Podcast: How to be more Productive - Part 2

We will talk about:

  • Delving deep into the critical errors we make in self-control, judgement and productivity.

Listen to Part 1 Moving into the deeper topics of willpower and self-control, this post picks up where we left off last week in talking about how to be more productive.

Or if you don't want to listen to the whole thing, here's the full summary of Parts 1 and 2:

Full Summary - 14 Tips

1. Physical Exercise

Proven to increase your ability to focus on one task, ignore distractions and procrastinate less. Aids in all aspects of self-control in your life. It's also been proven to be equally successful as taking anti-depressants to treat depression.

2. Meditate

"Seriously Andrew, meditate?" Yup. Thanks to the hippy movement, it's held negative connotations for years, but new studies are showing that meditation is proven to improve focus, creativity, compassion and memory, whilst reducing anxiety and stress. If you aren't meditating yet, you're missing out on some huge improvements in productiveness and creative breakthroughs.

3. Get more Sleep

If you're getting less than 6 hours, you're severely impacting your ability to ignore distractions and temptations.

4. Relax

Staying productive can be exhausting. Restore willpower and reduce stress by lying still for 5-10 minutes. The effects are subtle but incredibly helpful for treating that 3pm crash.

5. Remind Yourself Why

When working, it's sometimes hard to remember why we're even doing this, which can result in sinking 5 hours into a Youtube binge. The next time you're wondering what the point is, ask yourself these two questions:  How will I benefit from completing this task? Who else will benefit? Then imagine it getting easier over time.

6. Refrain from labelling activities as 'bad' or 'good'

By patting ourselves on the back for working hard, we can subconsciously give ourselves permission to slack off. It's been proven on university students, who when congratulated for studying so hard, were more likely to spend the night partying. Instead of congratulating yourself, remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how your work is necessary to get there.

7. Acknowledge your Addictions

Dopamine is a chemical in the brain responsible for driving us to accomplish things. Without it we'd be aimless, but it can also cause us to act in strange compulsive ways. Sites like Facebook, Youtube, Reddit and Twitter feed off our dopamine addiction, knowing that we'll be back for more to get that 'promise of reward' that is never really achievable. Be wary of addictive websites and use plugins like StayFocused or Time Warp if you're struggling.

8. Don't beat yourself up... ever.

Contrary to popular belief, making yourself feel guilty doesn't help you - it actually undermines you. Known as the 'What the Hell' effect, shaming yourself has been proven to make you likely to indulge again.

9. Avoid the News

Known as the Terror Management theory, being reminded of our own mortality causes us to look for something to immediately alleviate the stress. Resulting in eating a whole tub of icecream, impulse purchases or wasting the night playing video games. Whatever you enjoy will be the thing you look to when encountered with fear.

10. Make your Goals Achievable

Settings goals gives us an immediate high, and the bigger the goal the bigger high. Just the decision to change is enough to alleviate the negative feelings that caused us to make those goals. False Hope Syndrome is the unrealistic expectations of self-change. And whilst we're happily telling ourselves that this year we'll make a million dollars, we become blind to the limitations and failures of the past. Thus resulting in a what-the-hell effect once you falter from your goals. Make goals with a dash of pessimism - and predict when you're most likely to fail and you'll increase your chances of sticking with it.

11. Forcefully delay your temptations

In the heat of the moment, a craving or temptation can be so intense that a lot of us cave. By using restraint and holding ourselves to the rule of a 10-minute delay before acting on the temptation, we can very effectively reduce our impulses of actually acting it. It's also used as one of the most effective ways of treating OCD.

12. Put your Goal at Stake

Can't seem to bring yourself away from Reddit to open Blender? Frame your addiction as a direct threat to your goal of becoming a successful artist (or something else). By presenting a 'one or the other' choice, it's far easier to turn down your temptation for what you know truly matters.

13. Meet the Future You

Most of us are terrible at recognizing our future-self as ourself. Sounds stupid, but true. We procrastinate because we think that the future us will have more time, be better/richer/happier etc. Studies have shown that most people actually see their future self to the same level as they see a stranger. Without properly acknowledging that we won't magically be different in 20 years, we're setting ourselves up for disaster. Reflect on how we'll look, feel and regret the decisions that our current self is making today. Doing so will drastically improve your chances at being financially successful when you're older.

14. Choose your friends [more] wisely

We all know that we become who we hang out with, but most don't know how severely so. If you're close friend becomes obese, you have a 171% chance of being next. Studies have found that simply reading a story of someone working hard will make us work harder. So find a role model that you look up to and ask yourself what they'd do. Avoid catching negativity by spending a few minutes at the start of each day reflecting on your goals.

All credit to “The Willpower Instinct”! Highly recommended if you're interested in learning even more about improving your willpower and productivity.

Hope you all have a productive year in Blender, and every endeavour of your life :)

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Andrew Price