Redesign Your Mind: The Easy Way to Shift Mental Gears

People ask me, “How are you so productive? What’s your secret?” They want to know how I find the time to write 50+ books, coach 50 clients a month, train coaches, run support groups, provide keynotes, and so on. The answer has many parts, of course, but one key part is that I switch gears from […]

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People ask me, “How are you so productive? What’s your secret?” They want to know how I find the time to write 50+ books, coach 50 clients a month, train coaches, run support groups, provide keynotes, and so on. The answer has many parts, of course, but one key part is that I switch gears from one thing to another thing easily

Most people find it hard to switch from one thing to another thing easily. In fact, they find it so hard that after they’ve done one thing—say, a little work on the course they intend to deliver—they find it completely impossible to do the next thing—say, a little work on their novel. As a result, the course may get done but the novel doesn’t. 

What shall we include in your mindroom that helps you switch gears easily so that you can move from one mind task to another equally important and maybe equally arduous mind task? A racing car gear shift? Some steam punk contraption that whirs and comically moves you on to your next task?  A simple switch, maybe right beside your easy chair, that you flip and that, when you flip it, brings forth that next task, maybe in the form of a little robot who delivers the task? What serious or whimsical imagery comes to mind as you contemplate the question, “How can I switch mental gears more easily?”

Let’s try out one sort of visualization. First, identify three weighty life purpose projects: for instance, building your nonprofit, writing your novel, and engaging with the support group that you run. Give each a drawer in your mental chest of drawers where you keep your important projects. Open the first drawer, peer inside, identify the exact tasks you’re about to tackle—say, reaching out to three prospective board members, working on chapter six of your novel, or providing a valuable tip to your support group.

Do what you need to do in order to accomplish the tasks associated with the first project. Now, breathe. Have a sign pop up, maybe held in the beak of a cuckoo clock bird, that reads “Not done yet.” Close the first drawer, wait a moment (maybe using one of your snow globes to calm yourself, as facing that next project is going to provoke some anxiety), and open the second drawer. Peer inside and identify your next tasks. Then accomplish them. And so on, until you’ve satisfied yourself that you’ve done enough.

If you use the Redesign Your Mind technique of visualizing your mind as a room and taking better charge of what happens in that room, you can learn to move from life task to life task and from intellectual task to intellectual task more fluidly and efficiently, without a terrible grinding of gears. Wouldn’t it be lovely to eliminate those horrible grinding noises? Well, you can!

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