A More Mindful Approach to Productivity and Life Hacking

Mindful Productivity, Myth, Fact or Fiction?

Learn About The Three Pillars of Awareness, Which Will Help You Overcome Performance Anxiety, Regain Control and Feel Confident

We live in a time and culture that is obsessed with productivity and despite our best efforts, anxiety is at an all time high. Studies show that anxiety disorders are now the most common mental illness in the U.S.

It affects 40 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Based on our research, anxiety around the world has a society has increased steadily since 1930’s. 

So, what that means is, over the course of 90 years, despite our technological, social and cultural advances, our anxiety continues to increase.  

Worldwide it is estimated that 7.3% of the world population are impacted by anxiety — thats over 600 million people negatively impacted by anxiety. This is a big problem. 

Take a critical eye to your news headlines, Facebook and Twitter feeds through the lens of anxiety, if your like us, you will be shocked how prevalent and persistent anxiety seems to be. 

We are exploring this topic because we are curious, wondering why despite all our advances in health, economics and technology, humans still struggle with anxiety.  We are intentionally choosing to explore this topic through the lens of “performance anxiety”. 

You should know that we are not psychologists and the views expressed within are simply our own. However, they are based on our reflections as business coaches, Greg with a career spanning 3 decades and hundreds of clients.  Amee brings her 10 years in science, business and technology plus a decade of coaching and mentoring people in crises to this important topic.

Something is wrong and needs to change. What if the entire productivity mindset and our driving need for ”progress” and getting things done, has its root in anxiety?  What if this need to to see progress in our lives, has simply made us addicts of our own thirst for performance based acceptance? 

We submit that we have all been conditioned to chase goals as the so called secret to success. 

We have also been told that we must chase these goals to avoid failure. So then, we dutifully create lists and take delight being able to check them off as complete. We think to ourselves ”Good going, you are one step closer to your goal.” When we hear our clients surface these thoughts, we always ask “What are you experiencing when you achieve your goal?”  The reason we ask this question is because in our experience, we know there is more to this issue than one might imagine. 

What if our goal oriented thinking is a thinking virus, which triggers us to pursue performance based acceptance and chase the very broad and elusive goal of “productivity”? When this happens, we can easily get trapped chasing other peoples expectations or satisfying our egos need for achievement.

If so, then we say, we don’t have a productivity problem, we have an thinking problem. 

When we think we are chasing important goals, we might only be chasing symptoms of the real problem. 

When this happens, we think we can solve all of our problems if we can be just a bit more productive. Why are we constantly chasing better, faster and cheaper?  The reason is we think it is logical and makes sense, however, there could be a problem with that way of thinking.

When we are obsessed with better, faster and cheaper it can cause us to focus on the wrong things because we get tunnel vision.

We also suggest that this “productivity mindset” as a path toward success, is actually contributing to our anxiety, stress and fatigue. If true, then the stress and tension we endure in an effort to resolve the gap, between what we think success looks like and what we have to do to be seen as successful, creates an inner conflict. To resolve this incongruence we mistakenly think that we must conquer our goals at all costs, because we think that is the solution to our internal battle.

This drive and propensity to always complete our check lists efficiently makes us feel better on the short term. However, this internal battle reinforces an unconscious, automatic addiction to performance based acceptance.  We end up compromising our own priorities, values and beliefs in order to gain acceptance and approval from others. The reason we end up compromising our values, priorities and beliefs is because our ego is blind to those things. The ego becomes obsessed with the illogical need to perform tasks and goals no matter what.

This persistent anxiety for productivity, which lies below our awareness, is a thirst which must be satiated. Often, we think the logical answer to relieving this anxiety is to be productive. Plus, productivity hacks, tips and tricks make us feel like we are “doing something, that we’re productive”.  When in fact, we are simply performing like a robot going through the motions unconsciously.  It seems to provide us with a sense that we are “getting what we want” and doing something constructive with our time. But what if it is simply a way to avoid confronting our deep-seated, buried dissatisfaction with the quality of our life, by just getting busy?

In our book, The Lost Guru we assert that “we often truly don’t know “what” we want. We think we know what we want and that is part of the problem.” 

We know you think you actually do know what you want i.e. less stress, increased happiness, personal growth or more success. These are not actually  “goals”, they are broad generalizations, which have the potential to destroy your drive and fools you into thinking you are making progress. In fact, they could actually be impeding your ability to create real movement towards what you really want to experience.  This is because you are doing the wrong thing, at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. You are deviating from getting to where you want to go because you’re chasing general goals blindly. You don’t actually know that those generalized goals are going to get you what you want. There is a better way than playing goal and productivity ping pong.

A Different, Mindful Approach To Productivity

Perhaps now is the time to consider a different way to measure success and satisfaction in life. The achievers, entrepreneurs and leaders in corporations we’ve met tend to look at life through the lens of productivity. This is understandable since our quality of life is either directly or indirectly linked to our effectiveness, efficiency and self-efficacy.

Consider this.

What if we stopped measuring the degree of our productivity and began measuring satisfaction and success by degrees of our participation, presence and patience? We would assert that the secret to a happy and fulfilling life, lies in beginning to measure what brings us satisfaction, meaning and a joyful experience. We assert there are three key concepts to change our unhealthy productivity and goal chasing habits into a more congruent, positive and sustainable life with equilibrium. 

Presence, being truly present in the moment called “Now”, is our only Point of Power to create real change. It is the only moment in which we can make headway in improving our lives and creating the future we imagined for ourselves. It is the only moment where we can apply our creativity and problem solving skills.

Participation, the quality of our experience and our results is contingent upon the degree to which we are engaged, in the present moment, and actively focusing our energies and effort on something which will create forward movement in our lives. 

Patience, recognizes that cause and effect, over an extended period of time is what will make us truly effective and productive. When we exercise patience, we are working on the right things, at the right time for the right reason(s). No longer are we spinning our wheels chasing the elusive productivity monster.

In our experience, measuring fulfillment through the lenses of presence,  participation and patience are far superior to improving our experience of our life and business than productivity alone. 

If this resonates with you, perhaps it is time to explore what other mental habits might be preventing you from Fully Inhabiting Your Life and accessing your intrinsic wisdom.