Let me be clear. Doing less and resting more is not synonymous with being lazy. This is a simple psychological problem people face with the notion of doing less. It is in fact, quite the contrary. Doing less and resting more could enable you to be more productive and achieve more. Lets not equate doing less with achieving less. I have struggled for years, and it may have come from going to a very competitive school, with allowing myself to rest and do less. I was academically mediocre. I thought (where that thought came from, I actually have no idea – society, family?) that if I worked harder then I could do better. I worked my ass off during A-levels and I did OK. But there’s no way of knowing that had I worked less, I would have achieved the same.
I was first introduced to this idea by Nate Green, a US based business coach. I was talking to him about getting stuff done and moving my work forward; productivity. I learnt that (and I’m still learning how) time management was my biggest problem. I had said it was that I didn’t have enough time (single parent, working full time, blah blah blah). I remain corrected. I began working with a time management tool to track how I spent my time, or more to the point, to prove that I was wasting a lot of time. Using the time management tool, my productivity really started to improve. I was spending less time doing tasks because I was timing myself and focusing my time better. As Nate says, “focusing on one thing without interruption is how you get meaningful work done”. It’s true.
It took time for this to become habitual for me. Even as I am sat writing this I am thinking; damn, I need to get back to using that time management tool, it was really good. I started working with my now business coach, Julia Chanteray. Again, my biggest complaint was time. She encouraged me again to use a time management tool and I ended up using Toggl. Funny isn’t it that bad habits come back easily. Again, this helped my productivity and I was getting happier with what I was able to achieve in the time I had.
Just before this all happened, I also started taking more breaks and allowing myself to really notice and listen to how I was feeling and what was going on. I had begun meditating on a daily basis and had started to see the benefits of doing so. If I felt like shit, I would meditate. If I was grumpy, I would meditate. If I had had a bad night’s sleep, I would meditate. If I couldn’t concentrate, I would meditate. If I was in pain, I would meditate. I started to notice that every time I allowed myself to have a break, lie down on my bed and meditate (yes, even under the covers all cosy and warm) I got back up after 20 minutes ready to work and feeling much more inspired. My brain seemed to work better and I could think better, either logically or creatively.
I started to realise that if I took more time to myself, and did less, I was achieving more. Much more. And on top of that I was processing my emotions better and my mental health improved too. If you’re too busy to meditate, read this.
So, acknowledge that you feel guilty about ‘doing nothing’. I felt guilty as I lay down today whilst someone else was taking my daughter to gymnastics class. And go with it. Give yourself the time. Go for the coffee and chat with a friend, take the dog for a walk, do the shopping slowly and mindfully. Do all those things so that you can then be more productive afterwards.
If you meditate and you find it really hard to be still and at ease (to be honest, that’s why I find it easier to use a meditation app and listen to an audio meditation), it may be that you will benefit from taking herbal medicine to calm your nervous system down. If that’s the case, then I can help you. Get in touch to book a consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are conscious that you have suffered from trauma, you may also need to look into resolving that too. I can help you find someone who can help you. Please get in touch!