“Turn Negative Thoughts to Productive Moments” by Max Cron
Productivity stems from actionable decisions during times of negative thought. Whether a tough client at business, or a rough relationship it’s challenging to be able to pull productivity out of your back pocket. This is especially the case when one’s mind is preoccupied with thought.
Being able to conquer these thoughts is how we evolve as human beings. This evolution comes from a focus on solutions and making progress.
Recognition, acceptance and appreciation are key to being productive.
Let’s dive into this
Recognition without judgment is the first point of understanding. Being able to separate emotions from pure description is something we must all learn.
Take this short story as an example:
You are in line at a store waiting to check out. A woman, clearly rushing, goes right up to the counter, even though it is your turn to pay. You now have thoughts racing to your head. “How rude” or “Who does she think she is” or a “How inconsiderate” flutter in your head.
Recognize that this woman’s actions are affecting your thoughts. This is not self-control, for she has taken over your thoughts and you are judging her by calling her rude and inconsiderate. To move past this, we must consider that we do not know the scope of the situation, so judging it does not make sense.
It is okay to have thoughts about why she cut in front, but taking the judgment out is essential to having self-control. You have no idea whether she did that with malicious intent, or she is trying to solve a time-sensitive issue. So, what makes you think you can judge the situation at all.
Taking the time to judge a situation skews one’s thoughts to be non-productive.
Acceptance can come at many times. For some, acceptance may come when one realizes that the woman was going out of her way for her sickly husband, and all she needed was 15 seconds of asking how to deal with the situation. If that information is what you need to relax, then take the information without judging yourself for questioning.
Productive people assess a situation and immediately make a decision.
They refuse to wallow in wondering if they should accept a given situation. They accept it and rapidly move forward. Focusing the mind on another stimulus is a trick to overcome any thoughts. Pull out your phone, check your email, check your calendar. Realize that instead of spending time thinking about this woman, you can be doing something more productive for yourself.
At this point, you appreciate the woman; she is doing a good deed for her husband. She is taking care of someone she loves, and the power of love will make us do anything.
A person who has developed mindful self-control may or may not even question why she jumped the line in the first place. This person will recognize what happened with no judgment, accept the moment for what it is and appreciate life and love all around.
As one waits in line, there is a choice of how to act instead of yelling profanity or something aggressive. One can simply relax, smile and waits for his or her turn, marveling at the world around.
Appreciation can help us with productivity.
The less we focus on negative thoughts, and the more we appreciate the positive ones, the clearer our thinking, and thus the more productive we can be. Being productive comes down to one thing; decisions. If you wallow in thought contemplating and speculating about something, you are wasting your time. Allowing another persons actions to effect your decisions is not a quality of a productive person. Productive people will refocus their energy on something that matters to them, like family, work or even hobbies.
As a mindfulness consultant it is tough to say that even I am cool, calm and collected in every moment. There are times when emotions get in the way, and we act out, in ways that make us unrecognizable to friends, family and even ourselves. I have been the person who yells out his window at someone who cut him off, I have been the person who allows that to bother him the entire ride home.
Through learning about mindfulness I have begun putting thought redirection practices into effect. I realized my time could be better spent. I have overcome my thoughts many times when my inner thought has led me astray from who I am and who I want to be.
Since practicing mindfulness techniques, I have been more productive, less worrisome and overall happier. Remember, you are the most important person in your life, and keeping on track with what matters to you is essential to being productive.
Take some of the solutions and practices mentioned in this post and apply them to your life. Remember, it is all about decisions, and deciding to focus thoughts on yourself rather than speculating about a situation makes you more in control of your thoughts and thus more productive with your time.
As the saying goes, “Keep Calm and Carry On”.
Author: Max is a consultant for Point Above, a mindfulness and leadership consultant agency that aims at helping people and businesses with development into a more focused and productive entity. Through various courses and seminars, any person or company can be a more mindful leader.