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When trying to maximize our productivity, it is easy to get caught up in the search for the next unerring counsel or “useful trick” However often we overlook the psychology hidden productivity.

More and more studies show the profound impact our minds and emotions have on how much (or how little) we achieve.

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“Usually, we think we occupy the driver ‘s seat and have the final say as to the decisions we make and the direction in which our life , ” says the specialist in psychology and behavioral economics, Dan Ariely in Predictably Irrational : the Hidden Forces that shape our Decisions . “Unfortunately, this perception is more related to our desires (with the way we see ourselves) than with reality.”

Every week, I read many articles on science research of creativity, motivation, procrastination and best performance of workers. Then I present nine of the most surprising and fascinating studies that highlight just how much influence our inner psychology in our productivity. Each of them offers specific messages that might help you address your work in a whole new way.

7 rare advice backed by science to improve productivity

1) Need a creative boost? Go out to walk.

As a knowledge worker today, you can not follow a routine work, because often the daily requires creative thinking. You may need to develop an innovative strategy to find qualified sales opportunities or adopt a new approach to nurturing relationships with your current customers. However, that kind of creativity can be difficult to achieve with just wanting it.

The next time you expect a divine inspiration, just go out for a walk.

In 2014, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz of Stanford University conducted four studies that highlighted the creative power of walking.

In these studies, participants were assessed while sitting and while walking, both indoors and outdoors, in different combinations. Then they were asked to complete a series of exercises designed to measure creativity.

In three of the studies, they exercises measured the “divergent thinking”.

As stated in the study, “in experiments, participants had to think about alternative uses of a particular object; [Participants] received several sets of three objects and had four minutes to make as many answers as might for each set. The answer was considered innovative if no other group participant had mentioned “.

Surprisingly, participants could create 60% more than original answers as they walked that while they were sitting.

In the fourth study, participants who create complex analogies for a particular phrase was asked.

“For example, the phrase” safe stolen ‘, the response’ a soldier who has PTSD ‘captures the sense of loss, rape and dysfunction while’ an empty wallet ‘not captures “.

Each of the participants walked outdoor was able to devise at least one creative response compared to only half of the participants who remained seated inside.

What you can do about it : the next time you need to think creatively about a complex problem, meditate on it while you take a long walk. Leaves sitting for more direct tasks.

2) Make happiness a priority at work.

When we surf the Internet for strategies and tricks to become more productive, often we overlook our most precious resource: ourselves.

Sean Achor, a researcher at Harvard and author of Happiness advantage, has been studying the happiness totally underrated professional benefits.

“The outside world can not predict 90% of your long – term happiness, but the way your brain processes the world itself can do , ” said Achor in TED Talk The happy secret to better work . “If we change our formula for happiness and success, we can change how we influence reality. Only 25% of professional success is predicted by the CI.El 75% of job success is predicted by levels of optimism, social support and the ability to see stress as a challenge rather than a threat. “

In a study of several years of the 1980s an amazing example of the stands, conducted by Dr. Martin Seligman and Metropolitan Life, the financial services firm and insurance, and that included 15,000 sales professionals, relationship between happiness and success.

Seligman measured levels of optimism of sales representatives and determined that when the scores were correlated with sales records, 50% of representatives optimists sold 37% more insurance than those less optimistic. It is even more surprising that the top tenth of the representatives sold an incredible 88% more than the bottom tenth.

Seligman conducted a follow-up study in 1995 and found that in various industries (including insurance, automobiles, real estate, office and banking), optimists outnumbered sales pessimists by 20% to 40%.

What you can do about it : productivity is not only to do more activities at work. Improve your performance by prioritizing what makes you happy too out of work. Achor recommends having time to socialize with friends and family (especially when you are very stressed out ) and take a conscious attitude of gratitude.

3) Small gains have a big impact.

What factors contribute more to the perceptions and positive emotions on the job? Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, co – authors of The principle of progress: The importance of small achievements for motivation and creativity at work , found a simple answer but often ignored.

Amabile and Kramer studied 238 knowledge workers of seven companies, whose jobs required a creative productivity.

At the end of each day, participants answered questions about how productive they felt that day and a number of variables that could have influenced their perceptions of the projects they were working.

“When we compare the best and worst days of research participants, we determined that the most common event that marked the beginning of a ‘best day’ was any growth of the person or team in relation to work,” wrote the researchers. “The most common event meant that the day would be a ‘worst day’ was a setback. Progress was noted in 76% of the days when workers were better ánimo.Por the contrary, there were setbacks only 13% of those days “.

Progress is largely correlated with improvements in all three components of “inner work life”: emotions, motivation and perceptions.

