Ever have those days, where even if you have some good ideas it seems almost impossible to work, or focus? Well if your like me than this happens to you more often than not. It was a rare occasion that I woke up just rearing to go, with pin point focus, and powered drive. I did a little research though, behind what it is that sparks our motivation, and I realized that often times when I am able to work, I am feeling positive, I am in a good environment without distractions, and I don’t have an excess of nervous energy.
Now I know it’s impossible to have a perfect, positive and controlled environment to work in 100% of the time, but there are some steps that you can take to raise your chances, and let’s be honest any effort we put in this area will be an improvement right?
Being in a positive state has significant impact on our motivation, productivity, and wellbeing. There are some simple ways to hack into our positive neurochemicals, and create those aha magical inspired moments for ourselves, instead of just waiting for them to arrive by happy chance.
Here is a list of 7-things that I have found helpful in keeping myself, positive, productive, uplifted, motivated, and focused.
1. DON’T PROCRASTINATE!!!
This one is HUGE! I know we have all heard this a million times before, but there needs to be a point where we start practicing it, instead of just adopting it as a good hypothetical concept. Charles Dickens said “My advice is, never do to-morrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!”
I used to be the biggest procrastinator possible. I was always putting things off. Putting off studying, putting off picking up my clothes, putting off making my lunch for work, putting off doing my laundry or doing the dishes… As a result I was always up to my neck with old stagnant energy, and things that needed doing. I was drowning in anxiety, and my procrastination had built up such momentum that it seemed insurmountable. Only through severe intervention, and lifestyle changes was I ever able to get a hold of things, and my rationale now is that, instead of feeding the selfish nature of my gluttonous self now, I will do my future self a favor, by not putting everything off on her to handle then.
WOW, what a difference it has made. Things are no longer a struggle to handle or take care of, and the load is never too much. I just say to myself, I will just take care of these things that need to be done, and then I can relax knowing I have created order in my world. Then my mind and energy is clear to receive, and create in those moments of profound inspiration, instead of being stifled by the procrastination of my past.
2. Break your goals down into bite size chunks.
This keeps you from becoming overwhelmed by the sheer weight of what it is that you have endeavored to do. Often we will view our goal as a whole, and the weight of something that may realistically take weeks, months or even years to accomplish is all being felt in the minimal time of today. Science has shown that each time we reach a goal, or succeed at something our brains release dopamine. So keep the dopamine flowing by giving yourself several little goals that are realistically accomplishable throughout the day, and let your brain celebrate your success!
3. Infuse your space with pleasant scents
Burn incense, wear an essential oil, or burn a favorite scented candle. Fragrance not only has the power to evoke memories, it can also affect certain parts of your brain to influence your moods. Having a delightful scent wafting in the air helps to keep your mind focused, as one of your senses are already being stimulated, so it helps to stave off those incessant yearnings your body usually tries to interrupt you with. It is also just nice to have a pleasant scent around, which makes your space all the more inviting and comfortable.
4. Stretch and Exercise in the morning before you start your day.
I know, I know… I used to get irritated hearing this too lol. We’re thinking “Okay, if I am already waking up stiff n achy, and hardly have time to take a pee, how the HECK am I supposed to magically start fitting this in!” Well, you make it a PRIORITY, that’s how. Often times we’ll try to incorporate or start something new, but approach it with the idea of “trying it out,” “giving it a go,” but not REALLY making it a giving all we got, 100% devoted, priority. I’m here to tell you now, that once you make the choice to incorporate this into your day as a priority, the Universe responds by supporting your well efforts and it gets easier and easier as the days go on. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or time consuming either. For instance, after I get my younger daughter off on the bus, and I have taken care of any immediate and/or expedient morning responsibilities, I go to my designated stretch spot and I start my little miniature stretch routine. Rotating and loosening up my neck, stretching my arms, legs and back. Holding a few Yoga poses about 20 seconds each. This usually only takes between 10-15 minutes. (A note on stretching: Science has shown that static stretching, or over stretching is more harmful than good, so the most important thing is just to loosen up your body and get your blood flowing, not being able to touch your toes or do the splits.) Then I do a short little bout of aerobic exercise, about 10-min walking briskly, and 100 jumping jacks. This keeps your heart strong, and the blood flowing to all your extremities, as well as to your brain nourishing all those brilliant lil ideas you have.
5. Support and motivate yourself with positive affirmations.
Even this is hard to do in the beginning, but as your persist your sub-conscious mind takes your positive suggestions as truth and automatically delivers what you are telling it it’s capable of. For instance, if you are normally very shy, or even if you have high social anxiety, and you are preparing for a dinner party with many new people you have never met. Your initial reaction may be to tell yourself that you don’t want to go. These types of things aren’t for you anyways, and besides the party will go on without you. You may be afraid that you won’t know what to say, that there may be awkward silence, or that you might say or do something foolish…. But stop right there! Instead of following the rabbit down the hole of what might possibly go wrong, state your own truth and desire of what will go right. Such as… “I am confident and collected.” I am at ease, and can take all the time I need to respond.” “I am going to have a great time meeting new people, and experiencing new possibilities!”
Even if something silly were to slip out, think about it from the perspective of it coming from somebody else. Do you condemn, hate, or avoid someone because they said something silly, tripped or stuttered? No, most of us don’t, and rest assured that you won’t be looked down upon either because of a simple mistake. Also, it is often when we make a big deal of something, hat it becomes an awkward situation, because we ourselves have MADE a BIG DEAL of it. So don’t let any of those old fears hinder you any more, you got this!
6. Minimize the clutter.
You’ve probably heard this before too, but I can’t stress the impact of it enough. Having clutter around clouds up your aura, and makes your area feel dismal and stuffy, which is the opposite of conducive to a positive and motivating space. Prioritize at least one day a month that you can spend clearing out the clutter. I would also suggest reading up a bit on creating a zen space. Here is a great article to get you started by By Andreea December 31, 2012 in Decorating Ideas. http://freshome.com/2012/12/31/how-to-make-your-home-totally-zen-in-10-steps/
7. Keep some fine dark chocolate on hand.
Ha ha, you’re probably wondering if this is supposed to be part of this same article… Yup it is. This may not be the most professional advice, but for me it does wonders! Often times we are interrupted from our trains of inspiration by low emotions or energies, or our bodily cravings. For myself I have learned to keep a little bit of my favorite dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds around. When I start getting antsy for whatever reason I will take little nibbles of that, and I feel re-focused again. Dark chocolate also leads the brain to release endorphins to give you that extra boost!