Productivity: Start More Tasks By Managing Expectations
Oct 03, 2019
Last week, I talked about expectations and how they are the main driver to happiness. The mind releases pleasure or pain based simply on expectations, and nothing more.
Understanding this can radically increase your ability to start more tasks and get more done, at an exceedingly high level.
Anytime we start something, expectations immediately arise
The expectation may be to do a good job, produce work of high quality, or not make a mistake.
When we don't meet expectations, the mind releases painful feelings such as guilt, regret, failure, or that we did something wrong. If our self-worth is tied to what others think, additional feelings of shame and embarrassment are released.
The end result may actually be of high quality, but if it doesn't meet expectations, negative feelings are still triggered.
Therefore, we don't take on the activity, goal, or project simply to avoid falling short of expectations.
Simply for that reason!
Everyone of us is avoiding dreams and aspirations in life because we don't want to feel the negative sting of not meeting expectations - whether our own or others.
Since expectations can hold us back, the key to starting more tasks and finishing them is to remove expectations.
Barbara Oakley talks about this concept as product vs process.
Product - is focused on the end result–write 2 pages, finish the dishes, clean the room, build out closet. It revolves around finishing, completing, ending, or concluding.
Process - on the other hand focuses only on the action, without any end result in mind–write for 30 minutes, wash dishes until I want to stop, clean until I am tired. There is no expectation to finish or complete anything, or to perform at a high level.
She says focusing on process eliminates expectations, and as a result, the painful feelings of not meeting them.
So...anytime you're stuck, staring at a task, goal, or objective, unable to move forward, remove any and all expectations of the outcome.
Here are few ways I do this:
1. When I don't feel like working out, I tell myself, my only expectation is to drive to the gym and change. As long as I make it to the gym, I have fulfilled my obligation. Now, if I've taken the time to go to the gym and change, almost always, I'm ready to work out. Since there is no pressure creating resistance, almost always, I do it at a high level and have fun.
2. I don't always feel like sending a newsletter. Some weeks I fear that this week's newsletter will be the one everyone dislikes and unsubscribes me. I tell myself, not to get hung up about everyone loving it, simply send out something. Since that removes pressure, my thoughts flow easily and naturally, and that's when I produce my most liked newsletters.
3. If there is an event I am hesitant to attend, I tell myself, my only goal is to show up. If I don't want to talk to anyone or do anything else, I don't have to. All that matters is that I show up. Once the expectation of making a good impression and playing nice are removed, I'm a social butterfly.
This little shift has helped me do SO MUCH in life.
You can apply the advice to any task or endeavor. Simply tell yourself, all you have to do is start.
If it goes well, great!
If it doesn't, that's great too!
Hope this helps you get started on more things.
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Coach, Author, Evolving Humanity
Kam Knight is a coach, writer, and author of several best-selling books in the area of mental performance such as memory, concentration, and productivity. Over the past 15 years, he has dedicated his life to understanding the secrets of the mind and how to optimize it's performance.