Stop thrashing in the mud:
How self-awareness increases your productivity
Do you know what running a business is good for?
When you’re up to your earlobes in deadlines, client onboardings and invoices, it’s super easy to let your mind focus only on the business.
But getting caught up in all the to do’s is a fast track to failure.
Because you’re not paying attention to how you’re acting. You’re too busy to notice you haven’t drunk enough water for the day. You’re too busy to see how your process is clunky and could be made much simpler. You’re too busy to hear how your client is really asking for help rather than criticising what you’ve done.
Being busy is Western society’s goal post of success. Every day there are conversations happening that go a little something like this:
How was your day?
Wow you must have achieved a lot.
Haha, um yeah. Glances sideways and quickly changes the topic.
Sure, you were busy for two hours deciding between teal or aqua for the background of your latest social post. Then you got a client call and you were busily chasing down where their project was at and guess-timating how long it would take to finish it.
Then you remembered the electrician was coming in half an hour to fix a broken switch and you haven’t had lunch. So, you were busy scoffing food while…
You see were this is leading.
Stop the crazy fly against a window busyness and start getting productive.
Stop everything you’re doing. Yes, you heard me. Just stop. Be still now.
When we pause, we create a little distance from all the tasks. Space allows us to gain a deeper perspective of what’s going on.
We notice how every time we get a new enquiry, our head goes into a spin and we have to remember all the questions to ask and find a scrap of paper to make notes of what they say. Just by noticing it how this inefficient this process is we’ll quickly find a better way.
We realise it could be avoided if we kept a small list of new client questions nearby with a pad of paper next to it.
If we don’t take the time to review the process, we’ll keep doing it the same way over and over because we’re rushing around so much, we don’t have time to figure out a better one.
It’s like being in a muddy bog up to our chests and thrashing around to find a way out.
If we were standing on the edge of the bog, we’d easily see the nearest side and the tree branch we could use to pull ourselves out.
The problem is, we like mucking about in the mud.
It makes a scene. People around us oooh and ahh at all the commotion we’re creating.
Oh look, Betty’s using freestyle to get out of her bog.
Wow, Tim’s snagged a vine and he’s winding it around his wrist.
Gee, Nancy’s splashing mud all the way over to my bog!
We’re so busy attracting attention, we don’t notice how we’re making barely any progress.
Then we see Greg.
Greg quietly and easily wades through the mud, steps onto a ledge and he’s out.
Do we follow his lead? Oh no, of course not. We start muttering and judging him instead.
It’s so easy for Greg, he’s got stronger arms.
He was born near a bog so he has a huge advantage.
You know, I heard his bog was shallower than everyone else’s.
None of it’s true.
Greg looked at the bog and realised he could get to the other side if he took his time, headed in the right direction and was patient. He did all of that before he got in the bog.
So, before you tackle a project, assess how you’re going to do it. Or if you’re deep in the muck, quit flailing around and seek an answer.
Just by being still and calm we’re able to let our intuition guide us.
So many times, I’ve struggled with a problem and decided to reach out to my support crew for some guidance. Every time they come back with a solution which feels like I knew it deep down but just wanted the backup to go with it.
When we’re calm and quiet, we allow our intuition to be heard.
Learning to trust our gut feelings helps us make decisions faster.
The sooner we make a decision the sooner we can readjust if it’s the wrong one. Agonising over it, leaning one way then tilting back the other way just tires us out without really going anywhere.
Sure, getting curious about ourselves is sometimes pretty yuck. We’ve been trying to uphold a certain image for a long time. So delving into our less than glorious traits doesn’t feel too nice.
Everything in our society is geared towards comfort. The more cushioned we are, the less we have to stretch. That’s why hardcore events like obstacle course racing becomes so popular. We have to seek out ways to force ourselves to grow.
You won’t grow without a little discomfort.
So, allow yourself to stand in the mud, be uncomfortable, let it seep between your toes. Quit thrashing around and just be in the moment.
You’ll find a new perspective on what you’re really doing.
It’s the first step to discovering a better way to do it.
Do you run around being busy but getting little done?
Or are you a productivity ninja?
Let me know in the comments below.