The Power of the Productivity Habit

Productivity Arata! Productivity habits can be instilled.

I am Seiiti Arata and if you want to learn more about the power of the productivity habit, I am bringing you one of the most powerful concepts from psychology professor Roy Baumeister and researchers Andrew Hargadon and Kimberly Elsbach.

In this video you will learn two key concepts, which are Complementary Habits and Interpolated Habits.

1. Complementary Habits

Complementary habits explain why some people are unable to focus on one activity while others succeed doing so.

Self-control is not something genetic or behavioural, and therefore it is something we can work on. That’s the good news.

How can we change?

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You know when you decide to work from home instead of going to the office, and then you wake up at the same time as you normally do, except that instead of having a shower, shaving and putting on your working clothes, you keep your t-shirt on and go straight to the computer and start stalling? What is going on then?

In that case, things could be better if you had gone through all your routines, including shaving and putting on your working clothes. These are complementary habits; they’re support habits that act like mental hooks.

When we can carry out these complementary habits, everything else that is associated with them stays on track. I wake up early, shower, shave, change into my working clothes—all signs point to the fact that it is a working day. But if I wake up late, my routine is all different. I stay in my pyjamas and power on the computer to start working, but everything becomes more difficult.

At some more unconscious level, when we stay in our pyjamas and want to turn on the computer to start working, something is not quite right. We are missing the complementary habits.

The same goes for consistency within a healthy living program. We can do everything right, rigorously watching our food and exercise choices, but on that one day we mess up, there is a bizarre tendency to abandon the healthy program altogether.

2. Complementary habits amplify my consistency.

What we want is to find consistency in our lives and in our behaviour. We need to find coherence.

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If, for instance, it is very difficult to have the discipline to sit at the study desk for hours in order to complete all the exercises from that difficult hand-out, maybe we can do some simple warm-up activities at alternate times.

For instance, let’s say we will organize our desk. That is a small gesture that will take us five, maybe ten minutes. At the end, however, it will have created a sense of consistency that will prepare us for the next step. Always remember this word: consistency.

3. Interpolated Habits

Interpolated habits are activities that are mixed with others, placed between one activity and another, like a sandwich.

The best example of an interpolated habit is performing  a physical and then a mental activity in turns. Heavy and intense mental activity can and should be interpolated with simple and light physical activity.

In Elsbach and Hargadon’s study, simple activities such as loading paper into the printer, cleaning up the lab equipment or doing any other simple activity such as opening boxes and placing objects on the shelf were a kind of physical activity that would allow the brain to restand improve its performance.

Beware of interpolated habits! There is a right way to perform them, or we will find ourselves procrastinating.

Be very careful if you start to perform only complementary habits and interpolated habits …and leave the main task aside. That would be the wrong use of the complementary and the interpolated habits, using them as a way of stalling, putting aside the real activity that has to be carried out.

That’s why I invite you to learn more by visiting this link.