How your mindset can boost your productivity this year

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Do you frequently tell yourself you’re “too busy”? If so, today’s message describes how your mindset can boost your productivity this year, maybe even dramatically. 

By Ann Gomex

While working in my first job after university, I received a valuable piece of advice from one of my mentors. It’s something I vividly remember, and it has stuck with me throughout my career.

I was asking about a tricky challenge, which I described as a problem. My mentor kindly said, “Ann, we don’t call situations like these ‘problems’. We call them ‘opportunities’.” At the time, I thought it was a meaningless semantic debate. But keen newbie that I was, I nodded and played along. It wasn’t until years later that I realized just how transformative this advice was.

Mindset and productivity

Today, I fully understand how the way we think about our work has a direct effect on our goals and our overall productivity. Our thoughts dictate the words we speak, the action we take, and the results we generate. Mindset truly drives success.

Yet all too often, I hear people declare they are ‘too busy’ or struggling with an ‘impossible deadline’. They talk about what they ‘have to do’ and say, ‘I’ll never get this done’. Limiting thoughts such as these make us feel defeated before we even start. These negative thoughts blind us from creative solutions and positive action.

A more effective approach is to apply my mentor’s advice to how we think about our work. The reality is we have a healthy dose of control over relentless lists. We can use a range of practical steps to reign in overwhelm. We can tap into the power of an elite priority management system (which I call your MAP or Main Action Plan). And we can build proactive routines to benefit from deliberate habits. Shifting our thoughts will prompt us to take positive action.

Notice, then reframe

You might believe this positive approach isn’t your natural way of thinking. If so, have no fear: a thrive mindset is a learned skill! We all face the same ingrained negativity bias. But with conscious effort, we can all train our brains to spot the opportunities instead of the problems.

The first step is to notice limiting thoughts. Then consider how you can reframe these thoughts to cultivate a more empowering mindset.

Can you refer to a goal as challenging instead of impossible, and remind yourself that you’ve done hard things many times before? Can you lean into what you ‘get to do’ (instead of have to do)? Can you remind yourself that you have options to shuffle your tasks and lean on help, so you can free up an abundance of time for what you value most? And here is the ultimate challenge: can you stop using the word ‘busy’ this year? What if you described your work and your life as ‘full’ instead? Doesn’t that sound more inspiring?

Not surprisingly, the world’s most successful people tap into the power of mindset to mitigate stress and perform at their best when it matters most. Fortunately, the power of mindset is available to all of us when we’re ready to claim it.

I am sure you are thinking about some impressive goals this coming year. Training your brain to thrive will help you tap into your own unique superpowers to help you achieve those goals and make the most of your time and effort. Here’s to your success!

For more on how to set yourself up for a successful new year, see Ann’s latest book, Workday Warrior: A Proven Path to Reclaiming Your Time, published by Dundurn Press, 2022.

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