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February 1st, 2008

No More Monkeys

Next time you feel like you’re being assaulted with “things to do” – take a moment to consider the following:

a. You’ll get more done faster if you focus on one thing at a time.

Consider the surgeon. He performs one operation after another, all day long. He doesn’t think about the NEXT surgery while doing the first. If he does he’ll botch the job he’s on.

b. When you feel pressure to get “everything” done – focus on the area between your neck and shoulder blades – your “traps.”

You’ve probably heard people talking about having “monkeys on their back.” It’s how people talk about time pressure, their projects, etc. “Gotta get these monkeys off my back.”

Truth is you get them off your back by focusing on one thing at a time – and anytime you feel pressure rising, take a deep breath and focus on your upper neck and back.

Feel any monkeys.

If so, change your mental picture. Take them off.

I assure you they are slowing you down. They are NOT helping you move faster. They are not helping you get things done.

The best way to get things done is to make a list of what you have to do before you begin. Then take a few moments to breathe deeply and relax. See yourself getting the first thing done. Then the next.

See yourself doing all these things without pressure, without tension – without a single monkey.

Once you’ve accomplished the first thing on your list, then “clear the computer screen.”

Let your mind go blank. Compartmentalize. What you just accomplished is now done. Congratulate yourself.

Now see the next thing being accomplished. Center and focus. Then hop to it and do it.

You might think juggling three things at once is the key to getting things done.

You might think that feeling overwhelmed, slammed, swamped and beaten bloody are better ways to ponder your daily “to do list.”

I don’t think so.

Take a moment to visualize all the stress monkeys on your back. Then see all of them going away. See yourself totally focused and totally relaxed – in the flow.

I challenge you to do this.

Stop scratching your head. Relax, smile, breathe and focus.

Do this for the next thing on your list today. Then on the next. And so on. See how many things you can knock out in a spirit of calm and relaxation.

I’m betting you’ll be surprised.

Matthew Furey

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