Looking for a productivity boost? Do you feel like you could do more than you’re doing now, but aren’t sure how? Here’s three tips that will help you on your way.
GET INTENSE, REST, REPEAT
In their book “Peak Performance” authors Brad Stuberg and Steve Magness make an analogy between world class athletes performing at peak physical performance, and artists, scientists, and other “thinkers” who also perform well.
It’s not surprising that elite athletes train VERY hard….and that they need a lot of rest afterwards. Intense workouts and practices with plenty of recovery time and rest allow them to consistently improve performance.
It turns out that works well for our minds as well.
People aren’t made to “knuckle down” and crank out peak mental performance all the time any more than they can physically work out at the highest levels all day long. Your brain and your mind need breaks, too.
Stuberg and Magness found that people who were considered to be brilliant, innovative, original thinkers tended to have interesting work patterns. They were either engaged in very intense work….or relaxing, playing, and “recharging”.
The authors conclude that times of rest, play, and relaxation helped their minds rest and recover….similar to an athlete getting a good night’s sleep after a big workout.
So if you find yourself in a situation where you have trouble focusing, creating new ideas, or feeling “stuck”, take a break. Take a walk, play a game, listen to some upbeat music, meditate, daydream…just unplug and chill out for at least 5 minutes.
Frequent mental “time outs” during the day can help you from wearing out, and perform at a higher level more consistently.
AN INCH IS A CINCH…BUT ONLY IF YOU THINK SO
When I studied martial arts years ago, one of my challenges was a lack of flexibility. It was critical that I stretch on a regular basis, in order to become more flexible.
It was VERY frustrating and emotionally draining….it took a lot of consistent work to make even a little progress.
One of my instructors helped me by showing me how to mentally reframe the issue. She told me “A yard is hard…but an inch is a cinch”. I realized that if I focused constantly on the big picture, I was likely to get discouraged….it was SO much work, for such little gain!
But by changing my perspective, I realized that I didn’t have to become flexible overnight…I had plenty of time to get there. I focused on small, minor improvements and committed not to the big goal, but on being just a little better today than I was yesterday.
It worked….but there was a catch.
I had to mentally and emotionally reward myself after EVERY workout. I had to be grateful for the opportunity to improve, and reward myself for the small improvement, knowing that in the long run, it would lead to BIG results.
It provided the “emotional fuel” I needed to keep going.
Do the same in your job and your personal life. Make it a point to do just a LITTLE BETTER than you did yesterday…then give yourself a pat on the back for it.
Change your perspective, and improve your results.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to live in either the past or the future rather than in the here and now.
It’s a bad mistake and a HUGE productivity killer.
While it’s certainly important to learn from past mistakes, and to make intelligent plans for the use of our time, it’s important NOT to dwell on the past, or worry about the future.
If you find yourself reliving past events, settling old scores, or “winning” old arguments, you’re focused too much on the past. If you’re trying to anticipate every contingency, and engineer the PERFECT outcome, you’re focusing too much on the future.
Pay attention to how much time you spend “dwelling on stories” (from the past) or “building sandcastles” (in the future).
You are here, right now. Do your best, then be grateful and move onto the next task.
“Yesterday is a cancelled check, and tomorrow is a promissory note….but today is CASH!”
It’s a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
These three hacks SOUND simple enough, and they are.
But are you doing them consistently?
IF NOT START…AND GSD RIGHT NOW!!