Relax to Gain Power

Productivity is directly proportional to your ability to control stress. That is, the more you are able to control your stress, the greater your productivity. And with greater productivity comes greater power.

Imagine this:

  • Your boss has moved the report deadline forward
  • You need to pick your kids up from school
  • Your in-laws are coming over for dinner this weekend
  • The project team meeting needs to be rescheduled
  • The house has to be cleaned
  • The groceries need to be bought
  • A key project team member called in sick today
  • The kids’ piano lessons were cancelled this week

…and that’s just from the top of your head! Can you see the problem with this? The problem is that your mind is being consumed with to-do’s that directly inhibit your productivity. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The constant rattling of “to-do’s” in your head compromises both your ability to relax and your power. What to do (pardon the pun) about this? Create systems that help to relax your mind.

When one has a system for managing their day, the mind quiets. And when the mind is quiet, you are able to approach your day and its challenges with the necessary focus. But when your mind is noisy, you cannot do this – the white noise zaps your power. To stop the noise and take back your power, here are five things you can do right now:

  1. Today, plan for tomorrow. That means today you will make a list of everything you need to accomplish tomorrow.
  2. Take that list and input it into your calendar, scheduling sufficient time for each to-do.
  3. Too many to-do’s for tomorrow? Bounce non-priority items to the next day and the days after that. Tomorrow’s to-do’s are only “must do tomorrow” items, not “must do this week/month” items.
  4. Manage yourself and your work habits. Be honest with yourself. Are you following your schedule? If not, where are you wasting your time and why? Identify timewasters and get rid of them.
  5. Control your work environment. You can manage external distractions including telephone calls, emails, visitors, and a noisy work environment.

I find that when I schedule all of my activities and follow them, my mind is free to focus on only the immediate task on which I’m working. Why? Because I trust that my system will alert me when the next task or meeting is due. I don’t have to worry about upcoming tasks in the meantime. The freedom gained with using schedules and lists is seen in the productivity gains that seem to occur naturally from this freedom.

You owe it to yourself to free your mind and take back your power. The increased productivity that you will experience will not only make you shine at work, but you will also feel better and be more fun to be around. And who wouldn’t want this experience?

For more information on how to plan and manage your work day, see “How Can Bottleneck Executives Improve their Personal Workflow?”

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