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From the desk of Coach James

The Holy Grail of productivity, how to get more done in a day.

In my long quest to put myself back together after being in a car crash when I was five, I’ve learned a lot about rehabilitation and psychology, and I am now steering my interests toward mental health.

What I’ve come to realise is that when we feel like we have achieved something we get a sense of satisfaction, and feel life is worth living; when we don’t achieve anything, or feel productive, over a period of time this can be what makes someone feel depressed and worthless. Worthless because they are not accomplishing anything meaningful to them.

How we feel determines how we react to life and creates the world we live in; our perception of reality. So if we can feel productive and have a good level of self-esteem, then life will be good.

What was the first thing you did today? For many of us we have these devices called mobile phones. If your phone is your alarm clock then it probably made some grievous noise which you stopped instantly, before checking for notifications from social media and email? I don’t use my phone as an alarm, but I do turn it on soon after I wake up, and it quickly has a fit, startling me with notifications from myriad apps. That then creates a feeling of anguish in me; what does the world want from me today; how many private messages do I have to reply to, how many people have birthdays on Facebook that I must click on? Even before I’ve brushed my teeth I’m stressed out. Then all day I’m on tenterhooks as soon as my phone pings, chimes, or vibrates in my pocket I feel like I must react. When I get in the flow of productivity I can achieve something I am pleased with, which gives me a sense of satisfaction when I go to sleep at night.

For a few months I’ve not been very productive, or feeling that way at least. I’ve still been busy, but busy being busy, not busy being productive. I’ve been trying to finish writing my third book, write blogs, and a few other things. I get distracted very easily, so pings and chimes have become productivity vampires. I remember my editor when I worked on Esquire magazine, interviewed a bestselling author whose book was turned into a film. The guy said the only way he could get his work done and be a prolific writer was to turn the Internet off.

Something popped up on YouTube and it was a video of a lifestyle entrepreneur who said: modern technology is great, we have more information at our fingertips than we know what to do with. The cell phone (he’s American) is a tool that we cannot live without. But it is just a tool to be used, don’t become a tool to it by pandering to every chirp it makes. A valid point I thought. If Siri told you what to do, would you do it? No, you’d probably turn it off.

As a result of that little video on YouTube I went to Settings on my phone and turned OFF all notifications and lived happily ever after. The world has not ended because I'm not at it’s beck and call responding to pings at the drop of a hat, like I was. I can get in and stay in productivity flow, getting stuff that matters done. I have breaks when I’ll check for notifications, but I will get to them rather than the other-way-round. So for me, that has been the Holy Grail to getting more stuff done, feeling productive, and sleeping better knowing I have achieved something.

As people, we are all pretty much the same by design, so this may be relevant to you and I hope it helps you get more important stuff done than knowing your Instagram selfie just got a Like.

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