How To Use Science To Stay Productive And Reach Your Goals In 2019
Because of the world we live in today, staying productive and focused is getting increasingly difficult. There are so many different platforms all fighting for our attention, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and get lost in the stimulation. But you must prevail!
In order to combat the endless mind numbing distractions and stay productive, we need to first understand what being productive is from a scientific viewpoint. Once we fully understand the science behind our productivity, we can learn to control it. Then we can use it as a superpower that rapidly moves us towards our ultimate goals.
Let’s utilize the power of reverse engineering to properly break down this esoteric, elusive concept. When most people think of productivity, they think of time management tools, adderall and classical music for focus.
This is the wrong way to look at it. Being productive is not sitting at a desk lamp until 2 in the morning, drinking coffee and wishing you could call it a night. In fact: Forcing yourself to stay up late can have an adverse effects on your sleep cycle. Leading to you actually losing productivity in the long run.
What is Productivity About?
Being productive is about how much can you achieve within a certain period of time. It’s about putting your focus towards the right things which actually lead to tangible result, while at the same time, saying no to everything else. People and things are the biggest distractions and leechers of energy that we face in our lives. Let’s look at productivity in close detail.
From this video we can see there are many cognitive functions which go into how productive we are on a daily basis.
The 6 Keys To Being More Productive
Productivity can be split into 6 different parts, namely:
- Deliberate Practise
- Delayed Gratification
- Systems & Processes
- Your Purpose & Why
In this article, we will explore each part in more detail. But first, let’s get some basic information out of the way.
What is the definition of productivity? Productivity can be described as the ability to produce large amounts of anything tangible or measurable. Why is it important to be productive? Without the ability to produce, you will never get far in this world. The people who get ahead in life are the producers not the consumers.
1. Deliberate Practise
The biggest myth about productivity is that the more time you put in, the better results you are going to get. This is not necessarily true, because it’s not how many hours you put in, but rather how many of those hours were spent doing deliberate practise. (Where 100% of your energy is focused on the task itself)
You see, in life most people are actually wasting a lot of time on things which are not productive. For example, the average person works 8 hours per day. However, if 4 of those 8 hours were spent doing things which don’t produce results such as checking their Facebook or Daydreaming. Then in reality they only worked 4 hours.
To be super productive, you need to be doing more deliberate practise in your work. Focus on the things which bring measurable results, do not waste time that you could be using to get stuff done!
2. Delayed Gratification
Instant gratification is the killer of dreams. Anything that meaningful that you achieve in life will be done through a process, not a single event. To be effective when working, you need to know how to delay instant gratification and continue to push yourself because you understand the long term goal in mind.
We only have a limited amount of willpower each day, we can choose to spend it in positive ways or squander it. Stay disciplined. The biggest drainer of your mental power and ability to concentrate on a specific task, is the constant internal battle you’re having with yourself about whether you should keep working, or go make a sandwich and watch the new taylor swift music video.
In order to actually achieve concrete goals, you have to remain focused and consistent on your level of output everyday. To do this it is essential that we discipline our minds to concentrate on only the task which is right in front of us. It also means removing the things which may divert your attention and lead to a lack of focus.
3. Systems and Processes
If you want to reach maximum efficiency, it is essential to put rules in place about when you’re going to work and when you’re going to take a break. The average human can only stay focused for 25 minutes at a time.
The pomodoro technique is an example of a process which helps you manage your time better and keep track of when you should take a break. The technique was discovered by an italian scientist who needed a more effective way to keep himself on schedule with his tasks.
Another really important thing about having systems in place is removing all distractions. While you’re working, you should not be doing anything else. Turn off the mobile phone, turn off the Youtube, TV, Netflix then put your head down and work!
Even if you are not using your phone while you work, you should still put it away. The reason is because just the act of choosing to not use it is depleting your willpower bank account. You are spending precious energy on the decision to work instead of check your messages, because your phone is constantly burning a hole in your pocket, making you curious and want to use it.
4. Your Purpose & Why
Of all the things which go into productivity, this one may actually be the most important. Your why. Why are you working so hard? What is the reason for being so disciplined and wanting to be more productive?
Most of us, get so caught up in our daily problems that we often forget our why. We lack a sense of purpose and therefore, when things get tough most people give up. Having a strong, clear reason in your mind for why you work so hard is critical to making sure you actually do put in the work.
Take 10 minutes each day to think to yourself, why am I doing this? What is my purpose? Why am I alive? Although it may sound very eastern philosophical, just doing this simple exercise once a day can lead to massive improvements in your level of productivity.
There are 2 things in life. Responsibility and Accountability. Responsibility is knowing what you should do. Accountability is actually doing it! There comes a point where you need to just suck it up and do the work, because no one else is going to do it for you. We live in a time where you don’t really have a fire under you, making sure you actually do the work.
There is no longer an evolutionary pressure placed on us in order to succeed. In the modern world, you can pretty much do nothing with your life and nothing bad is going to happen. So now we have to put the evolutionary pressure on ourselves!
Hold yourself accountable to do the things you know you should do, and then you will get the results you want. It goes back to the instant gratification dilemma. Most people are not willing to put in the work.
Always remind yourself of this quote, “If you do the things that others won’t do, you’ll have the things that others don’t have”. Keep this in mind and success becomes very straightforward.
Good productivity is about balance. After a long day of work, it is important to also give yourself a reward for a task completed on time. By rewarding our effort, we are conditioning our mind to always take right action and incentivize ourselves to push further even when things get tough.
Work hard, but also take some time to stop working and give yourself a reward each day. Without this you can very easily fall into to a state of burnout, chronic fatigue and physical exhaustion.
The reward should be something small that you really enjoy to do, which you can also do everyday. An example of rewards you can use are:
- Watching a movie
- Socializing with friends
- Eating an Icecream
- Reading a good book
- Running a hot bubble bath
Just to name a few. If you want to stay productive for the long term. You need to maintain a healthy balance between work, hobbies, a clean diet and relationships. A balanced, fulfilled life will allow you to focus 100% of your energy on the things which matter most.
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