How to maximize your productivity and quality of life
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Are you working round the clock but still seems that’s never enough?
Living in a stressful state has become the norm for you?
We live in a society where being stressed out is a part of the lifestyle of the majority of us. Being busy still seems to be a badge of honor or a status signal.
Whether it is because you feel like you have to be constantly doing things because you are used to it, or because you just don’t know how to do it in any other way, you end up filling up your calendar, your weekly schedule, and your daily hours in a way that it seems like you’ve never done enough.
The truth is that if you spend your days in constant action-mode you might be making some of the biggest productivity mistakes you can be making. One that won’t only hurt your health and your personal life but will also diminish the results that you are working so hard to create.
Contrary to what most people believe, being overwhelmed or stressed out it’s solved not by doing more, but by finding ways of doing less. In other words, simplifying.
As Hans Hofmann said:
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
That’s exactly what you want to do systematically and that’s exactly one of the processes that gets screwed up when you are under too much stress.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t care about how productive you are with your time, or how can you better your systems and focus when you are working on tasks.
Those things are undeniably important. Nonetheless, doing a bunch of things faster will mean close to nothing if you are not doing the right things or if you just keep coming up with a never-ending list of things to do, keeping yourself in a constantly overwhelmed state.
And yes, many people are using stress to be productive. Although it’s true that in the short run it can help you focus, in the long run, it disconnects you from yourself, from your capacity to distinguish the important few from the trivial many, and from being able to use your creativity to come up with better solutions.
As Tim Ferris said:
Indiscriminate action is a form of lazyness.
Are you ready to change that?
The process I am gonna share with you today will help you to go from stresses and overwhelm to a simplified to-do list that will help you enhance your quality of life while increasing your productivity.
Oh and remember to download the worksheet guide I’ve created to make it easier for you to do the exercises.
Let’s get to work!
1. Create a space to relax.
Whenever you notice that you are stressed out or overwhelmed, realize that this is a signal that either:
- You are trying to do too many things.
- You are not prioritizing your tasks the right way.
To keep yourself in a do-do-do mode will not only be unhelpful but will also prevent you from reconnecting with yourself and recalibrating what should be really done and what shouldn’t be done at all.
This is as if you kept driving at high speed, knowing that the radar is pointing towards the wrong direction.
So to get out of that loop the best thing you can do is to intentionally change your state into a more relaxed one.
Set the intention to relax. Without pressuring yourself to do so, but at the same time letting your body and mind slow down.
Focusing your attention on your body and balancing your breathing will help you further into creating a state of relaxation.
2. Connect with the Essence.
Now it’s time to connect with what’s essential. The purpose behind your actions is so easy to forget in our day-to-day lives.
So, taking a moment to become aware of it and emotionally connect with it will prove to be incredibly valuable to focus your energy on what really matters.
Inquire with the following questions until you feel that you have arrived at what you are really looking for, what you are really trying to accomplish, achieve or create:
- What are you doing what you are doing for?
- What is the intention behind it?
- What do you want to get?
- What is the essence?
3. Prioritize your to-do list.
- What is the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?
When you have the answer, this will be your # 1 priority.
And, if you want and feel like you need to create more priorities, keep asking yourself the same question assuming you’ve already done the activity you answered in the previous question.
That will help you create your to-do list, already organized by priorities. You’ll see in your worksheet there’s already space to fill more than one answer here so, in case you need it, make use of it!
4. Time to Simplify.
Now it’s time to differentiate between what you commit to doing and what you are going to consider an «extra».
No matter how well prioritized your to-do list is, if you keep pushing yourself to do too much, you will continue to create unnecessary stress.
The main thing will be to reduce the list of «commitments» until you feel that you have taken a weight off your shoulders, that you are no longer overwhelmed, that what you have decided to do is something you can really do without getting nuts in the process.
The list of extras will be useful to know how you can continue to advance towards your goals once you have finished with your list of commitments, what is not convenient is living in a state of constant pressure in which you try to do more than you really can.
We tend to overvalue what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we can do in the long term.
Reducing your commitments in the short term and being more selective about them will not limit your long-term results, on the contrary, it will enhance them.
- What do you commit to?
- What will be an extra?
Keep reducing the list of commitments until you stop feeling stressed, you feel relaxed as if you had taken a weight off your shoulders.
5. Discipline yourself to always identify your most important task and to carry it out.
Engrave the following mantra in your head:
Never work on a priority #2 task when you could be working on a priority #1 task.
It is impressive how much energy you will save and how much you will advance by incorporating this habit into your life.
Have you done all the exercises?
Congratulations! Now you have a simplified to-do list that’s aligned with what you really want to achieve, that is doable (without having to use stress as a fuel) and that is keeping you focused not your most important task.
Now to ensure success in that, keep in mind, this is not a one-time exercise. That’s a habit. You, as the majority of people, have probably learned to create too much work for yourself without constantly filtering it through what’s important.
That’s okay! If you want to change this pattern we are talking about habit change. So expect to come back to it again and again till it’s really ingrained in your mind.
That’s totally doable and you’ll have astonishing results by focusing on that.
Now, what made the biggest difference for you? How will you make this 5-step process a part of your working routine?
Let me know in the comments!