Friday, July 24, 2009

How to Be More Effective - Go Slower and Get There Faster

By Dr. Raymond Comeau

It's not the number of units of work that is done in a day that counts. What really counts is the value and effect of each of those units. One person may read one hundred page of a book in a twenty-four hour period and get less out of it than someone who spent one tenth of the time on a single page.

The man who holds the most important job in the world, Barack Obama, will spend five minutes just clearing his throat before uttering a single word. A bit of an exaggeration here but it gets the point across. The point is that important and effective people are more deliberate and poised in most of their actions than the average person.

There are many reasons for that. The first is that rapid execution depend more on innate reflexes than on deliberate rational thinking. By constantly using innate reflexes, little personal growth and little new expertise can be expected. That way, the subject's effectiveness remains roughly the same.

On the other hand, if the subject is in the habit of using deliberate rational thinking, that faculty is bound to increase in effectiveness. Increase in effectiveness will result in increase in personal power and with more personal power comes the ability to do more in less time.

The brain is like a muscle. It increases in strength while working against resistance but will not improve if left unchallenged. Most people will simply rush through life, automatically reacting to events without ever taking the time to analyze whatever it is that they are involved in or monitoring the effectiveness of their interventions. No wonder that little progress is acquired in personal effectiveness or personal power.

We live in a hectic world where activity is often mistaken for productivity. This is especially true where people have little or no control over their lives; where people are struggling just to say afloat. When it seems as if they are caught in the whirlwind of existence and cannot seem to get a grip on life.

When that happens, a "time out" has to be called. It's time to reorganize and regroup. Time for a change in strategies and time to revaluate one's values. Rushing through life is not only ineffective; it's missing life altogether. A reality check has to be undertaken and a more effective strategy has to be implemented.

The brain is most effective when it's in a relaxed and serene mode. When under pressure or stress, the creativity and reasoning faculties become affected by interference from the limbic or reptilian mind. That primitive part of the brain whose main function is survival.

When not in relative control of a situation or pushed, whether voluntary or not, to unduly accelerate the rhythm of the work at hand, the primitive brain senses danger and sets in the fight or flight response. When that happens, some of the mental resources become monopolized by the fight or flight mechanism and are no longer available to the rational thinking process. Not an ideal mindset for productivity.

To be truly constructive, effective and in a time saving mode, the mind needs peace and serenity. A condition that a hurried peace renders next to impossible. So, to be as effective as possible and to achieve the most in the least amount of time, a tranquil and deliberate pace is the order of the day. Rushing and pressing is an invitation to delay rather than accelerate productivity.

We have but one life to live. To live it to the fullest, time must be taken to bathe in the experience of the moment. Something that simply cannot be done when febrillity reigns and speed is the essence. Relax and take it one step at the time. That's the recipe for effectiveness and productivity.

Dr. Raymond Comeau aka Shamou is the Author of ShamouBlog and Owner Administrator of Personal Development for Personal Success Forums

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