How to be Effective

How effective are you when you’re tired? Probably not as effective as when you’re rested. When I’m well rested, I’m a machine. I’m effective. I’m present. I’m more relaxed. I enjoy life more.

When I’m even slightly tired my effectiveness is hampered. My ability to fully enjoy a conversation with a friend is reduced. My enthusiasm to go swimming takes a dive (pun intended!). I might still turn up at the party, but I won’t enjoy it as much. I won’t be as present. I might still be productive at work. I might still be doing things efficiently, but I lack the fuel to tackle deep work. The tasks that are effective. The tasks that matter.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” — Peter Drucker

We need to prioritise sleep. We need to stop using how tired we are as a badge of honour. “I only slept four hours last night!”. Ok, but is the work you’re doing important? Are you being effective or just efficiently tidying up your inbox? Are you truly present, relaxed and engaged?

When was the last time you went without your smart phone for a day? When was the last time you just sat? Literally, just sat. Not tweeting, not texting, not scrolling aimlessly consuming drivel, simply so your hands have something to do and you don’t feel so self-conscious while you wait for your friend to come back from the bathroom.

We need to prioritise downtime. Meditation. Walking. Exercise. Reading fiction before bed to help quiet our monkey mind. Most importantly, time disconnected. Time away from those fucking screens. The phone that constantly threatens to steal your feelings of presentness. And often does. Time spent doing nothing. Because doing nothing, is doing something.

We need to find stillness and perspective. We need to prioritise effectiveness over efficiency. We need to prioritise down-time, nothing-time and sleep, so we can wake up ready. Ready to enjoy each day engaged and present. Ready to do the work that matters. Ready, in no small way, to change the world.

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