Productivity coach and guru Michael Hyatt recently introduced me to a concept that he calls “the three brains.”
Of course biologically humans only have one brain, but there are actually three different facets of our brains that are constantly at war with each other.
The first is the robot brain.
This brain controls all of your subconscious and habitual actions. The things that are so deeply ingrained that you don’t really even have to think about doing them anymore. They just happen.
Secondly is the sage brain.
This is where all of your skillful work and creative problem-solving happens. Ideally, we’d like to give control to the sage brain as often as possible, but it is often drowned out by the last brain:
The monkey brain.
The monkey brain is the part of us that is always looking for entertainment. Constantly searching for something new and exciting, it’s difficult to get anything worthwhile done when the monkey brain is in charge. It’s like a drug addict, always looking for its next fix.
In order to achieve great things, we’ve got to tame the monkey brain.
Here are a few tools I’ve found to help me do that:
RescueTime – Tracks my time spent in websites and computer applications and sends me a weekly report based on the criteria I set up. It’s a great accountability tool to make sure I stay on target.
RealizD – I often reach for my phone without even thinking about it. This seems harmless, but when I interrupt myself in the middle of something important, it can take a long time to get back in the groove – some experts say up to 28 minutes after each interruption! I downloaded RealizD to help me visualize the fragmentation I’m introducing into my own life. It tells me how many times I pick up my phone per day, the average time between each pickup, and what times of day I do it most often. This then helps me set goals to reduce my usage every day.
Freedom – While RescueTime and RealizD are more just tracking tools, Freedom actually blocks problem apps and websites. You can put it on both your computer and phone, and set it up to block certain websites (or all of them!) at certain times. If you find that you keep checking email or otherwise getting distracted when you’re supposed to be focusing on other things, Freedom is a great tool to consider implementing.
If you have tools to help you be more productive or tricks that you implement to help you stay focused, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!