At times I feel like I have total control over what I’m doing and things are going great; I’m in the flow! Then other times I feel like my to-do list is some kind of nasty gloopy bacteria that multiplies fiendishly quickly into a pile of yicky mess that I daren’t go near. It was during one of these moments that I finally decided to read Graham Alcott’s book “How to think like a productivity ninja”. Having attended his book launch, I knew that this book would be able to help, but as with all remedies for bad habits and behaviour, we don’t turn to them until were actually *in* the shit. And for me, that was recently.
Having nearly finished it, all I can say is this: “what the hell took me so long?!” This book is a fantastic read if you want to create clarity in your mind around the information overload that swarms us all; emails 24/7, social media updates and messages, work to-do lists, home projects, voicemails, post… the list goes on. Graham does a brilliant job at helping you to change how you view all of this so that by the end you feel a little dose of zen-like calm descending on your productivity habits (he loves a bit of zen!).
[I was fortunate to be able to interview Graham for my radio show on all things productivity – you can catch the radio episode at the bottom of this post]
I found this book fabulous for so many reasons, but mainly because it recognises our human nature and as a result takes a holistic approach to productivity. Sure, this book includes loads of super useful practical stuff like, how to categorise your inbox (that alone was a huge help for me) but Graham also talks about the non-practical stuff. I mean things like mindfulness and managing our minds, listening to our resistance, understanding why we get stressed and how we respond to stress. Obviously, this is territory that I understand all too well and so as I was reading this book, I was particularly mindful of my personal gremlins that pop up and hinder me on my path to productivity. One of the things I realised was that I have issues around needing to feel organised and the very fact that my to-do list can’t sit still for one minute to enable me to feel that means that I subsequently, and constantly, feel chaotic and disorganised. It’s these feelings of chaos and disorganised-ness that create my internal stress, that in turn leads to emotions arising within. When the emotions arise, they manifest themselves in my body (sick feeling in stomach, sweaty palms etc) and I’m pretty much paralysed in productivity terms and do the dog equivalent of running around my office chasing my tail. So, for me this was a good place to start. I’m familiar with helping people to become more productive, after all, I’ve helped my clients with their issues around productivity. But, usually it involves stuff like this…
- Feelings of overwhelm by the sheer quantity of tasks
- Creative block
- Writer’s block
- Motivation for the tasks
- Self sabotage and whether they’re actually working towards the right goal
- Their belief in ability to actually do the tasks
- The internal conflict that exists between coming up with lots of ideas versus completing tasks
Anyway, back to my issue with feeling disorganised. Once I cleared my emotional charge around feeling disorganised, I was able to approach my to-do list with a much clearer mind minus the panicky feelings. This meant that I was able to actually just get on with it, rather than fruitlessly chase my tail. The result was a load of things ticked off my list and a lot more focus and clarity. Bingo!
Now, the thing about identifying your own personal blocks is that there are usually more than one. So, while clearing my unpleasant feelings about feeling disorganised is a great starting point, it might not the end of the story as other blocks may arise and make themselves known (which they most definitely did – see below for more on that). The trick here is having the tools to hand to be able to bat these blocks away as they arise. So, what did I do?
Well, at this point I will invite you to download our free “Clear your head trash” guide on our homepage because in there you will discover the basics of the technique that I used, Reflective Repatterning. Without that, the next bit of this article will not mean much to you. Once you’ve read that, the next part will make a lot more sense.
Then, all you have to do is to follow the instructions in the guide and when you get to P13, use the following phrases as per the instructions.
Now, because my issue was “being disorganised and living in chaos” these are the phrases that I used. Feel free to replace “being disorganised and living in chaos” in the sentences with whatever your issue is.
I love, adore and enjoy being disorganised and living in chaos.
Being disorganised and living in chaos is a wonderful, fabulous thing.
I hate and despise being disorganised and living in chaos.
Being disorganised and living in chaos is a horrid, horrid thing.
I love adore and enjoy other people being totally disorganised and living in chaos.
I hate and despise other people being totally disorganised and living in chaos.
I love and enjoy making other people feel totally disorganised and living in chaos.
I hate and despise making other people feel totally disorganised and living in chaos.
I love and enjoy being made to feel totally disorganised and forced to live in chaos by other people and events in my life.
I hate and despise being made to feel totally disorganised and forced to live in chaos by other people and events in my life.
Did you have a go? If so, how did you get on? Did other blocks come up for you? If so, what were they?
Now, the perceptive among you might recall that I other stuff came up for me once I cleared my feelings of disorganised-ness and chaos. Sure, once I felt calmer about what I had to do, I came up with a pretty fantastic to-do list. It was well written, nicely structured, achievable and clear. It had been ages since my to-do list had been so organised! What more could I ask for? Well, the motivation to just get on with it, that’s what! And that’s what I lacked. Wanna know why? I realised that was self-sabotaging on a huge scale! There was something inside that was holding me back. But that’s another blog post entirely. If you want to find out how I went about clearing self-sabotage then read the follow-up post:
And here’s when I got the chance to chat to Chief Productivity Ninja Graham Allcott on all things productivity for my radio show
Illustration: Phil Wrigglesworth