- Learn 4 techniques to instantly become less overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.
- Understand your unique productivity rhythms and Off Track Triggers
- #1 is the most counterproductive technique to becoming an all-star producer
- Grab your free copy of the lesson worksheet here
Here’s the reality. There are a ton of things that are trying to gain our attention. Not only are they gaining our attention, but they are also trying to claw their way into our time. There’s no shortage of this activity.
At work, it’s the million emails that we need to get to by the end of the day; it’s the countless meetings about meetings for a meeting all of which we need to attend; it is the onslaught of text messages about the problems that arise for your product or what-have-you. These are the things that are continuing to claw into our time and take our focus off of productive work.
At home, it’s the ever-growing honey-do list; it’s the gnawing feeling of the new year’s resolution that you haven’t even gotten to yet, and it’s already October, and it’s the commitment that you made to your family about spending quality time.
So what am I getting at? Is there is no shortage of things that are just vying for our attention, which means that we need to have an increased mental focus. This also means that there is an attack on our wellbeing.
When we give too much of our attention and time we become only one thing…overwhelmed. We become stressed and overworked. We need to be able to have a keen focus on our wellbeing. We need to be able to move things forward. We need to be able to manage the plates that we’re balancing and we need to be able to manage our wellbeing.
All of what I described doesn’t even consider the emotional toll of all of these activities much less the emotional toll of all the roles that you play in the stage play call life.
I want to cover four wellbeing techniques for effective productivity. So let’s not even delay. Let’s go directly into it.
#1: Take a Break.
It’s a little counter-intuitive to productivity, taking a break. It doesn’t make sense when we’re talking about being productive. But since we are talking about being productive from a wellbeing standpoint, it makes perfect sense.
Especially in American culture, we seem to have a badge of honor when we run ourselves ragged [to the point of exhaustion]. We have an issue saying no and accept every task that comes across our desk.This results in becoming overworked, stressed, overwhelmed. And that only causes us to have a mental breakdown at some point.
So what do we need to do?
Take a break. Go ahead and enjoy something new, something novel.
Take a break in between your productive time. In fact, you could use a Pomodoro technique where you have 20 to 25 minutes of productive time and then you have a short break and then another 20 to 25 minutes of productive time. And then another short break. Breaking up your work like this can allow you to stay hyper-focused in this small chunk of time.
#2 Use visualization
First, visualize your work. You have to work in front of you, but it’s on a spreadsheet or in a notebook or worst, in your email. This lack of clearly visualizing your work causes you to miss things or realizing them only in the last minute which causes you to become overwhelmed.
Since your work is not really, in front of you, we should make it so that it is. Put it on post-it notes, index cards, or whatever you have access to in a moment and place it in front of you.
This does two things: One, it really takes it out of where it’s hiding in your notebook to spreadsheets, wherever you may have it. And, two, it places it right in front of you as a reminder of the things that you need to get done.
Now don’t allow this to overwhelm you because it can. If you put too many things up there. You may have this gnawing feeling an what it is, is a gentle reminder of the work that you need to get done.
The second part of using visualization is the reality that we have is that things are gonna pop up in our mind at any given time. The thoughts, ideas of suggestions are going to sneak in and they’re going to try to distract us during our time of being productivity. An exercise we can do here is imagine our mind as a theater screen. And on that theater screen, we have the ability to see our thoughts, ideas, and suggestions come across the screen. Now imagine that they come across and the leave the screen like credits. In this exercise, we’re trying to detach ourselves from the ideas and suggestions and thoughts that are coming up by visualizing them on the theater screen and ending.
Alternatively, you can allow those thoughts, ideas, suggestions to come and dump it onto paper. Take a moment and write down the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions so that you can unload it from the brain and you can focus on the productive work that you are trying to accomplish.
#3 Obliterate procrastination.
I’m the worst. At Christmas time I wait until the last minute to get my presents. But procrastination doesn’t always work out in our best favor. Surely, more times than not, it doesn’t work out in our favor at all.
Procrastination can cause a lot of stress and anxiety about the work that needs to be done. Anxiety is one of the secret killers, if you would, in American society. It is the secret killer because it doesn’t show its face and we often think we just need to “suck it up”.
When we are considering obliterating procrastination, it means that we need to make a commitment. We need to have a consistent commitment to delivering work. A consistent commitment to delivering value. What I mean by this is we have time during the week that we dedicate towards whatever we need to do. This may mean, we need to have the necessary conversations with our loved ones.
Say we commit to setting aside two hours to focus on writing a for our Blog, for instance, or to do a video, like this. This happens every week around the same time and everyone is aware of what’s going on. So when we are able to establish these consistent commitments in our week, in our month, in our year, we’re able to move things forward and obliterate procrastination.
#4: Count to Clarity
Again, the reality is things are gonna pop in our minds, people are going to come into our offices, people are going to distract us. This is a fact of life so we need to be able to get back to ‘center’ as quickly as possible.
One strategy we can use to get back to ‘center’ is to count to clarity. What this means is that you count the numbers as high as you need to to get back to ‘center’, but you do so slowly with deliberate inhale and exhale breaths. What this does is slows everything down: it allows you to focus on the thing that you need to get back to; it allows you to detach from the thing that causes you to get off course.
This exercise, counting to clarity, gives you the ability to calm your nerves, calm your monkey mind, and allow you to get to ‘center’ where you can then go right back into a productive mode.
Bonus #5: Find your Flow
If you’re interested in a video about flow, let me know in the comments down below. Essentially, Flow is a transcendent psychological experience where you get into the zone and you are hyper-focused. As a result, you’re hyper-productive. In Flow, your self-regulating self diminishes. You’re not questioning the thoughts and ideas that are popping up as you’re trying to focus.
There are many activities that you can do to find your flow. One of my personal favorite that allows me to get into flow pretty quickly is listening to drum and bass music. If you are a runner, you go for a run to achieve a “runner’s high” get into general adrenaline and endorphins pumping through your system that helps you get into a flow state. Alternatively, reading a good book and finding something new and novel can kick you into flow as well. Finding your flow is unique to you. It is a great tool, not only for productivity but certainly for having a transcendent experience where you go learn more about yourself than you ever think you can possibly do.
The thing that we’re trying to achieve here is a greater self-awareness and as GI Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle”. The other half of the battle are the techniques that I shared with you in this video. And to win both sides means that you win the war.
I’m Ralph Plaskett. I am so happy to share these strategies with you. Let me know which one is your favorite and which one you’re going to apply to your life in the comments down below. So glad that you could join me here today and until next week, enjoy the greatness that is life.