Do Less, Be Less Stressed and Get More Done.
In his recent book titled “The Organised Mind” Daniel Levitin studies “H.S.P’s” or highly successful people and the practises they have that lead them to be so productive. I want to summarize a few of them here for you as I think they can be helpful tools to create more time, and more time is something we all can benefit from.
There’s no such thing as multi tasking– Levitin points out that what we are actually doing when we are “multi tasking” is to change our attention from one thing to the next in quick succession. Doing this we actually reduce our output, our work is judged to be less creative and we drive up the level of our stress hormone cortisol. Also how easy is it to spot when somebody else is “multi tasking”? have you ever driven behind somebody while they are texting on their phone?
In jobs that require quick changes between many tasks simultaneously for example air traffic controllers and translators, mandatory breaks are taken roughly every 45 minutes.
We don’t need to be an air traffic controller to learn from this and apply it to our work, we can just focus on one task at a time to the exclusion of everything else.
We benefit from spending time in the “mind wandering mode”– Levitin talks about how a part of the brain called the Insula switches us between our frontal cortex where we do a lot of our work and takes us into another area of the brain where we have far less cognitive thought. Those that habitually had practises where they were in the “mind wandering mode” tended to be more productive and more creative.
Sting and his power hour– Levitin shadowed the singer Sting as well as many other highly successful people over the period he was studying to write the book. He reported that sting would have a period in the middle of his day when he was on tour to himself. Every day between 1pm and 3pm he would spend some time alone to do whatever he wanted. No phone calls, no emails he would simply spend some time writing songs, doing yoga or whatever else he wanted and it was understood that this was an important part of Sting’s day in order for all other aspects to function. All of the H.S.P’s had a similar practice.
Free writing and prioritising- Not to be confused with a to-do list. It’s true that there are many different versions of prioritizing tasks and you are no doubt familiar with one or two of them.
This one however does more than simply creating a to do list, it allows you to just dump all your thoughts into one place and organise them. “your brain knows you have written them all down so it seems to let go of them (N.B. Levitin gives the science behind what happens here in the brain but I won’t try to seem clever)
“The goal is to get all of your thoughts into one place you can then organize them into a list of priorities, now you might not get everything done but even if you only get a few things done they will be the important things that take you a step closer to your end goal”
What to do;
Focus on one thing at a time– you will get more quality work done and feel less stressed.
Take TRUE BREAKS where you allow your mind to wander.
Take a power hour. Do something that takes your mind away from things- a walk, some yoga… a personal training session with Storm …ahem
Write all your ideas and thoughts down without thinking. Then after you have them down write a number next to each of them, 1 for the most important then 2 etc. Then write what you need to do to get them done or who you need to delegate to etc.
Now back to the Power hour. I want to share with you a quote from “Zen and the Martial Arts” which I think sums up some of the mental benefits from training and allowing yourself to move to a different mental space, enjoy;
“A dojo is a miniature cosmos where we make contact with ourselves, our fears, anxieties, reactions and habits.
It is an arena of confined conflict where we confront an opponent, who is not an opponent but rather a partner who is engaged in helping us to understand ourselves more fully.
It is a place where we can learn a great deal in a short time about who we are and how we react in the world.
The conflicts that take place inside the dojo help us handle conflicts that take place outside.
The total concentration and discipline required to study martial arts carries over to daily life.
The activity in the Dojo calls on us to constantly learn new things”
If you want to enter my Dojo (Our private personal training gym) you would be welcome you can reach us on info@storm- fitness.com