When I saw that Father’s Day coincided with World Productivity Day this year, I couldn’t help but smile. My Dad, George, who passed away over 19 years ago, taught me so much about being productive. He would surely be amused to learn that I made a career out of it!
My father embedded some very deep beliefs in my three older brothers and me. As it turns out, two of his ‘mantras’ are now part of my top three productivity tips. Here they are:
GEORGE’S TOP TWO TIPS FOR A BETTER, MORE PRODUCTIVE LIFE
- SLEEP – No matter what was ailing you – nerves, fever, anxiety, heartache, stress, or upset stomach – the number one remedy in my house was sleep. We had strictly enforced bedtimes and Sunday nights before the work/school week was always a little earlier. As an adult, I now see and understand the importance and value of getting enough sleep. There is increasing evidence to support this. If you’d like to learn more, check out Matthew Walker’s TED talk, Sleep is your superpower. Practically, you don’t need research to know that it is incredibly hard to focus when you haven’t had enough sleep.
- EXERCISE – My Dad insisted that my brothers and I each be part of a sports team in school (we could select the sport but all opted for swimming). In addition to learning the importance of teamwork, this would ensure that we had regular exercise. My father believed that if you exercised, you could eat what you wanted. Sadly, this has not worked out for me! He also saw the benefits that activity had on managing stress and mental well-being. What he may not have connected at the time is that many people find movement and exercise can also help you focus. I have found that my most productive times are right after a good, hard swim!
- MINDFULNESS – At this point, you may be wondering about my third top productivity tip. It’s mindfulness. My father did not have a formal mindfulness practice, but I imagine, had he lived in current times, it’s something he would have embraced. Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in research around the benefits of a mindfulness practice. Some of my favorite findings include better sleep, improved working memory, enhanced focus, reduced symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, greater emotion regulation, and a boost to the immune system. My daily mindfulness practice has given me the ability to pause before reacting to challenges and stressful situations. As a result, I can choose how I respond rather than get caught up in the moment. This means more time being productive and less time worrying and ruminating!
As we head into Father’s Day weekend, I am grateful to my Dad who provided me with a solid foundation in organization and productivity through both nature and nurture.
What were some of your Dad’s favorite mantras and how might they have shaped who you are today?
Wishing all dads a wonderful Father’s Day!
Sharon Danzger, Productivity Consultant and Performance Coach at Control Chaos, LLC
Sharon F. Danzger is the founder of Control Chaos and author of Super-Productive: 120 Strategies to Do More and Stress Less.
Her firm helps clients improve their productivity, performance, and well-being through corporate training, executive, and group coaching. She has consulted for a variety of businesses, from international conglomerates to small companies and nonprofits.
Danzger’s work focuses on empowering individuals to make deliberate, incremental changes in how they operate, resulting in a big impact on their work performance and quality of life.
Sharon is a guest lecturer at Columbia University’s Executive MBA program and an Assistant Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Danzger is a certified professional coach, accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). She received her bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in real estate finance from New York University, and a master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Danzger earned certificates from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation in Leadership and Negotiation as well as Leveraging the Power of Emotions in Negotiation. Danzger holds the CFA, CLU, and ChFC designations.