To begin this beautiful blog, I thought I'd start with a strategy that's near and dear to my heart:
One 5-minute trick to set you up for all-day productivity.
One of the big flaws in how we plan today is disregarding the psychological aspect of goals; every concrete thing we achieve also impacts our psyche, our morale, and our sense of self. This technique makes goal setting a practice in self care, which is a tricky thing to accomplish!
Here are five reasons why incorporating intentional thinking into your life will launch your productivity.
1. You're wasting time.
Consider this scenario: you have a gap in your day you didn’t realize you had. Maybe you got out of a meeting and you have 40 minutes until your next one. It’s too short a time for you to start on any of your big projects, so you decide to take the time to relax-- check in on Facebook, maybe see what Twitter is up in flames about. All is well. After your next, you realize the same thing is true!
This happens day after day: there are little chunks of time you didn’t realize you’d have when you mapped out the big 4 or 5 things you had to do that morning (seminar, gym, lunch with friends, meeting, evening class). That time is lost. It's so fleeting that it comes and goes before you can think of what to do with it. You go to sleep feeling like you didn’t make the most of your day.
2. You're losing sight of your accomplishments.
On some days, even if the day was very accomplished, you have trouble remembering what you'd done or keeping it in perspective with the rest of the work there is to do. I remember several times when, even if I’d done everything I’d set out to do that day and more, I’d be so focused on what I had left to do the next day, that I’d lose out on the significance of all I’d accomplished. I never created a space where I could give myself credit, and that was wearing me out pretty quickly. These are all the flaws of unintentional thinking. This is what happens when we don’t envision even the smallest chunk of time as an integral and viable unit of our day. We lose that time.
3. You're planning every second of your day-- and you're exhausted.
A common response I see to the above two problems is to PLAN EVERYTHING. And that’s perfectly fine. Actually it’s more than fine-- it will definitely help you stop wasting time! But planning down to the second can be a tiring exercise in futility. And having to change something last minute can be a stress-filled blow to all of your hard work. Though I definitely recommend you have a plan for your time, mapping out every second can be very inefficient.
4. You're working harder than ever, but you still feel lost.
You have a vague sense that this is what you "should" be doing, but you're losing your sense of the "why." In the hubbub of juggling school or a full-time job, family, work, hobbies... you lose sight of how each day and each activity contributes to your long term goals, plans, and happiness. You need to know how all of these things fit together!
5. You're drudging through a bunch of obligations.
Don’t get me wrong, willpower is awesome in certain situations, and it's certainly a useful skill to have when you just need to hunker down and get stuff done. Willpower is awesome, but it doesn't have to be your first resort. Drawing from that well will wear you down and make it difficult to pull from when you really need it.
Sometimes we get so deeply ingrained in the hustle that we forget why we started it in the first place. If a class is going to help you achieve your ultimate goal, it's welcome. If waking up early for a run will keep you sane for the rest of the day, it's welcome. If working that late shift will prove to your boss that you're dedicated, and land you some extra cash for the weekend-- it's welcome!
Resting on passion is a lot easier and more fun than resting on willpower. Your thinking shifts from "here's a bunch of stuff that needs to get done" to "here's a bunch of stuff that'll help me get to the next level." You start to rephrase things in a way that's no less urgent, but is much less mentally taxing.
You might be saying, "Ok, this is cool. Might be worth a shot. But what does it...actually...mean...? How do I bring this into my life every day? Do I have to meditate??"
Sort of. Not really.
In the next chapter of this series, we'll explore my super inspring five minute, five-question, high impact technique to incorporate intentional thinking into your every day life, pump up your productivity, and pump up your happiness-- all before you get out of bed in the morning.
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