I eventually became a well-functioning “robot”, which I had turned myself into for several years, inadvertently, into a lifeless monster like Frankenstein; I had buried myself in my “alleged” productivity, depriving it of the happiness that results from activities that make life valuable, like bathing, for example. So I decided to do what I usually do when I find myself in situations where I tend to override all the caveats that I have set. I canceled all my meetings and started an internal revolt against myself.
In a simple review of my email chain, I saw the other side of my consciousness screaming: There must be a better way of life.
1. Professional combustion box:
By a happy coincidence, I was reading a book by Neil Pasricha entitled The Happiness Equation, and through it, I learned the best way to calm myself, which was in the form of a matrix (two x two). In that book, Neil scribbles with four axes and calls them squares. He writes “implementation” on one of the axes: high and low, and writes on the other side “thinking”: high and low. We are always in one of the four squares.
I used to live in a professional combustion square, which is a high state of high thinking and high thinking. My inner feelings were sweeping my fiery targets into my professional combustion box at an irresponsible rate, and I was just one Pomodoro away from escaping from behind the bars.
Fortunately, Neil taught me about the last three beautiful squares:
The void square: The void square is the perfect contrast to the professional firebox, meaning: less thinking, less execution. It’s a sandy beach vacation, or a cool drink to sip while your feet hang over a pier, or in a lake.
The Thinking Box: In the Thinking Box our mental fires are raging, but we don’t do much of anything. Whether it’s thinking, everyday things, or talking to a friend.
Implementation Square: It is a square based on pure activity, such as: building a hut or climbing a mountain. Then we will not allow our mischievous minds to interfere with these pleasurable matters.
Successful people move freely between these four squares. Sometimes achieving success is easy. But if you want to maintain this success over the years, you have to pick up a fire extinguisher to deal with the professional combustion box and visit the nicer and tenderer boxes from time to time.
2. Safe play and cancel plans:
Neil Fiore, a motivational with a Ph.D. in Finishing Things, has spent his life studying how to eliminate procrastination. What is his recipe for achievement? Is it regulation? Or take medications? Or get a special application for project management?
No, his first law to dictate to achieve sustainable productivity is the obligation to commit sin to play freely.
Where Neil recommends that you start your weekly program by drinking a drink with friends, playing cards and video games, and this is called: “Courage”.
“That’s right, you can be more productive if you flutter more,” says Neil in his best-selling book, The Now Habit (The Now Habit).
The activity that most of the major producers do is what he calls “Neil”: employment tendency, which means: hard work and glory in accomplishing tasks until our brains become dormant and we turn into human machines that are sleep-deprived and fed on coffee.
The antidote is to ensure that the best things in life are not postponed, such as spending time with your children or getting five minutes of peace away from them.
Why do canceling plans succeed? Because when you know that your most unfortunate tasks will be interrupted by the unwavering obligations that provide you with pleasure, you can handle work without drowning yourself in it.
You move freely between the squares, with six-year-olds competing in play. But does this guarantee efficient working time? not exactly.
The third necessary tool is to hold a sharpened scythe blade and use it to tear everything apart except for the most important work tasks.
This is where Greg McKeown intervenes, seeing the big picture as knowing which actions will not only generate results but also achieve the greatest return by investing the time and energy to get started.
“The Latin roots of the word CCIS, or CID, literally mean“ cut ”, McCune says.
The word “cut” can be intimidating. We have commitments at work and at home, we want to please people, and we are presented with a thousand exciting opportunities every year. But when we over-prioritize, we don’t prioritize anything.
To prevent yourself from doing too many things at the same time, follow the highest standards, and make this your main motto: “No to the word (well) after today, either yes and with full confidence, or not.”