Lifehacker is all about improving your productivity, but it doesn’t matter how many tricks you read about or advice you take on-board, ultimately, its up to you to get more out of yourself. So what makes it hard to immediately integrate productivity tips into your routine? Well, we’re just not built that way.
Bob Nease, a “chief scientist at a Fortune 25 health care company”, has written a good breakdown on why productivity hacks “fail” for Fast Company.
The primary reason? Humans rely a lot on routine — our “autopilot” as Nease puts it — and rewriting that circuitry takes time. Sure, you can decide on the spot to do something radical to mix things up, however, that’s short-term thinking:
Whether we like it or not, whether it seems intuitive or not, most of what we do is automatic and happens under the radar. Our brains evolved to adapt in a much different environment than the one in which many of us work. Just a sliver of our cognitive processes are devoted to conscious thought — the rest is all subconscious.
Instead, Nease recommends a more subtle, “long haul” approach:
The tools and strategies that tend to pay off for the long haul are those that don’t require individuals to dramatically overhaul their behaviours. But tapping into peoples’ automatic habits and impulses usually means rewiring the environments in which those behaviours play out, and that can be difficult.
The important takeaway here is that you can’t expect yourself (or others) to make sudden changes in their habits, even if they’re for the better. Find ways to make those adjustments gradually and be sure to integrate them into your current routine, rather than flipping everything on its head from the get-go.
Five Scientific Reasons Why So Many Productivity Hacks Fail [Fast Company]