Focus on wellness and you'll cultivate a richer, happier and more successful life.
Person A: "Hey! How was your day off?"
Me: "Pretty good! I had a good day. I wrote an article, read a book, cooked a few dishes, and cleaned the house."
Person A: "Hmmm…."
For someone who had always felt the need to do more, achieve more, and get more out of each day, I have to say I have had a profound realisation when I noticed that I was able to produce better quality work when I was not working non-stop. Today, I'd like to share with you five tactics that leads me to doing less every day and yet gives me a richer, happier and more successful life.
1) Have a daily gratitude routine.
I find that when I have a few quiet moments during the day, or at nights before going to bed, reflecting on good things that happened throughout the day makes me feel thankful and happier. Rather than jumping on the next task in my To-Do list, pausing to reflect on my day recharges my mind and energy and pays back in ten fold. There is always something to be grateful for; whether it is about having a roof over my heads, being able to provide for my family, or witnessing a random act of kindness when I least expect it. This is why the famous Oprah Winfrey shared that the single most important thing she's ever done in her life is keeping a gratitude journal and writing down five things she is grateful for every single day.
2) Think in terms of progress, not perfection.
I have a lot of goals in life, some are crazier and bigger than others. Writing new year resolutions without fail every December/January has been my jam since I was in my early 20's. Sometimes, I achieved them, sometimes I didn't. When I didn't, I used to get quite upset and would question my own ability and effort. I would be disappointed at myself for failing to achieve my goals. And then I'd immediately think about what action I could take next to turn things around. But I realised that often, I was too focused on end goals that I forgot to enjoy the experiences or celebrate small wins. We should be celebrating the fact that we are putting ourselves out there and choosing to do things with the possibility of not achieving them. Besides, there must be some truth about neurons in our brains that cultivate positive states of mind, I am certainly more appreciative when I celebrate small wins.
3) Be mindful and present.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were doing something else when eating your meal that you didn't realise that you had finished an entire plate? I have. Many times, in fact. I was bad at being mindful because I was doing many things at once. It is hard to be mindful and therefore grateful when my brain is switching back and forth between multiple activities. These days, I try my best to be mindful of what I am currently doing; be it eating, walking, writing, cooking or watching. When I am mindful, I have a better appreciation of the situation, the experience and the surrounding. Multi-tasking is your worst enemy when it comes to focus, productivity and creativity.
4) Practise a random act of kindness.
Whenever I see the phrase "random act of kindness", I picture an image of helping a homeless. While helping a homeless person on the street is indeed a random act of kindness, it is not the only act of kindness. Making way for someone who is in a hurry, letting an elderly skip the line, giving a listening ear to a colleague who is having a bad day, volunteering at a community event, donating to a charity, sharing my knowledge online or offline to those who need it, doing someone a favour without asking or expecting anything in return, or something as simple as picking up litter on a street are some ideas for random act of kindness that I have practised and each time after I have done a random act of kindness, I feel thankful. Thankful for the opportunity and thankful for having the capacity or ability.
5) Spend time outside.
I used to have this misconception that the more time spent in front of my computer means the more results produced. How wrong I was! To prove myself with data, I spent a month not checking or responding to social media during the day, instead, schedule all my social media posts for the entire month in advance and only check my social media platforms two to three times a week for less than 15 mins. Instead of spending time on social media scrolling aimlessly, I forced myself to get away from my computer and go for a walk. I noticed that after going for a walk in the neighbourhood, I feel much more alive and energetic. I still relieve the same engagement and results from my social media but with less time spent on them so it's definitely a win! I've also now been doing 10k steps a day consistently. This routine is not only good for my body but also for my mind.
So there you have it, doing less working and producing better results is possible for all of us. Saying no to more work and saying yes to rest time is the most effective way to reset your brain and boost your productivity. Knowing when to stop working is an essential skill to have for creators because you need to set boundaries to really make time for impactful work that will help you progress in your creative journey and fuel your soul with passion.