Expressive writing

I often recommend writing, using pen and paper, as a way to get things out of our head. We get a distance to what we’re thinking about, it’s now outside ourselves. It’s also a way to gain clarity.

The article This Simple Task Can Help Curb Your Constant Worrying says “Previous studies have shown that expressive writing can help individuals process past traumas or stressful events. This study suggests it also provides applications in everyday life.”

If you’re worried about a task, for example, write down your worries 15 minutes beforehand. “Get everything out and don’t hold back,” says Schroder. “You don’t have to share your thoughts with anyone, and don’t worry about spelling and grammar. Getting worries out of your head through expressive writing frees up cognitive resources for other things.”

This technique is also helpful for people who feel like they’re overworked or in a slump, adds Moser: “Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get ‘burned out’ over, their worried minds working harder and hotter,” writes Moser. “This technique takes the edge off their brains so they can perform the task with a ‘cooler head.’”

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How to handle your worrying

How to handle your worrying

As a way to deal with worrying I recommend writing down everything you worry about. The article This Simple Task Can Help Curb Your Constant Worrying has the same message.

“Writing down your thoughts and worries makes you feel lighter because you’re getting rid of those worries that are weighting you down.” You’re also getting distance from them. “When you take a look at what you’re worried about, it’s often unrealistic things,” says Schroder. “Getting the thoughts out of your mind and out on paper is helpful.”

I actually recommend the following process.
1. Write down everything, big and small, that worries you. Use pen and paper, that stimulates more of your brain.
2. Read the Serenity prayer, it’s excellent guidelines.
3. Cross over those items on the list that you can not change or that are unrealistic.
4. Take a look a what’s left. Are they all things that you can change?
5. For each item that’s left, set a date when you shall act on them. Our brain lets go of things that have a date attached to them.
6. Act on the items that you can change.
Repeat the process above each time you worry too much.

More about worrying

Do You Have A Problem In Your Life?
Worrying gets you nowhere

Prioritize and Manage Attention

In the post Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning the first tip is “Prioritize and Manage Time.”

Rather than trying to do everything at the same time, the most productive people prioritize and block off their schedules to focus on one task at a time. “The idea is that if you become more efficient in time management, it allows for more spontaneity and creativity in the day, every day,” Levitin said.

I squirm at the words “time management” since no one can manage time. We can manage our attention though, what shall we actually do and focus on.

While researching his book, “The Organized Mind,” Levitin spent time with very successful people to try and figure out what they did differently from others that allowed them to get more done. While many of these people had a legion of employees working to organize their schedules and set priorities for them, the basic principle of focusing in on one task at a time holds true for anyone. “When they’re doing something, they’re really doing it,” Levitin said. “They get more done because their brain isn’t half somewhere else.”

The key to being productive and succesful (however you define success for you) is to focus on one task at a time.

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Start Managing Your Attention
An 18 Minute Plan That Keeps You Focused
The Pomodoro Technique – manage your attention
Multitasking? No Way!

Multitasking? No Way!

Multitasking? No Way!
The post Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning brings up the topic of multitasking.

Many people believe they are skilled multitaskers, but they’re wrong. Neuroscience has shown that multitasking — the process of doing more than one thing at the same time — doesn’t exist.

I disagree on the word “doing”, we can do several things at the same time but we can only focus on one of them at a time.

“The brain doesn’t multitask,” said Daniel Levitin, author and professor of psychology, behavioral neuroscience and music at McGill University on KQED’s Forum program. “It engages in sequential tasking or unitasking, where we are shifting rapidly from one thing to another without realizing it.” The brain is actually fracturing time into ever smaller parts and focusing on each thing individually.

Each time we switch from one task to another we need time to refocus. That means we waste time with each switch.

People often think they are being more productive when they try to juggle tasks, but Levitin says not only is sequential unitasking detrimental to productivity, but it produces less creative work as well. Multitasking is also stressful for the body.

Trying to multitask creates a feeling of busyness but it’s less productive. It’s much better to focus on one thing at a time. When it’s done (or the set time is out), pick another task to focus on. Singletasking rules.

Read more

Start Managing Your Attention
An 18 Minute Plan That Keeps You Focused
The Pomodoro Technique – manage your attention

The Real Law of Attraction

The word attraction ends with action. That’s a hint to what’s needed to achieve what you want.

The Real Law of Attraction

Attraction + Action = Result

Step one is to define what you want. Be precise and phrase it positively.

Whether you use The Secret, The Law of Attraction, Cosmic ordering, positive thinking or SMART goals is up to you. Pick a concept that works for you, you can even pick and mix.

The next step is action. Sitting on your butt waiting yields no result. It’s up to you to do your part of the work. Action is required in order to achieve what you want.

Be agile

Keep in mind that you might have to adjust your plans.

Plans are nothing; planning is everything. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Questions for you

What do you want to attract/achieve?

What do you have to do in order to get it?

When will you start?

The Real Law of Attraction

Procrastination, why and how to beat it

Over at “Wait by Why” is a great series about procrastination (the action of delaying or postponing something). The posts are long but worth the time they take to read and digest.

1. Why Procrastinators Procrastinate

2. How to Beat Procrastination

3. The Procrastination Matrix

The third post talks about the Eisenhower matrix, an excellent tool when used right.

Decide and Act

Jim Connolly posted What everybody ought to know about achieving their goals. It’s a great post, part of it goes like this:

The reality is that you don’t need to buy goal setting products. You simply need to know what you want and to make the decision to do everything you can, to make it happen.

Jim also posted What everybody ought to know about achieving their goals on Google+ where I took part in the discussion. One commenter wrote:

Someone once asked Dan Kennedy what the secret to life and business was. He held up an index card with one word written on it: ‘Decide.”

I think that is just part of what it takes so I wrote:

I think the “Decide”-card is only half the story. The other half is “Act”.

Jim summed it up in a comment in his blog:

Looking at the comments here and those on Google+, regarding this post, there’s a common theme.

Make the decision.
Do the work.

It may not sound very sexy, but it works.

Another comment on Jim’s post at the blog says:

I’ve discovered through those past tough weeks that most of us are “blind”, we don’t achieve our goals because we don’t see them.

That’s where a coach is helpful, they see things we can’t see ourselves since we are too close.