Applying what I call the “don’t think, just do” habit is helpful in increasing productivity and reducing procrastination. Making use of this tip, maxim and good habit helps us to bypass the ego, and to live our lives more sanely as well as more productively. Better to spend time acquiring, applying and hard-wiring in habits that we know will be good for us, without losing ourselves in procrastination or worrying about some discomfort. By applying this tip – and making it into a solid habit – we start to use our minds instead of allowing our minds to use us. This is perhaps the key issue for all mankind.
In applying the “don’t think, just do” habit, we don’t get lost in anxious thoughts about the things we plan to do. We put our ego aside and simply do those things that we have already identified as needing to be done on a day to day basis. When excuses and fears arise, in full knowledge that this is simply one’s ego-mind functioning normally, face these obstacles of the mind head on, and override them.
This does assume that adequate longer term directional planning has been carried out beforehand including clarity on your broader purpose. Importantly, it assumes that our goals and habits are coming from a place of love and peace (Being) rather than turmoil and fear (ego). If we’re not sure however, we may need to experiment, and find out what works for us, what makes us feel most alive. Clarity is paramount.
There will likely be course corrections along the way. Periodic reviews (e.g. quarterly, annually) may be appropriate and new insights or facts may emerge, not least from experience gleaned from moving forward on longer term directional goals. Brief daily reviews happen automatically if we get into the habit of checking off today’s shortlist of things.
You can make a short list of today’s intentions as part of a morning ritual immediately following a calming exercise – see the “BAGS” practice described in Part 1 of this series. (Some people prefer to make their list for tomorrow the night before). It’s helpful to identify daily time blocks and use these to make progress and accomplish worthwhile goals. Your time blocks can be as little as 5 or 10 minutes, or as long as 90 minutes or two hours. It’s generally important to take a short break of about 10 to 15 minutes, every 40 to 50 minutes or so, as this tends to enhance productivity. There may be exceptions for some people, at certain times, for example if caught in a productive” roll,” and experiencing flow, one might not want to break the momentum. Once we do engage on something meaningful to us, the thoughts that come, will be creative ones that help us carry out our activity – not the unwanted worrisome thoughts or excuses about our activity. Each day consists of moments and small steps that, who knows, may lead to greatness; but more pertinent is that you feel good about yourself each and every day; then you can live joyously and be a boon to everyone you meet. You might consider that your true, that is to say, ego-less, presence is greatness, yet this is the greatness of our Creator working through you, not something you take pride in. You can simply enjoy and feel the positive emotions that a sense of progress and accomplishment tends to provide. Positive emotions activate the dopamine reward path.
Dealing with the Ego’s Momentum
The ego has a certain momentum that can vary from a very gentle non-intrusive calm to an annoying, unstopping din, sometimes likened to wild horses – and you, as awareness, are the charioteer! Can you tame those wild horses (or thoughts)?
If you find yourself trapped in mind, and it has happened to all of us at one time or another, don’t fight with it. The mind cannot fight the mind, it just goes around in circles and makes things worse. Instead of the inclination to bemoan and resist thoughts and emotions, just accept them. In mild cases, you might even encourage a repetitive thought briefly; this conscious mimicking of an involuntary thought gives you a little bit of indirect control over it and the mind tends to ease up. Try it! In more difficult situations, removing yourself and reframing is helpful. What is your heart’s perspective?
Pause and pay attention to your body and breath. Where before your natural response was to resist seemingly unfavorable thoughts, and constrict in a fearful fashion, learn to welcome them instead. Perhaps you can learn to see them like naughty children and take some amusement at their antics. Resistance is counter-productive.
So, rather than resisting, do befriend and love your ego. Thank it, be grateful for all the good things that it does in trying to protect and preserve you. Perhaps tell your ego like a lover, “I love you so much, but we have got to have ourselves some fun today.” We’re on a mission and life is just far too short to remain in the harbor – let’s set sail and see where the breeze takes us!
Source: Peak Performance!! Awaken & Achieve available on Amazon.
In Part 6 of this series we will look understanding and overcoming the delusional nature of the ego-mind