Say “celebrate” and many people think champagne, confetti and fireworks. In fact, try and find a royalty-free picture for celebration and I was hard pressed to find one that didn’t include champagne, crystal glasses or someone toasting.
What if a high five, pat on the back or simple acknowledgement of accomplishment could help you get things done? I think it can and does and encourage all my clients to celebrate on a regular and consistent basis.
The first task is to learn to celebrate yourself. How good are you at it?
Many of us are not very good at all. We are great at being critical and telling ourselves we can do better. How often do we say “Hey, I did that. Way to go”?
I can use myself as a great example here. Yesterday I went for a walk, 3,000 steps I might add, for the first time since developing a cough last October. It took almost a full six months to resolve the cough. In the meantime, I did not feel up to walking. When I returned home I found myself standing in the kitchen, reflecting on my accomplishment. After regular daily walks over 10,000 steps for three years, and a hiatus of over six months, I was finally back hitting my stride; literally. And then I realized I could walk the talk and celebrate my own success. I gave out a holler and a woop and raised both hands int the air. “I did it!”.
Wow that felt good. There already were fresh flowers on the dining room table. Otherwise, I would have bought myself some more. Maybe I still will and put them in my office.
Micro Tasks and Celebration
Let’s continue the conversation about micro tasks. They go hand in hand with using celebration as a productivity tool. For a quick review, micro tasks are very, very small, specific tasks that take less than five minutes to complete and, are so simple, that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, you can be successful. Overwhelming, daunting projects can all be broken down into micro tasks. Stack a series of five minute micro tasks on top of each other, and even an overwhelming project can be accomplished.
With the completion of each micro task is the opportunity to celebrate. Micro tasks are so small, it gives us lots of opportunity to celebrate, over and over and over again. Pat yourself on the back, give yourself a high five, woop and holler in the kitchen like I did, and recognize you got the task done.
Each time you acknowledge and celebrate, your brain registers the accomplishment and you earn a little hit of the brain juices associated with accomplishment and celebration. And because the tasks are so small, and you are guaranteed to be successful (according to the definition of micro task) there are lots of chances to keep that celebration going. And that brings lots of chances for your brain to earn the celebration juices.
Celebration and Productivity
Individuals who struggle with productivity often stall or stumble due to procrastination, fear of failure, perfectionism and a myriad of “what if” scenarios that may or may not be realistic. Using micro tasks to generate action and therefore energy can often be a route through these stumbling blocks. So the question becomes, how to get started and how to keep going.
By celebrating the completion of each micro task the brain is rewarded with some dopamine. This in turn makes us feel good. When we feel good we are more likely to repeat the behaviour to make that good feeling return. Now I am reminded how good it felt to walk my 3,000 steps again, I am more likely to do it again. When I do, I will celebrate again, receive another dopamine surge and want to do it again.
We know we miss 100 percent of the shots we don’t take, a reference to hockey and sports in general. The same is true of productivity; if we don’t try, we are guaranteed not to be successful. Instead, pairing up micro tasks and celebration is even more powerful than either strategy used by itself and, helps to move beyond the usual stumbling blocks of unproductive behaviour. The more micro tasks you try, the more you are successful; the more you are successful, the more you can celebrate; the more you can celebrate, the more you feel good about your success; the more you feel good, the more likely your are to try again; the more you try again, the more likely you are to be successful. It’s a winning formula.
I’d love to hear about your success. What have you celebrated recently?
How did the micro tasks work for ou?