Being a parent is exhausting.
We have the same responsibilities as our childless friends, but we do it with virtually no sleep and puke stains on our clothes.
Maybe that is why 87% of wine is drunk by mothers and 90% of whisky by dads. (I made those stats up)
Anyways, sometimes it feels like there is no time to accomplish the things important to us. Whether you want to get in shape, work on a side gig, or write a book; it takes some serious willpower to accomplish anything outside of work and family.
Instead of getting into how to create a to-do list, I am going to share with you 3 psychological hacks that will help you get more accomplished in your life.
I know what you are thinking. “Travis…you are a weirdo. First off I’m not Amish. Second, after working, feeding a family of five, and brushing 112 teeth; a warm shower is something I look forward to every morning.”
Taking a cold shower does not sound fun, I agree. It took me over two years to start and now I won’t go back.
Cold showers give you a psychological advantage and a plethora of health benefits. This is one of those “mind over matter” exercises. Sometimes creating a little discomfort will help in other areas of your life; like asking for a raise or closing that big sale.
When you force yourself to take a cold shower, then you can pretty much do anything. Since I started taking cold showers about four months ago, I feel more awake, am way more productive, and feel better (but I still don’t look forward to them).
If you are still feeling apprehensive about this; start by taking a ten-second cold shower. Increase the time, the next day.
My routine includes jumping in an ice cold shower for about 45 seconds and then washing what is left of my hair. Then I turn up the temperature for about 2 minutes. Finally, I end on another 30 seconds of cold. This is what works for me and it feels better than just taking a 60-second cold shower.
If productivity isn’t your bag, here are a few of the proven health benefits:
- Reduces stress
- Stimulates weight loss
- More alert
- Improves blood circulation
- Improve immunity
- Speeds up muscle soreness
- Helps depression
- Flushes toxins from the skin
- Increases fertility in me
Instead of taking my word, check out this post by Phil Drolet who crushed 30 days of cold showers. As he states in his post,
“I can’t think of any other activity that is this simple (+free), and will bring such great benefits to your life.”
I’m sure you have something you LOVE to do (like binge on Orange is the New Black). I’m also sure you have something you HATE to do (like exercise).
Many times we feel like we are stuck between these two choices. Our mind makes us believe it is an either/or dilemma.
Instead of thinking of it as an either/or problem, think about it as an “and” solution. This is the basis of temptation bundling.
It is taking something you don’t necessarily like to do and combining it with something you enjoy. This concept was created by Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School of Business.
At the end of the day, she knew she should exercise, but was exhausted at the end of the day (sound familiar parents?). Instead of working out she wanted to read the Hunger Games.
She decided to run an experiment and would only allow herself to read/listen to the audio version of Hunger Games while working out. Soon she found herself wanting to work out because she wanted to continue the book.
Personally, I use temptation bundling when I am packing up my boxes for Amazon. It is probably the worst thing in the world to do. So while I’m packing up boxes I binge on a few hours of Netflix. It makes the process so much better!
How can you take advantage of temptation bundling? Write down all the behaviors/tasks you procrastinate on. Then write down all the temptations you love.
Think about what you could combine to make you more productive. Here are a few ideas:
- Only listen to your favorite podcasts while you run
- Watch your favorite trash television show while you fold laundry
- Only eat your favorite non-healthy snack while you catch up on emails
To learn more about this incredible idea, read Marelisa Farega’s entire post about Temptation Bundling.
An action trigger is a mental plan. It’s basically saying to yourself, “Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I am going to work out.”
This idea may seem too simple, but according to a study by Peter Gollwitzer and Veronika Brandstatter from New York University, action triggers increase your chances of accomplishing your goals.
In their study, they offered extra credit to their students for writing a paper on what they did on Christmas Eve. The only requirement was the paper was due by December 26th.
Only 33% actually got the extra credit.
But wait there is more…
Some students in the class were required to create an action trigger. Something like, “I’ll write this at my desk the morning after Christmas and submit it by noon.”
Out of the students who created action triggers, 75% wrote the report!
To utilize this in your own life, think of something you want to do and how you can create an action trigger. Here are a few:
- In the morning you want to work out, so lay your work out clothes on the floor ready to go
- You want to drink more water, so purchase a large water bottle and carry it with you all day
- You want to read more, so set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed 20 minutes early to read
Being productive isn’t always easy, but if you implement one or two of these ideas you will be able to accomplish so much more.
If you feel this post helped you, please share!