In our times, multitasking is the norm. Many organizations list the ability to multitask effectively as a top requirement across a variety of job descriptions. We pride ourselves on being able to do two things at once in order to save time and, theoretically, be more productive. But research shows this may not be the case.
It makes you think twice
It is possible to do two things at once. However, multitasking is actually just switching our attention back-and-forth quickly between two cognitive tasks. And, when we divide our attention, we make more mistakes and end up taking longer to complete the tasks. In essence, we are really "multiswitching."
Dr. Travis Bradberry, a leading expert on emotional intelligence and published author, says that multitasking may be damaging our brains. He points to research from Stanford University which compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers - those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance - were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another.
Charles Gosset is a Certified Professional Life and Leadership Coach (CPC) and founder of Full Integration Coaching, LLC. He helps big-hearted people with huge drive lead exceptional lives. You can find out more about him and the transformational services he offers by visiting: www.fullintegrationcoaching.com.
The opportunity: Effective self-care is essential to reducing daily stress and to living a better, healthier life.
The solution: Use this simple 6-step plan to make self-care work for you, once and for all.
So, why don't we DO it? There may be as many reasons as there are people on the planet, but there are a few reasons that generally apply to a majority of us. And there's something you can do about those. Before we dive in though, let's start with a definition.
domains of life.
And the choice you're committing to is "to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health." When you engage in something, you are typically all in. You are consciously connected with the choice you are making at both an intellectual and emotional level. Head and heart come together, which is absolutely necessary in order to stay motivated for any length of time. Deep down, you likely already know that activities related to good self-care are "required," but here again you're given another choice: "to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health."
To me, this definition isn't saying that you have to improve or else! Instead, it says that you can either gain OR maintain an optimal level of health. The goal is optimal health in all areas of life, not a never-ending quest for the perfect body, relationship, spirituality, etc. What optimal health means to you can be a matter of interpretation. You're not after perfection. The quest for perfection is a path to self-criticism and disappointment. Instead, as they say in 12-step meetings, strive for progress, not perfection.
What optimal health means to you can be a matter of interpretation. You're not after perfection. The quest for perfection is a path to self-criticism and disappointment.
4 Reasons We Don't Do It
In our society, busy is the norm. The expectation is that if you're not busy, then you're not measuring up. If you're not regularly tired and stressed from being busy, then you're not doing your part to be productive. In essence, if you're not busy, you're not normal. You may have had "busy battles" with friends and family to prove to each other just how busy you are. We tend to wear our busyness like badges of honor, and whoever has the most busyness wins. Even more challenging is when we tie the social expectation to stay busy with our own sense of self-worth. The trap here is that you're never busy enough to feel good about yourself for long because there is always something else that needs to be done. Self-care is difficult to even consider if you strongly believe that staying busy is more important than your overall health and well-being.
You might think that it's just plain selfish to take time for yourself. Care givers are especially vulnerable to this pitfall. With so many other people to take care of, isn't it a waste of time to indulge in self-care? No, of course not! Like the old quote goes, "Just like on a plane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before trying to help others." When you are not at your personal best physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially, you can not give your best to others. Chronic stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout are common for helpers who can not effectively prioritize self-care.
Just like on a plane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before trying to help others.
To some, self-care can seem like a sign of weakness instead of the strength that it is. Not taking care of yourself over the long run means that others will do it FOR you instead, and sooner rather than later - in the form of doctors, hospitals, family members, and the list goes on and on.... If you value your strength and independence, take care of yourself starting now. And if your understanding of self-care is all rainbows and lollipops, you've got the wrong idea. Remember, self-care is all about optimal health, and that's anything but soft.
Others believe that it will never happen to them. The heart attack, the stroke, the injury, the spiritual crisis, the nervous breakdown, etc. We've all heard stories of those who never thought it would happen to them either. Don't fool yourself by thinking it's too soon to worry about self-care. This is the perfect time to get started. Why leave your health and well-being to chance when you could do something about it right now?
Ok, no more excuses. Let's do this.
Create Your Own 6-Step Self-Care Plan
1.) First, make a commitment to take responsibility for your own self-care. No one can do this for you. You are worth it!
My commitment is to:_________________________________________________________________________________.
2.) Next, take action. Prioritize the top 1-3 domains of your life (listed in the chart below) you want to focus on first. (Ex. physical, social, emotional)
My top 1-3 domains of life are:_______________________________________________________________________.
3.) Get specific. Exactly how do you want to improve your self-care in each area? List 1-3 things you will do in each domain.
The 1-3 things I will do in each domain are:
4.) Schedule it. Put these on your calendar, mobile device, bathroom mirror, office desk, work station, etc. SCHEDULE IT.
I have scheduled each of my specific goals. __YES __NO (If you selected "no," repeat step #4.)
5.) Tell somebody. Let friends, family, and co-workers know what you're doing and why it's important to you. Ask for support!
I have told somebody about my important self-care goals. __YES __NO ("Yes" is required.)
6.) Do it. Follow your plan and treat yourself to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Get an accountability buddy and stick to it. Celebrate your successes, and be honest about your setbacks. You can do it!
I am following my plan and have an accountability buddy. __YES __ NO (Say "yes"to your life!)
The Domains of Life
PHYSICAL: anything having to do with the body, including physical exercise and nutrition.
MENTAL: anything having to do with the mind.
EMOTIONAL: anything having to do with the feelings and emotions.
SPIRITUAL: anything having to do with something greater than ourselves alone.
SOCIAL: anything having to do with the people we are connected to, including friends, family, and co-workers.
For more great tips and insights, listen to my Blog Talk Radio interview with host Sharissa Sebastian.
The opportunity: With the right perspective and effective strategies, you can celebrate without regrets.
