If you have this problem, it’s NOT your fault. And it’s not a matter of “just trying harder next time.” If the solution was willpower alone, you would’ve fixed this problem a long time ago!
Focus and motivation actually come from your dopamine levels.
What’s dopamine? It’s a chemical that tells our brain to do things. Without dopamine, your brain turns to mush and you forget how to focus. If you struggle with productivity, lack of dopamine is probably your main culprit.
The good news is, you can easily and quickly regain dopamine by doing the following things:
Explore new stuff. Your brain is wired for innovation. It’s fascinated by new things! So take time to explore stuff you don’t know on Wikipedia. Try a new hobby. Check out a new TV show. You’re not obligated to learn a whole new language, but take 10 minutes a day to try something new. Boredom literally kills your brain and makes you dumb and unproductive.
List your small tasks. Dopamine isn’t picky. It gets released into your body whenever you accomplish something, and it doesn’t care whether that task is big or small. That’s why you feel so good when you check stuff off a list no matter how silly. So make a note of all your to dos, and proudly check them off when you’re done. The dopamine hit will keep you focused and motivated.
Listen to music. Why do you think music is so popular? It’s literally food for your brain. Just make sure it’s music you enjoy.
Increase your tyrosine. Tyrosine makes dopamine, so you need a lot of it. Good sources of tyrosine include almonds, cheese, soybeans, beef, and eggs.
Exercise … even a little bit. Everybody says exercise reduces your stress and makes you a healthier person, and it’s true. But your brain actually rewards exercise by releasing endorphins and dopamine, which make you happy and more productive. Get up from your desk right now and take a walk. Your body and brain will thank you, and you’ll get more done today.
Track your wins. Your brain responds to streaks the same way it does with checking off a checklist: dopamine release! If you succeed at getting to the gym every day this week, mark it on your calendar.
Make cool stuff. Ever notice that zen state you get whenever you’re totally immersed in your work? Sometimes we call it “the zone” or “being in the flow.” Whatever you call it, it feels awesome. And yes, it releases dopamine. If you’ve been meaning to get back into an old hobby like painting, photography, or repairing stuff, now’s a good time to do it.
Meditate. How cool is your brain? Even doing nothing from time to time will release dopamine! Seriously though, your brain works hard and needs regular breaks so it can recover.
Dopamine’s addictive but in a good way. Let it serve you well and you’ll be able to accomplish a lot of cool stuff!