When you try to do everything you think of doing

This is an excerpt from the book, Embracing the Now by Gina Lake.

One reason people feel overwhelmed by life is that they expect to be able to do everything they think of doing. But thinking is a lot easier than doing! It takes time to accomplish things – as much time as it takes. We tend to compare how we want things to go with how long it actually takes and feel that we don’t have enough time, when we, of course, always have enough time for whatever we are doing – because we’re doing it! We may not have time for what we think about doing, which is always the case, since the mind is always thinking about doing other things while we are engaged in whatever we are doing. That’s what minds do — they jump ahead. This jumping ahead leaves us feeling like there’s never enough time. It leaves us us feeling hurried and harried, when all that is being asked of us is right in front of us, and that’s all we can do anyhow.

GinaLake2In my book, Perfect Time-Based Productivity, I make a very big deal of achieving peace of mind as the primary goal. According to the Zeigarnik Effect and work done by Baumeister and Masicampo this is hard to achieve because incomplete or unmanaged time demands prey on our subconscious. In other words, it’s not easy for us to enter the flow state described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi because of our intrusive thoughts

Gina adds to that notion in this excerpt from her book. and she goes a step further – we are also struck by a remarkable ability to create more time demands than we can handle.

Furthermore, we are constantly judging our performance rather than allowing ourselves to be immersed in it. While there’s a healthy way to adjust the way we do things on the fly, she’s talking about the anxiety and self-doubt that ruins performance. Some call it “choking.”

This internal chatter resists reality: we will never have enough time to complete all the time demands our mind creates. Furthermore, things take as long as they take, regardless of our opinions.

Many of us believe we don’t have enough time, which she says will always be our experience no matter how many techniques, like delegation, we master. That’s because it’s the thought that creates the experience – not the task itself.

This flies in the face of our conventional wisdom. But it’s true, in my experience. One way to never, ever achieve peace of mind is to maintain the habit of “jumping ahead” while we are doing whatever we are doing. Carving out a new habit takes lots of patience, or so I have discovered.

If you know any scientific research that supports her statement (which I take to be intuitive, like most of her writing) do let me know!

Great quote

Productivity is never an accident.  It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.

Paul J. Meyer

So much for the tips, tricks, shortcuts and secrets that we love so much…

Doing Nothing and Getting More Done

meditation1.jpgI recently read an interesting article written by Marc McGuinness over at the Lateral Action Blog.

In the post he describes how much he learned from spending several days in solitude and absolute quiet at a retreat, and what it did for his awareness, and also his productivity.

I agreed with everything he says wholeheartedly, and he has described my own experience better than I ever could.  I also recently spent a day in (mostly) silence as part of a 9-day retreat I attended in which being quiet played an important role.

He makes the important point that meditation’s purpose is not to become more productive, but that it IS a decent side-benefit.

For me, one way in which that’s true is that it boosts what I call awakeness, which is the ability to conduct any activity while maintaining a background understanding of its overall purpose.  Without this quality, we stray from living as human beings and act more like human “doings.”  Love, joy and peace of mind disappear, soon to be replaced by stress, worry and anxiety.

It’s a great article:   How Getting Nothing Done Can Make You More Productive