Now, more than ever, how we choose to pass our day is under scrutiny. We are all living under the same restrictions and (if you follow social media) a kind of competition has set in - who can be the most productive?
This is not necessarily a negative thing, in fact it’s natural, writes our expert, Gareth Fox.
We make competition, no matter our situation, in order to create a hierarchy, and those further up the ranks take the juiciest cuts first - the greater the effort the greater the reward.
If social media is anything to go by, everyone is doing everything, and we are all at the high end of the productivity scale. But what and who is at the other end?
For some of the people who have contacted me, it is taking a little longer to establish a daily routine.
They simply don’t know how, having gone directly from education to professional life; creating their own structure is completely foreign to them.
In this case, what I advise is to write a list of things you would like to do (which are possible to do) within a day. Include all necessary activities: eating, working (if you can), washing and sleeping.
Add start and finish times for each activity,and do as many as you can. Be reasonable with expectations; if you pencil in two hours of sport, but can only complete 20 minutes, you will have the tendency to feel like a failure.
Instead, schedule 20 minutes of sport and congratulate yourself for completing the task. You may not complete everything on the list, but you will complete some - and if you congratulate yourself after ever success, then you will feel great.
For others, the problem runs deeper. “I would like to use my time to write a book … learn the guitar … start a blog … make my own fitness video, but inside I’m really scared it won’t be good enough. And the fear of judgement and rejection is so bad, I will never do it.”
These are the procrastinators. Consciously there is a will to produce but nothing happens, they can’t get started. For procrastinators, it is easier to say “I should have/would have/could have, but I had a problem with procrastination, and so I never did.”
This is less painful than saying “I went after my dreams and people said ‘That’s not good enough, you’re not good enough.”
I had a hypnotherapy session a few days ago with a client who wanted to change her eating habits and lose weight. She had gained two stone since lockdown; her new life consisted of waking up with great intentions, yet spending her day eating more than normal on the sofa. How come?
With procrastination the effect is two fold. Firstly, a fear of not being good enough blocked her from starting anything. Secondly, the words she said to herself as a result (I’m useless/I’m rubbish/I can’t start anything) caused her emotional stress, which led to comfort eating.
This is extremely common. Procrastination - fear of rejection - can be debilitating to both emotional and physical health. Her fear of rejection was stifling her productivity, and causing her to overeat.
But there is a cure. The only person who can really reject you is you. You control what you think at any time, in any situation.
Someone may say that they dislike what you do, or who you are, but you control whether or not you let that in. When you understand that, you can’t really be rejected.
So next time you find yourself lying on the sofa, instead of doing that thing, know that the only person with the power to reject you is you. And you’ll see how your productivity grows.For more information contact [email protected]