Productivity is an intrinsic part of our everyday life.
Whether you’re at home, work or school, you will need to be productive in order to stay aloft, perform effectively and produce the kind of results that can measure up to your ultimate goals.
But hey, what’s with productivity?
Productivity is a thing of the mind just as it is physical.
If your mind isn’t in the right state, it may be difficult to get things going even if you were to be physically strong.
So, in this article, I’ll be sharing with you some “mind hacks” that you can use to get your mind to work more productively.
But first, what’s a “mind hack?”
Though the word “hack” sends a sort of negative supposition (because of the often derogatory term “hacker”), in this context it is meant in a good way.
And here, hack means a tweak, a quick fix, a conditioning, or a positive manipulation.
So, “mind hack” here can be described as a conditioning or reconditioning of the mind to work better. It’s about understanding how the mind (and brain) functions and tweaking it up to work effectively, in relation to productivity.
Having cleared the air on that front, let’s now look at some hacks you can use to get your mind to work more productively.
Mind Hacks for Boosting Productivity
1. Develop a positive mindset
This is where it starts.
Someone might be working effectively, but with the wrong mindset, they may think they are not doing enough. And so will not see the good in them.
So, the first thing to do in boosting your mind productivity is to change your mentality and develop a positive attitude.
Besides making you appreciate yourself and your work more, it’ll boost your energy level, improve your performance and help you produce better results.
Conversely, the more you see yourself as unproductive, the more unproductive you will become.
It’s like producing a negative energy and reabsorbing the same to produce more.
2. Eat brain food
You may be wondering what I mean by “brain” food, but here’s what:
Just as there are foods that can decrease mental performance, kill brain cells and shut down the mind in a way ( example: caffeine, sugar, alcohol which causes brain fog etc.), there are also certain foods that can help make the brain work smarter.
For instance, fibres keep your energy level appreciably great and help you to be more alert. Magnesium improves learning and memory.
So, if you eat these kinds of food, you will be able to get your mind to work more effectively before long.
Specifically, here are some foods that can boost your brainpower:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Nuts and seeds
- Leafy green vegetables
- Dark chocolate etc
3. Smell scents
Just as there are brain foods, there are also scents that can meliorate and sharpen the brain.
And getting a whiff of these scents will do the trick.
This is called AROMATHERAPY, the use of naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants and oil to balance, harmonize and better the health and productivity of the body and mind.
Why does this work?
Well, smell is the strongest of the senses and can profoundly influence brain activities. Equally, olfactory bulbs are part of the limbic system and are directly connected to the areas of the brain that process learning and emotions.
So, getting a noseful of the right scents will improves your memory, mood, learning and focus.
Scents to smell?
Scents from lemon, citrus and herbs stimulate alertness and revitalize the senses, and also make your mind calmer and more productive
Rosemary (not the girl) is perfect for getting rid of physical exhaustion
Cinnamon improves focus and concentration
Peppermint boosts energy and clear thinking
When it comes to exercising for productivity, you don’t need to go overboard with it.
Simple, less intricate exercises will do.
That’s because simple exercises improve hyper oxygenation in your brain, thereby giving you energy and making you more productive.
A simple exercise to try is workout.
Workouts improve your cognitive function, reduce the reclining memory process and fix your blood sugar regulation, making you more energized.
Then you can move on to stretching your body and taking a walk down the street or even around your home.
5. Train your brain
While physical exercise has its benefits, you can go a step further to exercise your brain, too.
Exercising the brain basically involves training the brain in some way.
For one, playing brain-enmeshed games can help you train your memory, your problem-solving capability and your ability to think fast and diversely.
Speed reading can also get the brain to perform better and improves mind productivity.
Deep meditation also works wonders, increasing the brain’s ability to focus.
6. Thin out your to-do list
How does thinning your to-do list condition your mind to work better?
Here’s how: If you have lots of items in your to-do list, your mind may chicken out thinking ‘THAT’S A LOT.’
So, in reducing the number of tasks in your list, not only will you have less things to do, your mind will also think in the same way.
Put differently, leaning your to-do list clears your mind and helps you stay more focused.
But what if you really have lots of tasks to complete for the day? How can you thin your list without leaving some things behind?
Well, there are a couple of things you can do.
First off, I noticed that most people include more tasks in their to-do lists than they can complete for the day. Such situations only leave them with a cluttered list, a number of undone or unfinished tasks moved on to the next day and poor performance, overall.
I do not recommend having more than 3-5 important tasks on your list.
Here are 3 methods you can use to cut down on the number of items on your to-do list:
Apply the 2-minute rule: If a task can be completed in 2 minutes, don’t include it in your “long day” list. Complete it right away.
Automate recurring tasks: If there are tasks that you do daily, weekly, or monthly, automating them will not only lean your list, but will also save you tons of time.
Apply the 70% outsource rule: If 70% of something is to be done or can be completed by another person, outsource the whole task. Good thing is, these days, there are startups that are willing to do tasks for you only if you’ll call them up and pay them a little fee. From laundering to babysitting and even to pet care, you’ll find them everywhere. You can even ask for groceries online and have them delivered to you. See?
7. Dictate to your computer
Truth is, whether you work at home or in-office, most of your tasks would be done using a computer in one way or another. It’s the 21st century, remember.
