“Hey Demir, I’m finding that my productivity is really dependent on my moods. When I feel good I’m incredibly productive, but most days when I feel bad or emotional I get nothing done. Is there a way to get past this?” – Steve H.
Thanks Steve. This is a real common question, but no one seems to be talking about it! I call this issue “emotional working.”
Emotional working is when our work is dependent on how we feel. When you feel good, you’re really productive. But if you don’t feel amazing (and let’s be honest, most of the time we’re not feeling AMAZING) – your productivity goes down dramatically. You feel like a slave to whatever side of the bed you woke up on.
10 years ago, I would have considered myself one of the WORST emotional workers I had ever encountered. I was always scared going into work: is this going to be a good day or a bad day? Today I’m often MORE productive on my bad days than my happy days. And it was all from integrating one simple technique. Let me tell you how.
First, I had to acknowledge that there was a committee of voices constantly chattering in my head that was predominantly NEGATIVE.
I won’t get into the theory, but I discovered that it has to do with evolution: nature is more focused on avoiding bad things than enjoying good things, because bad things used to kill us! So let’s call these negative voices the Itty Bitty S***ty Committee (we use the acronym IBSC). This committee loves to criticize anything: other people, situations, etc. But their favorite target is YOU. The IBSC loves to sabotage you, undercut you, and make you doubt yourself.
So every day at work I was constantly checking in on yourself: Am I feeling good today? Bad? Am I feeling my work today? Am I into what I am working on? It had become such a habit, I didn’t even realize this dialogue is going on in the back of my mind. But whenever I asked that question, I got a terrible response back
How do I feel about writing this report?” → This report sucks!
Do I really want to be at work? → I don’t want to be here!
How do I feel this morning? → I feel like CRAP this morning
When I constantly asked myself that question, I became a victim to the answer that the IBSC sent back to me. And then I started asking more bad questions that went nowhere and destroyed my workflow: Why am I not feeling it? What’s wrong with me? What do I have to do to fix it? You see, just by ASKING a question I became a VICTIM to the answer.
So here’s the secret: STOP asking yourself the question altogether!
When you stop asking yourself how you feel, you don’t have to deal with the answer, and you can just keep on working! This is what I call post-emotional working. Working in a post-emotional state means getting through the day without all the internal dialogue, and the resulting cognitive load that depletes your energy and wastes your time.
This doesn’t take years to master: you just have to go cold-turkey on this, guys. But trust me, you are going to love the results. Your workload gets so much easier when you don’t have to carry around the weight of your emotions and can just GET THE WORK DONE.
Here’s another tip: If you’re having trouble stopping the constant check-ins, then simply replace the question “Am I feeling this?” with “What am I committed to?” That question re-focuses you on what truly matters for you in life. It’s an inspiring question, and empowering.
Because let’s be honest: A lot of the time, we don’t want to work or aren’t feeling our work. We wake up in a bad mood, or something crappy happens on the way to work, or any number of other things affects our desire to be productive. That’s just life – but powerful people can work through their emotions to get incredible results for themselves.
I still have great days, and I have terrible days. But ironically I’m often MORE productive on my bad days – because I’m no longer a victim to my emotions.
Let’s make a decision today to stop asking yourself questions that only have bad answers – and focus that energy into getting things DONE.
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