Does productivity make you think of hard work, stress, and deadlines? But in fact, it has the potential to be quite the contrary – your key to achieving more with less effort and creating more space for all the things that really matter to you. Let me introduce you to Mindful Productivity!
What is productivity, anyway?
Productivity describes the relationship between input and output. Therefore, productivity is often defined as the size of your output (of some kind of value) per hour.
And maybe you think that in order to increase your productivity, you will have to work faster and harder.
But Mindful Productivity allows you to work fewer hours so you have more time and energy for whatever it is that you enjoy doing in your life. How about that?
With that in mind, how can you increase your output per hour without working harder?
The Magic of Mindful Productivity
When you are being mindful and fully present in this very moment, you’re less reactive and you can choose your thoughts, feelings, and actions wisely. By practicing mindful awareness (mindfulness) you will learn how to observe your own thoughts, instead of being your own thoughts. This will help you make better decisions and priorities.
Thus, with all your attention in the now, you will not only feel better but also become more productive.
7 Steps to Achieving More With Less Stress
So how can you tap into Mindful Productivity and achieve more with less stress? This list of 7 ways to apply Mindful Productivity can transform the way you spend your time, so read it mindfully…
Practice Mindful Awareness
The first step toward Mindful Productivity is to practice mindful awareness (mindfulness):
- The practice itself reduces stress. The mind becomes calm and the nervous system can “reset” to normal.
- Stress is a reaction to a perceived threat and a threat response is activated in the more primitive parts of your brain. When you practice mindful awareness you learn how to “cool down” your brain and make better and more productive decisions.
- Another benefit of mindful awareness is that you let go of distractions so you can stay focused on your task. This is a huge productivity booster!
How can you introduce more mindful awareness into your life? There are many techniques, like meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and spending time in nature. They will improve both your wellbeing and your productivity.
Your brain does not know how to multitask. Research has shown that our brains can only perform one cognitive task at a time, so when you multitask your brain must shift back and forth between the different processes. This slows you down and you are more likely to make an error. But in order to achieve more with less effort (and in less time), do one task at a time.
Identify your vital few (80/20-principle)
Identifying the vital few and applying the 80/20-principle is really the key to working smarter, instead of working harder. This principle states that roughly 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes, and it applies to many areas of your life. Think about it – what 20% of your activities are giving you 80% of your results?
The real productivity uplift occurs when you actually stop doing the things that do not contribute as much so there is more room for the vital few (the 20% of the causes that generate more value).
Applying the 80/20-principle will probably challenge how you are used to thinking about time and how to manage it. So be mindful, and let the magic unfold.
Lean into Your Strengths
This one is controversial to some, but again, dare to think differently and you will get different results. When you are doing something that you love and that comes easy to you, you are more likely to succeed, and that is with less effort.
Neuroscientist Friederike Fabritius:
“…it will make the world a better place because it’s much easier, more fun, and more likely to result in success when you are working in an environment that makes your strengths shine…”
Maybe you think you cannot influence the kind of work you do, but being mindful of what your strengths are and how to apply them, will most certainly improve your productivity.
Choose the Path of Least Resistance
If leaning into your strengths is controversial, choosing a path of least resistance may seem almost blasphemous. But again, it’s about being mindful. It’s not about not reaching for your goals or challenging yourself to venture outside your comfort zone.
No, it’s about being flexible and open to new opportunities. When you meet resistance, if you push harder, the resistance will grow stronger. Allow yourself to take a step back and have a new look at the situation. What other path can you choose is this given moment?
Everybody postpones things now and then, but it is when it has a negative impact on your quality of life and your end results, that procrastination becomes a problem. There can be many reasons for procrastination: a task is new and difficult, you find it hard to focus, you are too tired, you’re afraid of failure or it can be a response to some kind of trauma.
Again, it’s about being mindful. Take a closer look at what is going on: Why are you procrastinating? When you know, it will be much easier to choose the best strategy to overcome it.
Boost Your Capacity
We are often running on empty batteries, and you know how well that would work if you were a mobile phone! Still, we seem to forget that we need both recharging and some maintenance. Look after that wonderful vehicle that you are and notice how much easier life will flow! So what can you do to boost your capacity?
- Make sure you allow yourself to rest, to recover. Take a break! Taking time to rest will actually SAVE you time because you will be smarter, more creative, and more productive when you are well-rested.
- Your body and brain get energy from the food you eat, so eat nutritious food. It does not have to be complicated. Get a good mix of carbs, protein, and fat, add veggies, and drink water. That’s it.
- Prioritize your sleep. The hours you spend asleep will save you hours during the day. Thinking you will achieve more by skipping hours of sleep is a mistake.
- Exercise! Yes, you get so much energy from exercise, you get smarter, you reduce stress and you will sleep better. Don’t be hard on yourself – a daily walk makes wonders!
To sum this up, practicing Mindful Awareness and learning how to tap into Mindful Productivity will open up a new world of opportunities for you. Where will you start?
- Practice Mindful Awareness
- Stop Multitasking
- Identify the vital few (80/20-principle)
- Lean into Your Strengths
- Choose the Path of Least Resistance
- Stop Procrastination
- Boost Your Capacity
You will probably have to challenge old limiting beliefs and set some new, healthy boundaries in order to implement your new way of managing your productivity, but when you do, you will discover that you too can achieve more with less stress.
Want to learn more about how to implement Mindful Productivity in your life? Then check out my online Mini Course – Productivity Revolution Toolkit!