How do you get things done?
As you may have noticed there are a lot of tips about that floating around online.
One of my favourite productivity tips that have enabled me to get more done is to adopt a habit of acceptance.
This is a very helpful thing to cultivate. Here are two reasons why:
- Less suffering. Pain is unavoidable in life. Suffering is however optional. The funny thing about a problem is that the negative feelings you may feel because of it do to a large extent not come from the problem itself. It comes from your resistance to the problem. You can choose to accept things as they are at this moment. When you accept you stop creating suffering within your own mind.
- Less mental fatigue. You may sometimes be more tired because you get more done. But I have found that I feel less fatigued mentally and in better shape internally when working in an accepting mode. There is much less overthinking and negative emotions when you are in an accepting frame of mind so I guess that makes sense.
As you can see, acceptance is useful beyond just the area of productivity and is something you can incorporate into any part of your life.
Now, how does acceptance help you to get things done?
A short answer would be: as you accept you stop feeding so much energy into your own inner resistance. You stop sustaining and strengthening it. It dissipates. Now you can use your mind, energy, creativity and focus fully to get things done instead.
Procrastination is an inner resistance to something. Acceptance is a solution.
How to develop a habit of acceptance
Now it would be nice if I had a few snazzy and easy tricks to share here that would quickly help you to create a consistent habit of acceptance. I don’t. I have a few tips though.
- Be patient. Acceptance is like a mental muscle. The more you use it the stronger it becomes. And the procrastination tends to become less and less severe overall. Your mind has to get used to accepting as a habit that replaces resisting. So you just work at it. And gradually acceptance becomes more and more of a natural choice in your everyday life.
- Appreciate the upsides of acceptance. When you don’t feel like accepting then appreciate how much easier and enjoyable life becomes whenever you accept things as they are and work from there. This will turn your mood around for the moment and over time makes it easier for your mind to replace the habit of resistance with the habit of acceptance.
- Surrender and accept the emotion. Talking about acceptance can become a little abstract. You may feel like “well, I know I should accept X or Y, but how do I that practically?”. Here is one way that’s been helpful for me: When you feel a negative feeling then accept that feeling. Don’t try to fight it or to keep it out (like many of us have learned throughout life). Say yes to it. Surrender and let it in. Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labelling or judging it. If you let it in – for me the feeling then often seems to physically locate itself to the middle of my chest – and just observe it for maybe a minute or two something wonderful happens. The feeling just vanishes. And your mind stops putting in new energy into the problem.
Is acceptance a magic solution that will make everything awesome?
Not really. You will have to do something you find boring. Acceptance may not make it the most fun thing in the world. But it can make it easier to get the thing done. And quite often you can – with the help of acceptance – become enthusiastic and really get into something you resisted and didn’t think highly of at first.
As you step in the mental state of acceptance you just flow with what you choose to do. Your day becomes lighter. There is little or no resistance arising within. Just being in that state feels pretty great. And as a bonus, you can get much done too.
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