Have you been struggling with productivity ever since the pandemic transitioned companies and employees from office to working at home? If so, you are not alone. Like you, there are many trying to devour productivity books and success stories yet somehow still comes back to their original habits. Reading others’ productivity success stories and thinking that you can also make do with their techniques, you may feel like a failure when you don’t.
But realize that you aren’t a failure in this aspect. Some strategies will work for you, and some will not. When you see others effective at implementing the productivity habits they’re copying, don’t stress when you can’t. Just like many things in life, productivity techniques aren’t one size fits all.
Willpower Can Be Trained
One thing’s for sure—all of us have different levels of willpower, but which can be cultivated, according to a psychological study. This well-known study by Baumeister gives hope to the procrastinators, easily distracted, or people with hectic schedules, denoting that productivity can be attained no matter the situation if you only work your willpower out.
Just like your physical muscles, your willpower can be trained. Baumeister believes that every day, we start with a limited willpower supply. It’s like feeding your distractions or hard work—the decision you make can either drain your willpower. So whenever you feel lazy and indecisive, you aren’t just tired; your willpower is exhausted just as much.
When this happens, remember that your willpower is limited too, so be sure to conserve it for making decisions that matter. Before delving into the psychologically backed productivity life hacks, set the tone of your environment first.
Creating a Mood for Productivity
Making your surroundings work-conducive will significantly level your productivity up. You can start with the lighting. When you have poor eyesight, you can’t see properly, and worse, it can lead to many other health problems. As much as possible, let natural lights in or make your artificial lighting much brighter. Having vinyl windows installed can do the trick, inviting more sunlight in. The brighter your office, the happier and more productive you will be.
This applies to your walls too. Choose the colors light green and blue as they are linked to productivity and creativity. And aside from the bright lights and surroundings, prioritize comfort. Invest in a good ergonomic chair, and if you feel uncomfortable when sitting for long periods, use a standing desk. Now and then, unclutter your office. Purge your paper stacks and all that you don’t need.
Using Psychologically-backed Tricks for Productivity
Mind your mental health
The foundation of your productivity is your mental health. Certain mental disorders can affect your productivity, including depression, obsessive-compulsive, and impulse control disorders. Depression is the greatest culprit as it can suck your energy and motivation all out. Anxiety takes your non-productivity further. It can make you think your output is always subpar that any tasks seem hard to complete. One study shows that when you have poor mental health, your productivity is lower.
To prevent your mental health from going rock bottom, have a solid social support system. Strong support from your family can help you avoid burnout, and support from an immediate supervisor can significantly increase your job satisfaction. Support at work has a huge effect on employees’ productivity and well-being.
Sleep and manage stress better
Getting enough sleep and rest cannot be emphasized enough. Sleeping up to eight hours every night is the best way to improve your ability to remember things, think critically, spot errors, be attentive, and concentrate longer. A good night’s sleep restores your brain and body, positively affecting your physical and mental health.
Rest is just as much crucial to enabling you to cope with your daily stress. Your brain naturally likes breaks, so make sure you space yourself from work sometimes. To do this, break your tasks into chunks, such as between 20 minutes and 45 minutes. This Pomodoro technique, manual or through an app, may be of great help to you:
- Set your timer to 20 or 25 minutes.
- Spend 20 to 25 minutes on a task.
- Stop when the timer rings.
- Take a short five-minute break (cycle 1).
- Get back to another 20 to 25 minutes on your tasks.
- Take a five-minute break again (cycle 2).
- Take a longer break after four cycles.
Use Parkinson’s Law
The lesser time you give yourself to finish a task, the faster you will finish it. This is called Parkinson’s law. For instance, you’re given a five-hour length task to submitted within a week. You’re more likely to complete it within a week, not at such time. With Parkinson’s Law, you carve the time needed to finish your task to half.
When it comes to working at home, always remember to work smarter, not harder. These are just a few of the many ways you can do that. Take care of your mental health, environment, and habits, and productivity will come to you. This way, you can make excellence a habit.