Two Quick Ways to Kick-Start Your Personal Productivity

You’re not alone if you think you should be getting a lot more done in a day, considering all the time you put in. Continuous low productivity degrades your morale and builds stress. Besides running the risk of losing your job, you compromise your immune system and increase the probability of stress-related health problems. You also escalate the chances of making mistakes or having a work related accident.

You may not know that the way your brain is wired to work, think, learn and communicate has an impact on your personal productivity. Practical neuroscience provides the understanding and actionable tools to improve your current situation.

Practical Neuroscience Principles of Personal Productivity

You engage with what you’re most attracted to. This includes subject matter and the value received from engaging with the subject. When you don’t like certain tasks at work, there’s a natural resistance and push-back, making it difficult to engage with them. This is the genesis of productivity problems.

You always get more done in less time, with fewer mistakes, when you’re interested in the subject and your brain wiring is aligned with the activity. Conversely, you avoid things that don’t interest you or tasks with requirements misaligned with your brain strengths. Resistance to doing what you naturally don’t want to do decreases engagement and productivity. This builds stress, anxiety and guilt. It can lead to loss of health, peace-of-mind and your job.

Two Quick Ways to Kick-Start Your Personal Productivity

1. Establish value or give yourself a reward

If you’re in a job you intensely dislike, what are its most positive aspects? Examples may be a paycheck, medical coverage and two weeks paid vacation. Concentrate on your most positive thoughts during the workday to help you focus and engage with work activities; then, when you get home, start imagining and working toward a new and better job.

Establish rewards for accomplishing one to two hour “chunks” of work, having identified recognizable progress milestones. Rewards may be short breaks to take a walk, enjoy a snack, look at a travel magazine, write in your journal or look at family photos. Your “mini-rewards” should always involve getting away from your direct workspace, even if it’s for 10 minutes or less. On a macro basis, look forward to the end of each day and imagine doing something nice for yourself and your loved ones. You will be happier and find yourself getting more done.

2. Create the optimum physical environment for the activity

Your brain performs best when the physical environment is aligned with the sensory and cognitive components of the task. For hands-on (Kinesthetic) activities, provide for physical comfort and freedom of movement. Be sure to have all your tools and equipment within easy reach. Visual tasks are best completed in organized and attractive environments, where your eyes can focus on your work. Attentive listening (Auditory) requires a quiet and interruption free environment. Sequential tasks, calling for accuracy and focus, are best accomplished in bright light and cooler temperature. Global work, involving imagination and creative problem solving, requires dim light, warmer temperatures and comfortable furniture.

Keep a positive mental attitude, remember to breathe deeply and drink water throughout the day to oxygenate. Take frequent breaks to refresh and reenergize. These simple methods alone will raise your personal productivity and improve the quality of your work life.

In summary, you have more control over your personal productivity and the quality of your work life than you may imagine. No matter how bad your current work situation is, you can take immediate steps to improve it. Practical neuroscience and knowing how your brain is wired are your pathways to a better and more prosperous life with less stress.