It's where your brain specifically seeks the hit of dopamine you get from crossing off small tasks and ignores working on larger, more complex ones.
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Out of all the things that can boost our mood and motivation, the single most important is making progress on meaningful work.
Just like we love crossing small tasks off our to-do list, being able to see that we’re even one step closer to a big goal is a huge motivator. The problem is that these “small wins” are hard to measure.
... but feel like nothing gets done:
It keeps you motivated and productive.
You become more purposeful about the work you do. And that can create the kind of meaning that so many of us search for in our daily work. You also have more insight into the value you’re creating.
... into smaller pieces and visualize them.
When you’re facing a large project, your first step should be to break it out into smaller goals. Then, break those goals down into smaller tasks. The more chances you have to feel like you “finished” part of it, the more motivation you’ll get from your progress.
... and start every day at zero.
Rather than simply looking at your overall progress on a project, set smaller daily quotas.
If your goal is especially complex, a quota can be easier to hit than a goal.
Pick a metric (or two) that makes sense for you and then track how many days you hit it.
Your calendar becomes a large, visual reminder of your progress (and also brings in the power of streaks).
... for 5 minutes a day.
At the end of each day, take a few minutes to write about what you worked on. Make sure to note both your “small wins” and any setbacks.
At the end of the month, flip back through your notes and see how far you’ve come. It’s amazing the clarity you get from seeing the progress you made over a longer period
Lack of self-efficacy, that is your confidence (or belief) in navigating a challenging situation and shooting down potential obstacles is a fundamental reason for the inability to focus.
When you start to feel this way, take a break.
The best way to maintain productivity is to take regular breaks. Our minds naturally crave breaks after every 90 minutes of intense work. Your body may signal it needs a break by becoming hungry, sleepy, fidgeting, or losing focus.
Capture everything on a Master List and then break it down by monthly, weekly, and daily goals.