Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress, which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.
We all want to be brilliant, fully-motivated and active, and we want to do as many things as possible in 24 hours. But we all complain “I wish I had more time,” “I wish I had more energy,” “If only I could take that course once a week,” and we give up on half the tasks and commitments we had.
So, we all have many dreams and projects but we don’t achieve a lot. When you feel that we are not able to get things done, and this is immensely frustrating. What prevents us from crossing half or more the items off our daily to-do list is something simpler than you think, it’s something very close to us: it’s actually our state of mind.
All of our actions start in our mind. With the right mindset, we can get everything done on our to-do list. As a result, what we need to do to get our things done is to change our mental approach to time management and organization. This is especially difficult for women and men with both a family and career to care for. For example, a woman with all these challenges needs to be perfectly organized, she needs a lot of energy and the right attitude to face all her daily tasks.
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Keep Your Mind Clear And Stress-Free
If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open for everything.
— Shunryu Suzuki
The most important thing is trying to have as few distractions as possible to let our mind work properly on our projects and organization. Worries bring confusion and inefficiency, they slow down our productivity and they don’t let us focus on our daily activities – they make us waste time on thinking, worrying and trying to remember what we have to do. We are like computers, our brain is our hard disk, and it needs as much space as possible to work efficiently and productively.
What if your whole day were completely under your control? What if your mind were completely clear and stress-free? I guess you would be able to focus entirely on whatever you are working on. And you would know perfectly where things are headed. This would let you achieve both your short-term and long-term goals without feeling exhausted.
Eliminating all the useless worries and thoughts is crucial to make more space in our mind. This actually makes our brain work 100 percent efficiently. But how can we do this?
It’s simpler than it seems. According to David Allen, the author of “Getting Things Done,” in order to have everything under control, we need to “get things off our mind.” We need to create a trusted management system outside our mind, and we have to use it as our most important tool where we capture all our thoughts, projects and worries. This way our mind will be clear, stress-free and ready to work efficiently. Whether you use a list to organize yourself or a phone app to help you remember what is important, getting things off of your mind are essential.
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Don’t Forget To Dream
If you can dream it, you can do it.
— Walt Disney
I cannot stress enough how important it is to dream. In all this chaos, we need to feel motivated in order to go through our challenging days. And there is only one thing that can powerfully encourage us to work for the achievement of our goals: having a dream.
This means being ambitious, and having that strong motivation that makes us work hard day and night to attain what we really want. So, what you really need to do is putting yourself in the state of mind where you strongly believe that you will soon turn your dream into reality and that you are working every day on it. You need to wake up excited every morning because of the goals you are working on, and you can do it only if you are in the right state of mind.
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What you should work on…
Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.
— Joseph Campbell
As we mentioned before, being a working woman can be really challenging, if you are not well-organized or are overlooking some elements of your life, you can easily feel overwhelmed by your daily to-dos.But, what are these important elements?
The most important part of your life you should care for, especially if you are a working mother, is yourself. With this I mean that you must find some time to dedicate to yourself. During this time you could for example go for a walk, read a book or enjoy a hobby. The important thing is that you spend some time alone and do something that you really enjoy. You need to do something nice for yourself, every day.
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Another important part is taking care of your social life. This means that you have to make sure that you are surrounded of good people with a positive mindset, and spend time with them organizing nice activities to enjoy together.
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The last aspect I would like to highlight is your well-being. This is very similar to the first part we talked about, but it’s not the same thing.
This has nothing to do with time. This refers to the habit of regularly taking care of yourself, eating well, exercising, meditating and spending time with the people you love, understanding and believing that this has a positive impact on your life.
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Featured photo credit: markus spiske via flickr.com
Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Are You Addicted to Productivity?
“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”
Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,
“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”
Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.
Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.
“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post. “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”
This is my mantra:
I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.
But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton
Addiction to Productivity is Real
Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.
“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC. “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”
Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.
“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”
Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”
“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”
“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today. “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”
“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.
There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types
Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”
By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.
Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”
Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”
Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”
Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”
The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.
- Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
- Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
- Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
- What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
- When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
- Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
- Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?
The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.
Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction
Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.
1. Set Limits
Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.
For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.
2. Create a Not-to-Do List
Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.
3. Be Vulnerable
By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.
4. Understand Why You Procrastinate
Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.
Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.
There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.
5. Don’t Be a Copycat
Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.
That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.
6. Say Yes to Less
Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.
That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.
Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.
7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next
“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .
“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”
- Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
- By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
- Establish realistic goals.
- To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
- Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
- Hold yourself accountable.
- Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
- Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.
Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.
The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.
9. Learn How to Relax
“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.
“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”
“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”
But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;
- Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
- Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
- If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
- Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
- Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
- Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
- You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
- Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
- Visit a massage therapist.
- Just breathe.
“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.
It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.
Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com
|||^||Matt Cuts: The dangers of productivity porn|
|||^||James Bedell: The Trap of Productivity Porn|
|||^||BBC: When productivity becomes an addiction|
|||^||Psychology Today: Productivity Addiction|
|||^||The Wall Street Journal: To Stop Procrastinating, Look to Science of Mood Repair|