YOU IN OR OUT? THESE KEY ESSENTIALS TO PRODUCTIVITY ARE IN AND AROUND US ALL THE TIME.
I am writing this article in lockdown. It's been almost two months now and I have experienced several ups and downs in relation to my productivity levels. After the fifth time I reached the bottom I came to the following conclusion:
There are two types of environments that need to be taken care of during the quarantine, if you want to remain productive despite the restrictions, social isolation and the burden of washing your hands 57 times a day.
The first environment is your outer environment. The one that surrounds you in the material world and the one you're stuck with during the pandemic. Also the one that you can thrive in, if you decide to take some of the following steps:
1. Tidy up that room and make space for training, working, creating new content, dancing, painting, singing or whatever you need to work on. Create your own personal productivity zone.
2. Make all the necessary arrangements.
*Place your desk close to the window, so that the lighting is perfect for reading, painting, writing or for that business zoom call during the day. Gather all the lamps and lightbulbs available to create a similar effect during the night.
*Rearrange the furniture so that you can train safely without injuring yourself. Place your training gadgets, so that they are easily accessible to you at all times.
*Put on your working schedule on the door of the room, so your family members know when not to disturb you.
*Open your window for 20 minutes to get some fresh air in your working space and make the first stroke with your paintbrush while your brain is filled with oxygen.
*Have a water bottle within reach and make sure to hydrate regularly during your work.
*Put some “productivity music” on, if you feel it increases your motivation. Pick a suitable track according to the nature of your work (mental – gentle and quiet, physical – tough and loud). YouTube has it all.
3. Remove all the distractions from your working space. Whether it's your phone, the cookie jar or your parents/siblings/better half/kids/dog. If possible.
4. Write down your daily goals on a sheet of paper and put it in a visible spot. Define the time and duration of each goal. Mark all the completed actions throughout the day with a marker. Maybe even set a reward system for each accomplishment. Once I answer my emails, I can go outside for a walk (with a mask, of course). Once I complete my workout, I can spend some time with my loved ones. Once I complete the business videocall, I can give myself a taste of that cookie from the hidden cookie jar (the brain does need its fuel).
You might not have the stadium, the stage with physically-present audience, your office or your ideal place for boosting your productivity. But whatever you do have in these times, use it in the best possible way.
The second environment is your inner environment. It consists of two living rooms – your body and your mind – which also need to be tidy and organized, if you want to get some high-quality work done. The things that should be arranged inside these two livings rooms are your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Once you put those in the right drawers, your productivity levels will upgrade automatically. Ready? Here we go…
1| Ask yourself and write down on a sheet of paper:
*What thoughts do you have when you feel unproductive? What thoughts are preventing you from taking the next step?
*What feelings and emotions are present when you're procrastinating? Label them.
*What behaviors do you demonstrate when you're “not in the mood”? When you're trying to work, but it's not going anywhere? What do you say? What do you do? How do you act towards others?
2| Congratulate yourself for reaching the first level of self-awareness!
3| Flip the sheet of paper, ask yourself and write down:
*What thoughts, emotions and behaviors you do want to demonstrate? What do you want to think, how do you want to feel and in what way do you want to act? Describe the “ideal productive you” in detail.
4| Take 20 minutes to visualize the “ideal productive you”. Devote five minutes to focusing on your breathing, 10 minutes experiencing the desired thoughts, emotions and behaviors, and the last five minutes to feeling gratitude for this inspiring inner state of productivity that you created, as if it has already happened. Practice this every day before you get out of bed in the morning and try to maintain this state throughout the whole day. Even, if you don't feel like it.
“You can't get much done in life, if you only work on days when you feel good.” – Jerry West
*This article was inspired by COVID-19 hardships and the remarkable work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.*