Work less and achieve more (3 tips)

A CEO of a big insurance company is interested in doing a TopMind training. Although he is really enthusiastic, he questions whether right now would be the best moment to start. ‘I’m so busy’; he says. He is the CEO of the board of directors and the company is currently facing a major reorganisation.‘Too busy’ is an understandable reason as to why someone would postpone something. However, ‘too busy’ is also the reason to take part in the program. The reason ‘not to do it’ and the reason ‘to do it’ are the same: “TOO ….”.

An often occurring problem for current leaders (and others) is the ‘too’ problem: TOO much, TOO fast, TOO busy, TOO full, TOO complex, TOO uncertain etc. This problem has many consequences, but always results in a reduced productivity.

What is a good structural solution for said CEO?

The solution to “too much” isn’t “do more”. That’s like wanting to lose weight by consuming more food. What makes something a structural solution is achieving more by doing less. This can be hard.. when it comes to doing so. Over the years we turned more into ‘human DOINGS’ than we are ‘human BEINGS’.

In the past ten years neuro-scientists have been very successful, mainly with the increased amount of technological possibilities when it comes to brain research. Because of this research, we now know that our brain consists of two parts:

  1. A fast and efficient part and
  2. A slow, but very smart and conscious part.

The great thing about the fast and efficient part of your brain is that it doesn’t require you to think about everything and thus not much energy is required for the majority of your actions and behaviour. For example, we no longer have to think whilst driving. The disadvantage to this, however, is that we have quite a few “blind spots” and that behaviour and patterns, once learnt, are hard to change. The slow part’s advantage is that it contains a few very smart functions which are crucial to have when it comes to work.

Examples of these functions are: self-control, empathy, communicative skills, our ability to plan, etc. Another advantage is that it enables us to choose consciously and to keep a ‘top of mind’ for important matters. The disadvantage however, is that this part is slow and gets tired easily. Because of being so tired, our brain performs worse whilst using the mentioned functions. To reach optimisation, it is important for the two parts to coordinate with each other. We can use the slow, conscious part conveniently if we let the fast part of the brain do specific work. It’s important for the slow part to get enough rest and reflection as that’s when the learning and gaining the necessary insight takes place.

‘Do nothing’ is equal to ‘Achieve nothing’ in our collective (reformed) West-European brain. But, according to recent scientific discoveries, this is a limited principle. As it seems, very few things are more productive than doing ‘nothing’.

A few practical tips to do less, but to realise more…

Tip 1: Make a daily wish-list

Make sure to, before you start work, answer the following question: “If I was allowed to make three wishes to make today successful, what would those wishes be?” By answering this question, you’re using the slow and smart part to choose and create an intention, whereas the fast part of your brain will start working on achieving those intentions.

Examples of wishes are: do sports for thirty minutes, create a breakthrough idea for x, boost sales with ..€, write a memo about y, do something fun with the kids. Please note that the three goals for the day aren’t a ‘to do list’. These are not specific tasks to accomplish, but contain specific positive emotion.

Tip 2: Make sure to take a short break every 25 minutes!

Since the slow, but very essential part of our brain gets tired easily and the since the learning process only starts whilst it rests, it is important to take breaks. Although it is stimulated whilst working, the processing happens during the breaks. We can only really concentrate for 25 minutes, then the brain will need a break for a few minutes. A convenient app to use for this is “crazy tomato”. Of course, you could also use a simple timer.

Tip 3: Batch your tasks and zone your day

Our brain and energy system go through multiple cycli, which we call ‘oscillatory cycles’.  For example, we now know that we perform best mentally in between 9 and 11 AM (and at the end of the afternoon) and that we perform best psychically at 2 PM. Therefore, it is beneficial to do your ‘most important concentration-work’ in the morning and your consultations and gatherings in the afternoon. Doing sports can be done best really early or in the start of the afternoon. Planning events like this will increase your productivity. Many successful entrepreneurs ‘think’ in the morning and plan events such as meetings in the afternoons as much as possible.

New: our habit tracker

I hope you considered these tips to be helpful. It would be amazing if you were to successfully use one of these tips. Realistically, most of us won’t be able to keep up with doing this for a while, which is not something to be ashamed of.

And because it’s so difficult to turn intentions into efficient habits, we will assist interested people in this process. Since 2 years we created a super training-tool: the TopMind™ Tracker. It is a daily and FREE habit tracker and results among already users are spectacular.

If you are interested too, and want more info then CLICK HERE or subscribe below.


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