The human brain is wired to seek completion!
This is driven by the pleasurable feeling we get from the dopamine released when we achieve a goal.
Research has found that ticking off tasks on your to do list is psychologically rewarding.
Don't be tricked by your brains Love of To Do Lists
This drive to tick off as many tasks on our lists can be counter productive, if we are not careful to use it to our advantage.
It can lead us to focus on tasks that are quick and simple to get done (tick off) rather than the ones that are important steps to achieving our actual goals.
Instead use your brains desire to complete tasks to improve productivity
The dopamine released when we achieve goals actually improves our attention, memory and motivation.
The key is to be smart about the way you prioritise your tasks to capitalise on this to improve your productivity levels, and get what really matters done!
Below gives you some strategies to do this
5 Step Plan to Prioritise tasks
1 - List Your Top 5 Priorities for the Day
- Tasks that are important steps towards achieving your long term goals.
- An unfinished top 5 task from the day before.
2 - Add two Quick, Simple Tasks to Start
- These are tasks that seem to demand our attention but are not that important. (the ones your brain is longing to do!)
- This will help you to Just Get Started and quickly tick off your list giving you that motivational boost to get onto your top 5.
3 - Give Yourself a Psychological Reward!
- Feed your brains desire for completion by making sure you tick off each task after its done
- This will keep topping up those dopamine levels and subsequent improvements to attentions span, memory and motivation.
4 - Take Short Breaks
- If you start feeling overwhelmed by one of your top 5 priorities, stop and take a break.
- Get outside for some fresh air. Do some stretches.
- Read your book, grab a coffee, walk the dog, water the garden
- Anything to take your mind off what you were doing. Often this is when we come up with some of our best ideas.
- Lastly after a break, do another couple of quick tasks and tick them off before getting back to where you left off.
- This will feed your brain again for that extra boost to keep going
Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear any feedback on this article "Why your brain loves to do lists" Just scroll to the bottom of this page to leave your comments.
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