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Productivity secret: how to stay concentrated
- Anna Kosheva
December 9, 2022
Imagine if you could work harder and still be super productive. And you know what the best part is? In this case, you can work without forcing yourself to work.
Some people do just that. They can sit and work without any anxiety and violence on themselves. Moreover, they work with pleasure. The good news is that you can learn it too.
Most people have negative feelings about their work. They think that work is something unpleasant, unlike entertainment. Work is an annoying activity that prevents people from doing what they want. People also believe that rest and complete idleness is the ideal state they would like to be in all the time. Such thinking leads to the fact that a person begins to think that they need to force themselves to work through force and that work is very hard, and only iron willpower will help to cope with it.
It’s easy to see why we have such an attitude to work:
People usually want to do things they don’t have and think the grass is greener next door. Everyone around says that work is very hard. Compared to a job without exceptional prospects or a regular office job where the employee does not feel like he is making any meaningful contribution and has no freedoms, idleness and idle pastime seem like heavenly pleasures.
Many people who are idle for too long experience boredom, depression, and apathy. Even wealthy people who have “achieved everything” return to work soon. People who are always having fun will quickly realize this is devastating. When a person has much free time for an extended period, this does not create a sense of life satisfaction.
On the other hand, a group of people work and enjoy their work. Let’s call these people doers. By this concept, we do not mean workaholics who do not live but only work all day. Doers have a healthy work-life balance. What is unique about them that those who hate their jobs do not have?
First of all, they have a different attitude to work.
For them, work is a rhythmic cycle of positive feedback. Doers perceive work as a source of energy and satisfaction. From their point of view, work allows them to enjoy a well-deserved rest truly, and rest makes them happier and motivates them to return to work.
Secondly, their work is usually:
If even one or two items are present, something unique happens:
You no longer have to force yourself to work.
It is easy to enjoy work if it is understandable, meaningful, and especially if it is interesting.
Non-doers often think that doers are just lucky to find such a job. Actors take a long time to make their work enjoyable.
How to make work more interesting
It is the most critical factor in whether the work gets done.
For the work to be interesting, it can be something other than very meaningful.
Even if your task does not have a clear and understandable algorithm of actions, it is very confusing and complex – curiosity will help turn it into an exciting activity.
So how do you develop curiosity about work?
It would be best if you gave your work a chance to be interesting to you. How? Use three steps:
1. Turn down your entertainment
Video games, surfing the Internet for a long time, porn, alcohol, drugs, and other things make work more difficult. Why?
They set a certain level of brain stimulation. Anything that is less fun will seem boring.
Unfortunately, work often falls into the “bad” category. Compared to games or social networks, work seems uninteresting and annoying.
You might disagree that some people are great at work and still drink alcohol, play video games, etc.
However, it must be kept in mind that there are two types of people: those who can control themselves and know their limits and those who cannot. The latter is most often classified as dependent.
2. Get bored more often
When you are bored, everything around you becomes more interesting.
Don’t believe it? Do a simple experiment. Turn off all devices. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Sit on a chair and look at the wall. Don’t move. Do not receive any incoming information. Do not speak. Don’t write anything. Just look at the border.
Unless you’re a Zen master, in just a few minutes, you’ll want to get into action. Usually, in such situations, the imagination turns on, and the brain begins to sort out different thoughts. The first minutes can be pleasantly passed this way, thinking about the events that happened that day. However, after 5 or 10 minutes, your hands will itch wildly to get to some real business as soon as possible. Suddenly, activities like building a website, writing an article, or painting a picture, feel more exciting and fun.
3. Dive into the topic
It’s great to capture relationships and see the big picture. When we understand something more, we get more pleasure from it. Oh, and here’s how, it turns out, this historical event influenced the development …
The more we understand the topic, the more interest in it lights up in us. Here is the secret of curiosity.
Try watching a documentary related to your field of work, reading a book on your professional topic, or searching for a few articles. You will have more information, and you will begin to see the big picture.
How to make work more understandable
When you have a step-by-step recipe for how to cook a dish, it’s easy to follow, and you know exactly where to start and what to do in the process.
In today’s world of creative professions, things are often different. There are no recipes for the work tasks we need to perform, or they are so complex and confusing that they do not make the job easier.
Moreover, we often don’t allow ourselves to feel enthusiastic about an activity when we make lists of vague and useless tasks like “writing an essay” or “making a video.”
There are so many steps involved in “making a video” that this wording causes anxiety and procrastination.
No wonder they say that the most challenging thing is to start working but to continue working is effortless. Therefore, the beginning of work can be facilitated by determining how to create and with what exactly.
The more specific you are about when you start working on something, the easier it will be to complete the task.
There are three main steps to follow:
1. Always state strictly which action will come first.
It means writing down the next physical action to be taken.
Do you need to write an essay?
Following physical action: open the research paper and start reading.
Or: Create Document → Sketch a rough draft in 15 minutes.
The following physical action will be this: open the freecodecamp.org site → Start doing the first task.
It may seem silly to write the next physical action to be performed, but it’s not foolish. Identifying it is easy and can be done very quickly.
What is the following physical action you need to take?
2. Work on the first task for 5-15 minutes
You don’t want to write a dissertation on a topic about which you know practically nothing.
You don’t feel like running a marathon.
But you can choose a few pictures or articles for your presentation.
Or write a paragraph or two before your lunch break.
Or would you like to walk 1 mile?
Big things have to be taken in small steps.
Often we underestimate the importance of small steps, but they are critical because they help us to start a new business comfortably.
If you start running several kilometers daily, you will quickly get used to it and gradually want to increase the distance; this is a natural course of events. Ultimately, you may run a full marathon.
Small steps seem small only at the moment, but they gradually lead us to go a long way.
If you have a difficult task, try to complete it within 5-15 minutes, which is for everyone.
3. The first draft can be rough – don’t have high expectations
You may have high expectations for the results of your work.
You want to write a great book, not just a good one. Or create a great piece of art, or build a big business.
All these expectations put too much burden on your shoulders that you cannot bear. More pressure often equals more procrastination.
You can avoid the burden of these expectations by intentionally starting a new activity without trying too hard.
Write a chapter of the book by hand, without editing anything – you know that this version will not be published.
- Anna Kosheva
December 9, 2022