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Conquer Challenges to Feel the Rewards

A happy father is playing blocks with his son on the wooden floor.

How can you create a cycle of productivity?

During your brain's prime time, focus on deeper thinking and tasks that build toward long-term goals. Save tasks that do not require much thought (even essential ones) for other times of day.


Higher-order thinking releases dopamine in the brain – igniting the brain's reward network and feelings of accomplishment. While checking off mindless tasks can deliver a small dose of dopamine, challenging tasks can offer a bigger reward and motivate continued progress.


  • Reviewing your to-do list: Which tasks are both cognitively challenging and part of long-term goals ("elephants")? And which tasks could you complete on autopilot ("rabbits")?
  • Dedicating times when your do your best thinking to working on "elephants"
  • Creating an action plan, including breaking down really big "elephants" into actionable steps
  • Journaling about how daily accomplishments make you feel, or sharing with a friend

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