Following these strategies can help you stay focused and get more done.

Let’s face it, we could all use a little help with self-control. For many, though, the skill is a critical deficit. In one recent study, 2 million people were asked to rank their strengths in 24 skills. Self-control landed in the bottom spot. Writing for Huffington Post, Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, identifies 12 ways that emotionally intelligent people stay in control – strategies that are doable and can lead to gains in productivity and success. Here are some tactics to consider.

  1. Just say “no.” Don’t say yes unless you really want to. Another tactic? Avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.”
  2. Ride the wave. Think of distraction and desire as having an ebb and flow. Try waiting 10 minutes before succumbing to temptation – long enough for the wave of desire to turn into a ripple.
  3. Get more sleep. Lack of sleep or poor quality rest reduces your self-control, attention and memory. Being tired hinders the brain’s ability to absorb glucose, which affects impulse control.
  4. Squash negative talk. The more you focus on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Writing down these thoughts can help stop them in their tracks.

So how can these strategies actually work for you? Dr. Bradberry recommends that when you feel like you’re struggling with self-control, stop and consider how to use these strategies before caving in to impulse.

Ready to get in control? Start by reading the full list of the ways successful people stay productive.