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Dopamine and its impact on productivity

Getting Things Done: The Impact of Dopamine and Six Tips to Help You Manage It

Recently, many of my coaching clients have told me how sluggish they feel at this time of the year. They’re wondering how to boost their motivation to get things done. Coincidentally, I recently listened to the Huberman Lab podcast episode, “Leverage Dopamine to Overcome Procrastination & Optimize Effort.”

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter in your brain that plays a role in many important functions, including motivation, reward, and learning. Huberman shared some tips. Some you may already know, but perhaps there are one or two you’ll want to try to see if they make a difference.

To establish a healthy level of dopamine:

  1. Have a regular exercise or movement regime and figure out a time in your day for it. Even a 15-minute walk could be all you need to get you motivated to work on your to-do list.
  2. Get the rest you need. The optimum number of hours of sleep is different for everyone, so listen to your body. Try to wake up and go to bed at specific times whenever possible, even on your days off.
  3. View early-morning sunlight for ten to thirty minutes daily. I know this is easier if a walk is part of your commute (or you have a dog!). When the weather cooperates, take a short, mindful morning walk and see how you feel afterward. There is also some research that supports taking a one to three-minute cold shower, known to increase baseline dopamine for hours.
  4. Ingest caffeine in moderation. The recommended amount of caffeine daily is approximately 100 to 400 mg. Depending on your choice of beverage, this could be only two or three cups a day. Some people should also avoid caffeine too close to sleep.
  5. Eat tyrosine-rich foods. These include meat, nuts, or hard fermented cheese.
  6. Avoid viewing bright lights between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Try these tips to help you accomplish your goals without creating more stress.

Beth Benatti Kennedy is an executive coach and PathWise advisor. You can purchase her book, Career Re-Charge, here.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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