In her book "Nine Things Successful People Do Differently," Halvorson provides the following examples of if-then planning:
If I haven't written the report before lunch, then I will make it the first thing I do when I return.
If I am getting to distracted by my colleagues, then I will stick to a five-minute chat limit and head back to work.
If it is 6 p.m., then I will spend an hour working out in the company gym before heading home.
If-then planning allows you to decide in advance "when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal" and can double or triple your chances for success Grant Halvorson says, citing a research published in the journal "Advances in Experimental Social Psychology."
"Wanting to be more productive isn't enough to actually make you more productive," she writes, adding that "you need to introduce better habits of time management into your life by seizing opportunities to get things done."
This type of planning not only provides more clarity on the goals you want to achieve, but it also serves as a way to hack your unconscious brain into helping you along.
If-then statements are written in "the language of contingencies," Grant Halvorson says, describing the brain's ability to create a link between different events to prepare you for the next event.
"Once you've formulated your if-then plan, your unconscious brain will start scanning the environment, searching for the situation in the 'if' part of your plan," she writes. "Since you've already decided exactly what you need to do, you can execute the plan without having to consciously think about it or waste time deliberating about what you should do next."
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