How Doing 75% Less Will Make You More Productive

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I always thought I was an expert relaxer. I fancied myself as the sort of person who could enjoy an entire summer vacation stretched out in the grass, shoes off, basking in the sun. Until recently, I didn't recognize just how antsy I was, how there was this drive inside of me, propelled by a voice in my head, to do more, to be more, to get more organizedbe more productive, and go more places.

There is a part of me that judges when I sit down to relax. It's a common thing - to have our inner-critic vocalize its displeasure with us when we take a day, a week, or a summer off. We want to beat ourselves up when we "do" nothing, as the idea of the hustle-business-is something to which we all aspire. We believe that our success is measured by how busy we are.

The truth is that most of us are frantically doing, and yet we are not productive. We fill our time doing things: going to the bank, moving things from one room to another, buying more clothes, spending inordinate amounts of time planning a vacation and then finding reasons to not have fun when we arrive at our destination. We are always doing, but that doesn't mean that we're productive.

Most of what we think we need to do doesn't need to get done.

The things that would really make our lives better - writing that book we've always dreamed of writing, starting that business we always wanted to own, or getting that degree in what we're really passionate about - we don't actually do those things.

But we reorganize our sock drawers, take trips to K-Mart, go to the mall, buy new beach towels, pack lunch, go to the beach, clean, reorganize our closets, read about a new diet plan, fail to follow the new diet plan, and then beat ourselves up when we sit on the couch and eat popcorn.

The trick to being productive is doing less.

Stop to ask yourself: Do I really need to do this, to buy this, to go to the mall again? Is it absolutely imperative that I take my child to the movies today? Or go to the supermarket to buy that specific sort of rice I think I need? Or, can I relax and get myself in a state of ease and peace?

Because it's being in a state of calmness that will afford us the clarity as to what to do next.

It's feeling content, easy, and like we can just go-with-the-flow that will put us in the right mindset to really take action when it counts, not just when we're being fruitless.

We are the most creative, the most receptive, and the most productive, when we are calm and joyful. So relax: take your shoes off, forget about your shopping list or where you think you need to take your kids, and focus on your state of being. Because your state of being will dictate whether you make empowering choices that better your life, or whether you're just running around doing, doing, doing, but never getting anything done.