Move It or Lose It

How Physical Exertion Aids Productivity

The stress of an impending deadline can either stimulate or paralyze a person. I usually find that pressure motivates me simply because I’ve got no choice but to perform and deliver.

However, today I had something due that was creative, and in my mind, I had not left enough time to do my best work. Once I got it in my head that something was wrong, my creative flow was stuck. Then it came to me. Instead of skipping the morning workout to have more time to get the work done, I doubled it. The calm of increased circulation and tired muscles left me completely focused and ready to attack my project

How it Works in Fitness

I’m surprised I didn’t think of it sooner but often we are the last person to benefit from our own expertise. As a certified fitness instructor, I offer this advice to my exercise class on a weekly basis. Each one-hour physically active workout concludes with a 15-minute stretching, relaxation and meditation session. During the meditation, I invite the class to notice their mind and how quiet it is. Absent the normal noise that clouds thinking, I encourage the group to revisit goals that have gone stagnant. Next, I lead my class in noticing their muscles, joints and bones. The body craves movement and brisk physical activity can lubricate joints and relieve achy muscles. Finally, we visit the spirit and everyone is encouraged to let go of any barriers and negative thoughts. This is much easier after an hour of activity when endorphins, released during exercise, produce a euphoric feeling. Exertion and even exhaustion can create an opening to new ideas and perspectives. It is a great time to set an intention or commit to a goal that previously seemed out of reach.

How it Works in Business

Apply that back to my last-minute push to meet today’s target and you have a strategy that doesn’t cost a dime and works extremely well. This is a healthy way to approach stretch goals, looming deadlines, and the introduction of new concepts. If you find yourself lacking concentration, fighting new ideas, or just plain stuck, try these four tips to get focused and productive:

4 Ways to Stimulate Productivity

  1. Change the scenery
  2. Set a time limit
  3. Work it out
  4. Try Aromatherapy

Change the scenery

Even if you are stuck in the office, seek out a space by a sunny window where you can be completely alone for about 10 minutes. Use this time to gather your thoughts and breathe deeply to reset the mood for productivity. If you can take a walk outside, this works even better.

Set a time limit

Breaking down large tasks is an excellent way to cope with a new project or a difficult concept. If you cannot envision the end result or are concerned that you may not be able to complete the assignment on time, take back control by scheduling three, 20-minute sessions in which you work on the objective. This can be over the course of a day or two. Once you get through that first hour, the ideas in front of you alleviate the stress of a blank page or give you a path or vision of how the solution will look.

Work it out

If you exercise, take advantage of the natural clarity that exists at the end of your workout. Plan to ride the endorphin boost by bringing along writing supplies. Build in the extra time after physical exertion to record ideas or set intentions. If you do not regularly exercise, pick an activity that you love that is physical. Even a brisk walk can get help you set the right tone and prepare you to perform.

Try Aromatherapy

Check out the essential oils and select scents that promote your goals. Aromatherapy can be targeted to enhance focus, energy, openness, conflict resolution and many other positive business outcomes.

There is real power in using your mind, body and spirit to achieve your goals. Becoming physically accountable for your success is a great way to improve your career. I hope movement gets you started on that path and if you need help, consider my services.


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