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Find and work from your values

This is part 5 in the series How to double your productivity.

To become more productive we must get our priorities straight.

In previous articles I´ve written about a couple of ways to strip away the unimportant clutter from our lives. Things we might think we have to do or should do but often really don´t have to do.

However, when we have started to declutter our lives of the unimportant we must also find what´s important to us.

Therefore it´s essential to find what your values in life are. When you work from your values, when you are aligned with them, your self-esteem goes up. Your energy and motivation goes up. You feel calm and relaxed. You feel great and you become more productive.

And in those advantages of living more congruently with your values lies also one way to finding your values. Which things and activities in your life makes you feel that good? Finding those can lead you to what your values are.

Ask yourself: what are my important values? A couple of examples of values are joy, creativity, security and attractiveness. Write down the 10 most important you can come up with. Then order them in order of importance. Steve Pavlina has an excellent list of 374 values to choose from over at his site.

It´s important to find your values. Not the values from your mom, dad, friends, relatives, personal heroes and your culture. But the values that pop out of that list for you.

When you have found your values, start thinking about how you can better align your life with your values. Maybe you need to focus more on your writing or making your own fly-fishing lures. Maybe you need to spend more time with your friends and/or children and less time at the office. Maybe you can find another position in your company where your values better match the job and thereby makes you more productive and raises your sense of self-esteem.

Another thing about values is that everyone has internal rules. These rules measures when we think we have our values fulfilled. If one value you have is to be successful then your inner rules might determine that you are successful when you have landed that big client or have gotten a 50% pay raise. Or when you are the top company in your line of business.

The problem with the rules is when you have internal rules that tell you that to in order to be successful you have to have made 10 million dollars and live in a castle. Or to feel attractive you have to three cute girls throwing their phone-numbers and themselves at you. It´s not impossible or improbable rules, but they can lead to a lot of frustration.

Take a piece of paper and a pen and try to figure out how you know when your values are fulfilled. Then think about if your rules are beneficial and helpful for you. If they are not, if they limit the quality of your life, then consider changing them.

In one of Tony Robbins seminars there was this one guy who was successful but depressed. He had it all – the money, the house, the great job – but his internal rules told him he wasn´t a success until he had earned a certain number of millions of dollars. This arbitrary number was something that was still somewhere in the future for him. Tony contrasted him to another man in the audience. He was seemingly a lot happier. His rule for feeling successful was simply:

Another day waking up above the ground is a successful day.

And the thing is, just because you set such a “low” rule for feeling like a success doesn´t mean that you lose your motivation. It just means that you feel better about yourself. And that´s a better place to be to become more productive than beating yourself up all the time and feeling like a loser.

To change your inner rules try to keep them in mind. For example, write them out on a piece of paper. Tape the paper to the fridge or beside your bathroom mirror. This will remind you every morning and every night. And your new way of thinking will start to seep into your mind and replace the old one. If you have several rules to change, focus on the most important first.

And remember to re-evaluate your values once in a while. As we move through life we change. And so may our values and their relative importance to one another do too.

In the next few days, in part 6: On goals…

How to double your productivity:

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