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The Mindful Entrepreneur

Feeling Anxious About Work but Going Nowhere – Have a Comms Free Day

Categories: Fears & Anxieties - Organisation - Productivity

I occasionally find myself in the situation where I have a mountain of outstanding work to do, but also in the position where I’m just not getting it done. In fact, a lot of the time, I’m not even tackling it. Instead I find myself procrastinating.. this procrastination comes in many forms. Sometimes it involves “simulating work”; this is where I do some work, such as filing, organising, or something completely off tangent (but still somewhat productive), such as tidying the house or fixing that leaky pipe in the bathroom. The thing is, ultimately, this is still procrastination. It’s your brain’s way of making you think that you’re achieving something, when really, the REAL WORK that you need to be doing is just sitting idle, festering.

Other times, this procrastination will manifest itself as the overwhelming desire to relax. The desire to sit and offload my mind… Now, don’t get me wrong. This is sometimes a great thing to do and sometimes necessary. But if you find yourself doing it over and over again, then you’ll soon realise that the relaxation you seek will only come to fruition by tackling the tasks that you need to get done.

And then we get to the main procrastination technique. The one that obliterates time as if you were at the event horizon of a black hole…

Social Media

Ahhh, there is is. You know exactly what I’m talking about… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email (although probably not work related email!). It’s what I call a “sticky task”, in that you’ll go back to it, again, again, and again. It will in effect, stick to your life and before you know it, sap up a great deal of your time.

That word, TIME… It can so easily be discarded, like it’s going to happen anyway, so there’s nothing you can do about it. But, you need to remember, that for every moment you waste, every second. It’s YOUR precious time you’re wasting. And that time is valuable. If you’re throwing away time willy nilly, then you’re not placing a high enough value on your time. So now is the time to change that. Every second of your time is of the utmost value. It is YOUR LIFE. Whatever you have a desire to do in your life, you could be doing in that wasted time. If your main desire is to earn, then make sure that all that time you waste is spent earning. If your main desire in life is to help others, than you’re sure as hell not going to achieve that in great amounts by sitting on Facebook looking at cat pictures.

Now, I’m not asking you to abandon Social media. To vanquish it from your life. Oh no. All you need is ONE DAY.

Comms Free Day

Social media, phones, emails and other electronic communication methods have the ability to take over our lives. Before we know it, that social media stream is controlling us, rather than the other way around. Think about that for a second… you’re letting a corporate body, you don’t give a monkeys about, dictate a great chunk of your day. Or even worse, all those people who don’t give a monkeys about you and you don’t give a monkeys about them, are controlling your day, popping up in your feed. Stop it now. Take control.

Switch your phone off immediately. Redirect your office phone and shut your emails down. Now relax. If thoughts of social media, or email pop into your mind. If the anxiety of missing something important pops up, then let it drift on by. Think about it by all means, but simply let it slide – let it go. The real important work is about to begin.

Think about what work you need to get done. Usually it’s the first thing that comes to mind.

Now actively make the decision, and accept that you are going to take on this piece of work – and that’s important, because you need to be fully on board with this situation.

And begin… from where ever you feel is best. Don’t over analyse it. Just accept your thoughts. Accept what grabs you initially as needing to be done and crack on.

Without the distractions of communications which can take over your life at any given moment. You slowly start to regain control. You start to do what you NEED to do and ultimately, you relax. In effect, rather than listening to the song of others, and playing to their call, you are listening to your own song, you are taking charge and you are making progress.

If you get tempted to use social media online, then just let the thought go. If you still get tempted, then you can download free tools like Rescue Time that can effectively block your access and your temptation (this is one I personally use, and recommend as it’s great for tracking what you’ve done)

Work Offline

There might be times when you can’t do this right away. You might need access to your email to make your headway. If that’s the case, then open up your email client but choose to “Work Offline”. You can then blast through your emails, with the safe knowledge that no more will land on your doorstep. You can also send emails, but they’ll just queue up until you choose to go back online.

If you use an only online email service, then you might want to pull down all the emails you need the day before attempting your Comms Free day. You can setup an account with Evernote and forward all the emails you need to it. Then you can access them direct from your Evernote account without the need to logon to your email client. If you need to type responses, simply type them up in Evernote and then copy them back to your email client tomorrow ready to send.

The Most Productive Day Ever?

You should find, as I often do, that your Comms Free day is one of the most productive days you’ve experienced. And that’s mainly because you’re playing to your own song, not what others want you to do (which you should avoid in any case).

I recommend trying this at least once a a week, to simply Get Shit Done. If you find that too much (then it’s probably more reason to do it!), then you can allocate an hour during that day to do emails, make calls and answer messages. BUT NO MORE THAN AN HOUR!

Give it a go. Let me know how you get on.

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About the author: I’m the Founder of Own the Web (aka. Mindful Marketeer), & I’m passionate about helping good causes, local & small businesses grow by bringing clarity to situations. I do this through my work at Own the Web, whilst practising mindfulness & blogging about it here. Other quick facts also include I’m a vegan, an individualist, equality champion & a mindful free thinker. Connect with me on Twitter or Peter Leigh on Google+.

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