My father-in-law, a 75 year old ex-engineer, military cook turned chef for the past 45 years who still works hard yet lives a fairly uncomplicated life (and who will NEVER retire nor get a computer) asked me tonight, “Christina, are people getting crazier than they were 50 years ago?”
He asks, “Why do you think that is?” Again, my response was quick … “TMI” and realizing he would have NO idea what that meant, quickly added, “Too much information …” and I added … “… too quickly. And lack of human connection.”
Giving the term “crazy busy” new meaning. Can being too busy cause insanity? Yes, the clinician in me answers. I see it everyday.
Dis-ease of our physical and mental health. Symptoms of ADD, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, substance abuse and dependence, high blood pressure, heart attack, immune system dysfunction to name just a few.
Dis-ease in our relationships, both at home and at work. Too “connected” to electronics and not enough real conversation, dialogue, curiosity or listening to each other. Distractions rob us of our ability to connect with other people by being present, to deeply listen and care.
Dis-ease of our cognitive and intuitive ability to think, create, solve problems.
On a functional level, remember this: “Your brain is not designed to HOLD IDEAS, it is designed to HAVE IDEAS.”
If you paid to think, piling more on or “stuffing 10 lbs of s*$@” in a 5 lb bag” will compromise your most important asset – your brain!
When we are juggling such a tremendous amount of information coming at us from the outside AND all of our worries, fears that come from the inside, we get “crazy busy” and can’t get it all done, much less do anything well. Much less see obvious solutions because there’s too much crap in the bag. Stop thinking. Play. Laugh. Breathe deeply. Be.
Getting things done and doing them to our satisfaction allows our brain to release serotonin (the neurotransmitter of satisfaction) and dopamine (the neurotransmitter of engagement, interest). Connecting with someone also cleans out the bag and creates a space for solutions, creativity and inspiration.
Can I see a show of hands if you’d like to experience these feelings once a day? Twice a day? Several times a day?
Solution #1: Slow down. Say “no thank you” more often. Or don’t say “yes” so quickly, “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you” is a respectful response that buys you time to give it thought after you look at your calendar and respond rather than react. Bonus points for public accountability and post it below!
Solution #2: Choose a KISS from Suzie @Aceconcierge.net. Commit to taking action on just 1 or 2 of the 35 Tips to Stay on Track and TAKE ACTION. Keep track of the time you save and the peace of mind you gain after just one or two weeks (whichever feels more do-able to you).
Solution #3: Practice saying, “If it’s not my genius, it’s not my job …” and consider hiring a Suzie (or Suzie herself @AceConcierge.net) to outsource a task or two that’s a brain drain and a time drain on your productivity!
Have a great week!
PS. Call your Father in Law (or other-in-law, sibling, child, significant neighbor, friend or mentor) and let them know you are thinking of them and just how much they mean to you. They can’t hear you think … say it out loud!
Fantasy, you say?
Sure … because here’s how it really looks:
Your day starts out at a jog or maybe even a sprint and you’d swear you’ve run a marathon by the end of the day (and you haven’t even left your building OR your office).
“Yes, but … I’m very productive … ” you say, with an air confidence in your voice.
Yes, but …
I’ve heard it all from highly successful executive coaching clients and you, too may believe you can get it all done in 10 or 12 hours, but are you truly doing your best work and feeling satisfied at the end of the day?
Here are a few more questions to ask yourself (and answer honestly, please):
Who in your personal life or family loses out because you want to “do just one more thing” before you leave the office and you end up getting home too late more than once a week?
Does just looking at your never-ending- to-do list cause your stress level to rise?
Congratulations, your very human (and limited) brain is raising a white flag … the question is, do you notice and do something about it or ignore the stress, hoping it goes away?
If you are paid to think … here are 5 tips to make the highest and best use of your PFC (pre-frontal cortex) which is the part of your brain that got you your job or your last promotion … and hopefully continues to work well enough with some TLC so you can keep it.
Primarily your PFC is responsible for:
Here are 5 (More) Simple Strategies you can use to make small changes that can have a HUGE payoff only if you:
Understanding is overrated — Action will get you somewhere else!
