3 Easy Tips to Reduce Stress & Increase Productivity
“It’s Not the Load That Breaks You Down, It’s the Way You Carry It” – Lou Holtz
Ever heard the Dad Joke “How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time..” . That’s kind of the way we should look at our productivity. One action, followed by the next action, followed by the next one.
Our brain is the most powerful computer on the planet, yet our conscious mind is only able to focus on a few things at a time. It’s like the RAM memory on your PC (Random Access Memory). Have you noticed when you have 18 tabs opened on your PC, it tends to slow down, and you don’t know where the music is coming from 😉 . Our conscious mind is just like that….when we have ‘open-loops’ or in-completes, it slows down, and creates stress.
So the way to free up your mind for creative & productive work sessions, is to ‘empty the glass’. In other words, write things down, to get them out of your head, and look at them objectively. Close some of those tabs & open-loops. This reduces the stress & ‘burden’ you carry around all day. And when you’re less stressed, your able to think more clearly, more decisively, more creatively.
Here are three simple tips to help Reduce Stress & Increase Your Productivity;
Tip#1 – Capture – Capture & write down ALL those thoughts popping up in your conscious mind. Big ones, small ones, medium ones, good ones & bad ones. The more you think the same thought, the more stress it causes you. Once it’s written down, you now have a more detached perspective from which to take action. Be sure to minimise the ‘capture’ locations. Don’t have 8 different notebooks, 3 different devices, and post-its all over your home or office. Choose one physical location, such as a traditional ‘in-tray’, and one digital location on your phone, such as ListNote, which enables you to write notes, or use voice-to-text capturing. Now, you’ve managed to capture all those thoughts, problems, idea’s, projects, solutions, wish-lists etc, in one or two easy to access places
Tip#2 – Review & Decide – Once you have captured your thoughts, open-loops, and incompletes from Step 1, you will need to regularly review the ‘input’. You may wish to bundle some of the tasks together, such as Family, Work, Finances, Project with Jim, etc. As you are reviewing & organising, you will then Decide which ones are the top priorities for TODAY !! Start with just the Top 3 to Succeed. The three most important tasks/actions that will have the biggest affect. The Reviewing & Deciding will take less than 10 minutes, with practice. It’s really about having your system and discipline in place. Remember, the less you need to THINK, the less STRESSED you will be, which automatically results in greater Productivity.
Tip#3 – Take Action – Often, we can get stuck on this most obvious of steps. What’s important to remember here is that you are not eating the whole elephant right now. You’re just taking a bite. The important question to ask yourself is “What is the VERY NEXT ACTION I can take, that will move this forward”. Then, you take that action. In this way, you are continually working towards completing all your tasks & projects
Of course there are scheduling tools, software, project management techniques that can also help. The main point here is that to reduce your stress, get those thoughts and open-loops out of your head. The added benefit of having all those thoughts captured is that you can more efficiently plan, prioritise & act on them.
Wishing you massive Productivity & Happiness 😊