The Psychology Behind Productivity and its Effects on Mental Health

I’ll do it later. After I’ve watched this episode. After football training tomorrow. Everyone has at some point tried to avoid doing work.The big question is; why is it hard to stay productive and motivated to do work and revision? 


It is important to understand that online learning with Sherpa and lots of revision are the key to success and good grades. Additionally, for those that prepare early with online lessons enables those students to build confidence and ace their exams. 



Studies have shown procrastination and organisation are some of the biggest barriers for students being productive. This is often because the brain associates work as hard; and the human brain signals us to avoid real work. This often results in students procrastinating and daydreaming. 


Ever heard of ego-depletion?


People are always facing urges and desires to do things that suit their interests. In order for people to stay away from such desires; they must instill discipline and self-control in themselves. This can be anything from buying chocolate or reducing your screen time on social media. 


Such self-control requires a lot of mental effort; where some urges require a lot more willpower than others. This ties towards the definition of ego-depletion; whereby people use up their available willpower on one task; and are unable to do the same amount on another task.


Our willpower is considered a limited resource that operates like a muscle and can be exerted. Therefore, ego-depletion happens when people use up their available willpower on one task (often on unrelated tasks). Some researchers suggest that shifts in factors such as motivation, attention and emotion also play a critical role in ego depletion. 



Fortunately for humans there is a construct of the mind known as The Zeigarnik Effect which compels humans to finish a task that they’ve already started. This can be associated with feeling guilty when you don’t finish a task. This is the mind making you feel bad; and resultantly you continue to work out of guilt to have the job done. 


The Zeigarnik Effect suggests that not finishing a task creates mental tension, which keeps it at the forefront of our memory. The only thing that will relieve this tension is the completion of a task. It proposes that making a start on something, no matter how big or small, keeps ticking away at the back of your mind until you reach the end.


Incomplete tasks and procrastinating often lead to frequent and unhelpful thought patterns. These thoughts can impact sleep, trigger anxiety symptoms and further impact on a person’s mental and emotional resources.



How to Ensure You Get Tasks Complete


It is always difficult being organised; but there are a number of methods to help you.

Firstly, get a diary to write down a list of things for you to remember. You will never remember everything in your head; so it is important you have a place to write events down.

Secondly, have notepads and textbooks to ensure you can add good notes to books you can look over again. Having a notepad enables you to stay focused because you will associate this as your study book. Consider looking into time management and productivity techniques such as the Pomodoro technique. They help by giving yourself strict rules to ensure focus and productivity when you really need to focus.


Thirdly, have a wide access to revision resources. This includes having your own textbooks and undergoing lots of past papers. Lastly, book sessions with an online tutor at Sherpa. Our expert online tuition can ensure your preferences are tailored to each individual session to help you become more confident with your studies. Finding a tutor is easy; clear here to book a session now. 


Completing tasks successfully can provide a sense of accomplishment whilst increasing one’s self-esteem and confidence. The Zeigarnik effect can promote mental well-being by motivating someone to complete tasks, develop healthier habits, set goals and resolve issues that are being postponed meaning you will likely experience a long-term positive impact on your psychological well-being. Check out this video below on how to stay productive!

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19th October

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