In his latest book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg explores the science of productivity and how you can get more done without having to sacrifice what you care about most.
Realize the value of a stretch goal
Setting “audacious” goals disrupts complacency and promotes new ways of thinking. By setting a goal that is seemingly out of reach, such as running a marathon, you are forcing yourself to get creative and figure out ways to complete the task. Charles says that studies show that stretch goals can spark huge jumps in productivity and innovation, especially when mandated at a workplace.
Make better decisions by developing your intuition
“Many of our most important decisions are attempts to forecast the future,” Charles writes. Get married? Have a baby? Choose public or private school? The people who make the best decisions are the ones who work hard to envision various futures, think them through and ask themselves: “Which ones do I think are most likely and why?”
Strengthen your internal locus of control
People with a “strong locus of control,” or the extent of the events they feel they can control, tend to praise or blame themselves for success or failure rather than assigning responsibility outside their influence. This concept is correlated with academic success, higher self-motivation, lower incidences of stress and depression and a longer life span. Practice this learned skill by taking actions that put you in control, like awakening your sense of self-determination and seeing your choices as affirmations of your goals.
Sandra Bienkowski is a contributing editor for Live Happy.