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The internet is filled with “productivity hacks”. Wake up at 4 am, and start the day with a power yoga session. Drink exactly 2.5 cups of coffee. Write a list of 17 items, prioritize 5. Work for 30 minutes, take 10 minute breaks. Sit by a window. Put post-its with inspirational quotes all around the house. Get an app to block notifications. And sure, some of these things might work. For example, it’s probably a good idea to get daylight and coffee into our system, and it’s great to make a list with our most important tasks. But learning to become more productive doesn’t have to be rocket science. There’s only one thing that really matters when it comes down to it; to get our work done, we must learn to enjoy the process.
Now, not all work is created equal, but most types of work will fall into one of three categories.
First of all, there are the “Things We Have to Do”. These include going to work in the morning, handing in an essay, or booking a dentist appointment. It can be hard for us to feel motivated do these things. But most of the time, we get them done, because we have to.
Secondly, there are “Things We REALLY Have to Do”. They are the things that are even more crucial than the first category, for example, attending a job interview and doing our taxes. These things are pretty easy to get done because the consequences of not doing them are too scary.
Even so, we often manage to leave them until the last-minute, or to half-ass them. As idiotic as it sounds, I’ve definitely been late to job interviews more than once.
Lastly, there are “Things We Want to Do in Life”. We all have different hobbies and projects. These are things we love or dream about doing, but even so, actually doing them can take some real motivation. Also, we rarely have a deadline or someone telling us to do them. So we end up procrastinating these things and just do what is easy instead, like watching Netflix.
So, How can we learn to get more of these different types of work done, and more effectively?
The One Hack You Need to Get More Done in Life: Learning to Enjoy the Process
Being More Productive
Getting more done comes down to one simple equation: SEE + START + SURRENDER
We need to SEE is to visualize a future with the best possible version of ourselves. It’s taking just a minute to ask, who do I want to be? Do I want to be the kind of person who procrastinates, or do I want to get this done? It’s also creating a plan for how we will do the work. What kind of things, small or big, could we do make it more enjoyable?
START is the push we need to begin, and that’s always the hardest part. It’s not complicated, we just have to force ourselves to get started. To just begin.
SURRENDER is when we accept the present moment and go into flow. To get work done, we must find a way to enjoy the process, or at least to find some kind of meaning in it.
Going With The Flow
The meaning behind what motivates us can be anything – that we’re making money, that we’re making a dream come true, or simply that something has to get done.
No matter what, we can find some meaning in it. For example:
- learning new things
- pushing ourselves just to see how far we can go
- how nice it will feel when it’s done
This, in combination with learning to surrender, will make us unstoppable.
To surrender is to stop resisting, even when we aren’t working on the most fun or easy task.
In any given moment, it would be lovely to just have coffee with friends, read a good book or watch some videos on the Internet. But life can’t be just leisure time (unfortunately). We need to have long-term goals, and we have to earn money (with the exception of a few very privileged people), which is why we have to work. That’s why learning to surrender and enjoy the process of work, is a crucial life skill.
Anything can be fun when we let go of resistance. That’s when we go into flow mode, when we’re immersed in the work and time seems to fly.
Learning How to Enjoy the Process
A few years ago, I had a big test coming up. It was an entrance exam to university, and the test was only available to take once per year. I had already failed the test once in the past, and if I didn’t get in, I would have to wait another year for my next chance.
This time, I wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers.
So, I kept thinking about the end result I wanted, and how amazing it would feel when I got a place at the university. I made a detailed plan for how much I’d have to study, and what exact topics for each day. I also planned how I could make the study sessions more enjoyable.
Every day I forced myself to start, even when I didn’t feel like it. Having good music in the background kept me going. I always brought snacks and water. The places I studied at were varied – I went to different libraries that I liked and also to come cozy cafes.
I was creative with using different techniques, like lists, mind maps and memory rules. Lastly, I made sure to take plenty of breaks. Even though it was a stressful time, I enjoyed it. I’d never worked so hard for anything, which is why I was amazed at how much fun it was. Later that summer, when I got my acceptance letter, I had made myself so proud.
What I had done was so simple: SEE + START + SURRENDER.
Creating a Successful Life
This is the kind of person I always want to be: someone who goes for their dreams while maintaining a healthy balance between work and free time.
So, What is success? For me personally, it doesn’t exist without happiness – to enjoy the process of whatever it is we are doing in the present. Even if we can’t love every single moment – we all have bad days and difficult times – we can always make the best of it. The more we learn to make life more enjoyable, the better it will get.
Think of how much more we could love our lives if we’d have more fun with work.
So, before we try all of these productivity hacks, we should first think of what we can do to enjoy the process.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for enjoying life, focusing on the present, and staying positive?
A Guest Post by Tuuli Tuominen of GoalCrushClub.com
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