Do you ever feel like there is never enough time in your life for you?
Are you losing track of time to do the things you want to do?
There are two things that are challenging most of us during the pandemic. They are the sense of overwhelm and the sense of uncertainty about the future. Both of which are challenging to the performance of our brain, at a time when we most need to be able to navigate changes and be flexible whilst improving productivity.
Every moment of every day, our brain gets bombarded with approximately 11 million bits per second of information! Our brain as a processing unit it has been estimated can only process approximately 120 bits per second of information.
Let’s look at that another way. Imagine there are around 11 million matches in a HUGE pile in front of you, and you can only choose 120 of those matches to pay conscious attention to at that one time. It’s clear why many of us feel overwhelmed!
Neuroscientists have discovered that unproductivity and loss of drive can result from decision overload. We are faced with so many trivial decisions in daily life, creating neural fatigue, which leaves us no energy for the important decisions we need to make.
A serious point is that attention is a limited capacity resource. There are limits to the number of things we can focus on at once. We can see this in our everyday activities – like when you’re driving along in your car with your child or partner next to you, in most circumstances you can have a conversation with that person, whilst the radio plays on in the background. However, when you need to look for a specific road to turn onto, you automatically turn off the radio, and stop talking whilst you look for the road, because you’ve reached the limits of your attention.
“You can do anything, but not everything” David Allen
How can I improve my productivity? This is a question I’m often asked, and even when we have the answer, those productivity tips can stay as ideas and another item on our to-do list, because ‘how’ is only part of the equation. We also need to be clear about the ‘what’ and the ‘why’
Instead – When you think of how you can improve your productivity turn it into a ‘what’ question, and then a ‘why’ question.
Consider asking yourself – what’s my productivity goal? What specifically do I want to be different?
Is it about feeling calmer? Is it about eating a meal in peace without emails niggling away?
When you set one clear direction, you can find you smash other goals along the way, however if you don’t set one at all, you can simply find yourself pin-balling in different directions never getting anywhere.
Next – why does that matter?
Why do I want to improve my productivity? What difference will it actually make?
If we want to make sure we put all those great productivity tips and ideas into practice, we need to be really clear, not just pretty clear, about our why (purpose) and our what (goal).
If you’d like to find out more about how to improve productivity with the brain in mind click here to find out more about my upcoming “Chaos to Calm – Managing your mind to boost your mood” online course which starts on 18th January 2021. Productivity will be one of the key topics we explore as we look to helping people get back on track after a challenging and difficult year.