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How to Be More Productive By HAVING FUN…

14 March 2011 No Comment

african american children playing with pumpkins

Don’t Become a Workaholic

This is one of my biggest issues: if you’re a procrastinator, being a workaholic probably seems like a good problem to have, but the reality is that procrastinators and workaholics have A LOT in common. (More on this further down…)

Most of the time, I don’t eat well, I don’t really connect with the important people in my life and I don’t get away from the computer at all. I try to read while I cook, I try to check my emails while I’m on the phone and I try to act like I’m too tough to take care of myself. I’ve been letting my ambition supercede my well-being.

I don’t want this to happen to you (because the tendency is to shift from one end of the spectrum to the other), so I’m ending the Conquer Yourself series with this advice: DON’T BECOME A WORKAHOLIC…IT IS NOT TRUE, SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTIVITY.

A truly productive life is meaningful and purpose-driven, NOT enslaved to an onslaught of tasks and responsibilities. When you’re a workaholic like I’ve been for too long now, not only do feel overworked all the time, you also forget why you started doing things in the first place: you lose your sense of purpose and what was once significant to you degenerates into another form of “work.”

I’ll spend the rest of this post quoting from Niel Fiore in his book The Now Habit. He actually has an entire chapter devoted to this idea called, “Guilt Free Play, Quality Work,” and it’s some solid advice…

Guilt-Free Play, Quality Work

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living…” ~ Dale Carnegie

“‘Putting off living’ is the most tragic form of procrastination we can engage in…attempting to skimp on holidays, rest and exercise leads to a suppression of the spirit and a decline of motivation because life begins to look like all spinach and no desert. To sustain high levels of motivation and lessen the urge to procrastinate, we need guilt-free play that provide us with periods of mental and physical rejuvenation.

Similar characteristics separate workaholics and procrastinators from producers and peak performers. They both:

- See themselves as always burdened by incomplete work. They see themselves as always working yet still undeserving of rest.

- Think of their lives as “being on hold,” with only a faint hope of someday being successful enough to enjoy living.

- View human beings as lazy and in need of discipline, so they feel people need pressure in order to be motivated. Procrastinators respond to this pressure with feelings of overwhelm and anxiety; workaholics with constant busyness and stress.

- Maintain a negative attitude toward work, seeing it as infinite and insatiable (impossible to satisfy). They think success requires deprivation and sacrifice, a sacrifice workaholics are willing to make often to avoid getting too close to anyone. Procrastinators exaggerate the sacrifice and escape it with halfhearted play out of the fear that they’ll never be able to play again…

Both workaholics and chronic procrastinators are either constantly working or constantly feeling guilty about not working…

(Producers and Peak Performers on the other hand think,) ‘I don’t have to force myself to come to work. I’ve escaped the confines of those old-school definitions of work, play and human nature. I have my own sense of purpose that helps me combine work and play.’

From studying their performance styles, I’ve learned that guilt-free play is essential to attaining quality work and minimizing procrastination. A firm commitment to guilt-free play will recharge your batteries, create renewed motivation, enhance your creativity and energize you for all the other areas of your life. When you know that work WILL NOT deprive you of enjoying the good things in life, you can more easily tackle a large tasks without the fear of having it rule you.

Guilt free play is based on the seeming paradox that in order to do productive high-quality work on important projects, you must stop putting off living and engage wholeheartedly in recreation and relaxation. That’s right, you can actually be more productive if you play more! And as you put the strategy of guilt-free play to use, you’ll learn to play more AND complete more work.

Since one of the reasons we procrastinate is out of the fear that work will deprive us of play and enjoyment in life, guilt-free play fixes this problem by insisting that you plan recreation into your weekly schedule…

It all starts in childhood: adults usually think of play as being separate from learning and work, but play is an essential part of every child’s development and learning about work. Through play we’ve learned the physical, mental and social skills necessary for adult life.

With toys and their imagination, children create scenarios that rehearse them for work, relationships and conflict – they express difficult feelings, negotiate promises, solve problems, and learn perseverance and deep concentration. Some of the most essential and complex learning we get about “work” is actually done while “playing.

(However, work environments, well-meaning parents and society as a whole eventually teach children that) work is unpleasant and that we are all lazy. We’re lead to believe that we need the pressure of “have to’s” and “should’s” in order to keep us from escaping through play, and this loss of guilt-free play makes the task of life seem more depriving and difficult then it needs to be. Consequently, incorporating guilt-free play back into your life can revive your early childhood excitement about learning and doing.”

Pull-Motivation, Push-Motivation

“We’re more likely to work productively when we can anticipate pleasure and success rather than isolation and anxiety…When attempting to motivate yourself to start working on a goal, do you use pressure to push yourself with force or attraction to pull yourself forward naturally???

Here’s some examples of each:

‘Private Jones, if you don’t finish peeling that truckload of potatoes by 1700 hours, you’ll lose your weekend pass for the next six months.’

‘This firm needs to generate $200,000 worth of sales this month or we’ll all be looking for jobs.’

‘Unless you increase the number of clients you find each day to at least fifteen, you can find yourself employment elsewhere.’

‘This freshman class had better learn now that you’re in for a lot of hard work. By the end of the semester, you’ll have read this entire shelf of books; and by the time you graduate, this entire wall.’

‘Private Jones, with each basket of potatoes, you’ll be earning another days leave. If you can finish that truck by 1700 hours, you’ll earn an additional weekend pass.’

‘We need to generate $200,000 worth of sales this month. That means we’ll all need to put out some extra effort so we can breath easier next month. I’d like to hear some ideas on what we need to do to increase calls, customer contacts and closing of sales by at least ten percent.’

‘This week you’ll be learning how to keep your client on the topic and politely complete the contact. Within two weeks you’ll be able to comfortably see fifteen clients a day.’

‘Imagine that as you read a chapter in your textbook, you’re placing it on this empty shelf. Chapter by chapter, book by book, you’ll fill this entire shelf 1st semester, and naturally, by graduation, this entire wall.’

The Pull Method of Self-Motivation understands that distant and indefinite rewards have little power to motivate someone to face continuous difficulty, and instead, uses the more immediate and definable rewards of life: leisure, time with friends, etc. In other words, to control your work habits, make the periods of work shorter (less painful) and the rewards more frequent (more pleasurable).

…If you’re interested in tackling a large task and minimizing procrastination, you must structure the rewards so as to increase the probability that you’ll start on the task each day.” ~ Niel Fiore, PhD.

Hope that makes sense…take care of yourself..


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