5 Proven Psychological Tricks to Boost Your Productivity
Have you ever gotten so caught up with your work that the entire day had gone by without you even noticing?
With our busy schedules and never-ending to-do lists, we are often under pressure to get things done. To improve your productivity, you may have experimented with certain time-management strategies, or tricks to work faster. These strategies usually focus on getting more things done in less time, which works great in the short run.
However, trying to do more things in less time puts you at the risk of burning out. There can only be so much that our bodies can take trying to run a non-stop schedule.
A lasting way to increase our productivity would be to work on optimizing our psychological state. By increasing our well-being and mental state-of-mind, we naturally improve our work performance and get things done.
Hence, that is the purpose of this read: to share with you 5 psychological tricks that have been proven to boost your productivity effortlessly. Let’s jump right into it.
01 | Condition Your Work Environment for Productivity
Even though we may not be consciously aware, our work environment has an impact on our productivity. Research has found that work productivity increases or decreases along with the temperature of the office. When the office is too cold, employees tend to make more mistakes at work.
Similarly, picking out the right bulb is also very important. Florescent lights, and lights that are too dim or too harsh are all harmful to the eyes in the long run. Hence, it is best to work in an area with plenty of natural lighting. However, if this is not possible, opt for daylight bulbs instead of florescent lights for your office.
If you are in a bit of a creative rut, try working from different locations. When you change your environment, your brain becomes more creative, and hence, more productive. According to research, our brain simply does not enjoy monotony, and does better when there is a variation in environment and tasks.
02 | Plan Your Day Beforehand
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail. – Alan Lakein
Planning your day beforehand sets you up for success.
Having a plan makes it more likely that you will achieve your goals. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, two groups of students were instructed to hand in their assignments a day after Christmas. The first group was given instructions to think about when and where during the holidays they planned to complete their assignment, while the second group were not given such instructions. In the end, 70% of those who planned ahead submitted their reports, as compared to 30% from those in the group who did not plan ahead.
Having a plan ensures that you prioritize your tasks and spend the day doing the things that are most important to you. Once you realize that you are making healthy progress on your most important tasks, it builds up to a positive momentum for the rest of the day.
03 | Focus on One Task at a Time
When we check our emails, browse Facebook, and eat our breakfast all at once, we believe that we are being more productive by multi-tasking.
As it turns out, multi-tasking makes us even less productive. The problem with multi-tasking is that our brains cannot actually focus on multiple things at one time. When we attempt to multi-task, our brain shifts back and forth between tasks very quickly, giving the illusion that we can focus on multiple things at one time.
This constant task switching incurs biological costs, which drains the energy reserves from our brain very quickly. Hence, multitasking makes us feel more tired as compared to when we focus our attention on only one thing at a time.
To be fully present with each task, create distraction-free blocks within your schedule whereby you can work without disruptions. Turn off all notifications on your phone and desktop, and if possible, let your colleagues know that you would be working without disruptions.
04 | Get Your Body Moving
It is well known that exercise does wonders for your physical health. Do you know that exercise also helps you to become more productive?
Physical exercise releases chemicals in your brain that makes you feel good. It also stimulates the production of energy for your brain, boosting your mental output. Therefore, you tend to feel more energetic and enthusiastic after a workout session.
You do not have to complete an intensive workout to obtain these benefits. Research found that both low-intensity and moderate intensity exercise lead to roughly the same level of benefits in alertness and focus.
Hence, whether you start your day with some light stretching exercises, a yoga session, or a cardio workout, it would be equally beneficial in making you more productive for the rest of the day.
05 | Reward Yourself for Accomplishing Significant Tasks
Extensive research has been conducted on the link between human productivity and the use of external rewards. Based on the simplest principles of operant conditioning in behavioral psychology, rewards serve as a positive reinforcement for behaviors that we want to encourage.
When you make it a habit to reward yourself after the completion of every significant task, you motivate yourself to work more productively in anticipation of the reward. This is especially useful for completing tasks that you do not get to see immediate benefits, such as drafting a proposal for a client who may or may not take up your services in the end.
There are many ways in which you can reward yourself, but make sure that the reward is personally significant to you. Your reward could range from getting yourself a cup of coffee, to buying a new gadget that you have always wanted for yourself.
Instead of trying to get more done in less time, these psychological tricks work by recalibrating your psyche. Take your time to find out which approaches work best for you, and incorporate those that work into your work routine to supercharge your productivity.