How Will Power Really Works

Josh Paulsen
A free video tutorial from Josh Paulsen
Productivity and Goals Coach to Leaders and Entrepreneurs
4.4 instructor rating • 2 courses • 62,574 students

Lecture description

When procrastinating, many think they just need to use more will power. But in this lecture you will learn the truth behind willpower, what it is, how it works and how you can use that to your advantage including ways to structure your productivity.

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Productivity and Time Management for the Overwhelmed

A complete productivity and time management course designed to help you reduce your overwhelm and increase your results.

01:47:45 of on-demand video • Updated June 2017

  • Take control of their mindset and energy levels to increase your productivity
  • Discover why you are not as productive as you could be and develop a plan to improve
  • Increase  your productivity by implementing new strategies throughout your day
  • Create a personal plan that fits your personality and style
English [Auto] Welcome back when they're procrastinating. I know many of my clients wrongfully think that they just need to use more willpower or that it's willpower that's letting them down when they fail. When you're dealing with productivity I think it's critical to really understand how willpower works first. What do I mean by willpower. Now one definition is the ability to utilize self-control or the ability to get yourself to do something. Often times something is difficult. Don't we all just wish we were robots and could will ourselves instantly to avoid that cookie eat our vegetables and go to the gym. But how does willpower really work. Now I've heard many people who study willpower describe it like a muscle. And I think that's a great analogy. So just like a biceps muscle or any other muscle if you're lifting weights in the gym you can only lift to wait for so long. Now the weight of the weight the more reps you might be able to complete but the heavier the weight the fewer reps you'll be able to complete. Either way at some point that muscle is going to give out and you're going to need some type of rest and recuperation in order for it to begin lifting weights again. Your willpower is very similar. You have a certain reservoir of raw power that you have available to you but once you use that up you become very susceptible to short term urges or emotions even if you know it's not good for you. Procrastination anyone. This is why you might look at those cookies sitting on your kitchen table and say no and hold yourself back eight times. But finally later on in the day boom you cave in scarf down three cookies in about five seconds. Or is that just me. Let's look at some real world implications and where willpower. An example where willpower can have even more serious consequences. In their book Willpower Roy boy master and John Tierney hope I pronounce their name ok. Share some research done by psychologists who monitored the decisions that judges made when deciding the fate of whether or not to release prisoners who were up for parole. The judges averaged releasing about 1 out of every three prisoners but there was a really interesting twist. Prisoners who appeared in the morning got paroled about 65 percent of the time while prisoners who appeared late in the afternoon got paroled. About 10 percent of the time. Another interesting discovery after a meal break. The judges became more generous again for a short period of time and awarded parole to most of the prisoners. Now in the book they discuss decision city in this very concept of willpower. What is the riskier decision for these judges. Is it letting a prisoner out or keeping them in jail. If these judges are on the fence the least risky decision is going to say no to the parole and to put them back in prison. And in the book they describe exactly what's going on. Their willpower is at their greatest early in the morning when they were given parole about 65 percent of the time as they're making those decisions their willpower is getting depleted. You'll see that after mealtime or when they took a break and came back and were able to replenish that reservoir a little bit more people would get parole. But as they started to experience that decision fatigue and their willpower depleted. Unfortunately for those prisoners that were up for parole they receive parole much less frequently than when their willpower was at its highest. It doesn't only impact judges. We're all human. Successful people and productive people know this about willpower and they structure their systems and structure their day around this fact whether it's tackling their most important item first thing in the morning when they have the most willpower and before they start to eat away at that with decision fatigue or whether it's saving the easy work or things that require less willpower like returning emails for the afternoon when they know that willpower will be more depleted or if they set up their work in such a way that utilizes systems and habits so they don't have to use willpower at all. The good news is that just like a muscle the more you exercise your willpower the bigger that willpower muscle gets. Now eating the right foods getting enough sleep staying hydrated and taking breaks can help you to recharge your willpower. And these are all things we've talked about in previous lectures. But you must understand that your willpower and your self-control is just like a muscle used up over time. And if you run it too fast you run it too hard. You're only setting yourself up for failure. So make sure you strengthen that willpower muscle and use it to your advantage.