How Our Brains Work Against Us
A lot of people hoping to make money online are limited to working at it just a few hours per day or less. If you’re working a day job and are frustrated that you can’t spend more time becoming financially free, I have some good news for you.
Do you know what’s even more effective than having more time to work? Getting as much as you possibly can out of the time you do have available.
The reason is that if you’re not focused and effective during a short period of time, then having all day would just mean more wasted time. As a mentor of mine once said, “If you can’t make money in your spare time, you can’t make money full-time.”
So, here are 5 proven tips I want to share, based on what modern neuroscience has shown (not motivational fluff), that will help you to get even closer to your income goals in less time.
How Our Brains Work Against Us
There’s a meme floating around called “Scumbag Brain” that jokes about how the human brain works against us sometimes instead of doing what we want it to. For example…It’s easy to get motivated, but hard to stay disciplined.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that gritting your teeth and relying on willpower alone is not enough.
Think of the last time you were on an exercise program that did not last. You went to the gym religiously for several weeks…until you caught a cold, or missed a day. Then, it was back to your old habits and behavior again—not to mention feelings of guilt and self-blame (which make it even harder to bounce back).
The key is to avoid self-criticism by understanding how your mind works. We all get lazy or have setbacks. The key is to get back on track again quickly when (not if) it happens.
Schedule 90-120 Minute Time Blocks
The easiest way to get something done is to set a specific time and place to do it, and then show up when the time comes. Otherwise, your goals and plans are not concrete enough, and you can fall into the procrastination trap.
It’s also a fact that people can only stay focused and productive for 90 to 120 minutes at a time, before we need a rest or diversion. It’s impossible to stay ultra-productive all the time. Don’t even bother trying.
Instead, schedule blocks of time when you’ll be doing nothing but working, and when it’s over, STOP. Take a 15-20 minute break, or wrap it up for the day.
Also, treat your scheduled commitment to yourself as seriously as you would your job. Isn’t it just as important?
Prioritize Your Top 5 Items
It helps to list the top 5 tasks to accomplish each day, preferably the night before. Then, when the time comes to work, work on one thing at a time, starting with the most important action item of the day. When it’s finished, move on to item #2, and so on, until done. Do NOT try to do two things at once! Multi-tasking is a myth and a joke.
It gives people the illusion that they are getting more done, but in reality you lose concentration while switching back and forth between items because it takes time for the mind to get caught up again.
Create an Environment for Focused Work
Your performance is affected the environment you’re in and the tools available to you, positively or negatively. Give your body and mind what they need to perform by setting up your workspace for success.
Before you start, clear out the clutter and remove any potential distractions. Have only one window open on your computer. Get away from email, phone, and social media until your work block is over. You can schedule a separate session for phone calls and email.
I have also found that upbeat music helps me move more quickly, as long as it’s not too distracting (and no vocals—otherwise my mind pays attention to the lyrics).
Take a Fun Break!
Lastly, don’t forget to give yourself the rest you need, in order to have the concentration reserves you need to fuel your work.
So make a point to schedule periods each day for breaks, leisure, and fun as well as working on your business. It’s just as important if you want to be consistent in the long run!