Set The “Conditions” For Success (hint: airplane mode)
Let us guess — you’ve already cleaned your apartment or home about a hundred times already since this whole thing started? Not surprisingly, cleaning and tidying is one of the first things we do when we feel stress or overwhelm. It helps us declutter our physical space, but what we don’t realize is how much it helps us gain clarity in our mental headspace.
If you’re searching for creativity, you most likely seek open space, light, and a sense of calm.
If you’re seeking workout motivation, you most likely seek more energy, strength, and intensity in your environment.
If you’re trying to sleep, you most likely seek a quiet, dark, and restful place.
Why, then, do we complicate the matter and try to eat, work, workout, play, and be calm all in the same place?
If our setting is not right, our mindset is not right.
For parents reading this, how hard is it to get things done with your kids screaming in the background? It is the same distraction in the office when people are being unproductive while you’re trying to get work done. We are constantly trying to multi-task things that should not be coupled together, like texting and driving. For a less dangerous anecdote, think back to having a conversation with someone while they’re scrolling through Instagram; they have absolutely no idea what you’re saying while they nod along in agreement.
The goal here is to set the conditions for success, which means managing your environment to be conducive to the task at hand. Then, it is giving that task your full focus.
Being present with the task you’re attempting to give focus to is easier because the environment is set up for success. As humans, we’re bad at multi-tasking. It’s also an inefficient way to get things done even though it feels like you’re wasting less time.
The following is a great habit to develop to overcome this type of distraction:
- Make a list of no more than six tasks you must complete today. These are your priorities; order them as such (i.e. if you had to complete ONLY one task, it would be the first item on your list).
- Give your full focus to one task you must complete today — block time on your calendar (where you keep all other priorities) and do not allow interference (hint: use airplane mode on your phone and shut your browsers).
- The final step, and most important, is to complete a task-starting or task-ending ritual. Audibly express out loud, “I am starting work on [insert essential priority form your task list].” When you are finished, state, “Done.” This applies even if you need to take a break.
- Complete this “task-switching” ritual as you move through your task list. Want to check your phone? Great, say, “Done”, stand up and leave your workspace, take your phone off airplane mode, and do what you need to do.
Your brain is really smart. It also follows directions pretty well. If you tell it to try and do 14 things at once, it will try; unfortunately, it’ll fail miserably or you’ll underperform on that task.
It is about setting the physical and mental conditions for success.
Want to remove the distraction of texting while driving? Put your phone somewhere you won’t be tempted to pick it up (put your playlist on before you start driving…). Remove the non-essential task (i.e. anything but turning the wheel, pressing the pedals, and paying attention to the road).
Want to get in shape? Dedicate this as a “task”, give it the mental focus it deserves, and stop checking your phone, email, or otherwise in the middle of getting after it. Work mode and workout mode are not the same; don’t confuse the two.
Your goal for today is to create this task list and go to work.
If you want to get your mindset right, download our FREE live better mindset e-book here.