Promises! Promises! Another year dawns and yet another opportunity to focus on new resolutions; though a resolution means nothing if not coupled with a sincere commitment and belief that “we can do this”.
At a subconscious level a new promise honours us and makes us feel more deserving of the change we so desire for ourselves.
My resolution this year is to get more productive. In order to do this I need to re-assess the areas that require better organizing.
Whether you’re planning to conquer the world or pick up your laundry, being aware of these facts will make life much easier and definitely more efficient _ or at least help you understand why you are not.
- Simply start a task you want to accomplish.As an example _ if you wish to travel abroad you need to first apply for a passport! Once you decide that, your brain will send you signals that will continue to nag you that you’ve not finished an objective. We humans are naturally driven to finish what we’ve started. A feeling of uneasiness is unleashed in the brain when we interrupt a task we know we should finish.
- Multi-tasking is a myth.We can get good at switching between tasks really quickly or learn to bounce around our focus, but psychologists now are of the opinion that we humans are actually frenetically juggling focus so we don’t miss anything. Frenetic energy can be stressful. My advice: stop jumping from task to task and keep your brain focused on the most important job at hand.
- Will power is a finite resource.Mental stress eats away and erodes your commitment quicker than you realize. It’s also called “ego depletion”, which is a specific kind of mental fatigue. In a recent experiment, subjects were asked to eat or resist freshly baked cup cakes before completing rigorous mental tasks. It was found that those who forced themselves to resist eating the cakes had used up so much will power that they performed poorly on the tests.So remember, “pushing through” and resisting makes you less and less productive.
- Brain tricks.Mindless tasks, like cleaning a reasonably clean room, checking facebook over and over, or surfing the net needlessly can trick the brain into thinking that we’re doing “real work”. Yet this euphoria of accomplishment does not help us reach the goal we are attempting to complete. Our brain justifies to us that we’ve done “enough” for the moment. Our brain is no fool and it knows that completing these simple, unnecessary tasks will give you the same brain boost that completing a more arduous task will. This habit cuts to the heart of procrastination. My advice: Fight the urge and stick to what’s really important.
- Write a “to do” list of goals and deadlines.Scanning through and prioritizing from the loftier goals really works. Lists are like on going notes that remind and nag us whenever we glance at them. So start with what’s doable right now, small manageable tasks that work towards building something bigger.
- Sleep_ glorious sleep!Much needed sleep recharges us and enables ideas to materialize naturally.Rest and relaxation boost our productivity and allow those bursts of creativity where we can truly concentrate and be highly effective. It’s important to respect your body and give it the required time to recuperate and heal. During sleep the body releases the toxins stored in the muscles that hamper free movement physically and mentally. So give yourself a break _ sleep!
- Practice, Practice!There is no substitute for hard work and no free lunch! Therefore, there are no effective shortcuts when it comes to true achievement. It is necessary to make a commitment for any change to have lasting results. The hurdle is that we fail to commit not just intellectually but from our hearts as well.Visualize a goal and go for it!
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