How to Embrace Chaos to Increase Productivity

Mar 5, 2015 | Productivity, The ONE Thing, Time Management | 0 comments

Person under crumpled pile of papers with a help sign / isolated

Chaos invokes feelings of fear, uneasiness and confusion, so it’s no wonder that people avoid it at all costs. The conundrum we sometimes face is that chaos is a part of life, and it becomes more prevalent the more you focus on your ONE Thing. Why? Because giving your full attention to ONE Thing means that other things have to be set aside and left undone.

Instead of letting this throw you into a panic, settle down and try embracing chaos. When you waste energy trying to control the chaos rather than work with it your productivity will suffer.

Identify Outside Obligations That Can’t Be Ignored

There are many things in life that can be left undone while you focus on your ONE Thing. Then there are obligations like family, exercise and important work projects that must be attended to. It may seem like everything matters equally, but in reality it doesn’t. List out the obligations that must be done to maintain your financial security, health and family’s well being. Recognizing how you will plan to counterbalance these priorities in your life will help determine the success of your ONE Thing.

Stick to Your Time Blocks

Now that you have identified what can and can’t be ignored, you can time block your schedule so that your ONE Thing is the primary focus. This may mean that you have to work on your ONE Thing at night, before work or during your child’s soccer practice. The point is to work it in wherever possible and then protect that time against distractions.

Don’t let unnecessary, dangling loose ends cut into your schedule. These are guaranteed to pop up along the way, but that doesn’t mean they should hijack your time.

Get Support from Others

When you make your ONE Thing your focus, you’ll need to let others know what to expect. Consider enlisting the support of family, friends, and co-workers in order to help you to control new distractions and requests that can take focus away from your ONE Thing.

In order to get the full support of your ONE Thing from the people around you, try the following:

  • Team up with a co-worker to help protect each other’s time blocks.
  • If you have the disposable income hire a housekeeper, gardener, part-time nanny, or other help to take care of things at home.
  • Dedicate an area of your home as a “focus zone” and inform your family members that while you’re in it, it is an interruption-free zone.

Focus on the Progress That is Being Made

Instead of worrying about everything that isn’t getting done, focus on the progress you are making. Gaining headway on your ONE Thing is what makes the chaos worth it. Getting closer to reaching your goals and celebrating the wins keeps things in perspective.

Embrace Your Messy Desk

Sure, it may look chaotic, but a messy desk isn’t going to automatically derail productivity. In fact, a study from the University of Minnesota found that a messy desk can lead to creativity. And creative thinking can help you handle chaos. So don’t waste precious time making sure everything is organized at your desk!

Keep the Chaos to Yourself at Work

Chaos is acceptable for your ONE Thing, but that doesn’t mean others should be subjected to it as well. To keep the chaos contained try the following:

  • Don’t ask or expect others in the workplace to take on the unnecessary tasks that are left undone.
  • Hit your deadlines. Most projects involve more than one person, and not meeting your deadline can seriously hinder others from getting their work done.
  • Don’t overextend yourself. Say no to additional projects or taking on new tasks if they do not support your ONE Thing.
  • Keep everything not related to your ONE Thing as flexible as possible.
  • Take time to de-stress. Because we innately want to overcome chaos, it’s easy for the messiness to cause stress. Take breaks throughout the workday to step away from your desk and decompress. A short walk outdoors can boost creative output by 60 percent and can help you handle the chaos.

When you understand that chaos can help you to achieve your goals, it is easier to embrace it and all it brings. Channel the chaos in your life to increase your productivity and improve your income, opportunities and life through focusing on your ONE Thing.

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