When your mind is fighting itself, it’s impossible to get anything done.
As we’ve talked about before, the cause for distraction falls under two categories:
- Outside Distraction
- Inner Conflict
I’m certain you’re on top of other productivity sites out there. So you’ve probably read so much (TOO much) on distraction by so-called productivity experts. You know who I mean. “Just eliminate all your distractions and you’ll immediately be more productive!”
While it’s technically good advice, it’s half-assed. This advice frustrates me for two reasons:
- ANYONE can shut off distractions. So it’s the easiest advice those experts can give.
- Sometimes, the largest distraction is WITHIN OUR MINDS. Which is not as easy as unplugging a router.
That’s a huge piece of the puzzle that only a handful of experts address. And I want you to have it so you can succeed faster.
Today, let’s address the other half of the problem: Inner Conflict, and how you can work with it.
ON INNER CONFLICT
You can block your Internet, buy the best noise-canceling headset, or throw your XBox 360 out the window…
If you’re distracted, you’re just going to find something else to do INSTEAD of your work. Why?
Inner conflict occurs when two different drives in your mind are fighting for control over the same resource.
Imagine an air conditioner and a heater in the same room… but set to different temperatures.
That room will NEVER reach equilibrium. Both the A/C and the heater will spend a TON of energy attempting to do so. It just won’t happen until they agree upon a temperature.
Today, we’re going to get your inner air conditioner and heater on the same page.
RELIEVING INNER CONFLICT
Most people think the best way to get past inner conflict is to power through it.
This is like turning the A/C and heater higher. You still have the same temperature problem, but now you’re burning energy at full-throttle.
Not good, buddy.
It’s also important to note that we’re aiming to RELIEVE inner conflict. Not destroy, defeat, demolish, or any other strong D words we can think of.
Your mind is in conflict for a reason. It wants two different things that require YOUR ATTENTION. To ignore either message will cause your mind to “shout” that message LOUDER. Once more, throwing you off your productive streak.
Again, no good, ace.
Instead we’re going to learn how to get those two messages to work together.
Mindmapping is one of the best ways to quickly get your inner conflict out of your mind and onto paper.
HOW DOES THIS LOOK IN ACTION?
You sit down to work.
You eliminate all the distractions you can.
You have your one task you want to focus on right away.
But you either:
- Feel tired
- Feel angry, anxious, or any combination of the two
- Just can’t focus on the work
Then this is what you’re going to do.
1) Get paper & a pen, write ONE question to yourself about how you feel, and circle it.
We’re identifying the symptom we’re feeling. Our natural tendency as people is to want to push our emotions down so we can work on a logical level.
Here, we want to ACKNOWLEDGE the message our emotions are saying: that something’s wrong and a decision must be made.
It all starts by asking your mind a question.
Here’s what mine looks like:
2) Now, start branching off with reasons. Then branch off THOSE with either more problems or solutions.
In step 1, we identified the symptom. Here, we’re digging into the CAUSES.
After a while, you’ll start writing the LARGER reasons behind why you’re angry or anxious.
Be as honest as you can with yourself. Your productivity depends on it! You can always shred or burn the mindmap later.
Here’s how my mindmap looks now:
3) List out the action items you can pull from it and take care of them as quickly as possible.
Before you ask, yes — it’s worth resolving a few of these action items even before your work that day. Taking an hour to resolve your inner conflict will make the remaining 7 hours of your time MUCH easier to work with.
Looking at my mindmap, you can see the minor reasons that I’m exhausted are because of physical needs. I haven’t fueled my body with the food, water, or sleep I need! So I have some actions to take NOW:
- Get 2 glasses of water from the water cooler
- Go downstairs & get a fruit smoothie
- Set a timer on my phone for 12pm for lunch and 8pm to remind me to get ready for bed
But now for the doozie — the MAJOR reason for my exhaustion is because I’m still angry over an argument I had with my friend the other night!
After processing my emotions around it, I realized that I should:
- Text her and apologize for my lack of communication (I ran late and kept her waiting)
- Let her know that I value our friendship more than the busyness that kept me (not just by saying so, but by proving it when we hang out later)
- Make a habit of texting my friends if I ever think I will run late
If I hadn’t taken the time to mindmap my thoughts out, these thoughts would be floating around in my head with NO resolution. By taking action on the first 4 bullet points, I resolved the largest anxieties I had that morning, allowing me to work in a MUCH more productive state.
Negative emotions are a sign that it’s time to take some sort of constructive action. They’re to be heeded, not ignored. Mindmapping is now your newest tool to resolving them.
I’ll soon be sending out an email to my list on one more tool to resolving inner conflict — Freewriting. It’s the tool that most accomplished authors use to overcome their inner conflicts, allowing them to crank out consistent work every day.
I will not be sharing this information on Amp Your Results. It’s my gift to those dedicated to taking massive action to gain the results they want.
When you’re ready for this more advanced (and comprehensive) technique, sign up for my mailing list so you can get it, too.