Want to feel more productive? Lower your expectations.

by | May 23, 2013 | Focus

Takeaway: Strive to be great at what you do, but don’t be hard on yourself when you’re not.

Estimated Reading Time: 56 seconds.

So far, inspiration for this project has come from all sorts of places. Books, interviews, an oncology camp, friends, family, and in this case, a Buddhist monk.

I recently watched a talk by Ajahn Brahm where he explored how productivity and happiness can be impacted when you lower your expectations. In his words, when you lower your expectations “you’re confident, and you can have fun, relax, and not worry about proving yourself to others”. This stops you from second-guessing yourself, and helps you blaze your own trail instead of conforming to what you expect from yourself or what other people expect from you.

This isn’t a tactical tip, but it is a practical one. I’m hard on myself quite a bit when I’m trying to be productive, and I can say first-hand that high expectations cause stress and unhappiness. Strive to be great at what you do, but don’t be hard on yourself when you’re not.

This is much easier than said than done, of course, but lowering the expectations you have of yourself (and ignoring the ones that come from other people) is a great way to feel more productive.

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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