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Productivity From Blah To Blitz – 5 Ways To Control Stress And Do More

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Productivity From Blah To Blitz – 5 Ways To Control Stress And Do More

Your alarm goes off, and you wake up. For a moment, you’re disoriented. Then you remember that it’s a workday. Oh no! You’d give anything to pull the covers over your head again. You hate your job, and your life. You’re beyond stressed: you’re heading into depression, and you know it. Productivity is impossible with low spirits and energy.

There is an alternative to blah mornings. What if you woke up feeling great, and couldn’t wait to blitz through your day? You can’t avoid stress, but you can channel it. Use the adrenaline of stress and transform it from desperation to enthusiasm.

These five strategies will help you to control your stress and become more productive.

1. Control your mind. Focus on your ideal life: make it real.

What if you could have and be anything you chose? What would your ideal life look like?

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Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine a day in your ideal life. It’s morning. You open your eyes. What do you see? Look around you. Get up, and go to the window. What’s outside?

Do this now.

Write down your impressions of your ideal day. Do the same exercise tomorrow. Imagine it, then write it down.

2. Be spontaneous. Trust your intuitive insights.

You’re the result of your ancestors’ intuition. Those puny humans stayed alive despite savage bears and saber-toothed tigers by relying on their instincts. Everyone has a “gut instinct.” Allow your instincts to guide you. Scientists take intuition seriously, and so should you.

Your intuition lives in your body. Neuroscience researchers say that you should pay attention to what your body tells you, then act. Has your “still small voice within” been trying to tell you something? Your intuition can be persistent. It can also occur as a flash of insight.

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Many years ago, before Amazon and the Internet, I spent months looking for a book I needed. The book was long out of print. While visiting a client in another state, I had a strong urge to walk down a street. I was already late, but I obeyed my intuition anyway. At the end of the street, I found a small bookshop. I walked into the store, directly to a shelf in a dark corner—right to the book I wanted.

Do this now.

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Direct your attention to an area of your body. Any area which catches your attention will do. Perhaps it’s your belly, your chest, or even one of your arms. Just let your attention rest there for a moment.

This simple exercise helps you to pay more attention to your body. It’s a meditative technique. Use it often. It helps you to become more conscious of what’s happening in your body. You’ll become more aware of intuitive insights.

3. Be grateful.

Gratitude makes you happy. It can even improve your health and lead to better relationships. Most of us have lots to be thankful for. If you’re feeling blah, think of one thing, past or present, for which you can be grateful. Everyone has something. You don’t need to wait for the Thanksgiving holiday to give thanks. You can do it every day.

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Develop the habit of thankfulness and your life will improve because whatever you focus on becomes stronger.

Do this now.

Think about your blessings for two minutes. Write down three things you’re grateful for.

4. Eat better, exercise, and sleep for at least seven hours.

If you’re eating junk, and never exercise, you can’t feel well because you’re not providing your body and brain with the fuel they need.

Do this now.

Commit to a healthy diet. Eat the things you know are good for you: protein, fruit, and vegetables. Want junk food? You can have your pizza, but eat your salad first.

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When you get home from work, walk around the block. Then, go to bed earlier, so that you get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

You’ll feel the benefits immediately.

5. Accept yourself, just as you are.

If you have a strong inner critic, self-acceptance is impossible. This lack of self-acceptance results in low self-esteem, but you can change this. Metta meditation can help you to greater self-esteem, by developing your qualities of love and compassion, for others, and for yourself.

Do this now.

Think of someone, or something you love. I think of my Jack Russell terrier, Honey. Allow feelings of tenderness and affection to arise. Where are they in your body? You may feel a sensation of expansion and warmth in your chest.

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Now direct the feelings of love to yourself, and wish yourself well. Say silently: “May I be happy.”

Give our five strategies a try. Allow your intuition to guide you on how to do this. You may choose a strategy a day, or one a week. Each strategy will help you to eliminate the blahs from your life. Not too many mornings from now you’ll wake each morning overflowing with excitement and enthusiasm. You’ll be happy and will increase your productivity, so that you blitz through your days.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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