Increase Your Focus and Productivity

You know you need to save more and you promise yourself that you will — tomorrow. Working with an advisor provides the discipline and direction you need to stop procrastinating and focus on what you need to do to achieve your goals.

In that regard, I’m always interested in tips from experts on how to stimulate and refresh thinking.  And an article by Alice Boyes, Ph.D., 15 Psychology Experts Share Their Best Productivity Tips published in In Practice included some interesting strategies. Some apply directly to improving your ability to decide to save more for retirement:

Use the Pomodoro Technique. “This technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes of work, then take a five minute break, then setting the timer again,” explains Heidi Reeder, Ph.D. So break retirement planning down into small tasks. First decide how much you can increase your contribution for the year. Next, evaluate various funds, etc.

Deal with unresolved issues to free up your cognitive resources. Maybe you need to take your car for an oil change, or a have department store return hanging over your head. Because those to-dos can zap your energy, Guy Winch, Ph.D. says making a plan to address these errands will “quiet the nagging and free up your intellectual and emotional resources” to maximize your productivity.”  So, don’t try to squeeze planning for your future into an errand-filled Saturday. Clear your calendar – and your mind – so that you can focus.

Use conditioning techniques. Retirement planning is work, so maybe your patio isn’t the best place to make decisions. “Work in a place that you associate with work, such as an office building or library.  Your surroundings set the stage for your focus–if they are associated with work, you will focus on work,” advises Amy Przeworski, Ph.D.

Tap your passion.  When you are passionate about what you do, it means that juggling work demands is “not necessarily always effortless, but certainly gratifying,” says Kristine Anthis, Ph.D. There’s no question that when you enjoy your work, it seems easier. So visualize retirement. See yourself in the future, doing what you enjoy. That can inspire you to save more today.

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