Are You Sabotaging Your Own Productivity?

Tips to keep you on task and motivated from a certified life coach
By Barbara Danza, Epoch Times
October 10, 2018 Updated: October 10, 2018    

Twenty-four. That’s how many hours we get in each day. That’s how many I get, you get, Elon Musk gets, and Leonardo da Vinci got.

So how is it that some people manage to live extraordinarily productive lives and some can barely stay on top of the laundry. (Eh hem.)

If you’re like many people, you can relate to both states of existence. You’ve had some days when you just crushed it. You felt like you lived up to your ideal potential, you conquered the mountain and delighted those around you while doing it. When your head hit the pillow that night, you felt satisfied, capable, and happy. Is this how Elon feels at the end of the day?

You’ve, perhaps, also had those days when getting out of bed felt more difficult than it should, your wheels kept spinning but you didn’t really get anywhere, and when your head hit the pillow that night, you pulled the covers over your head and wished the mountains of to-dos would miraculously disappear by morning. Did DaVinci ever have a day like that?

What’s the difference between those days? How can we have more days like the former and fewer of the latter? 

Below, life coach Sibylle Leon shares her advice on precisely that.

The Epoch Times: Why do people struggle with productivity?

Ms. Leon: Wanting to be like anyone else can be the first trap. Everyone has their own natural work rhythms and needs—highly sensitive people or introverts need more downtime.

Productivity looks different for different people.

The Epoch Times: In what ways do people commonly sabotage their own productivity or effectiveness each day?

Ms. Leon: Improper management of focus: They overestimate their ability to stay focused. Studies have shown that most people can’t maintain optimum focus for more than 50 minutes.

The ideal work rhythm seems to be 50 minutes of work followed by a 10-minute
break. When we try to get a lot done, we tend to make the mistake of thinking that we can’t afford breaks. In the end, we get less done that way.

Neglecting self-care: Everyone nods along when the importance of self-care is mentioned, but the truth is, when things get busy it’s often the first thing to fall through the cracks.

Women, especially, tend to be there for everyone else before they take a minute for themselves. When your vessel never gets refilled, it’s going to be empty sooner or later and your productivity suffers as a consequence.

Unrealistic expectations: The more we ask of ourselves, the more likely we are to fail to meet our own expectations. Then we yell at ourselves, feel bad, and, as an act of rebellion, do even less the next day. This is how many diets and exercise routines are broken, for example.

Neglecting physical needs: You need to find out which foods make you want to go to sleep and which give you energy. Unfortunately, when we have a lot to do, we tend to go for quick-fix options, such as fast food, which sap our energy rather than fuel it.

The Epoch Times: What can someone do to stop sabotaging their own productivity each
day?

Ms. Leon: Schedule your work. Set realistic goals and adopt a realistic work schedule with plenty of breaks.

Be sure to get away from your work during those breaks. For example, if you work at a desk, get up and step outside if possible. Walk around the block, or if you’re at home, put on a good tune and boogie around the room for a few minutes.

Practice self-care. Look after yourself and don’t work yourself to a breaking point. Self-care
is non-negotiable!

Schedule in plenty of time for a quiet evening on the couch with a book, or a luxury foam bath in the candlelight, or walks in nature, or a massage/manicure. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and good about yourself.

Pursue your passion. Schedule in downtime for rest and doing what you love. Nothing fuels motivation as much as being on fire from pursuing your passion. Better yet, make your passion your work, and as they say, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.

Nourish your body. Exercise and consume reasonably healthy food. Watch how your body feels after you eat certain foods, and draw your conclusions from that.

The Epoch Times: Do you have any other advice for people who wish to become more
productive, effective, and on top of things in their lives?

Ms. Leon: Prioritize your passion, that which lights you up.

Life’s not about paying bills and functioning and consuming.

It’s about being joyful and radiating love. Your passion shouldn’t be relegated to half an hour on a Sunday evening. When you’re filled to the brim with joy, it’s easy to get a lot of work done as
well.