4 easy tricks that will make you productive

Ever needed to be productive … but you just don’t feel like it? And you literally end up negotiating with yourself in order to get things done?

I end up there all the time. So I wondered: what’s the best way for me to convince me to be more productive? What’s the best way to use the science of persuasion… on myself?

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Talking yourself into doing anything can be tricky.

I knew the answer was a bit beyond my pay grade, so I called an expert…

Robert Cialdini is the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of persuasion. He’s a professor of psychology at Arizona State University and author of the #1 book on influence — aptly titled: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

When we want to get others to see things our way we spend the majority of time crafting logical arguments and collecting convincing evidence to present to them… and Bob says that’s dead wrong.

In his new book Pre-Suasion, Bob explains that we need to take a 2500-year-old tip from good ol’ Sun Tzu:

Every battle is won before it is fought.

What we do before we try to persuade is often more critical to whether or not we are successful.

From Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade:

The best persuaders become the best through pre-suasion — the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it.

So if you’re going to persuade yourself to get more done, you need to think about what you do in advance of starting the task.

Talking yourself into doing anything can be tricky because, well, you know what you’re planning. So perhaps we should get started by convincing your unconscious mind to help you out…

When The Going Gets Good, The Good Stop Going

So you’re actually getting some solid work done. You’re pleased with yourself. But you’re also a little afraid that tomorrow you’ll start procrastinating all over again. There’s a good way to make sure that doesn’t happen…

Leverage the “Zeigarnik effect.” (Luckily, you don’t have to be able to pronounce it in order to do that.) The Zeigarnik effect is a psychological principle that says our brains seek closure.

Your unconscious mind wants to feel like you “finished” something — otherwise it will keep thinking about that task long after you’ve left the office.

Well, Bob told me a story about a colleague of his who uses those nagging thoughts to her advantage — to prevent procrastination.

When she’s writing and the end of the workday approaches, she stops mid-sentence. That way her brain is dying to finish that thought. And when she gets to her desk the next day she’s thankful to be able to complete what she started. Here’s Bob:

The next day, she can’t wait to get back to her chair and begin writing again so that she can complete the thought. Now she’s in the flow again of writing, and she winds up being especially productive.

So take a lesson from those cliffhangers at the end of television episodes. They keep you tuned in for a reason. Your brain wants closure. Don’t let it have it.

(To learn the 7-step morning ritual that will keep you happy all day, click here.)

So you know how to turn one productive day into a productive week. But how do you get going in the first place? All it takes is a few magic words…

If, When, Then

Ever wish you could just program yourself like a computer to do the right thing? Well, we can’t upload Kung fu into your brain, Neo, but we’ve got the next best thing…

Before it’s time to accomplish something, create a clear goal statement that includes the place or time something needs to be done and the thing you have to do. Just use t