Lizard Brain Diet

For those of you who have read Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin, the title of this blog post will not appear as revolting as those who have not. If you have not read the book, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy as soon as you can. The book revolves around the concept of “Resistance” that I blogged about at the start of this year. The lizard brain as Seth Godin describes it, is “…the reason you’re afraid, the reason you don’t do all the art you can, the reason you don’t ship when you can. The lizard brain is the source of the resistance.” It is essentially the little voice in our head that stops us from pursuing what we truly want in life because of the uncertainty of what lies ahead. We choose the safer path just to ensure we assimilate into society, because we care far too much what everyone else thinks. Status in the tribes we exist is a vital part of our lives.

The resistance is far more powerful than we imagine it to be. After reading the book I realized how resistance was hampering my capability to being more productive, and in essence reaching my goals on time. Most knowledge workers today spend most of their time on devices that are connected with the internet. There are four screens that are always on for me , in addition to the one I am working on:

1. Email
2. Skype
3. Twitter
4. Facebook

These screens are refreshed by the second and updates continue to flow in through the course of the day. Every new email alert focuses my attention on it, and there is always something you are expecting or wanting to hear about. Every twitter update gives us an update on what is happening in the lives of those who we have given enough importance, by following their every move. Conversations, regardless of their importance or priority are exchanged with colleagues through skype all day. I attached a time tracker to each one of these applications and was astounded at the time I was spending on them. So for the last week or so I have been on a strict lizard brain diet that includes:

1. I check my email 3x a day now and prioritize the responding to of all messages
2. I appear invisible or offline on skype for most of the day apart from the times that I come online to check email.
3. I review my twitter feeds once a day.
4. I check facebook once a day like email.

The results have been truly amazing. I find myself with a lot more time and able to meet targets with much greater accuracy. It just goes to show how deep resistance is ingrained into all the small things that we do on a daily basis. Every minute we reclaim moves us closer to shipping on time and keeps the resistance within us in check. Have you changed any habits in 2010 that have helped you become more productive?

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