Get Stuff Done with Less Stress and More Ease
Guest post by Louise Miller:
I help people to get stuff done with less stress and more ease. That doesn’t mean that everything we encounter will (or should) be easy. Goodness, if we only had to do the easy stuff life would soon get pretty dull. We need challenge and new experiences to keep things interesting and to grow.
It’s not about avoiding difficult in pursuit of easy, but about finding ways of getting things done so that it doesn’t feel like you’re constantly banging your head against a brick wall.
But what does that look like in reality?
It’s being really clear on what you’re aiming for and the steps (or at least the next step) you need to take to get there.
It’s sitting down to start work at the beginning of the day knowing what’s most important.
It’s putting yourself back in charge of how you spend your time, rather than being pushed and pulled around by email, social media and other people.
It’s getting to the end of the day feeling a sense of accomplishment, acknowledging the things you achieved rather than obsessing over the things you didn’t.
It’s being able to put a bad day behind you with kindness and forgiveness, ready to start fresh again tomorrow.
Most of all, rather than cramming in more and more to-dos it’s creating space to enjoy life
But how on earth do we get there when our reality feels a million miles away from the ideal I’ve just described?
What if mindfulness could be your productivity super-power?
When we’re being mindful, we’re being intentional. We’re actively choosing to do whatever thing we’re doing, and we’re fully engaged and present with that thing.
The biggest cause of people not getting stuff done? Distraction. We start out with good intentions, but then we see a notification on our phone and spend the next twenty minutes watching cats riding vacuum cleaners on YouTube. Or we feel stuck and frustrated with the work we’re doing, so decide to check our emails instead.
How often have you glazed over whilst scrolling social media, only to come round twenty minutes later wondering where the time went? It’s all too easy to drift into mindlessness until something jolts us back into reality.
Mindfulness can be your super-power.
Just as meditation doesn’t stop you from thinking, mindfulness won’t necessarily stop you from reaching for the distraction – the twitch is often too strong - but it will make you more aware of what you’re doing, giving you a choice. The moment you notice you’ve switched from the document you’re working on to your internet browser, you can choose to pause and return to whatever you’re supposed to be doing. You can take back control.
So, what can you do to cultivate a mindfulness practice that will help you get stuff done? Here are a few suggestions:
- Meditation is a great way to train your mind to pay attention, and just 5-10 minutes a day can make a real difference.
- Pick an activity you do every day (brushing your teeth, washing up, taking a shower etc) and see if you can focus solely on what you’re doing. If your mind wanders, bring it back and pay attention to your senses.
- Go for a walk but instead of staring at your phone or thinking about what’s for tea, notice how your body feels when it moves. Focus on what you can see, hear and smell.
- Set a timer to go off at regular intervals during your day. The bell can be your cue to check in with yourself. Are you doing what you’d intended?
I’m a big fan of tips and tricks that can help us be more organised, but with so much advice out there it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. You can spend so much time putting systems in place that you find yourself even further behind than you were when you started!
Instead, I invite you to try taking a mindful approach to your productivity. Pay attention. Notice when you’re wandering off-task and choose to gently return.
Louise Miller is a Productivity Mentor and Virtual Assistant, and has been interested in getting stuff done as efficiently as possible for as long as she can remember! Being productive should be about creating space in your life to do more of what makes you happy. There’s so much more to life than worrying about your to-do list! For more productivity tips and advice, you can sign up for her free Get Stuff Done Guide here.
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