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Overcome Negative Mindsets That Inhibit Productivity

Apr 3, 2020 | 13m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Understanding how emotions play a role in your thought process
  • Asking yourself the right questions to discover what truly hinders your progress
  • Why multitasking actually isn’t going to make you more productive


Habits of Highly Productive People

Regardless of your profession, productivity is one of the pillars of career success. Accomplishing your goals begins self-agency—the ability to take action to address challenges--checking off your to-do list one task at a time, no matter how mundane or trivial it may seem. Some people run their lives almost solely on to-do lists and detailed schedules. For others, it is easier said than done.

Most people fall in the latter category because we are constantly bombarded with people and responsibilities that demand our attention. How can you focus on accomplishing your tasks at hand when your phone buzzes every few minutes?

To become more successful at what you do, you have to learn to take charge of your attention. Think of your mental life like your desktop—what tasks and responsibilities are top priority. You choose what to focus on instead of allowing them to control you. You have the power to determine what needs to be prioritised and what can wait. Imagine just how much you could accomplish if you stay focused on what matters most in the moment!

So, where should you begin if you want to be more productive in your day-to-day life? It all begins with acquiring habits that will lead you to success. One of the most important habits that may often be overlooked is emotional regulation.

Although making and following priorities are within your control, life is full of surprises. We don’t control the universe! If you are thrown a curveball, how you respond can determine what comes next and whether or not you will check off everything on your to-do list for the day. Develop the habit of taking a deep breath and stepping back from something that may cause unnecessary stress or anxiety. Some people are more resilient than others and are able to handle change well. However, if you happen to get thrown by unexpected changes, then perhaps it is time to try managing your expectations and adjusting your priorities on the fly as circumstances demand. Flexibility is key in a rapidly changing world.

One way to develop emotional resilience is to distinguish between internal and external factors. You can control a situation if internal factors can determine the outcome. This makes it an actionable item. Take advantage of how you interact with this situation and adjust your actions and emotions accordingly. On the other hand, if something happens that is out of your control, then you must learn to adapt to those circumstances rather than emotionally reacting to them. You can only control what you can control as the saying goes. Everything else runs its own course. Acceptance in this situation is your friend.

High-level athletes are great examples of this. Before they step onto the field, their focus is narrow deep. They only pay attention to their task at hand and focus only on what they need to do in sequence, detail and execution. Anything beyond this frame of reference is irrelevant until the situation demands that you accommodate to the external factors.

Teaching yourself to regulate your emotions and relax allows you to concentrate and focus on your priorities. You can then develop the discipline you need to work as you have planned. As you take things one moment at a time, one hour at a time and one day at a time, you will be able to develop a rhythm and momentum that works best for you.

While checking off each task on your to-do list is satisfying, try to be fully engaged in each task. Have your mind and body aligned in the task. Try to experience it fully. Even washing the dishes (a common meditation exercise) can be more enjoyable if you are fully engaged with the task. Enjoying the process of getting things done has a greater influence over your productivity. Because productive people get gratification from each task, they stay engaged in their work for a longer period of time. This allows them to accomplish more in the long run.

Needless to say, the ability to avoid procrastination requires strong mental control. You have to resist the urge to check your phone or your email while you are working so that your brain can stay focused on your task at hand. Focus, discipline, emotional regulation, and resilience are the building blocks for efficiency, task completion, and productivity. If you can master these skills, then you are on the path to success and even greater productivity.

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