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  • In a world that seems busier by the day, productivity is on the minds of many.

  • But instead of downloading the latest time management app

  • or forcing yourself to stay at work for hours on end, how can we use science to crack open

  • the potential of our minds? Is there a secret to being productive?

  • The first thing to come to terms with is that your willpower is simply not enough.

  • In fact, some studies suggest that willpower is an exhaustible source that can be entirely used up.

  • This is a concept known as "ego depletion."

  • So instead of convincing yourself to simply try harder, a more methodical approach is suggested.

  • The first step: get started.

  • It may seem obvious, but studies have shown starting a project to be the biggest barrier to productivity.

  • Before starting, our brain visualizes the hardest parts to come

  • and instead tries to simulate real work by focusing on small, mindless tasks.

  • Luckily there's a construct of the mind known as the Zeigarnik effect

  • which compels humans to finish a task that they've already started.

  • The Zeigarnik effect shows that when we don't finish a task, we experience discomfort

  • and intrusive thoughts about it. So get started, now.

  • What about time management? Shockingly, when we look at some of the most elite musicians in the world,

  • we find that they aren't necessarily practicing more, but instead, more deliberately.

  • This is because they spend more time focused on

  • the hardest task and focus their energy in packets.

  • Instead of diluting their effort over the entire day,

  • they have periods of intense work followed by breaks.

  • Not relying on willpower, they rely on a habit and disciplined scheduling.

  • Studies have found that the most elite violinists in the world generally follow a ninety minute work

  • regime with a fifteen to twenty minute break afterwards.

  • Instead of trying to maintain energy throughout the entire day,

  • breaking it down into sessions with planned relaxation is most effective.

  • But how can you develop the discipline to follow this routine?

  • One key component is giving yourself a deadline.

  • Write it down, mark it in your calendar, and you'll be much more likely to complete your task.

  • On top of this, create something called an "accountability chart" to document your progress.

  • In one column, write the timespan, and in the other, the activities you accomplished during this time.

  • Similar to those on a diet who document their food intake, writing down your

  • progress allows you to realistically evaluate your work as opposed to inaccurately assuming what you've done.

  • Furthermore, tracking your progress helps to avoid small, mindless work.

  • And finally, stop multitasking. While it may feel like you're accomplishing more,

  • studies show that multitaskers are much less productive.

  • Instead, try and make a list at night of what you want to accomplish tomorrow.

  • This way, you hit the ground running with your action plan and avoid trying to complete multiple activities at once.

  • While you're at it, split up your large tasks into smaller, bite-sized ones.

  • Your brain will find these less daunting and it will make the starting process easier.

  • With a clear goal and action plan in mind,

  • your productivity levels can soar to new heights.

  • Want more tips and information on productivity? Check out Gregory Ciotti's blog,

  • Sparring Mind who we worked with to make this video.

  • We will link to the productivity article in the description where you can find

  • even more information, and be sure to sign up for his newsletter

  • which covers other amazing brainy content. Got a burning question you want answered?

  • Ask it in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe for more weekly science videos.

In a world that seems busier by the day, productivity is on the minds of many.

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The Science of Productivity

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    Fu Jung Lai posted on 2012/12/20
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