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[Mind Hack] How Slowing Down Will Accelerate Your Productivity

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Our mind plays tricks on us.

It usually tells us that if we feel busy, frantic and [somewhat] exhausted we’re working hard. The problem is that not all work has the same level of kudos.

For example getting back to 11 emails compared to designing a project plan for a new product launch can take the same time but have disproportionate results.

— In fact I’ve discovered that it’s usually the activities that feel less frantic and even “slower” have higher productivity payoffs —

So in other words slowing down usually speeds you up.

I’m a big believer in getting clear on your most important tasks each day and working like a hog-wart to ensure that stuff makes it across the line. The problem is that the day-to-day activities that we usually schedule for ourselves usually only maintain our progress.

They  don’t create quantum leaps.

— A quantum leap usually occurs when we have an insight —

Have you found you’ve had your best ideas in the shower, a walk or just before you go sleep? In this more relaxed state our brain releases dopamine which enables more effective thinking and correlations. When our mind moves into this state it has greater agility to link unrelated ideas to current problems. The problem is that in today’s society of social media addiction and distraction overwhelm, we don’t really allow ourselves to move into this relaxed state and experience it’s advantage.

In my 6 Levels of Productivity Model I call this type of work

“Inspired”. The inspired level of thinking is all about ‘game changing work’. At this level the output to input ratio can be 50 times. The problem is, inspired work doesn’t usually happen in a packed out schedule with back-to-back meetings, interrupting phone calls and email pop-ups.

Inspired work tends to happen in unplanned situations. Going for a jog, having a shower, going for a lunch walk or almost falling asleep.

Inspired work can also happen in full day strategic think pods, multi-hour breaks and conversations with mentors.

— You need space to do inspired work —

[On a side note: “Space” is the current theme of my personal year.

I’ve been giving myself chunks of time during the day to ponder, walk and just think. It’s given me some of the greatest insights I’ve had about myself, my business and my personal happiness to date.]

It feels very counterintuitive to slow down. But I’m finding that there is grace, ease and fluidity that occurs when we allow ourselves more space.

The truth is that all you need is one great idea to see a quantum shift in your personal and professional life, but this idea usually doesn’t occur in a hectic schedule.

Interestingly, one common thread I’ve noticed about peak performers is that they are intentional about practising mindfulness, meditation or journalling. It isn’t until you reflect on your current situation that you learn the lesson it’s trying to teach it.

So maybe…

You’re still dealing with a current headache in your life because you haven’t taken the time to reflect on the lesson it’s trying to teach you. [wow that’s deep:]

If you were to create more space for yourself chances are you would have more insight more often and potentially leap past current barriers.

The big takeaway here is that productivity is not necessarily about constant grind and activity…

—The highest productivity is discovered when we create the space for a quantum shift —

This mind trick will allow you to create more space and make more of a difference.

 

1 comment
    Kevin Isaacs That’s very interesting Col, I always find that when I am calm (relaxed state) even during stressful times, I make better decisions and experience more success. The trick is to identify those tasks or activities which when thought through in a relaxed space provide the quantum leap…… thanks for the share.

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