How To Live Your Most Effective Life (Part 1)

“When you routinely make time to operate at your peak level, your peak level will become routine.”

“When you routinely make time to operate at your peak level, your peak level will become routine.”

The other day, someone that I worked with asked me how I manage to stay so calm during times when other people are stressed. As I reflected on her question, I realized it’s only because I’ve been very intentional about prioritizing stress relief over the past several years. As a result, I have designed my life over the past few years in a way that enables me to eliminate as much stress as possible, and minimize the unavoidable stress in my life.

In psychology, there is a state of mind called flow. This is where time falls away, and you feel like you can achieve anything. In sports, this is sometimes referred to as being “in the zone.” You’re more creative, more productive, and hyper focused.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be in this state of mind all the time? There are some specific steps that you can take to increase your time in the flow state.

As it turns out, stress is a MAJOR BARRIER to getting to the flow state. So really, if you want to be the most effective and productive, you need to work on how you deal with stress.

With that said, I have a few suggestions on ways to minimize, deal with, and eliminate stress. I regularly practice these, and I find it dramatically increases the quality of my life.

Regular INTENSE Physical Activity

If you don’t exercise regularly at all, I suggest you start there. There are numerous benefits associated with exercise. What’s the best kind of exercise, you may ask? The answer is the one you will do most consistently. While I personally prefer strength training, anything that gets you moving on a regular basis will work wonders for stress relief. High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular type of workout, where you give 100% effort for very short bursts of time, followed by a rest period, then on and on like that. I find it to be especially stress relieving.

Deep Breathing/Meditation

Have you ever taken a deep breath and felt much more calm and relaxed? That’s the basic idea behind meditation. In essence, you’re taking a series of deep breaths, while you try to focus your mind on one particular thing. It’s basically strength training for your mind. Don’t miss out on your “mental gains.” Here’s a pretty good guide about how to start meditating and some of the numerous benefits.

Learn to Say NO

“We all want to say yes, because with yes comes so much opportunity, but with the power of no comes focus and engagement.” – Jared Leto
Many people suffer from unnecessary stress because they have trouble telling other people no. When you are not running around focused on someone else’s priorities, you can much more effectively focus on yours.
Sometimes you have to say no to the good, so that you can say yes to the great. There is an opportunity cost associated with everything. At the end of the day, you must realize: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

Ruthlessly Prioritize

What do I mean by “ruthlessly prioritize”? The idea of ruthless prioritization is that you determine what your priorities are, and you stick to them no matter what. Be consistent. Pass everything through a filter. “How does this align with my priorities?” is a question you should be constantly asking yourself.

Listen to Relaxing Music

Listening to music can help you control your emotions. With enough practice, you can actually create a playlist that matches how you would like to feel.

Avoid Stressed-out and Negative People

This one speaks for itself. Behavior and emotions are contagious. You are who you surround yourself with.

Disconnect From the Things You Can’t Control

Focus on the things you can control. You will always feel powerless when you focus on things you have no control over (traffic, presidential politics, weather, etc).

Turn Off The News

Turning off the cable news is probably one of the easiest things you can do to decrease your stress. The news makes money from your fear, anxiety and dread. If you think you absolutely have to know what’s going on, do what I do and find your favorite news website and scroll through the headlines. At the end of the day, limit your information intake to things that are relevant to your own life and work.

Work On Creating Another Source of Income

One major source of stress for people is their jobs. When you are relying on your job to cover your living expenses (like most people), any troubles at your job can cause extra stress. One way to counteract this is to work on creating another source of income. What could be more stress free than to get to the point where your income from your side hustle is more than what you make at your job?

Call to Action

If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment. What did you find to be most useful? Anything new that you learned?
Please feel free to reach out. I’m not perfect, and I don’t spend my entire life in a flow state. I’m always looking for more tips

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