7 hacks to stay on top of things and keep your productivity at max level (as much as it can be) courtesy of our “The Balanced Life” columnist
Off late, at holiday gatherings I often get asked, “How do you do it all?” People have noticed my plate and said, “What do you eat? You are like the Energizer Bunny!” Some people have been even more generous and addressed me as “superwoman.” Personally, my yoga practice keeps me grounded and I take compliments and criticism with a pinch of salt. If I depend on others’ opinion of me to feel validated…can you imagine how unstable I would become?
Anyway, I don’t think anyone can do it all. More importantly, the definition of ALL differs from person-to-person. But here is my trick: I am okay with what I can or cannot do because my actions are intentional. I don’t carry the stress of performance or how it makes me look in front of others. My choices are not accidental; they are mindfully chosen.
Yes, I do run a tight schedule. Between my day job, wellness company, speaking + coaching engagements, guiding clients, teaching yoga, pursuing Ayurveda higher studies, managing home, and a personal life…there is a lot on my plate. But if Jacinda Ardern can be a mom, wife, and prime minister of New Zealand and show up with so much grace, I hardly have a reason not to.
Here is a list of what I do to keep my productivity, creativity, relationships, and wellness on track:
1. I don’t binge-watch
Be it Netflix or any other TV program, I don’t sit in front of the television and mindlessly watch anything for hours on end. There is a show or two that I watch, along with documentaries, which I enjoy. But they are all occasional indulgences. Sitting in front of an idiot box or tablet for hours at a stretch after spending the entire day on the laptop seems reckless to me.
2. I exercise my mind and body daily
Unless I am sick, I don’t compromise on moving my body and flossing my mind. Exercise (pick a style that works for you) releases happy hormones and reduces stress. Weight loss is a side benefit. But working out teaches you about mental strength and perseverance, both qualities necessary whether you are feeding your toddler or sitting in a board meeting. I also make it a point to spend time in nature daily. I live in NYC where there are small parks everywhere. Being around trees and birds can be very centering. This habit keeps me alert, focused, and stable. Aside from meditation, I practice self-reflection at the end of the day. It shifts your perspective on people and relationships.
3. I am OK with saying no
I don’t have the bandwidth to spend long weekends doing nothing. At family gatherings, which we always attend, I don’t stay the night. We head back home when everyone goes to bed. This way, my next day will be productive. Be it gatherings or coffee or meetings or dinners, if it doesn’t seem feasible, I am comfortable setting healthy boundaries and gently turning down invites. I love people, but I also love my own company. My work is emotionally very demanding, so I make it a point to recharge and get “me-time,” so I can be there for others. Self-care is non-negotiable.
4. I pay attention to what I feed myself
Ayurveda teaches us that it’s not just what we eat but also the words we say, hear, consume that impacts our well-being. I pay attention to both the foods and thoughts entering my body. I am picky about the company I keep because I can’t stand drama. I am also conscientious about the nourishment food provides. I don’t believe in cheat days and deprivation. At the same time, I lead a life of moderation and eat what my body needs, not what my mind craves.
5. Sleep is healing
Though often overlooked in modern day living, sleep is a pillar of health according to Ayurveda. Those memes – for example, “Work today, sleep tomorrow” – are toxic words that glamorize sleep-deprivation in an over-driven world and under-rested world. When we sleep, our body rests, replenishes, and regenerates. During the week, I am in bed by 9-9:15 p.m., and I wake up at 4 a.m. I have morning as well as evening practices in place, which make the transitions smooth.
6. I don’t get caught up in productivity cliches
I have a lot of competing interests, so time management is of high importance. I work very hard, but I also work very smart. I don’t fall for societal pressures of what productivity or fun should look like; instead, I make time for what brings me joy. Sometimes, it’s a mid-day yoga class. Or a walk or chai with a friend. Talking to a local business owner or hitting the hiking trails by myself. Enjoying a cup of chai with my husband if we are on a break at the same time. I don’t believe in being chained to my computer 14 hours a day to prove my worth or productivity. I meet all my deadlines while taking breaks and pausing. I try to live a balanced life, and I am gentle with myself on days when I fall off the wagon.
7. I am happy for other people’s success
There are two ways to live: either everyone has it but you; or whatever is meant to be yours will always be so there is no room for drama, jealousy, gossip, and envy. I approach life like it’s a ginormous pecan pie! There is a sliver for each one of us. Be patient. When you show up with an abundance and growth mindset, you are filled with positivity. Other people’s success will inspire you. That is all. Then you turn inward and focus on your journey and growth. Mindset is key in everything that we do.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” ~ Paul J. Meyer
For more of “The Balanced Life,” check out Financial Sustainability This Holiday Season