by Avery Thatcher
I am really excited to talk about productivity in a balanced way because as a high achiever myself, I really have to make sure that I’m bringing things into balance and taking everything into consideration to make sure that I don’t burn myself out.
There are four puzzle pieces of productivity:
If we’re not really sure what we’re working towards, it’s like we’re wandering around a forest hoping that there’s a cabin in there somewhere for us to stay. We actually don’t have a plan. We don’t have a path to follow. We’re just wandering around in the dark, hoping for the best.
Clarity and alignment for both our lives, goals, work and relationships. All of these things are really important for us to have a clear goal because then we know who we need to be, what we need to do, and how we need to act on things to reach our endpoint of succeeding in our goal.
It’s simple in that you either have an abundance of energy, but it’s also not simple because you are not a simple being, you are a complex human. Meaning you can’t just be grouped into one energy sphere. In fact, there are four different kinds of energy that we experience, and we need to make sure that we’re monitoring these different levels by doing activities that restore these energies.
I am going to expand on these energy spheres in future blogs and how you will be able to assess your own energy spheres and how to restore some energy in those different spaces.
Now, you may not understand initially why is stress management such an important part of productivity. I am here to tell you the truth. If you think about it, when you’re running away from a bear contemplating the meaning of life or solving a complex problem, is not a priority, getting away is a priority. Living is a priority. Surviving is a priority.
When our stress response is turned on, we actually lose access to the pre-frontal cortex of our brain, our higher-level thinking brain, and our CEO brain which can make those really big decisions that change the course of our life. We don’t have access to that when our stress switch is turned on. We’re really living in this default survival mode-instinct kind of space. Learning how to turn our stress switch off is one of the most important things that we can do.
There are some really simple and easy ways to do that. I am going to give the challenge to turn off your stress switch 5 times a day. Practice five, five, five breathing.
So five, five, five breathing is when you take five slow, deep breaths for 5 seconds on the inhale, 5 seconds on the exhale. If you do that five times a day, you’re going to be constantly turning off that stress switch throughout the day, lowering your overall stress hormone levels and increasing your ability to have more complex thinking ability, more mental stamina, and more mental energy.
Five times a day sounds like a lot, but if you do it when you first get up, before each meal, and at the end of the day, that’s five times. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t eat very regularly or you’re intermittent fasting, set alarms on your phone, and give yourself a reminder to turn off your stress switch.
Most people think of productivity and time management as to how to get more done in less time, but that is the wrong question. The true key to productivity is making sure that you’re working on the right things only and giving them the time that they need.
So when I talk about time management, it is really discerning what we say yes and no to. If we say yes to too many things, which is totally a trait of the high achiever, we make it so that we can’t do as much. We burn ourselves out and everything that we do is not done to the standards that we hold ourselves which leads to feeling demotivated. We push more things off, we procrastinate even more, and then we really dig ourselves into a pretty wicked hole. Learning how to say yes to the right things and saying no to the things which are not beneficial to our goals comes back to clarity and alignment. Slow down when you’re going to make a decision, wait for 5 minutes, and try and convince yourself it’s a yes. Otherwise, it’s a no.
Here are some time management questions we can ask ourselves:
There is a number of different other questions that we can ask ourselves to help us decide if this new task, a new opportunity, or this new idea is something that we really ought to dedicate some time to. The last piece of this time management productivity puzzle is to make sure that you’re setting reasonable boundaries to take good care of yourself, which comes back into energy management.
I have created a quick resource for you where you can see all of those questions and read them through before you say yes to anything. You can get the PDF here. (becomingavery.com/questions)
So do you see how these are really all tied together? All of the productivity puzzle pieces rely on each other in order to be the most effective, and that is how you unlock your productivity potential.
In the next blog, I will talk about clarity and alignment. Let me know on the latest Instagram post if you found this blog helpful.