Episode 46 | (00:00):
Hey there, friend. Are you tired of not having enough time to get everything done in a day? Well, this episode is perfect for you because today you're going to learn a surprising yet simple way to increase your midlife productivity so you can finally relax and enjoy life again.
Does that sound like a deal? Does that sound interesting? Are you intrigued? Ooh, me too! Well, actually, I'm not that intrigued because I know the answer but anyway, I think you're gonna love this episode. I am so excited. Let's do this!
Hey there, Easy Ager. If you are not already on the Easy Aging® Insiders list, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com right after this episode and sign up today.
I was listening to Darren Hardy the other day, and he was talking about how to go faster, how to be more productive during our day and he used the example of Carl Lewis.
Now, if you remember, Carl Lewis was a track and field athlete who won 10 Olympic medals, nine of which were gold. Yeah, no big deal. Just run out there and pick up some gold medals, Carl.
It was kind of odd because Lewis always looked like he was losing the race at the beginning, but somehow it seemed like he just turned it on and he sped up toward the end and won. The reality is he wasn't actually speeding up. The other runners were slowing down.
I learned about a thing called deceleration and apparently, everyone decelerates toward the end of the race. But Carl Lewis was decelerating at a much slower rate because he was such an efficient runner and he was relaxed.
When his competitors saw that they were losing and they were slowing down, they'd start pushing and they'd start tensing their muscles and they'd start clenching their faces to get over there, to make it work. I'm gonna force it, and that slowed them down even more.
But Carl Lewis was relaxed. He kept the same pace and he flew past these guys to win the race. He relaxed to go faster.
Let me ask you: Have you ever been like the other runners? You know, sometimes it feels like you're trying to get the work done or trying to get somewhere or whatever it is. You're pushing so hard that your muscles tenses up. You give yourself a migraine or a stress headache, or you have the tension in your stomach or the tension in your back.
For me, when I tense up, I am wearing my shoulders as earrings. Yes, a lovely accessory, don't you think? When I'm so tense, I can't even roll my shoulders. I'm trying to do it now. I'm trying to get my shoulders down right now because this is not a comfortable way to live life. And it is certainly not a fun way to try to go to sleep at night.
So consider that state. Consider the state of the tense muscles and the clenched jaw, as opposed to when you're in flow. Now I call it "flow" because I think of it more from the creative side. Some people call it "the zone."
A lot of athletes say they're "in the zone" because that's when you're so focused and you're getting into your work or into an activity so completely. You're relaxed. You're completely at ease and you are so in the moment. It's all about being fully present in that moment.
And when you're in flow or in the zone, your productivity is usually crazy high because you're in this really relaxed state, but you are getting things done, my friend.
Don't you love that feeling? Oh my gosh, you look up and a couple of hours of just flown by and you're sitting there going, "Whoa, that was so fast!"
And at the end of it, you're not tired. You feel refreshed. You feel at peace. And honestly, you feel very proud of what you've accomplished because it was so easy. And it was actually more than likely kind of fun as you were doing it, right?
Getting things done in a relaxed state is so different than what we were taught. I don't know about you, but I was brought up with "You've got to hustle. You've got to put your nose to the grindstone, Michelle. You've got to push harder."
In retrospect, that's never actually worked for me. All it did was make me tense and anxious and give me a really bad headache. What about you? Maybe it's worked for you at times, but does that consistently work for you when you do the hustle and the nose-to-the-grindstone thing?
I've got to be honest. Now that I've hit midlife, I desperately want things to be easier. I want things to be simpler. I don't want to grind it out. I don't want to hustle. I don't want to do any of the stuff that I thought worked when I was young and dumb.
Now that I'm older, I want to work smarter. And the smartest way I've discovered for being productive is to just relax. Just like Carl Lewis. He relaxed. He kept a nice pace. He didn't overdo yet, he got it done.
How do you do this? That's probably the big question on your mind. Well, let's go through a couple of steps that will help you.
First, obviously, you have to relax. There are a lot of different ways to do this, but the two skills that have consistently helped me relax are deep breathing and prayer.
Y'all know I'm a practicing Christian so for me, prayer is life. Prayer is essential to my relaxation. I've been doing this for so long that I'm at a point where I pray as I breathe deeply.
So I'll inhale through my nose and I'll say, "Lord, I breathe in your peace." And when I exhale through my nose, I say, "Lord, I breathe out my anxiety," or my frustration or my overwhelm, whatever it is.
So you want to breathe in God's peace and you want to exhale whatever you're feeling, whether that's anxiety or tension or pressure or whatever it is. Just let the emotion go. Exhale it out of your body.
Saying it out loud helps this process tremendously. So speak it out loud as you're doing it, if you can, if you're in an environment that's going to let you say things out loud. If you're not, just think it if you're at the office or something.
When you're breathing, breathe in and out through your nose. Breathe in deeply for a count of five which is, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, then exhale, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
When you're breathing in and out through your nose, this is going to trigger your mind and your body to release the tension. You're going to start feeling your muscles relaxing, and you're going to feel ahhhh... and that's where you want to be right now. You can do this throughout your day, as often as you need to.
You may say, "You know what, Michelle? I already know that deep breathing helps." But here's my big question for you, my friend...
Are you doing it? Are you breathing intentionally? Are you breathing deeply in and out through your nose when you tense up?
This gets down to paying attention to your state throughout your day. Pay attention. Be aware of where you are because once you're aware that you're tensing up, then you're going to be able to start the deep breathing and the prayer earlier. And you're going to stop this little puppy in its tracks before it gets too big to manage.
When I started this, I had to remind myself so I used big yellow sticky notes all over the place to remind me to stop and breathe. That was before smartphones. But now you have your phone handy. When it goes off, just take a moment for three to five deep breaths in and out through your nose, then get back to your work, all right?
So that's the first thing, you want to relax through your breathing and prayer. The second thing is, when you're done with this first part of the exercise, dive in immediately after you're finished with that. Do not, I repeat, do not take too much time thinking about it because then you're going to move to analyzing it, and then you're going to talk yourself out of doing it at all.
Trust me when I say "do not delay" because I am an authority on this. I would do my prayer and my deep breathing, and then I'd go do a load of laundry and I'd wander off and I'd come back and I wasn't in a good state to even start the project.
So I speak with authority on this one: Do not delay after you've relaxed your body, relaxed your mind, relaxed your spirit a little bit, all right?
The third thing is to set yourself up for success by figuring out, what your best way to work is. You know, we're all different. We all have different needs. We have different attention spans. We are all different types of readers and learners and workers. So you need to figure out what works best for you.
I encourage you to listen to episode 34 because in that, I gave you three different ways to get things done. I was talking about sprints, which are timed exercises. There are more than three ways, but I gave you these three because they're a great starting point for you.
They're simple. They're easy. You can test them. You can play with them and see where your sweet spot is. Episode 34 is titled "The #1 Midlife Secret To Productivity That Helps You Achieve Optimal Performance Daily." And that's what we're after, right?
We want to be working at peak performance every single day. Remember, the harder you push, the worse your performance. So relaxation is going to be playing a huge role in you achieving optimal performance on a regular basis, all right? Learning how to relax is key. You relax so you can go faster.
To recap, to get things done faster, to be more productive, number one: relax with deep breathing and prayer. Number two, dive into your work right after you do your deep breathing and prayer — do not delay.
And number three, figure out the ways that you work best and experiment with those. That's why I want to encourage you again, go to episode 34 so you can learn a little bit more about how to be more productive.
That's it for today. And once again, if you are not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com and sign up today. I'll see you in the next episode and until then, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!