We have all seen many articles about effectiveness, just yesterday; To-Done published yet another one. Each of these articles points out very interesting things... but, there are 4 basic elements that are far more important - feeling rested, not being hungry, having physical energy and keeping a positive state of mind.
Combined these 4 elements will provide you with much more energy, motivation and focus than any other method of effectiveness. Being good at handling list, tasks, schedules or emails are worth nothing if you are not physically on top of things.
So what does this all mean?
We all know the feeling of ineffectiveness when we are feeling tired. Getting enough sleep is an essential element. Enough sleep is generally 8 hours of continues sleep every day at a regular time.
I know 8 hours might sound like a lot, but that is the time your body needs to go trough varies stages of sleep during the night. At the very least, you should reserve 8 hours for sleep, even if you are not sleeping all the time.
Being rested is not only about getting a good night sleep; it is also about taking breaks during the day. A short break can improve your efficiency by as much 50-300%.
You should basically take a break every 30 minutes. By taking a break I mean get away from what you are doing - focus on something else. You need to get you mind of things.
A break can mean something as simple as 30 seconds of looking out the window, breathing deeply, and thinking of something that makes you feel good. Other times you might need more time - like 1-5 minutes. A simple exercise of Qigong is also a very effective way to relax.
It is important not to feel guilty about taking these breaks. I often see people working so hard to seem effective that they skip breaks and even lunch (I use to do that too). But, this is counter-productive. Taking breaks is a guaranteed way to be more effective throughout the day.
Of course there are times when you cannot take a break, like when you are in a meeting, or in the middle of a phone call. This is generally not a problem, as long as you remember to take a break afterwards.
Just as important as getting enough rest, is getting enough food. Food is the source of energy for our body, and you cannot be effective without it.
You should generally eat 6 times each day - yes, I do mean 6 times. You need this to keep your energy supplies at a sufficient level.
I know this seems like a lot, but "snack-time" is usually something you can do while working, or in the space of the 1-5 minutes breaks. But, the effect is fantastic - it prevents you from feeling "drained".
Being in shape physically is equally important. It determines how effectively you can store and use your energy reserves. If you are not in shape, your energy storage is limited.
There are two types of exercises. One is the type where you push your body to the extreme. You do not have to have the same physical shape as an Olympic runner or look like a bodybuilder. Neither would be good for you.
The other one is exercise for normal people. You need to get your body to a physical shape that you can run a mile without feeling that you are about to die. It doesn't really matter how long it takes.
Then you should exercise gently every other day. Go for a 1-hour walk, or take your bike for a gentle 3-4 mile ride. It doesn't have to be every day, but over a period of one week, you should exercise for a total of 3-4 hours.
The effect is that you can store more energy in your body, which allows you to face stressful situations better.
The 3 elements described above are all physical in nature. They help you to be physically ready for work. Having a "positive state of mind" allows you to be mentally ready too.
We are all facing situations that are boring. Maybe something happened at home that made you angry or your co-worker is simply just being annoying. But, these negative feelings will very drastically reduce your effectiveness.
You need to force your brain to think positively.
One way is to remember:
A simply but powerful way to get over problems is to "forgive them". Sure enough they made you angry, but by forgiving them you can remove the negative thought and focus on your work.
The 4 elements, "Rest", "Food", "Exercise" and "Positives" allows you be able to do much more. It will make it easier for you to enter "the flow", and stay there even after your have been disturbed.
Of course, you will always benefit from focusing on concepts like "Getting Things Done", resource management and "saying no". But, being in a positive physical and mental state is like magic for your effectiveness.
Full access for... $9 per month
Full access for... $99 per year
Join 'The Weekly Update' to get an email every Friday afternoon with the latest from Baekdal + noteworthy articles from around the web.
What the shift in media is really all about.
Free for subscribers
$8.79 on Amazon
It is not about creating a shop in a tab. It is about turning communication into sale.
Free for subscribers
$7.58 on Amazon