We’ve all heard what makes us more productive. To be more productive, get: Better sleep, better food, better work environment, etc. And I think these tips are amazing and a great focus to have. Heck, we even wrote about most of these and the science behind it here on the Buffer blog.
And yet, today, I thought of changing it up dramatically. It goes nicely with Tim Ferriss’ moto:
“To do the impossible, you need to ignore the popular.”
So with this article, I tried to really step aside from the popular and look for the counter-intuitive. Of course, it’s all backed by the latest and most reputable studies.
Let’s dig and find out some of the most controversial things you could do today to boost your creativity, happiness and productivity:
1.) Give up
Often, if you are anything like myself, we are in an endless quest for “feeling productive” and for “getting motivated” to do great work. Shoma Morita, a famous Japanese psychiatrist influenced by Zen Buddhism that this might be the absolute wrong way to think about it.
Most of our biggest achievements get done, even without being motivated or inspired, so hedescribes:
“Is it accurate to assume that we must ‘overcome’ fear to jump off the high dive at the pool, or increase our confidence before we ask someone out for a date?” he asks. “If it was, most of us would still be waiting to do these things.
So, instead of trying to get motivated, embrace your fear, the negativity and dreading of doing the next task ahead. Tell yourself “Yes, I don’t feel great right now to work on this.”
Then, start doing it anyway, without trying to change your emotions.
2.) Procrastinate (with structure)
For a long time, the productivity space has taught us to focus on your MIT (“Most Important Task”) when you start your day. And yet, seeing the MIT at the top of your list, makes you want to do anything, but that task.
The key is, to give in to the urge of not doing that task, writes Walter Chen. Instead, do some of those easier tasks on your list, that don’t feel that important and are easier to tackle:
“The mental trick is to regard other tasks as more important in order to make the Very Important Task an easier choice.”
In doing so, and moving the original MIT down the list, you are now able to complete it much more easily, as you don’t dread it anymore. In his famous essay on structured procrastination Stanford Professor John Perry writes this:
“With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen” and “an effective human being.”