Train Your Brain: 6 Best Productivity Tips

Productivity tips can always come in handy, considering how hard it is to be productive these days. Distractions abound, mostly of a digital nature, and unless you have iron self-discipline, it’s almost impossible to resist them. Which one of us doesn’t start their day by looking at a screen? It’s hard to realize why these things that we find useful and rewarding actually detract from our ability to stay focused and nurture our productivity.

We live in a world where everything demands our attention with increasing competitiveness. Our devices constantly beep, we strive to stay connected, and technology is a giant black hole sucking up our time, attention and productivity. We are addicted to it. That must be wrong, right – shouldn’t we be in charge of our own invention?

“Hi, I’m a goldfish, and my attention span lasts for about 9 seco… Hi, I’m a goldfish!”

Remember this age old joke? Try laughing at this: it turns out that right now humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Something needs to be done about this, but what?

Productivity Tips

Brain training: practice and correction

Reclaiming our attention and our productivity from the hands of the greedy Internet era that wants it all is not a simple task. It requires some brain training – which is what these productivity tips are all about. It can help with anything, from building your writing habit from scratch to helping you stay productive and keeping motivation levels high.

Whatever it is you want to accomplish, write that goal down, NOW. I hate being bossy, but it is one tactic that’s proven to work. It’s the first step toward achieving your goal, and it’s easy, immediate and makes you feel good. That way it counters the immediate gratification of checking out your messages and seeing there’s a new one. Now that you have your goal in mind, we can begin with the productivity tips.

De-clutter your space

There’s something soothing about organizing your space – not only your desk, but your files as well. It might be the sense that nothing is out of place so you can easily find what you need when you need it. I found that it also prepares my brain for harder work that is to follow, which is writing. Creative chaos, despite its name, is not creative in the slightest.

Organizing your work space is like opening a door into the room of productivity. After the first time you do it, it’s rather easy to maintain the tidiness. And when your gaze wanders for a second, the chances of it falling upon a random object that takes your mind on a tangent become increasingly smaller when there are no random objects on your desk, wouldn’t you agree?

If you wish to up the challenge… Declutter not only your workspace, but your entire home!

Show up for work

Set a time when you want to begin working every day. If you can’t set a consistent time due to your crazy schedule, you have two options. You can work around it, setting a different time for each day according to your existing schedule. This is convenient for planning, but not the best tactic when it comes to nurturing productivity. Why? Because it’s significantly harder to build a habit that way.

There’s also the option of making your schedule less crazy so you can have time for writing. If building a writing habit is what you want to do, some sacrifices are in order (and they are even desirable). Early morning is the best time for writing – so consider getting up earlier than you normally do in order to write.

At the beginning, it doesn’t matter how much you manage to get done. As long as you show up every day, at the same time, and do some work – you’ll be creating good habits.

If you wish to up the challenge… Start going to bed extremely early and cut your bad evening habits too. It will make getting up in the morning that much easier.

Minimize digital distractions

Go offline while you write – or at least silence everything. This will do wonders for your productivity. If you’re a compulsive email checker then it would be best to just unplug, turn off the phone and get into that zen zone.
Keep track of how many distractions you neutralize this way and how long you manage to keep it up. You’ll notice your word count rising with each passing day. In order to make this happen, however, you have to build a good research habit, too.

Try doing research for your writing in the evenings, so in the morning your brain has worked through the idea already and you’re ready to write. Also, that will eliminate last-minute research while you’re writing, which closes the door to distractions.

If you wish to up the challenge… Go offline for short periods of time during the day, too – just to practice your willpower.

Stop multitasking

Multitasking is the death of productivity. I’m not sure when the ability to multitask became a desirable trait in people, but the hard truth is: most of us suck at it. And people who are actually good at it aren’t good at multitasking per se, but at shortening their attention span.

What we want instead is to focus, intensely, on one task at hand. Let your brain unleash all its power on one unsuspecting topic and you’ll see how your insight flourishes. It’s that simple. Undivided attention is the way to go on the road to greater productivity.

If you wish to up the challenge… Try to eliminate multitasking from your everyday life, not just writing, as much as humanly possible.

Correct your brain

This is the core of the productivity challenge. Observe your thought processes, train yourself to notice whenever your mind wanders. Even in the shower, when we have our infamous shower thoughts, be aware of their flow.
This way, you will also train yourself to notice when your mind starts wandering while you are working – and you can gently correct it. Record all these gentle nudges of reclaimed attention somewhere, all these moments of awareness. Give yourself points, and when you accumulate enough, reward yourself.

Your mind will run rampant and make your life living hell if you allow it. But if you discipline it, if you direct that energy, you’ll be able to accomplish so much more.

If you wish to up the challenge… Not only become aware of your mind wandering, but also try to prevent it. Practice meditation for 15 minutes every day.

Don’t break the chain

Remember the goal you wrote down at the beginning? Break it down into daily tasks and mark them off every day when you get them done. Build a chain and don’t break it!

Now, don’t make this into one of those all-or-nothing things. Even if the chain is broken for one, two, three days, pick it back up as soon as you can. And try to beat your previous record. Start with one, and with time, you can incorporate more as your original chain becomes easier to maintain.

If you wish to up the challenge… Start with more than one daily goal. But beware – don’t put too much weight on your shoulders at once, as that can cause burnout.

 

You can do all this! These productivity tips are straightforward and will help you immensely with building good habits. Stay in charge of your brain and let your writing flourish. Good luck!
Feel free to share your own productivity tips in the comments below, and let us know if the ones we provided worked for you. Also, stay tuned for more writing advice.

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Jana Glavonjić

Writer, freelancer, editor, avid reader of fantasy and the best sister in the world.

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