try implementing these three strategies to encourage productivity
By Emily Matthews
Making and implementing new habits into your workday can be challenging, but oh so rewarding! I have compiled a list of our top and proven strategies which can help you switch up your time-worn daily routine to one that allows you to become a productivity machine!
Research shows that willpower is like a muscle and it gets fatigued as you use it throughout the days and weeks. You can help to solve this problem by picking a new habit that is easy enough that you don’t need motivation to do it and then gradually add to the number of habits that you perform each day.
So, rather than trying to overhaul your entire work schedule at once and feel completely overwhelmed, start by replacing one old habit or process that you do regularly and change it to become your new best practice. A common one for example, is to eat your lunch away from your desk! This change is super simple and realistic and can work wonders for your stress levels throughout the day. A more challenging swap, which may sound counterintuitive to some, is not to multitask! Name one resume that you have written where you haven’t listed ‘multitasker’ as a skill? Now, you may well be a great juggler, but how do you know that by performing multiple tasks at once, you aren’t stunting your progress or calibre of work? Researchers at Stamford University state that multitaskers almost always performed worse in simple memory tests. They often had difficulty organizing their thoughts and filtering information, as their mind and energy was spread too thinly to focus explicitly.
Concentrating your energy into one (or maybe two smaller) tasks, allows you to fully focus, be more creative and absorb what is needed for a greater output – without your mind wondering off mid-flow and reducing the quality of work!
FIND A MOTIVATING REWARD
Many positive habits such as exercise, weekly planning and no screen time as soon as you wake up, don’t always have immediately obvious rewards. After extended practice they will all become things, tasks, or processes that naturally stimulate your brain in positive ways and reward you for taking action. For example, if you wake up 15 minutes earlier, it means that you can get the earlier train to work. When you realise that this earlier train is quieter than the rush hour service, meaning you have your own space in the carriage and don’t turn up to work already feeling anxious or frustrated; you will start to want to get up those 15 minutes earlier. But, sometimes we may need a bit of help to get started on this new routine.
I am a self-confessed chocoholic, so was glad to find out that studies have shown that consuming a small amount of chocolate releases similar chemicals and neurotransmitters to those found in endorphins – meaning that you really do feel good after eating it! So, I personally often use a reward of a hot chocolate for myself if I completed the X number of tasks that I’ve given myself. Your rewards can be both tangible and intangible and can be interchangeable dependant on the habit you have implemented, or pieces of work that you have done… although we don’t recommend always giving yourself a chocolate reward if you get the early train!
APPLY A CUE TO ACTION
According to behavioural psychology expert Charles Duhigg, there is a 3-step neurological loop at the core of every habit—the “cue,” “routine” and “reward.” So, to carry out a specific action regularly, you’ll need a reliable reminder or cue, such as an alarm, a reminder on a post-it note placed in plain view, or calendar reminders on your computer. Eventually, you won’t need to rely on these cues to action a task and they will in turn become a healthy habit!
Remember, start simple and don’t try and change your life in a few days, make changes consistantly and reguarly remind yourself as to why these changes will benefit you.
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