It’s a common misconception that you’re either good at something or you’re not. That’s why you’ll hear some people say that they’re just not good at being efficient and productive. However, those are just skills that can be learned. All you have to do is rewire your brain to accomplish what you want. In this case, working more efficiently.
Understanding the Concept of Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity refers to how your brain is constantly changing. As you learn new things, you reshape your brain. That’s the basis for many brain-training games. They’re designed to help keep your brain thinking and making new connections.
With that in mind, the habits you currently have of procrastinating or simply spending way too long on particular tasks are just that – habits. Your brain has wired itself to think that’s the norm. You do them automatically without thinking.
To make a change, you have to rewire your brain. Make gradual changes that replace the old connections with new ones. Before long, you’re working more efficiently automatically. It’s a new habit or skill that’s wired into your brain. But it takes time to do the rewiring. After all, it’s not like an electrician can just run a few wires in your brain and flip a switch – though that would be great.
Visualize Your Future
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a big advocate of rewiring the brain. He states that in order to work more efficiently, you have to change the way you think. His preferred method to rewire your brain is visualization.
As simple as it may sound, it’s a technique used by many celebrities, athletes, and business owners. The purpose is to visualize yourself and your situation as if you were already working at your peak performance. What does the more efficient and productive you do each day? How quickly do you finish? How much have you reduced your stress? What’s your work/life balance like?
Start with Small Changes
Visualization alone isn’t enough. Neither is simply saying: “I’m going to work more efficiently.” Instead, you have to take action that aligns with your visualization. Otherwise, you’re just confusing your brain.
Make a list of small changes that help you reach your productivity goal. For instance, do constant phone calls keep you from staying focused? Does the urge to take a walk outside versus staying in your home office all day prevent you from staying on track?
Start with just a single small change. For example, set aside 30 minutes to an hour where you turn off your phone. You can leave an away message for callers to leave you a message in return. Allow yourself to go for a short walk during your break but set a strict time limit.
Stimulate Your Brain
When you’re bored, your brain wanders, and you don’t really get anything accomplished. In order to rewire your brain, you have to stimulate your brain. This doesn’t always mean doing more work.
Instead, try creative hobbies that help stimulate the brain and improve your focus. By doing different activities, you strengthen your brain. This makes it easier for you to stick to those small changes mentioned above. In fact, even if you’re dealing with emotional trauma, depression, or stress, doing certain activities regularly helps you rewire your brain for improved focus, coordination, problem solving, comprehension, and ability to retain new information.
Healthline outlines several activities along with their scientifically backed benefits. From learning a new language to creating art, spending a little time on these activities regularly can change your brain.
Stick to New Habits
To rewire your brain, you have to stick to the new habits and skills you’re trying to build. As you already know, this is the hardest part. Even with the best visualization and brain-training activities, you won’t experience the change you want without adding better habits to the mix.
As The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg points out, building new habits means creating a routine. Once you master the routine, your brain rewires itself to do the new habit automatically based on other parts of your existing routine.
Your brain likes to be rewarded, so consider using a habit-building app like Habitica to gamify the process. You’ll feel rewarded each time you perform a task that helps you reach your goal. Turn each of the small changes listed earlier into a task to do daily. With reminders and rewards, you’re more likely to stick with the process and successfully rewire your brain to work more efficiently.