Change Your Mindset to Improve Your Productivity

There are many methods and tools for productivity, but I think first of all we should change our mindset. Without having the right mindset, even the best methods and tools will only give you modest results. On the other hand, having the right mindset gives you strong foundation for the productivity techniques and methods to run smoothly.

Change your mindsetIn my opinion, the mindset we need to have to improve our productivity boils down to this:

Love what you do

That’s it. Love what you do. Do your tasks with love. If you have this mindset, you will no longer feel the tasks as chore. Instead they will be something you happily do. They will be fun.

To see the power of this principle, just take a moment to look at your life. Can you recall doing something you love? How did it feel? Next, can you recall doing something you don’t like? How was the feeling compared to doing something you love? I guess you notice significant difference between them. For the thing you love, you effortlessly do it. You do it with enthusiasm and excitement. Results will naturally follow. On the other hand, doing the thing you don’t like is a struggle. You must drag yourself to do it and you suffer along the way. It’s difficult to achieve maximum productivity in such condition.

Perhaps you notice that I wrote “love what you do” and not “do what you love”. Why? Because the former is proactive while the latter is not. You can’t always choose to do things you naturally like. There will be times when you must do something you don’t like. If the mantra is “do what you love”, then your performance will be dependent on the kind of tasks you have. You will perform well when you do the tasks you like and you will perform badly otherwise. This, however, isn’t true productivity. To be truly productive, your performance must be consistently good. No matter what kinds of tasks you have, you must perform well. That’s why the key is to “love what you do” and not “do what you love”. You should learn to love whatever tasks you come across, whether or not you naturally like it.

Now, how can we change our mindset to love what we do? I wish I could give you many tips on this, but the more I think about it the more I realize that all the tips I think of boil down to just one:

Replace your negative self-talk with positive one

It all begins with our mind. We love something because we have positive self-talk about it and we don’t like something because we have negative self-talk about it. For instance, for something we love we may say something like:

  • I love it.
  • It’s exciting.
  • I can’t wait to do it.

On the other hand, for something we don’t like we may say something like:

  • It’s boring
  • It’s difficult
  • I wish I don’t have to do this.

Can you see the difference? To replace negative self-talk, with positive one, here are some things you should do:

1. Find something positive about the task

If you want to have positive self-talk about a task, you should have something positive to begin with. While we may naturally look at the bad side of things we don’t like, we should take the effort to find something positive. What can you get from the task? What reward will you receive? The reward might not be immediate. It could be far in the future, but I’m sure you can get something from it. For instance, the task may teach you the traits of patience and persistence which will be useful in the future.

2. Watch your self-talk

Our self-talk may run automatically that we barely notice. But, if you take closer look, you will recognize the kind of self-talk you have. So don’t just do things on autopilot. Watch your thoughts and identify the kind of self-talk you have.

3. Use negative self-talk as trigger for positive one

When you notice that negative self-talk takes place in your mind, use it as a trigger to initiate positive self-talk. You already find positive things about the task (from step 1 above), so you can start using them to say something positive about the task in your mind.

4. Be persistent

Replacing negative self-talk with positive one takes time, so be persistent along the way until you start liking the task. Perhaps it hasn’t yet been love, but liking is a good start. When you have positive attitude toward a task, you will see that your productivity improves.

***

It’s not easy to do, but changing your mindset is essential for improving your productivity. Love what you do by having positive self-talk about it, and see how everything else becomes easier.

This article is part of June 2008 theme: Productivity

Photo by Zach Klein

14 Comments

  1. This makes complete sense! The best part about loving what you do, or even faking it in the beginning is that it opens up our minds to so many things we would not have done otherwise!
    It makes us less grumpy, and easier to deal with! Win-win for us and others around us as well.

  2. You make sence. However, it might be really hard to this all on your own. Sometimes you just gotta find a new job 🙂 or if this is not the problem find a proper productivity tool, just like I did.

  3. Kashmira,

    The best part about loving what you do, or even faking it in the beginning is that it opens up our minds to so many things we would not have done otherwise!

    I agree with you. I like to think that whenever we say we don’t like something or something is boring, we actually close one more door of opportunities.

    Bill,
    Yes, it’s not easy to do. Often it’s easier to move to something we love. But I’m thinking of the “boring” or “dry” moments we will inevitably have even for things we naturally like. We need to be proactive in such cases.
    I agree that having good tools will help us a lot.

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  6. Donald,
    I book I just finished reading about “Page after page – discovering the confidence and passion to start writing and keep writing” by Heather Sellers.

    Putting a slightly different twist on the “do what you love” idea.

    If your job/hobby was your lover – what kind of lover would it be? A lover on the side, a lover on weekends, a secret lover, a take everything lover? Embarrassed?

    Well it made me think about my business differently. Is it a job? Is it a passion? Something that gets me excited? Do I get annoyed when something else interferes.

    Maybe some people have a job and then a lover on the side – something else that they are passionate about.

    Now al I have to thing about is how to cultivate and reward this love I have for this business.

  7. Leona,
    That’s a creative way to look at “do what you love” idea. It makes me think: what kind of lover is mine? Interesting.

  8. […] Change Your Mindset to Improve Your Productivity […]

  9. Yes it’s definitely all about mindset. Just set it on the right track and your whole perspective changes. Your success is also guaranteed.

  10. Though I am with you on all pointers mentioned in your write up bit I can’t really agree on the first one; “love what you do”. No matter how passionate we may be about our work, there are jobs/ tasks that may be too stressful to perform. It could be the time, personal or professional issues, physical incapability, over exhaustion or purely the difficult nature of task. It’s human to not feel like doing some job at a certain point of time. So in my point of view, we should not try to adapt our mindset to loving every job that comes our way…I think it’s practically impossible.

  11. This article does not tell you how to do things over the long term. Of course, these things are good over a couple of weeks, but everyone will always go back to their old habits. Can’t anyone give any real life practical advice for a change?

    Faking interest in tasks that you find miserable only makes you more miserable over the long term. Take it from someone who has been there. You are lying to yourself if you think you like the job that you hate waking up to go to. I’d rather stay at home being tortured by the Spanish Inquisition than go to work to do the things that make me miserable.

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