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Keep calm and boost productivity

POSTED: June 12, 2014 2:00 p.m.
Seth Saunders/

Take ownership each day to boost your productivity and you will find greater happiness.

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     When was the last time you felt like your day was productive, I mean really productive? If you are struggling to remember then you may be just like so many others in going through each day just hoping to make it rather than really being able to accomplish what you want and need to.


     Replacing your actions by changing the words that may define your day will have an incredibly awesome impact on your day. See the truth of the matter is that when we are productive we are happier; we feel better about ourselves; we treat others with more respect; we desire to achieve our goals; we have more energy; and we see life differently.
However, the opposite is true as well. When we are not productive we do not see ourselves in a positive light; we feel down; we are less patient; we are not as fun to be around; and we just do not enjoy life as much.
So how can one become more productive each day? Try replacing key words that start with the letter 'P' each day and see what happens.

     Replace panic with preparation. How many times do we get to the end of the day and realize that we have not done one or more things that we had to get done? We feel our heart rate increase, maybe our anxiety and/or anger levels begin to rise and it seems almost impossible to go to sleep. This happens when panic sets in and it can happen often.
If you take just a couple of minutes each morning and night to prepare for what is ahead, you will see that feeling of panic go away. When you prepare, you are creating a plan of what needs to be done. You may use an app on your smartphone, you may write things down, but the key is to prepare so you don’t panic.

     Replace pretend with purpose. We have all pretended in our life. For some it is pretending to be someone else, for others it maybe that they pretend to be somewhere when they are actually somewhere else and for others it maybe that they pretend to accomplish things. They may go throughout their day pretending everything is great when it is not. They may pretend that life is full of nothing but beauty but when they close their front door, the fall into isolation, depression and sadness. When there is no real purpose, then the default is to pretend.

     To be more productive each day, wake-up with a purpose. Look at what you created during your preparation time and make things happen. Purpose empowers us where as there is no power in pretending.

     Replace problems with priorities. Whether we realize it or not, we are always prioritizing. The reality is, we have gotten so good at prioritizing we often don’t even have to think twice. This may be good at times but often it can cause more problems, especially when you are trying to be more productive.

     As you prepare for your day, set priorities to help keep you on track so that you minimize the potential for problems. Decide what are the tasks that must be done, they are vital and cannot wait until tomorrow. Stay focused and get those done without distraction. Then move on to your next prioritized tasks. If you do not prioritize, you will encounter problems.

     Replace pain with positivity. No one really enjoys pain but we do like it when things are going our way and when there is positivity in our life. The more we are focused on staying positive the less time or energy we have to be focused on the pain of not being productive.

     The pain spoken of is often emotional as we tend to be hard on ourselves when we are not living up to our potential. Thus, the more we can focus our energy on staying positive, the more we will see our pain minimized. Staying positive is not always easy but as you train yourself to focus on what is going well and you focus on what it will be like to accomplish your goals for the day, you will increase your motivation and not allow anything to stop you.

     Replace punishment with prizes. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you are productive. Set up some type of prize that you will give yourself once you have achieved your goals for the day.

     We are always so quick to punish ourselves when we do not achieve what we wanted or if we fall short. We have no problem allowing ourselves to feel down and frustrated but we are not quick to reward ourselves.

     Setting up small prizes can do wonders in helping you be more productive each day. For example, if you are someone who loves a great smoothie, don’t keep buying them just to buy them, use that as a reward. If you fall short, don’t buy a smoothie, save it as a prize for reaching your daily goal. It may sound small but in order to change habits, you must change the trigger.
Replace procrastination with productivity. Finally, the more productive you make each day, the less time you have to procrastinate. It is amazing how easy it is to fall into the procrastination tornado. Whether it is sitting down just to watch that one show or to update your social media, if you have not prepared for the day and set your priorities, you will encounter the problem of procrastination that leads to serious pain, punishment and panic.

     It is very difficult to be productive when we are in panic mode. What we end up being is reactive rather than proactive. Focus on the things that you know will help you be productive. Every person is different so there is no one size fits all so try new things to see what works for you.

    Now, keep calm and boost productivity. If you do the things listed here you will stay in control and that is key to achieving success. Don’t get so frustrated that you throw in the towel. Reset if you need to but don’t allow another day to go by that you do not increase your productivity. You are the only one that can control this so own it and make something great happen. You can do it.

     Seth Saunders is an executive business consultant and leadership coach. Seth has been married 18 years to his amazing wife, Amber, and is the proud father of three wonderful sons. He is passionate about helping others succeed.

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