One sure way to increase your productivity is to perform these computer-based tasks fast.
And you can do this using dictation.
For instance, by using a Speech-to-Text software to dictate to your computer instead of typing on a keyboard, you’ll be able to write faster.
Also, unlike clicking here & there and searching for files manually, using voice command to tell your computer what to do helps you operate faster and get things done quickly.
Generally, this gives your mind some legerity and allows you to think fast, work, and accomplish tasks briskly.
Don’t know what tool to use?
Here’s a speech recognition software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
8. Plan ahead
We’ve heard a thousand times that failing to plan is planning to fail.
That couldn’t be more correct.
This means when you plan ahead, you’re prepared and you set yourself on course to accomplish tasks productively and successfully, too.
But that’s not all you get.
Planning ahead also reduces stress and helps your mind to focus on the right things.
For instance, if you had a business meeting and took out some time to prep in advance for it, you will notice that you feel less nervous versus when you do not prepare at all.
Always plan your day, week, and month ahead.
Rehearse your presentations before getting in front of your audience.
Write down or “pre-think” the points and questions you’ll be raising at meetings, be it a business meeting, a Skype session, or even a date.
This will help your mind stay calm and focused, keeps you free from cold sweat and makes you feel less butterflies in the stomach while blazing through in style and excellence.
9. Lower your expectations
Apart from planning ahead, another hack that calms your nervous system is lowering your expectations.
Sounds absurd? Just read on let me explain.
By lowering your expectations, your mind will not be forced to expect high results.
This doesn’t mean you won’t get good results, but will only do so at a point of rest.
That’s because it’s often the expectation, not the situation, that causes disappointment.
You expect too much, but end up getting very little and disappointed. And unhappy.
When unrealistic expectations are reasonably adjusted, a person can manage disappointment and choose happiness.
Even better, this makes you more confident, allows you to relax both bodily and mentally and have more fun.
It makes you not to care about what people think, which mean you won’t be battling in your mind to prove yourself to others.
And yeah, it make you more productive.
This especially works when other people are involved and have decisions to make concerning the situation at hand.
10. Clear your clutter
There is something about de-cluttering your environment, whether mentally or physically.
When you have too much stuff in your mind, room, garage, computer or office, you may feel perplexed, strained, and unproductive, sometimes even without realizing the cause of it.
While a cluttered environment can caused a cluttered mind, a cluttered mind is usually restless and unfocused.
So, it’s advisable that you clear out your clutter from time to time. This will help push your mind to work better, create space for new and fresh ideas while unfettering and liberating you to explore your world.
Don’t know how?
Clearing out mental clutter is more or less similar to tidying your computer desktop or office desk.
It’s all about letting go.
Physically, you would have to let go of things you don’t need anymore, or things you are simply not making use of.
Mentally, you would have to let go of negative experiences (like regrets, hurtful words from others, unhappiness, resentment, fears, worries, grief etc.) and you would have to re-refine your thoughts.
11. Think of the resultant effect of your inaction
This one is a little counterintuitive.
It’s about “negative” self-motivation.
Here’s how it works:
You see, people generally do not want bad things to happen to them and their loved ones. They want the best for themselves. They want to be rich and successful. They want to stay alive and also enjoy life.
Now, you can use this instinct to motivate and drive yourself and mind to work more productively.
The trick is to think of the negative things that can happen to you, your family, future, finances, dreams, relationship etc., if you don’t work hard today and meet your goals. This is negative inspiration.
You will find that just the thought of you and your loved ones suffering some day in the future if you don’t work hard today, will motivate you to actually work hard.
This hack is so powerful— even more powerful than thinking of the benefits you’re likely to get if you were to work hard and succeed. Give it a go.
12. Take a power nap
About 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers. In plain-speak, that means they sleep for short periods throughout the day.
Think of your poor, little dog.
Humans aren’t polyphasic, but monophasic sleepers, which means our 24-hour day is divided into two distinct periods—one for sleep and one for wakefulness.
Now, here’s the thing: Most people end up depriving themselves of sleep because of a busy lifestyle and sleep deprivation is one major cause of fatigue and unproductiveness.
Power naps can be a way of taking care of sleep deprivation, and ultimately, unproductiveness.
Equally, even if you got a good sleep at night, but feel your brain isn’t working as great as you’d like, then taking a 15-30 minutes snooze can help reset your system and get you energy boost.
How exactly does naps connect to your mind productiveness?
Well, naps boost cognition, memory, performance, reaction times and alertness. It enhance creativity, recharges and reboots your mind, which let’s you stay on top of things.
Famous men like Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Napoleon, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Albert Einstein and George W. Bush are all known to have valued daytime naps.
So, next time you feel tired or unproductive, give yourself a quick boost by napping. Of course, not throughout the day.
Productivity starts from the mind. Literally.
A productive mind can get a rather unwilling body to work, but the other way round? Things mayn’t go the same.
So, it’s important you get your mind working if you want to boost your daily productivity and get things done better and smarter.
There are two stages in doing this: Getting to know how to get the mind working and actually getting it working.
I’ve taken care of the first part by sharing with you these mind hacks. The other part, unfortunately, I cannot handle for you.
It’s your thing.
So, here’s what to do: Implement the hacks I’ve shared above and you’ll be able to boost your productivity and get things done in less time.