Creative Thinking Live Workshop May 21

Why are we so busy?

It’s time to get off of the hamster wheel and get more done

You know that guy – we all work with one – who works late every night and comes in on the weekend, yet he doesn’t ever seem to get much done? He has all of these projects on his plate and you may even have to help him out by doing some of his work for him. He prides himself on how little sleep he gets because of all of the work he’s doing, and he has little-to-no personal life, which he wears as a badge of honor. We wonder why he doesn’t make some changes to have a better life, and we’re glad we aren’t him. Yet a part of us admires his dedication and work ethic – and we’re more like him than we may think.

An interesting article just came out in the Harvard Business Review (read it here) that shows that the business world is now listening to research psychologists and is concerned with their findings. For awhile now, researchers have been publishing article after article, which, when taken together, show that we tend to program ourselves (or are programmed by others) to maintain momentum of action even when we have nothing to do. We tend to avoid idleness at all costs, even when it serves us to take more productive action later, in favor of constant action, even when it gets us nowhere and decreases our productivity.

Why is this? Our society definitely rewards us for being busy. We are programmed by our bosses to work long hours without taking breaks, eating lunch at our desks. It’s not like we’re trolling Facebook; we’re working on our projects and keeping ourselves organized. We’re doing what every good little worker bee should be doing.

Perhaps we make a few unnecessary trips to the break room for coffee throughout the day, but what’s really killing our productivity is what we’re doing at our desks.

If you’re like most people, you probably feel like you get more done when you’re humming along at a good pace, fueled by caffeine and cortisol (a big stress hormone). You can multitask like a boss and make decisions quickly and easily to keep your business moving, moving, moving. As it turns out, the success of this approach is only in our heads. We may be doing better than before, now that we have some processes figured out and securely implemented and everyone knows what they need to do. That’s great, but what if you could make whatever you’re doing now even more productive? I don’t mean implementing new, more efficient processes, though that might be a good idea, too. I mean maximizing the effectiveness of every worker in your business, including you.

What are the two things that the Harvard Business Review is now telling us to do to be more productive?

  1. Embrace idleness, and
  2. Act only when it’s warranted
Embracing idleness gives you the opportunity to get out of stress mode, in which you’re humming along thinking you’re getting so much done but you’re really not. Don’t even try to multitask; no matter how productive you think you’re being, you’re not. Instead, take time to really relax. Just closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths can work wonders. When you’re relaxed (out of stress mode) the blood flow to your brain changes from the emotional centers to the problem-solving centers, so you make better decisions. Quick decisions made while in stress mode may feel productive at the time, but they result in more re-work later. They are not as productive as decisions made when relaxed and thoroughly informed on the front end.Making a decision just to make a decision impairs productivity. Any action taken just to remain busy impairs productivity. When we’re acting, we’re not thinking in a way that can improve our decisions and the ways in which we act. We don’t attend to anything except what’s in front of us at the time, so we miss the little things we experience throughout the day that truly make us happy. Living on a hamster wheel instead of living in the moment hinders our productivity and decreases our satisfaction in all areas of our lives.Taking time to think creatively (i.e., in relaxation mode, not worker bee mode) and listen to what’s in your head improves the decisions you make and the efficacy of the actions you take. Instead of taking pride in being “crazy busy,” embrace feeling really good, calm and centered, and being even more productive.Want some great strategies to help you do this? Come to my Creative Thinking Unleashed workshop in Gilbert, AZ, on May 21 or get the DVD or streaming/downloadable version of the workshop. You can start increasing your innovative thinking and productivity in just 30 minutes!

Stretch & smile!
Amy

2 Comments

  1. May 23, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Amy, you really have hit on a priceless bit of wisdom here that ANYONE can embrace and put to use.

    I find in my life when I take a few minutes in the morning to be physically and mentally still and quiet, I have a day of greater productivity and fulfillment.

    I am out of town and was not able to attend your event. I look forward to an upcoming session. Until then, I will make use of what you have on your website. Your products and services help me create the positive changes I want to make in my life. Thanks!!

    • Amy-Reply
      May 23, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Thanks, Clint! You have a great strategy to start your day off on a good foot. Would have been so nice to have you at the workshop. We had a great time! Let me know if you have any requests for products. I’m always happy to accommodate any needs of folks who can’t get in for sessions as often as they would like.

      Thanks for the discussion here on my site, and I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing holiday weekend!

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