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Stay Motivated and Productive By Going Into Energy Saver Mode

Stay Motivated and Productive By Going Into Energy Saver Mode

Whether you’re ill, tired, or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, sometimes you just don’t feel like attacking the day the way you normally do. But that doesn’t mean that obligations like your job, chores, and family responsibilities conveniently go on hold for you. (If only.) You still have to find a way to make it through the day—preferably while checking off all the necessary to-dos.

So how do you stay productive when all you want to do is crawl back under the covers? By taking a cue from your computer and going into “energy saver mode.”

Here are the key components of operating in energy saver mode to stay motivated:

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1. Only take care of the most crucial tasks.

We’re a society that likes to Get Things Done, but when you’re not feeling up to par, you need to let go of the things on your to do list that aren’t critical to your life’s basic functioning.

Do you need to finish that big project that’s due today? Yes. Do you need to attend the birthday luncheon you know will only devolve into an hour of gossiping and inane reality TV show talk? No. Wish the birthday guy or girl a happy day, apologize for not being able to make it, and take your lunch break somewhere soothing (like your favorite coffee shop) so you can recharge.

Do you need to do the laundry so your family won’t go naked tomorrow? Yes. Do you need to iron all the wrinkly items so everyone has a full wardrobe to choose from? No. Let them choose from their easier-wear items and leave the more high-maintenance ones for another day.

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In other words, decide what is really important for your day and what isn’t—and be okay with letting the unimportant things slide.

2. Allow yourself some lull time.

Computers in energy saver mode stay efficient by not running at full capacity 24-7. They go into screen saver mode, then sleep mode, keeping only the most basic processes running while letting everything else cool down for a bit.

The human body and mind are the same way. We can’t be “on” 24-7. If we are, we will quickly burn out and become sluggish, foggy, and frustrated. So allow yourself some time to “lull.” Take a 15-minute nap. Let yourself watch an episode of your favorite guilty pleasure reality show. Tell the dishes they can sit for a night and instead curl up with a good book for half an hour. Even a small pocket of “you” time can help you refresh and keep going.

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Instead of rush, rush, rushing around like you normally do, allow yourself to do things at whatever speed you can muster. Don’t multitask. Don’t try to be a hero. (You can be one tomorrow.)

3. Put on your screen saver.

Screen savers—be they cutesy kitties or clichéd beach scenes—say “someone is working here; he just left for a minute but he’ll be right back.” If your boss comes by and sees your screen dark, he’ll wonder if you came in that day. If he sees kittens in baskets floating by, he’ll figure you just stepped away to get some coffee. (You could actually be taking that 15-minute nap in the utility closet, but he doesn’t need to know that.)

Similarly, getting through a day you don’t feel like getting through requires a bit of a “Yep, I’m here!” poker face. You can’t let your inner blahs translate to outer grumpiness, or you’ll just feel worse and have more trouble navigating the day. So learn to disconnect from your feelings, put on a mild smile, and give the “I’m here (but not 100%, please forgive me)” vibe.

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Don’t engage with the people who normally frustrate you. Give short and sweet answers to people instead of launching into full-on conversations. Don’t try mustering up loads of enthusiasm and cheer you don’t have. Just be responsive enough that your screen doesn’t go blank. If anyone wonders why you’re not being your usual perky self, just tell them you’re a bit tired today. They’ll understand. (They may have their own screen savers on, for all you know.)

Featured photo credit:  Mixed Race Young Female via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

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.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

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]

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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?

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.

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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.

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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