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If You Work From Home, You Need These 5 Tips To Boost Your Productivity

If You Work From Home, You Need These 5 Tips To Boost Your Productivity

Working from home was not as I thought it would be. I started blogging almost a year ago and I have learned quite a bit.

If you want to be prepared to work from home you will have to be prepared to lose the crowd. Prepare to be isolated and to be out of the social life of the workplace (for at least 5-8 straight hours a day).

However, everyone has their own working time and different personal experience, but what I’ve learned is that some things steal our full potential. They are so small that we don’t notice them, and yet they take a lot of our time.

If you work from home, the next five tips to boost your productivity will help you execute your tasks by 100 percent.

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1. Prepare to be a bit isolated.

As I previously mentioned, accepting your isolation will boost your productivity big time!

Being isolated and accepting it can make a difference in how you deal with it. When I started blogging, I thought I would be able to see my friends all day, call them to give me company, go out and have fun as I did, unfortunately that was all one big fat lie. Working from home is being isolated at least 5-8 hours a day. It’s not like we are going on a deserted island and we need to be alone for the rest of our lives, but we are going to be alone most of the time.

To be honest, I found deep peace while I am alone on my computer every day, and that helped me chase my vision. Although I am more of an extrovert, blogging helped bridge that gap and find a balance between my isolation and extroversion.

2. Coffee helps

It’s not strange that in every movie, all the computer geeks come along with a cup of coffee. Coffee and working from home seem to go hand in hand.

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As scientists claim that coffee is healthy if we drink one up to two cups, this rule has no meaning for home-preneurs.

My own experience with coffee is 2-3 cups a day, and I am not coffee addict type of a guy.

A computer radiates positive ions which mean that it drains our energy and makes us tired just by staring at it. People that work from home need coffee. Period.

3. Have a written plan (I use Momentum app)

Before six months I was sheep in the big city. I was lost all over. I was doing one thing in the middle of another and I wasn’t executing anything. All the tasks I did, at the end of the day, were half-finished and I was nervous all the time.

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I started writing in the notes section what should I do the first second I wake up, until the last second I am finished with working. Not that it only helped me execute all my tasks, but I was finishing my work one hour earlier which gave me an extra for work.

A month ago, I discovered Momentum app. It’s a “new tab” application where you can add your to-do lists; your goal for the day and you can see different backgrounds and different motivational quotes every day. You can check this app at google store.

4. Close all unnecessary tabs

If something helped me focus on my tasks, it was closing all the unnecessary tabs.

First I had opened like 20 tabs that I didn’t even need for the rest of the day. I had one picture opened on Pinterest, checked mail tabs, Facebook comment tab, Quora answered question tab and ten more. They only made it hard for me to find the one tab I was working on and from time to time I was stopping by on the tabs just to stare at them. The most unproductive work I’ve done.

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Close all the unnecessary tabs and you will narrow your focus on the actual work.

5. Phone on silent

I was so harsh, that I sold my phone away just to be without it. I sold my phone since it distracted me for about 2-3 hours a day with twitter notifications, Facebook notifications, calls, messages, WhatsApp, Viber, foursquare and Snapchat.

You don’t have to be so harsh, but the least you can do is put it on silent and put it away. If you have to work you work. Phone needs to be away and you need to force your full potential.

If you follow the five tips above, I guarantee you a 100% more productivity.

Featured photo credit: My via flickr.com

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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.

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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.

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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]

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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.

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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