For maximum productivity at work and life, your mind needs to be relaxed, but motivated. If it’s too relaxed we get into lazy-mode where we aren’t motivated to move off the couch and outside of our comfort zones in order to make things happen. If we’re too worked up and stressed, we will start to make mistakes and we will start to drift from high-value actions to mid or low-value ones. Not to mention we feel like crap and will eventually have other problems in our lives, including with our health and interpersonal relationships.
Maintaining our mental state between lazy and stressed is a fine balance. Most people don’t pull it off very well.
Here is a mental exercise you can use during work or right before work to ensure your mind is in the sweet spot of relaxed and motivated.
It takes less than ten minutes. It’s semi-meditative, so to you will need to do it in a somewhat quiet area where you won’t be interrupted.
Once you’re ready, while sitting comfortably or laying down, close your eyes and imagine your perfect self standing in a long dark hallway. This is the perfect version of yourself. Look down at your body and see how perfect it is, and how perfectly you’re dressed. Imagine yourself smiling slightly at how damn perfect you look.
Still in your imagination, picture yourself slowly walking down the dark hallway. At the end of the hallway is a huge set of double doors. See yourself opening the doors to reveal a perfect quiet landscape. Perhaps it’s a huge beautiful garden. Perhaps it’s a sunny grassy plain with snow-capped mountains in the distance. It can even be a fantasy location, like on top of a cloud. Any landscape is acceptable as long as it’s very quiet (so a city or the ocean would not be appropriate here).
Before you are ten steps leading down to the grass. You’re currently on step number ten; step one is the last step before the ground. You look out over the land and feel good.
Slowly step down on step number nine. When you do, picture a glowing number “9” appearing on the step as you put your weight on it. Pause on the step, and then (in real life) breathe in long and deep through your nose, then exhale long and deep from your mouth.
Then slowly step down to step number eight. See the “8” light up on the step, then breathe in long and deep through your nose, and long and deep from your mouth.
Continue to slowly descend the steps, one at a time, pausing to breathe on each. Notice that as you descend, the closer you get to the ground, the more relaxed and sleepy you become. It’s almost as if the grass is magical in nature and puts people to sleep.
Finally, when you reach the grass and you are on the ground past step number one, look ahead and see a huge tree. At the base of the tree is the biggest, fluffiest, coolest bed you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s your perfect bed, the exact type of bed you’ve always wanted. You are so sleepy right now, you apprach the bed, flop down into it, and go to sleep.
Shortly afterwards, picture yourself awaking from your perfect sleep. Now slowly go back to the stairs.
Set up on step number one. See the glowing “1” appear on the step, and think to yourself, “MORE ALERT.”
Then slowly step on number two. See the glowing “2” appear, then think to yourself, “EVEN MORE ALERT.”
Then slowly step on number three. See the glowing “3” appear, then think to yourself, “EVEN MORE ALERT.”
Now, in real life, open your eyes and snap out of it. Stand up slowly and shake it off.
Now you’re 100% ready to get to work. Now, you’ll be more focused and efficient, likely for the rest of the day.
You can use this same visualization exercise if you’re stressed out and want to calm down, or if you’re in bed at night and want to go to sleep. If you actually want to go to sleep (or close to it), simply “wake up” from the visualization when you fall asleep in your perfect bed. Don’t wake up and go back up three steps.
Over time you can tweak this visualization to more fit you and your personality. Feel free to do so, as long as you keep the core aspects intact.