Some people get obsessed with planning. And while it’s effective to prepare in advance and plan the steps you need to take to achieve a certain outcome, it can, in fact, hurt your performance. You can still be productive and get everything done without a strict plan. That can happen thanks to a few mind hacks.
1. Have a deadline.
Let’s start with something quite simple but which works wonders. Deadlines might be a big part of the corporate world and something you don’t like hearing about. But when you’re the one setting them, you build the discipline you need to get everything done on time and without stress.
Turns out, our brain operates differently when on a deadline. That’s because time pressure helps us think more clearly and get more done. A clear deadline also helps you remove other distractions and concentrate on the one task at hand. And this is all you need to find focus , actually be productive and do your work or study more effectively.
2. Be a productive procrastinator.
If procrastinating continues even after you’ve tried all you can think of, there’s still a pretty easy way to turn that into something productive.
Whenever you’re about to begin working on a project but your mind tells you why you can’t do it now and should put it off for later, don’t fight it. Agree but then fill your time with something else instead of just being lazy.
This is the good form of procrastination and it can be used to build momentum and move onto more important projects right after that.
For instance, if you can’t start studying, working on your new business idea or else, you can dedicate 5 minutes to outlining the first steps or doing a research. That doesn’t require any willpower so you probably won’t resist that.
Once you get it done, it will be easier to switch to an activity that requires a bit more focus, such as setting a deadline for the first step on the list. Then, your brain will feel more comfortable with the idea of actually working on this thing and getting it done. You’ll soon be ready to get to the action.
3. Optimize your environment.
There are many changes you can make to your environment that will help you get more done. This is yet another mind trick as it gets you into the zone thanks to optimizing external factors.
That could be moving your desk closer to a window so you can let more natural light in. It’s proven to help with focus. Temperature is another factor that can make or break our productivity. A study found that people tend to make more mistakes when working in a cold room.
Another thing you can do is add some greenery to your workspace. Plants boost your mood and concentration, reduce stress and even sick days.
4. A change of scenery.
Sometimes we can get stuck because of being in the same place for too long. A change of scenery can be beneficial to your productivity and creativity.
You can take your laptop to a nice cafe and try to do your most important work there. You can also join a co-working space and even socialize and meet people there.
Simply being in a new environment will activate your brain and it will perform better.
5. Hack your brain with music.
Another smart technique you can use to get more done without a strict plan is to listen to music when working.
In the time when not only people but also apps such as Tinder, Instagram, Facebook and whatever wants your urgent and constant attention, it’s easy to get crazy, not even speaking about losing the ability to focus!
Our nervous system reacts to sounds in a certain way, which then impacts our ability to concentrate and our emotions. Music is proven to relieve anxiety and depression, remove negative thoughts and help us avoid distractions and quickly get in the zone.
It’s ideal if you’re in a noisy environment and need to find some focus. And is especially helpful with boring tasks.