to achieve my goal until February 2015. I will work every day as a mole, I will work out and I will be endlessly healthy and happy!

This is my personal “good morning” and “good night” sentence. I shared this so you can have idea of what that prayer looks like.

Make a few changes and always make plans for the next day. Organizing time is the vital step to find endless willpower.

3. Be elastic

Being elastic doesn’t always involve physical stretching. Being elastic is also being flexible with your actions.

Just as muscles need different types of exercise from time to time because otherwise they will stagnate, our brain needs change too. In other words, our brain needs entertainment. For example, if you brush your teeth with your dominant hand, try switching to the other hand next time. You will see that brushing your teeth is not so boring after all.

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We need to vary our daily routine and change our actions somehow. I cannot tell each of you what to do, because everybody is different, but try to focus on how you can make your purpose and passion elastic, so you can feed your brain with endless willpower.

It all hinges on how we train our brain. If you take all the money from a wealthy person, they will accumulate wealth again. But wealth is impossible for someone with a ‘poor’ mind-set. And if you take the happiness from a happy person, they will accumulate happiness again.

By using and implementing these simple steps, you will maximize your willpower in no time!

Featured photo credit: Willpower/Gaëtan Bourque via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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