The days of progress, participants were more animated and felt more “joy, warmth and pride.” They were more interested in their work and committed to this, and were much more likely to perceive positive challenges in their work and positive interactions with teammates compared to the days when they had setbacks.

However, it is not necessary to make significant progress to promote the benefits of the “principle of progress”: the study found that go with small steps could produce very large effects on mental wellbeing.

“A significant proportion (28%) of the incidents that had a minor impact on the project had a significant impact on people’s feelings about these,” the researchers said. “Small but firm steps forward, shared by many people, they can lead to a excelente.Los implementation progress events that often go unnoticed are crucial to the overall performance of organizations.”

What you can do about it : If you’re looking to boost your personal productivity, draws up a list with everything you did during the day. Spend some time reviewing the list and reflect on your achievements at the end of each day. If you are the leader of a team, find ways to address and celebrate the progress of your team.

4) Stop focusing on your goals.

From an early age we are taught that the key to success is setting goals. However, recent research suggests that focusing too much on the results we want can actually decrease the chances of that reach.

A study of 2013 in applied psychology  measured weight loss in 126 women who were dieting. The more weight lost women a week were less likely to lose weight the next week. The weight rebound was consistent across all participants and was lower in those focused on specific measures weight loss (change of eating habits) instead of the desired result (weight loss).

A similar study conducted by Ayelet Fishbach and Jinhee Choi of the University of Chicago Business School and Korea , studied more than 100 people in a gym. Before starting the routine, a group what their goals by doing physical activity, and another group was asked to describe the training process he wondered. The group focused on planning objectives said run farther than group focused on the process, but only exercised 34 minutes compared to the second training group an average of 43 minutes.

What you can do about it : create process – oriented rather than results – oriented goals and objectives. Want to generate more sales opportunities? Determines how many emails or calls do send them a week, instead of the total number of new sales opportunities you want to get.

5) Write down everything on your calendar.

In a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology , the researchers determined the frequency with which 248 participants exercised for a period of 2 weeks. He divided the participants in a control group, a group of a group of motivation and intent.

The control group monitored the frequency with which it is exercised. Before the study began, the members of this group read three paragraphs of a disjointed novel.

The group also monitored his exercise motivation, but read a pamphlet on the benefits of exercise for health.

The intent – monitored exercise and read the pamphlet same group motivation. However, they were also asked to draw up a plan and a specific timetable for the year had as follows: “During the next week, I will participate in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise (day or days) _____________ to _____________ (time) at (place) ___________________. “

90% of group participants intend exercised at least once in the next two weeks, but only 39% of group motivation and 29% of the control group did the same.

What you can do about it : when you establish your goals, develops a specific timetable for the steps you’ll (either write 500 words of a book every day when you wake up or run 20 minutes at the end of your working day). It includes those deadlines on the calendar to be part of your responsibilities.

6) Express your time in days, not weeks or months.

You have been ever having coffee desperately at 3.00 to finish a project that could have ended sooner if you had worked in a timely manner? This is because our brains prioritize present instead of the future. This psychological peculiarity makes it extremely difficult to break the habit of procrastination. However, there is a simple way to fool yourself that you finish your work before the deadline.

Neil Lewis and Daphna Oyserman conducted several studies to investigate how we perceive deadlines. They found that participants perceived as a distant nearest event when the time expressed in days, not weeks and weeks, not months. For example, participants perceived an event to be held in 16 days much closer than one that would take place in two weeks.

More importantly, they discovered that, actually, this distorted perception of time influenced the behavior and motivating people to act before.

“Participants to imagine they had a baby and that the baby was going to college in 18 years or 6,570 days asked , reported The Atlantic . “The researchers found that those who worked with the condition” days “planned start save four times before those who worked with the condition “years”, even when controlling income, age and self – control. “

What you can do about it: engáñate cheating yourself and your team to start early. To do this, set your limits in terms of days, not weeks, months or years.

7) Do not be hard on you.

Our big ambitions motivate us, but they can also cause guilt and negativity when we postpone our affairs. However, this study suggests that being hard on yourself when you did not get to fulfill your own expectations you really dislike and leads to more procrastination.

Students in an introductory course in psychology received surveys just before two consecutive tests to measure how long it had postponed the study, their mood or emotions and to what extent forgave themselves for the previous Procrastination. Students who had self-pity after procrastinating for the first review postponed much less the study for the second exam, compared with students who are blamed for not having studied beforehand.

What you can do about it : the next time you do not fulfill your own expectations, do not beat yourself over and over again. Take away this fault and forgive yourself for your self – discipline. In fact, self – pity can help you move ahead the next time a similar situation arises.