Recently I attended a conference and the speaker was talking about staying productive in the face of distractions and obstacles. He kept referring to the concept of getting yourself into your groove and steps you can take to find that ever-elusive groove where you are at peak productivity.
We already know that our brains are only in that peak productivity zone for 90-120 minutes per day. Based on our own bio-rhythms, energy levels, blood sugar, hormones and a host of other variables we have about 2 hours where we are in the “zone” or a groove. In my coaching practice I usually have my clients identify this time in their days when they feel as though they are in that zone, and then have block that time to work on the most important projects of the day.
Getting back to the conference, at one point during this talk about being in a groove, another gentleman sitting next to me shook his head in frustration, looked down and mumbled to himself “my groove feels like more of a rut!”
At that moment it dawned on me that there is really not much difference between being in a groove where and being in a rut. Let’s take a look.
Think about the last time you were “in a groove” I bet your energy level was high, you were cranking out amazing work, probably overcoming extremely difficult obstacles, all in the course of a normal work day. In fact you probably left your workplace fully charged and energized because you were feeling on top of your game. These are the times where you aren’t just treading water, but you are swimming laps. Duplicating these types of days can be an extremely rewarding process.
The thing to remember about these states of productivity is that they aren’t stumbled into by accident. Author Jack Canfield likes to say, “Success leaves clues.” If you really think about those times when you are in your groove, I would ask you to retrace the steps that brought you there? What actually preceded those times when you feel as though you can tackle the challenges of the day with the greatest of ease?
The best part of learning to conduct this simple exercise with yourself is that you can then start to become intentional about doing those things that you know create the circumstances that will get you back into your best groove.
So the first step is to become aware of how your get into the groove, the second is to become intentional about making those steps part of your daily and weekly habits and routines.
Now think about those times you are in a rut, maybe you are in one as you read this. What are the circumstances that have gotten you to this point? Just as success leaves clues, the path to getting into your rut is just as obvious once you take the time to retrace the steps that got you stuck in the first place.
What were the triggering events that led you from being in your groove to getting stuck? How many times in the past have you followed this same path and found yourself in this same rut? And most importantly what were the steps you took to extract yourself from this well-worn rut? You’ve done it before so you can most certainly do it again.
Success should not be considered an accident, but rather the process of being intentional about what you do to create the circumstances that will allow for that success to take place. If you document those steps you can take all the guess- work out of it.
What’s interesting you will find is there is very little difference between being in your groove and being stuck in a rut. Once again you will find that being aware that you are in a rut early in the process, and then being intentional about the steps required to get un-stuck are the most important steps to success.
Here are a few things that my clients have shared with me about getting into their own grooves and getting out of their ruts.
- Get enough sleep, better well rested than well read.
- Eat something healthy in the morning and throughout the day.
- Exercise on a regular basis- get your heart pumping.
- Avoid drinking alcohol in excess, and drink plenty of water.
- Create an ideal day and ideal week scheduling your peak productivity times to be clean and uninterrupted.
- Keep the main thing the main thing.
- Start each day with a list of the most important tasks and projects to get done.
- Avoid being a slave to your smartphone and emails.
- Create short term and long terms goals and review them often.
- Have things outside of work that you look forward to and are energizing.
- Avoid negativity, on the news, social media and in person.
- Read something that will cause you to learn something.
- Take time to unplug from the matrix every week.
- Invest in your most important relationships.
- Above all else remember to Have Fun!
Thoughts for the week:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. –Aristotle
We don’t manage time, we manage activities within time- Bernard Kelvin Clive
Nothing will work unless you do. –John Wooden
Focus on being productive instead of busy. –Tim Ferris
It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know. –Tony Robbins
To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult. –Johann Wolfgang Van Goeth
Cheers to your success- One Quarter Turn at a Time