Thursday, 08 January 2015 00:00

Not Archaeology per-se, but how to help understand your willpower as a finite resource (and get yourself to stay on task for that boring database entry you have to do)

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As students face the resumption of classes and snow bound field workers are tasked with lab jobs to see them through the lean months we all face a similar challenge. How do we not loose our willpower with not only New Years Resolutions, but also when confronted with the day to day grind of voluminous database entry and excruciating artifact sorting and analysis?  I read a very interesting article today on this subject on i09 How to Make Your Willpower Stronger -- According to Science.

A brief summary of the article is in this list.  But do read the whole article it is really very interesting.

 

Simply be aware that you're using your willpower on an ongoing basis and that you're being confronted with a steady stream of decision-making

  • Because decision-making is fatiguing, your ability to make good decisions will be compromised by (1) an excess of choices and (2) low energy (i.e. low glucose) levels; thus, try to limit the number of choices whenever possible, reduce the number of "critical" decisions you have to make on a daily basis, and boost your brain with a sugary drink (you don't even have to swallow the drink — just swish it around and spit it out)
  • Focus on a singular task or problem to achieve "flow" and avoid negative thinking
  • Avoid mind-wandering
  • Divert your thoughts away from potential temptations
  • Accept that you have more free will than you think
  • When facing a task that requires lots of self-control, you'll have more willpower if you choose to re-watch shows/films or re-read familiar books
  • Meditate and do physical exercise
  • Strengthen your willpower as if it were a muscle (e.g. brush your teeth wrong-handed)

 

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