Why does binge-watching Netflix seem more doable than writing the first line of an assignment? Why is it easy to pick up your phone and start recording until you are shooting a video for your YouTube channel? And why does every single task that improves your productivity look like a hurdle that you need to overcome?
The answer is Dopamine!
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that tells us what is fun and what is not! It further helps us focus and put in efforts by making things seem interesting. Therefore, the productive tasks seem uninteresting simply because they do not raise our Dopamine levels.
Is there a way to change this? Yes.
Steps To Improve Your Dopamine Production
Choose Your Meals Carefully
Eating right is the best solution to most of your life’s problems. Foods rich in proteins, magnesium and tyrosine like cheese, meats, fish, dairy, nuts, beans and lentils are necessary in your diet. Avoid processed foods and reduce coffee and alcohol intake.
Combine these with daily exercise and ample sleep, and you will be unstoppable.
Avoid Addictive Activities – They Cause a Dopamine Rush!
Indulging too much in gaming, social media, and watching short videos (reels) even in short breaks raises the bar too high for mild activities like reading to match the same dopamine levels. As a result, anything less than hyper-engaging seems uninteresting.
To avoid this, always keep app notifications off and check social media once a day for a limited duration. Digital detox and meditation are effective ways to keep your dopamine levels in check.
Consider spending at least an hour with yourself every day. And during this time, do nothing except sit in silence and let your brain recalibrate.
Combine Productive Tasks with Interesting Activities
Listen to your favorite music while working on an assignment, if possible, or eat something you love while working on stressful projects. Doing so tricks your brain into believing “it’s okay” and keeps your senses calmer and more focused.
Avoid multitasking when there is already too much on your plate. A better way is to make a checklist of things you need to take care of and keep crossing them off one by one as you get them out of the way. This will give you a sense of achievement after finishing every task, and your motivation levels will stay high for the leftover work.
Avoid all kinds of distractions, wear your favorite noise-cancelling earphones and disconnect yourself from the outside world until you are done. This will allow you to work faster and with better overall efficiency.
Say No to Drugs – Obviously!
Drugs and alcohol are so addictive because they cause your dopamine levels to skyrocket. This gives you an extreme sense of pleasure.
Because it is artificially induced, your body cannot sustain it for too long. After that intoxicating effect wears off, your dopamine levels drop drastically. This causes a feeling of extreme despair. And the way to overcome that is either doing more drugs or a detox.
Didn’t we already agree on avoiding addictive activities?
How My 7 Day Dopamine Detox Changed My Life
I started this year with a 7 day Dopamine detox and documented my experience in this video. Hope you like it:
Although, the activities that temporarily boost dopamine levels seem more interesting, but choosing a healthy lifestyle makes you more productive. While it is okay to do fun activities during breaks, keeping your brain calm and focused helps you achieve more eventually. And most importantly – you become more productive.