There is a feeling some people call “being overwhelmed.” It makes them unsure about where to start because there are a trillion things requiring their attention. Others call it “being off-balance.” Something feels just not right. And then there are those who keep repeating what nobody can hear anymore because everyone is feeling the same thing: “I am so stressed. I don’t even know where to start.”
Do You Know Your Priorities?
Whatever you call it, the feeling is prominent these days, and it is often a sign that you are not living by your priorities. Maybe you live on autopilot and take care ofwhatever others require you to do, what you are supposed to do, or what your family or boss requested that you do. Isn’t it time to get your balance back, to be your own master and complete those to-dos that bring you closer to your desired goals? To do this, it is critical that you define which priorities you have for your life, specifically right now, for this exact moment in your life.
Between Stimulus And Response, You Have The Freedom To Choose
Maybe you’ve heard of Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who was imprisoned in a Nazis concentration camp but survived and wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning. It was during these agonizing days when Frankl became aware of what would later be quoted a million times: “Between stimulus and response, you have the freedom to choose.” Frankl realized that whatever happened to him (the stimulus), he himself (and nobody else) had the freedom to choose his response to the stimulus.
Saying No To Everything — Almost Everything
Transferring this idea to our daily struggle means that at any given moment, you have a chance to choose. Say yes or no; do or don’t; go left or right. Most importantly, once you have identified your vision and your key priorities in life, you should say no to everything that distracts you or takes away time from your priorities.
Assuming you have a clear vision of where you are going with your life, and you have defined your goals, then you can judge which activities help you go in the right direction. In assessing whether something presented to you is a priority and should get your time and attention, ask yourself only two simple questions:
1. Is this really my subject, my problem, or somebody else’s? This question should help you identify who has the ownership of this topic and if that subject is important for you or has an impact on your bigger goals.
2. Will there be consequences that affect my goals if I choose not to respond? This question should help you understand how to prioritize this task, as well as lead you to consider what action is required.
If one or both of these questions is answered with no, there is no required action from you, so either disregard the task/topic presented to you or put it on your “maybe of interest someday” list. Answering both of these questions with yes means that you need to deal with the subject, allowing for your time and attention. Finally, consider the three-minute-rule. If the required action derived from this request takes less than three minutes of your time, and you can do it right away — get it done. If the task needs more than three minutes, delegate it and make sure it shows up on your “waiting for” list.
You can also put a date on the task to indicate when you will schedule time in your calendar to work on it. I learned from true productivity masters to schedule meetings for less time than you might otherwise. For example, 15 minutes instead of the commonly used 30 minutes. Without question, this allows you to fit many more potential discussions or meetings into your calendar and helps participants focus on what really matters. Last but not least, you could place this task that takes more than three minutes on your “next action items” list. Maybe you structure this list by topic or project. This “next action items” list is your No. 1 go-to place when it comes to defining your day or your week.
This article was first published with Forbes®.com.
You read diet and you think of losing weight? How come? Well, simple answer because that’s what we normally want when we are interested in reading something about a diet, right? But what if I told you that the next sentences won’t be about reducing your calorie intake, lowering your blood sugar level, doing more exercise and taking the stairs instead of the elevator? What if there are simple steps you can implement in your daily life as of today that won’t hurt, won’t make you change long-existing habits immediately and that will still help you improve, feel happier and get closer to your desired professional performance?
It’s somehow ironical that we live in a world of plentifulness, yet we suffer disease and conditions that were unheard of in our grandparent’s teenage years. Despite all the lifestyle choices available, we have difficulty doing the simple, most powerful things first! Why simple? There must be a complicated solution for sure, after all, we live in a constantly changing, digital world where being overstrained is the norm! If you continue reading, be prepared that those ideas might sound too simple but take me at my word and implement them today….and let me know how much positive change you experienced!
The world’s best diet doesn’t cost you a penny!
This is the best diet you have ever taken! Whether your body mass index screams for a calorie reduction or is in brilliant shape, this diet is just perfect for you: for the next 3 weeks you will go on an information diet! Yes, an information diet! Avoid all the distraction and the time taken away by reducing all the unnecessary information you consume daily. So for the next 3 weeks, do not read any newspapers, do not listen to the radio, don’t touch any online news channel or news on TV, don’t touch your smartphone or computer for pure surfing online, no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or any other social media you frequently use! Don’t even watch TV! Give it a try and you will find out how much more time you will get back into your life that you can use for working on projects that bring you closer to your big life’s objectives by enhancing your productivity!
“25” is your new time slot.
Structure your work time and your productive time in blocks of 20-30 minutes. Those time-blocks you dedicate to one topic each and work without distraction on what needs to be done. A very powerful technique to structuring your work in time blocks is the Pomodoro® technique: you set a timer to 25 minutes where you spend your undivided attention on subject A, then have a five-minute break before you go into the next Pomodoro-session of 25 minutes. After four Pomodoros you deserve a bigger break of 15-20 minutes. It is all about working WITH your time, not AGAINST it. It helps avoid burnout and trains you to focus and get rid of distractions, subsequently helping you fight procrastination and foster happy, successful and productive days.
Just close your eyes and recharge.
Forget about all the myths regarding sleeping before midnight or those adults are fine with 6 hours of sleep only. Make sure you get 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night because a rested body is a baseline for performance. Without enough sleep, you can nurture yourself with all good ingredients but your internal system is simply not rested well enough to make use of all the good stuff you put in. Sleeping time is also renewal time for your body, needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. If it helps, get yourself a sleep app or some smart wearable device that measures your actual sleep time and then make it a priority to push this time in bed to 7+ hours.
I know this is not the typical dietary change or exercise recommendation that you would expect. The digital era is different, traditional answers won’t stick to currently burning questions and that is true for business as well as for private. We need to take care of ourselves again because digital transformation takes place at a fast speed and those who will master this – on an individual as well as organization level – are the ones who realize that innovative ideas don’t grow on trees but in the minds of healthy, high performing talents!