Affirming that “I am supported” has positively triggered me to approach being productive in a new way, a better way. This is a heartfelt petition to adjust how you engage with your work so that you can perform better, with more joy and sanity. You can even nurture your health and your relationships without missing out on your dreams.
“I believe high performance productivity includes scheduled-in free time.” — Brendon Burchard, world-renowned high-performance trainer
Friendship is therapy. Adventure is a form of recovery. Breaks are necessary if we want to perform well in our chosen work.
We need to prioritize these areas of our lives—relationships, taking breaks, feeling like we’re truly alive—to be productive and prolific in our work because without them, we head for burnout.
I know this personally to be a fact.
Listening to the audiobook of Brendon Burchard’s most recent book, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, I began to really let the truth sink in. I needed a break. Not just in that moment, but I needed breaks scheduled into my week.
And not just that: I needed to actually enjoy my breaks.
That’s something that “high performers” do—they don’t work longer hours, per say, but they are more productive during the hours they do work. They create more prolific quality output than their peers, they report less stress and more flow in their work, and they maintain good health and healthy relationships.
I’ve been heading for burnout for quite some time, and last month when I landed in a pit of despair, I knew it was time to make a change, not just in what I was doing but in how I was approaching everything in my life in the first place.“Balance is not about the hours you spend but the harmony you feel.” @BrendonBurchard remind a friend
High performers don’t produce more output at the risk of ruining friendships or neglecting their health, either. They block out time to play and enjoy other areas of their lives. They create freedom in their schedule and space to be with the ones they most love.
Love—isn’t that what it’s really all about?
Perhaps being productive is about intelligent scheduling.
A More Fulfilling Way to Think about Productivity
This is an approach that doesn’t require you to work longer hours or lose sleep. Trust me, I love and need quality sleep (I wrote Sleep Affirmations: 200 Phrases for a Deep and Peaceful Sleep because of that love).
Brendon’s research shows that high performers relate more with the concept of flow than they do grit, hustle, or grind. They’re positively engaged and joyous—truly enjoying the journey.
That’s refreshing to hear because I never felt inspired or supported by the words “hustle” and “grind.”
I don’t crave a bigger to-do list. I crave a fulfilling, progress-driven, engaged life. I want work to feel like it’s supporting my sense of freedom, not taking it away.
Productivity for productivity’s sake is not the point. Accomplishing more tasks is not the point. Productivity is about living a better quality of life with more enjoyment, more meaning, and more progress.You don’t have to lose sleep, friendships, or your health to make your dreams a reality. encourage someone
If you know that the way you’ve been approaching productivity is leading you down the path of burnout, or if you’re already there and you’re fed up and ready for a change, I honor you for being here. That willingness is powerful.
What I’m suggesting is to formulate a plan to adjust how you approach being productive so you can feel differently and maybe even celebrate not just your work, but your life.
Being Productive without Missing Your Life
Here are just a few things that have been supporting my sense of progress in the work that matters most to me, while at the same time filling me with renewed hope, passion, and vibrancy.
I highly recommend listening to Brendon’s podcast and reading his book, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.
1. Identify and prioritize the tasks that make a real difference to your mission.
Sketch out your mission. Identify what tasks contribute to your life’s work.
What is it that you should be creating more of to stand out and make an impact? What doesn’t matter as much that you can either stop doing, schedule less of, or push off?
Just because you’re getting a lot of tasks accomplished doesn’t mean you’re doing the right things.
The goal is to bend your day towards things that are mission-driven, heart-centered, and soul-filling. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to do menial tasks, because you’re going to have to. But even then, try approaching these things as integral parts of the whole mission.
Even the little things add to the mission when they’re necessary parts of the whole. Every step is fulfilling and serving your calling.“If what you’re doing is adding to the direction and the thrust of your mission, congratulations… Give yourself some credit. You’re marching along. You’re on your own path.” @BrendonBurchard tell a friend
2. Productively waste time.
The time you’re taking to relax might be considered “wasted” time, but what if you could productively waste that time?
Rather than wishing you were working because you feel like you’re falling behind or leaving important tasks undone, try this instead: focus on being all there, present with the people, absorbed in the moment, involved with the activity.
I know what it feels like to resist leaving work. There is just so much to do!
Again, high performers—the people who consistently outperform their low-performing peers—get ahead without falling behind in the other important areas of life. They maintain relationships. They take time away from their work and when they’re back, they fully engage with the work—just like they were fully engaged at dinner, at the party, with their friends and family.
When you feel pulled away from the work you love/feel like you have to do, consider this time away from the work a necessary step that’s fulfilling and serving your calling.
3. Give yourself credit.
Don’t beat yourself up for not being productive enough during a time of transition. If nothing is clear or predictable, it’s okay that your productivity feels like a longer trek than you’re used to or expecting.
Productivity takes longer when there are more unknowns. Try not to hurry your life.“Your productivity in transition looks very different than productivity in certainty.” @BrendonBurchard tell a friend
This is certainly something that I can attest to, especially over the past year. I wrote a book, switched over to new web and email hosting providers, started my first real newsletters, launched an entirely new website design, took up jogging, started going to physical therapy, and currently have multiple projects in the works.
Everything I just mentioned was and still is riddled with uncertainty. I am no designer. There is a lot to learn about the business of being an author. I pulled a muscle. I am still figuring out the next best step forward.
I set up triggers to remind myself that I am still supported, still enough, still on the right path. I have come this far, after all. I’m actually more productive when I already feel abundant.
If you’re trying new things, please give yourself credit for how far you’ve come. You are on your own path and that path probably requires you to walk a little slower so you can get to know the landscape.
If you missed them, use one of these affirmations for transformation to turn that frustration and burnout into a gift.
What’s one thing you can start doing today to improve your performance without feeling like you’re adding to your plate?
Share what idea you love most about this approach, your own productivity tips, and any inspiring stories of making a change with me in the comments.
Make sure your friend knows there is a better way. Send them this post to inspire how they’re being productive.
Consider how the things you absolutely need to do, that are and aren’t directly related to your work, are all brushstrokes painting the whole picture.