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The brain can become addicted to productivity just as it can to other addiction sources, such as drugs, gambling, or shopping.
As with all addictions, the desire for the stimulant continues to increase while withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.
What makes addiction to productivity complicated is that society tends to reward it - the more you work, the better. A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, but in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh the short-term benefits.
Addiction affects the brain's reward system. It results in compulsive behavior while disregarding harmful consequences.
At the root of obsession with productivity is a fear of wasting time. Everything is seen as either productive or unproductive.
Buying groceries is seen as productive because you have to eat, while a hobby is viewed as unproductive. Productivity junkies are overly focused on a single aspect of their life. Potential sources of pleasure, such as spending time with loved ones, are very low on the list.
High performers who are extremely productive describe their work style as unsustainable. They acknowledge that they need help getting back on track.
There will come a point when performance suffers, and the effects become potentially life-threatening. It is essential to address the warning signs - such as rushing through a family meal to return to work - and to take steps to modify habits.
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Urgent but unimportant tasks = distractions.
Urgent tasks put us into constant “reply mode.” Important work is related to planned tasks that move us closer to our goals.
Anytime you are pulled away from your tasks, it takes time to readjust to them when you jump back in (sometimes it can take up to 25 minutes).
Interruptions (notifications, loud noises, social media, checking email etc.) harm your concentration.
Don’t check your email or anything else that is going to dictate your behavior.
If you start your day by checking and replying to emails, it means you'll just react as new things come ...
Most of us get 80% of results from 20% of the work we do. So focus on that 20%.
Don’t be vague. Specify what you need to get done - research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control.
You have 2-2.5 hours of peak productivity every day. You may actually be 30% more effective at that time. For most of us, this happens in the morning.
Those are the hours when you should be working on your main goals. Why would you want to waste that on a conference call or a staff meeting?