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Kick Start Your Productivity When All You Want To Do is Resist!

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Kick Start Your Productivity When All You Want To Do is Resist!

We all know how awful it feels when we are unproductive; demotivated, and just plain lazy! How often do you feel like that? Would you love to know exactly how to change that around? You will come across thousands of tips and tricks to beat procrastination and start acting; but unfortunately, even with all the advice out there; not many people do!

Working as a productivity coach, my job is to get my clients to take massive action aligned with their goals. Sounds simple, right? NO! You can’t imagine how much resistance people come up with when they start to change; and if it isn’t managed well; it can throw somebody straight off their path and they might just give up completely.

Don’t let this be your story! It isn’t easy to change; that is true; but it is easier than you think if you have the right tools and support in place. Here is what you can do to kick start your productivity when all you want to do is resist.

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Knowing the two parts of your brain

You need to balance your ‘thinking brain’ and ‘your pleasure seeking part’ of the brain. The very first thing you need to know is that you have two sides fighting inside of you, you know, the one side which wants to procrastinate and the other side that wants to change.  Put simply, your Limbic system or ‘pleasure seeking part’ of the brain is so strong, it is always working and all it wants to do is anything pleasurable, from having fun, to eating, to sleeping, to relaxing, etc

The Prefontal cortex is the ‘thinking part’, which allows us to plan, to set goals, strategize, etc. Unfortunately for us, this part of the brain is not on automatic and it gets tired very quickly and easily! That is why you find it easier to ‘give in’ to the pleasure rather than take action ‘on what you want’, at a very basic level. You need to understand how your body influences your desires to change. So now that you know that…what does it mean?

3 things you must do to break resistance.

1. You need the right energy

This might sound obvious, but it is one of those ‘what seems like common sense’ isn’t ‘common practice’ things. There are two parts to managing your energy. The first part is your physical energy – you need to be full of energy to perform your best. We all have peaks throughout the day, but do you know how much your energy impacts productivity? Something as simple as 1% dehydration reduces your ability to focus, concentrate, and think clearly. Don’t expect to eat unhealthy and feel productive – it’s crazy!

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The second part is that you must never plan to do tasks at times that you know you might be feeling tired, interrupted or not up for it. You should plan around your energy cycles, when is the best time to complete this? If you plan a task when you are not at your highest energy, you will find yourself resisting.

2. You need the right intentions

To create change; the best way is to connect what you are doing to your values; making it important for you. If we don’t see the value in something, we resist doing it immediately. Ask yourself, why is this so important for me? What will it mean if I achieve this? What will it mean if I don’t?

The point is that: many people take action on ‘should’ and ‘need to’ but not ‘want to’. This alone creates resistance. You might have all the best intention to go the gym, let’s say you really should and you need to, but do you really want to? It is your job to identify what you really want and only set tasks that will bring you to your future goals.

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Too many people try to take action on things that in fact, maybe they don’t want or are for someone else, and they wonder why it’s not so easy. You need the right intentions.

3. You need commitment to carry out your challenges

You can have all the intention in the world to do something, but you also need commitment to carry out these intentions. Sometimes motivation alone won’t cut it! As you know, you need to build your discipline muscle to take action, this is when you listen to your ‘thinking’ part of the brain. Every time you listen to the ‘weaker’ part of you, that voice becomes louder. And every time you listen to the stronger side of you, that voice becomes louder.

I’m going to be direct with you, sometimes you will need to do things you don’t want to do, and you will need to get out of your comfort zone to get different results. No one else is going to create them for you, so get disciplined in creating what you want. Do what you don’t want to do now, so you can have what you want later in life.

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The simple fact is, most people want more in life, but they want it to be easier and it isn’t, so they give up. People who have created the lives that they love and who have the results that they wanted, deserve it, because they know that results are on the other side of comfort. They know that challenge is growth and growth is success.

If you want to beat resistance, make sure you feel great, you can clearly see how important this is for you and then just do it. Quit the excuses, stop listening to the weaker side, and if you are serious about living a better life, then work for it. Your reward? Your dreams come true – is that not worth it?

Featured photo credit: Juliette Leuffke via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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