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About Everything Wiki » Productivity » How to work calmly and remain productive when everything is on fire

How to work calmly and remain productive when everything is on fire

05 Jun 2023, 00:00, parser
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1. Learn to take things easier that cannot be controlled

Many factors can cause stress during the working day. Perhaps the most annoying of them is the feeling that you constantly do not have enough time for everything or that you do not manage it well.

We know that we cannot control the number of hours in a day, but for some reason we are constantly trying to do this. Although for calm and productive work, on the contrary, we need to accept the fact that there are things beyond our control. Just like time.

The philosophy of stoicism will help you change your attitude to such things.

Darius Foro
Author of books and articles about self-development.

It has the idea of indifference. Its essence is that you begin to feel easier about what you mentally mark as "indifferent". For example, if the printer is broken, you are not angry, but you attribute the situation to the category of indifferent. This is not something important and does not deserve much attention.

Of course, it's one thing when it comes to minor troubles, and another when it comes to serious health or work problems. To deal with them more calmly, use another idea of stoicism — to concentrate on what is in your power. This includes your abilities, life priorities and what you can do right now to change the situation for the better.

2. Review your list of priorities

The ability to choose priorities is the key to productivity. The difficulty is that they can change over time, but it's very difficult to just stop doing a task from the list of the most important ones. It's a pity for the brain to give up a case in which it has already invested a lot of effort. This is due to cognitive distortions such as the trap of drowned costs and the Zeigarnik effect.

Therefore, you need to develop another skill — periodically reevaluate your priorities and exclude those that have ceased to matter. Here's what will help in this:

  • Set time limits for projects and tasks. At certain points of the day, evaluate what you are doing, whether it is really important.
  • Write a list of things you don't need to do, for a day or for a longer period.
  • Once a week, conduct a priority assessment.
  • If you feel that you are confused, ask the opinion of the team or the manager. They will help you see the picture from the outside.

3. Protect yourself from burnout

Build a day around one anchor task

If you constantly think about how much you need to do, it will be difficult to concentrate. Choose one task and do it. When you're done, a sense of your own progress will fuel motivation and help you move on.

The author of the book "Atomic Habits " James Clear calls such a thing an anchor for the day.

James clear
Blogger, coach, author of articles and books about self-improvement.

Although my plans include completing other tasks during the day, I have one priority that I have to do. I call it an anchor task because it holds my whole day. This priority business directs actions, forcing you to organize life around yourself.

Focus on how you help others

Remind yourself of this when you are stressed or feeling overwhelmed. The feeling that you are helping people increases D. P. Moynihan, T. DeLeire, K. Enami. A life worth living: Evidence on the relationship between prosocial values and happiness / American Review of Public Administration job and life satisfaction in general.

If your work doesn't directly affect people, think about your colleagues and the values you share with them. A sense of community will also help to look at work more optimistically.

Get inspired

How exactly, it's up to you. The main thing is to find something that brings you pleasure and helps you disconnect from work. For example, you can spend time in nature, play games or watch favorite movies.

4. Manage your energy, not time

Productivity usually depends on how much energy we have, not time. And energy fluctuations during the day are regulated by the chronotype — our daily biorhythms. It is the chronotype that determines when we are full of energy and when we need rest. Therefore, it is important to determine your own and build a working day based on it.

If you doubt which chronotype you have, take a short test. It was compiled by Daniel Pink, author of the book "Timehacking":

  1. Write down what time you go to bed if you don't have to get up at a certain time the next day.
  2. Set what time you wake up on such days.
  3. Find the midpoint between these two points. For example, if you go to bed at one in the morning and wake up at nine, your midpoint is five in the morning.

The chronotype is determined by the midpoint:

  • before 3:30 a.m. — lark;
  • after 5:30 a.m. — owl;
  • between 3:30 and 5:30 — pigeon.

5. Find Your Ideal Work Habits

Our daily actions largely depend on habits, which is why it is so important to find those that work exactly for you. But most often we try to make a useful habit by choosing something at random, and soon we give it up. Instead, use a scientific approach.

Scientists test ideas differently than we do in everyday life. They are conducting an experiment under controlled conditions. This helps them track the results and find out exactly what happened and why. This method can also be used to identify habits that make you the most productive.

Proceed as follows:

  1. Put a question. For example, "How can I keep up more in the time that I have?"
  2. Gather information. Study articles, books, podcasts in search of possible solutions.
  3. Formulate a hypothesis. Choose one productivity strategy and imagine what will happen if you follow it. For example: "If I do X, I will get the result Y".
  4. Conduct an experiment. Determine the time interval and follow the results.
  5. Analyze the received data. Was your hypothesis correct? If not, why not? What can be changed in the conditions to get the desired result?
  6. Keep experimenting until you find the right productivity strategies for you.
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