The solution: Use these 4 tips to stay sober and enjoy your newfound freedom, plus know what you did the night before.
Tip 1). Remember What It Was Like
Toward the end of my drinking career, I wasn't the kind of guy you wanted to know after a few drinks. In fact, I didn't want to know me either. I had gone so far off course from who I knew I was deep down inside. The end was coming one way or another, and thankfully in my case, that meant eventually getting sober. Remembering how many times alcohol has been at the center of your problems in the past helps motivate you in positive ways to continue seeking progress in your life.
Tip 2). Don't Try to Do It Alone
None of us can get sober and stay that way for any length of time without the help and support of others. For me, that meant getting help from my amazing wife, family, friends, hospitals, institutions, 30 day in-house treatment facilities, mental health specialists, 12 step recovery meetings and sponsorship, and finally living in a halfway house.
The journey is different for every one of us, but one thing is the same. Doing sobriety on your own typically keeps you drinking, whether you want to or not. By asking for help, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of breaking through the denial of addiction. Surround yourself with friends and family members who understand how important sobriety is for you. Whether you go to a party with or without alcohol, be sure to listen to your own inner voice and keep your sobriety first and foremost above everything else.
Tip 3). Do What You Love to Do
One thing I love even more is playing guitar and singing. There were many times in my alcoholism that I would just look over at my guitar and know that I wouldn't be playing it for a while because my drinking was so heavy. In sobriety, I've reclaimed my passion for music and play almost every day, learning songs and techniques I never could have learned before. Playing guitar and singing reduces my anxiety, helps me to express things that only music can, and is a gift I get to share with my family and friends.
Finding ways to lower stress and increase your sense of self worth is essential to staying sober. What makes you feel good without adding anxiety or remorse? What do you miss that you used to enjoy doing? Think about what really makes you happy and do more of that.
Tip 4 - Do Something For Someone Else
Connecting with people inside the rooms showed me how to do the same thing outside of the rooms. I started listening to my wife more carefully, asking friends how I could help in their tough times, and giving my full effort at work. I found out that smiling and showing appreciation to others made everyone feel better, and kept the thought of a drink far away. This habit has become ingrained in me now and is probably the biggest factor in keeping me comfortably sober for the past 9 1/2 years.
Take time to think about small ways you can help others in your life. It can be almost anything, from giving someone a ride to a meeting, to volunteering, to throwing a ball with the kids at a party. The more you look outside of yourself, the more opportunities you will find to help somebody else. Who knows, you might end up a party someday with someone who looks and sounds strangely familiar - a person who can't stop drinking but wants to, even though they don't know how yet. It's the same person you used to look at in the mirror every day, who used to wonder the same thing, but who now has an answer that works.
"We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change."
- Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 83-84
If you would like help in taking your recovery to the next level, CONTACT me to schedule a free 30 minute session to see if coaching could be right for you.
The opportunity: Changing your habits can help you maximize your time and energy.
The solution: Get control of your routine and make the most of your days with these 5 powerful tips.
I've been reflecting recently on how I structure my day according to my priorities and what will give me the most benefit (based on Pareto's Principle which states that roughly 20% of actions produce 80% of results). In doing this, I realized that I wasn't optimizing the time of the day when I'm at my most productive so I decided to change my routine.
It's critical to prepare your heart, your mind, and your body first thing in the morning. Will power is a lot like a muscle. Your will power is at its strongest first thing in the morning. The hours from 5 - 8am are the golden hours. This is when you have the most mental power and focus. When you optimize these hours, you will do more in a day than most people do in a month. Winning the battle of the bed gives you more mental confidence and makes you feel more like a leader than a victim.
According to research it takes 66 days of practice to hardwire in a new mental pathway to start a habit until it becomes part of your neural hardwiring. You will literally not be able to get up later after 5am after 66 days.
Here's the 20/20/20 rule for the first hour that I learned from Robin Sharma. He suggests waking up at exactly 5am every morning but I wake up at 4:45am to allow enough time to have a protein shake. Eating a meal within 30 minutes of waking will help increase the rate of your metabolism which has slowed down to conserve the stored energy.
First 20 minutes - Exercise (walk, run, swim, jump rope, etc). That's a complete game changer. This releases dopamine, the motivational neurotransmitter, and makes you feel strong. It will also release serotonin which makes you feel happier. You'll boost your metabolic rate and feel more energized.
Second 20 minutes - Review plan, daily schedule, purpose. It will give you focus, passion, inspiration. The secret of passion is to know your daily, yearly and even lifetime purpose. I spend a few minutes doing this and the rest of the time in prayer/meditation.
Last 20 minutes - Learn. 'Education is inoculation against disruption'. The world belongs to learners. As you know more you can achieve more. Read ebooks, listen to audio books, listen to Ted talks, or read a hard copy of a book.
Here are some tips to help with your routine:
1. Plan rising at 5am on your daily schedule. Write your holy hour on your schedule. When you write things down you literally deepen your commitment. It deepens it in your awareness and gives you the discipline we need. It also increases clarity of thought. The things you get scheduled are the things that get done. Vague goals lead to vague results.
2. Get a great nights rest. Don't use your computer before you go to sleep. Do not bring that into the bedroom. Don't watch TV before you go to sleep in bed. To get the results only 5% of the population gets, you have to be prepared to do the things only 5% of population is willing to do.
3. Put your alarm clock in another room or across the room so you have to get out of bed when it goes off.
4. Rituals work more than will power. Literally jump out of bed, maybe splash your face with water, and say your affirmations. You will become super productive, transform your mindset and become a super achiever.
5. Keep what's motivating you at the forefront of your mind. This could be looking at your vision board, or just mentally focusing on your personal or professional goals and why they're important to you. Having an accountability partner to keep you on track also helps.
Are you ready to join the 5am club with me?
~ Victor Hugo