I was on the school bus in 7th grade the first time I heard "Ice Ice Baby."
(He's a real looker, eh?)
Who knew that it'd be Vanilla Ice who would resurface later in life to teach me a thing or two about being more productive?! Seriously. What?!
Allow me set the stage: I'm am currently struggling with something I think we all can relate to... I allow so many interruptions in the flow of my day that what should take me one hour to complete, ends up taking me three. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, I start on another project, then see a text, then hop from app to app, liking pictures on Instagram, checking Facebook, scrolling through Pinterest, checking emails.
An hour (or three!) later, I go into a low-grade panic at how my one initial task still isn’t done and I’m running out of time.
Last week, I grabbed lunch by myself. Good thing I had my phone to distract me. But before my food came to the table, my phone died. There I was, by myself. In a restaurant. No phone.
I felt like it was a sign. So, I decided to use the time to be really mindful of my eating, to enjoy the time I had to myself, and hatch a plan that creates more of this quiet, uninterrupted space in my life, not only to get things done, but to focus on the task at hand.
Because, if there’s one thing I truly want in my life, it is to be fully present. And then it came to me.
The three things I need to do to be more productive and therefore, present in my life are:
STOP, COLLABORATE, AND LISTEN.
Here are some ideas I'm putting into place this week.
1. STOP: The interruptions.
Your phone likely has a Do Not Disturb button. When there’s a project to be done, especially one that requires your focus, set a timer for one hour, and set your phone to Do Not Disturb. Your phone will not ring, vibrate, or light up with notifications. If an hour is too long, set it for a half hour. If you want to get fancy, or want to err on the side of abundantly cautious, you can also, if you have an iPhone, set your DnD to ring through if you have a repeated call or a call from someone on your favorites list. But typically, like they did in the “olden” days, most things can wait at least one hour.
2. COLLABORATE: Get yourself an accountability partner.
Who in your life could you rely on to hold you to your goals? For whom could you do the same? Today, my office-bestie, Nikki, and I set an alarm for a half hour and had quiet focus time. When the alarm went off, we shared how much we got done and bounced ideas off each other for another 10 minutes. Then got back to work for another half hour. I got more done in that focused hour than I thought I could, largely in part because I had to answer to someone who wasn’t going to let me off the hook.
3.LISTEN: To your body, mind, spirit. “Browning out” is defined as a “drop in voltage in an electrical power supply, so named because it typically causes lights to dim.” If we think of our own electrical power supply as the time, energy, and focus it takes to complete a task, it makes the metaphor even more clear. When mental brown out happens, everything become subpar. You can actually feel this if you take the time to listen to your body, mind, and spirit. It feels like a dull, overwhelmed feeling. It feels like a tightness in your chest and a foggy mind. When I feel this happening, I know it’s time to get up, take a quick walk, take some deep breaths outside, even do a headstand or other yoga inversion. It switches things up and even though I’m taking a break from what needs to be done, I find I’m more productive when I come back to it after the break. Listening to my body, mind and spirit actually makes me more productive.
So Vanilla Ice and I want to know--In what ways can you STOP, COLLABORATE, and LISTEN this week?
Leave a comment below, and if you’re feeling really productive, share this with a friend who could benefit from it!
Stay fabulous, friends! Word to yo mutha.