1. Avoid noise distractions. If your office is a revolving door or worse, a cubicle farm, use headphones and listen to lyric-free music to increase your focus and eliminate distractions. Here’s some examples at http://300hrs.com for classical ideas or http://www.menshealth.co.uk/healthy/brain-training/boost-your-office-productivity-with-music
2. Turn off ALL text/email/social media notifications on your phone and computer. Notifications are a fear trigger for our brain that leads you to believe “PAY ATTENTION or YOUR’E GONNA MISS OUT!” It’s probably not that critical. Really. Set a time (preferably after you have completed the first one or two most important things on your to-do list) to check your email and respond to the top 5 most urgent (and NO they aren’t all urgent!), giving yourself a time limit (30 minutes) to respond to email. Then get back on track with your next to-do!
3. Manually manage your time. If you spend too much time on not so productive activities, or have difficulty transitioning from one part of a task to the next (or doing research on “how to” do X and not begin to do X), time may be the issue. Take a “to do” from your list and PUT IT IN YOUR CALENDAR blocking out the time you believe it will take as if it were an appointment you would keep with someone else. Set a timer for 5 minutes less than the actual time (if it’s a 30 minute appointment, set a timer for 25 minutes, then when it goes of for 5 minutes more. The 25 minute alarm is “time to wrap up” and get to a stopping place, for now!
4. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. Put your calendar (what I’m working on today list) up where others can see it (on your door, in the break room on a Google group calendar). Not that anyone really cares, or will check on you (but then again you never know). However, the brain friendly tip leverages your social brain so you will naturally hold yourself more accountable for showing up at the meeting you scheduled with yourself in #3.
5. Take a few 5 minute breaks. If you can’t do something for 5 minutes … you have bigger problems. Schedule in 5 minutes and hour at the busiest time of day to walk, stretch, play, gossip, daydream, listen to lyric full music or play a quick game of Angry Birds or Solitare. Set a timer for yourself … this brief break will help recharge your PFC, your spirit and help you get in touch with solutions so you can disengage thinking brain and open up your eyes to your intuitive solutions that are just waiting there for you to STOP THINKING SO HARD so it can present it self … and you will notice!
For more tips so you can become a Sustainable built to last Leader – Enter in your name and best email in the opt in box on your right for a FREE one hour video “7 Simple Strategies to Eliminate Stress” AND be the first to receive upcoming articles, programs and resources from Christina!
What are your favorite tips to be more productive, happier and fully satisfied you’ve done your best work at work? Feel free to post your comments below.[social_sharing style=”style-7″ fb_like_url=”http://sustainable-leaders.com/eliminate-distractions-at-work/” fb_color=”light” fb_lang=”en_GB” fb_text=”recommend” fb_button_text=”Share” tw_text=”Check this out!” tw_lang=”en” tw_url=”http://sustainable-leaders.com/eliminate-distractions-at-work/” tw_button_text=”Share” g_url=”http://sustainable-leaders.com/eliminate-distractions-at-work/” g_lang=”en-GB” g_button_text=”Share” linkedin_url=”http://sustainable-leaders.com/eliminate-distractions-at-work/” linkedin_lang=”en_US” alignment=”center”]
Top 10 Things You’re Probably Doing Instead of What You are Supposed to be Doing:
I have a confession. With the transparency and humility of a character-based leader (Dan Rockwell, Max Brown and Chad Balthrop – my esteemed co-authors writing about “humility” will appreciate this) but most of all because I am also one of the co-authors of The Character-Based Leader I have to walk my talk: I JUST finished delivering a presentation to HR Professionals at the HR.com Leadership Conference on how stress negatively affects productivity and teamwork.
AND I am guilty of doing all of those 10 Things instead of what I should be doing at one time or another. In fact, it happens much too often. Maybe I should re-title this: The Top 10 Things I Do Instead of What I Am Supposed to be Doing. At least then I could add Personal Integrity to my list, too.
I could take this a step farther and feel guilty or ashamed about being so imperfect – and we could take it one step beyond that and say I’m a hypocrite.
Yet I choose not to … I choose instead to offer my humanness up to you as an opportunity to learn and grow, for myself and for you, too … (read more here – LeadChangeBlog.com)
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