Work less and do more

8.6.2015 - 13 minutes read

I’’ve been playing with this concept for a while and because of the incredible results I decided to share it with you!

The key thing is to work less. The reason for that is when we work for a longer period of time we usually tend to get distracted, tired, bored, inefficient, and ineffective so the core believe of this theory is this – the longer you work the more time you waste (unless you get „in the flow“ – which is the side effect of this new concept I’m talking about).

And since I don’’t like the idea of wasting my time I decided to do something about it. I started to be brutally honest with myself and wrote down every single distraction that crossed my mind (wanting to check email, wanting to listen to music, wanting to change the music I was listening to, worrying about the next task, worrying about my future, wanting to take a break, feeling uncomfortable in the chair, feeling hungry, feeling thirsty, feeling bored, feeling tired, etc. If you read my article Become complete you can already see how my mind and body were getting in my way).

I started wondering how is it even possible that my list goes on and on. I started judging myself for being so easily distracted and not being able to focus. I realized that all these things have been there all the time and that by that stupid simple list I only brought my conscious attention to them.

My mind was multitasking while my body was running out of fuel, action had to be taken.

What I did was a bit clumsy at first but then it started to make sense and became second nature. I sat down to a piece of paper and wrote down what I’’m about to work on and even though I knew it would take me like 3 hours to complete the task I set a time frame of 45 minutes. I wasn’t’ expecting to finish this task. During these 45 minutes I only wanted to work on that specific task and don’t fall for any distractions. I also scheduled a reward for myself – 10 minute reading break – right after my working block. (I had this awesome book for months and wasn’t’ able to finish it because I just couldn’t find the time). Before I started I took a 5 minute break to get some water and a quick snack to make sure my body will be okay. Then I sat down, worked hyper focused on the task and each time something tried to distract me I just decided to ignore it. I finished earlier then scheduled. I was very surprised because I was able to solve an issue that was blocking me for days, I finished the whole task and decided to count the extra 5 or some minutes to my reading break as an extra bonus. I felt awesome and got to read that book as well. The feeling was great, I hacked work I thought!

After the break I felt even better, refreshed, full of energy and ready to attack the next task.

Seems so simple right? Pick a goal, prepare for it, then ignore everything else and get the reward no matter what the results are. So why haven’t you ever tried it? Oh you had? Why didn’t’ you stick with it? I bet it’s because you are perfectly fine with ignoring your body, which is never good, but you let your mind dictate you what to do, which is always bad.

For most of the things your body will need (energy) you can and should prepare before you start working, get on the right diet, drink plenty of water, sleep, relax and exercise from time to time. When your body is asking for something it’s telling you the truth – you really are hungry, you really are thirsty, you really are tired, you really are aching, prevent the issue before it happens.

On the other hand your mind will most likely be telling you lies. With a bit of conscious awareness you can easily look through the illusions your mind likes to create. Just observe the thought that is presented to you (presented to you literally means that you didn’t’ come up with it, your mind did, it’’s not your idea, it’’s your mind trying to steal your attention). And as an observer of the mind you can decide whether or not it is helpful for your current task to watch two kittens fighting, check your email every 5 minutes or stress about something that has not yet happened (next task). Most of the people have a saboteur mind, constantly distracting, stealing attention and creating drama but you can actually make that saboteur your servant and supporter. Then you might be presented with an idea that’’s actually helpful – like when your mind reminds you of an article you were reading last week that could help you solve the issue you are currently working on – even though it’s a distraction (you didn’t’t plan to read that article, your mind presented you that idea) go ahead and read it as it is in line with your goal of finishing the task.

Sometimes even though you try to use a system like this you still won’t able to stay focused or efficient, you will find it really hard to be creative or progress with the task, you might be even feeling stuck. In that case the first thing you should do is to take a break (it’s like switching your computer off and on again, the most simple solution is often the best one), don’’t judge yourself and do something you like for a few minutes. Your juices had stopped flowing and there is no need to explore why if you have something that will excite you and help you get back in shape.

If however you get this feeling of being stuck or bored on regular basis it’s something different and definitely worth your attention. I believe all this stuff comes from inner resistance. Resistance to either of these things – your current task, your current environment, your current employer or your current life situation. With a bit of attention and listening to your feelings and thoughts you should be able to decode this „message“ of being stuck, feeling negative, bored or tired. It’s calling for a change. Maybe you are looking at your current task as a waste of your potential, maybe the current task is too hard, or it’’s a really boring task, maybe you are in a room with negative people, maybe your boss is the worst ever, maybe you are just having a rough day.

Let me share with you the most resourceful way for me to get rid of these bad feelings. I start by taking a break and thinking about what it is that is really bothering me. Most of the time it’s something like „this is so boring“, „this just needs to get done“,“I hate that guy“,“I hate working on facial animation“,“I hate doing the cleanup“. Instead I try to think about the issue in a more resourceful way, something like „okay, screw this task, it’s really boring and I don’t like it at all, from now on I only care about me and my skill, how great can I make this, what should I improve to make it my portfolio piece“ (even though I say don’’t care about the task, the task will hugely benefit from my approach because I would never put something bad into my portfolio, this technique is very powerful). For the things you don’t like or hate doing (usually those that you are actually weak at – for me it’s facial animation for example) I’’d use something like “I wonder if I could make this the best shot in the movie“, „I wonder if I could be the best one at doing facial animation“,“ I wonder if I could get a pay rise if I make this really awesome“.For the shitty boss you might use something like „he has a problem and most likely will be fired in a couple of weeks, I’’m not spending any energy on him, instead I’’m putting it all into my work because that’s the only thing I care about“ or „I wonder what his problem is, do I have any issues like that? Maybe I should really focus on my work so I don’’t end up being so dumb and unprofessional“

Do you see the pattern I’’m using? At first you take something that you are resisting, most likely something negative and you give it the power to influence you (task makes you feel bad, boss makes you feel bad). Then you analyze the situation, find out what is really happening (task is boring, boss is unprofessional) and then you use that thing to grow stronger and better (I’’m going to make it great, I’’m going to be better than him).

With this you should be able to always find a way how to finish your task much sooner and also with more energy and a great feeling as a bonus!

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