After a recent presentation the majority of the questions I received were about how to get themselves to get their work done – without having to push so hard.
As a core element of the work I do, I’ve written on this topic before. But I’d like to share how my approach to behavior change has evolved over the years.
Following are several ways that you move yourself – or someone else – out of paralysis and into productivity. These strategies will help you get your work done without fighting yourself so hard.
1. Stop forcing your thinking. We are convinced that the best way to get ourselves to shift into a new behavior (i.e. doing our homework, finishing the reports, organizing the house, etc.) is to think our way into this new behavior.
We attempt to beat ourselves up or analyze why we aren’t moving forward or ignore the work outright and hope we magically get started.
ALL of this fighting lives in the world of thought. These mental gymnastics and mind games are attempts to stumble upon the right thinking that will give you the right behavior.
Unfortunately thinking about doing can’t get you to do.
Consider picking up a nearby chair. You can think about picking up this chair all day long. You can beat yourself up for not doing it. You can analyze why you aren’t doing it. You can even ignore the chair you need to pick up and live in the feeling of this denial. And none of this will get you any closer to walking over and picking up the chair. Thinking about doing is not what leads to doing.
Instead you can:
• Let your thinking pass you by. Give it less meaning. You don’t need to take it so seriously. Thought isn’t what gets you into action so turn down the volume of that chatter. It isn’t getting you anywhere other than frustrated and stuck.
• Start looking at all you do get done everyday. You are doing things all day long that you didn’t think your way into. That you aren’t procrastinating. Notice how this naturally occurs. Notice that you already are a doer.
• Start noticing the obvious next step. Take it. You don’t need to know anything beyond this in order to move forward.
So if you can’t use your thinking to get yourself moving what other options do you have to get more work done without fighting yourself?
2. Drop into your body. Give that big brain of yours a break. The body is a resource that holds far more wisdom and power than we realize.
Here are two good places to start:
• Notice your breathing. Your body is always right here. Right now. Your body is a constant anchor to the present moment.
• Listen to your feelings. They often don’t mean what we think they do. Turn towards them rather than away. Let them pass through.
3. Get into the flow. Remember that you are far, far greater than your thinking. There is a space beyond thought that is more powerful than any of us can imagine. This is where our innate productivity, creativity, and well-being lives. This space – that is connected to all things in the universe – gives us access to new insight, intuition, and clear action in any moment. This space is always, always available know matter what. This is flow.
Start to look in this direction and you will find yourself getting your work done far more easily than you ever thought possible.
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