As I sat on the steps outside, taking a minute to breathe from all the work I had to do for the day, my mind started to wander in all sorts of places. It told me that there was no way I could do the job I had been hired to do. The thought evolved to me questioning why I was working as a freelancer at all. Anxiety stirred up in me, I felt like a fraud and self-doubt took the steering wheel. What was supposed to be a nice moment became a point of misery and uncertainty for
What was supposed to be a nice moment becomes a point of misery and uncertainty. The last thing I wanted to do was get back on the computer and face the daunting task of writing. My voice was in the midst of ruining my focus and productivity.
Your Conscious Thoughts are the Reason You Second Guess Everything
If this seems like a familiar story for you also, you can probably identify with how much energy is sucked out of you. The story line of “not good enough” makes you feel out of sorts and causes you to lose focus of whatever task you were focusing on. That inner voice has a lot to say but taking its word as though it were gospel could be causing you to miss out on valuable time.
This time could be much better spent taking actionable measure to overcome challenging projects. Listening to that inner voice, day in and day out has little point to it. The alarming fact is that much of the voice is basing its ideas and thoughts on the person you were at a time of uncertainty.
It could be the five-year-old version of yourself that is giving you advice. While the situation is obviously not the same, the feelings that surround it might be. The job you gave to your conscious long ago was to keep you safe from harm. The problem lies in the fact that to grow, you need to risk. This is why it’s important to know how to kill the switch of your conscious thoughts when they create havoc in your life.
How is This Messing With Your Productivity?
First of all, you experience self-doubt through listening to your ego or your conscious self. It is feeding you stories to keep you from harm, don’t forget. Anything unknown is scary, and it will question your new ideas and innovations. This can cause you to hold back on great things that allow your business to grow. As your confidence becomes shaky, you’re less bold about making decisions.
The ego mind also continues to babble, which can cause a lot of noise congestion in your head. With all the chatter going on, how are you supposed to delve into even the simplest tasks for the day?
The answer is, you can’t. You can’t have a productive day with this secondary opinion happening in your head.
So how can you gain control?
You’d assume that to shut your inner voice up, you’d have to go through therapy. It’s always been there, and it has so much hold on most of your life. The thing is, it doesn’t take therapy and actually, it doesn’t take much effort. It takes learning how to witness your thoughts to quiet the mind up. It’s about mindfulness. You’ve probably heard the word mindfulness being thrown around before, but couldn’t catch its true meaning. Being a witness to your thoughts is an immediate way to shut out your inner voice and gain control.
Here’s an example. Say you got a call from a potential client. The client is willing to drop a lot of money down for your product or service. You are initially really excited, but as you start thinking about how to fulfill the needs of this new client, the doubt comes sneaking in.
Your inner voice might say, “Will I have to hire more people to get the job done?”
“My past experience with finding the right people hasn’t worked.”
“How will I measure up to their expectations?”
“I’m doomed, this is a disaster.”
You’re spending time in worry over what may or may not happen in the future. This time can be spent fulfilling the needs of your client. How do you quiet the mind so you can be more productive?
If you doubt the power of mindfulness, look to Tim Ferriss. Not only does he practice mindfulness, but he also stated that 80% of the people he has interviewed attribute part of their success to practicing mindfulness.
Some Ways To Manage Your Inner Voice
When this inner dialogue sneaks in, you can stop it by simply looking. You don’t argue with the voice inside you, you just look. This habit may take time to acquire effectively, but if you continue to just look at the voice and not make it a part of yourself, it will quiet down.
Methods Successful People Use to be Mindful
- Some people do a type of repetitive exercise which can include apps such as Headspace.
- Many people do yoga but while doing so, they truly immerse themselves in every pose. Focusing on the pose and the breath is a powerful way to access mindfulness.
- Another method is meditation. A good way to start is with a guided meditation, as it tends to help you focus on the moment you’re in. Instruction is helpful for those who are prone to anxious feelings.
I had learned that although the voice, which is also known as the conscious mind, is obviously a part of who we are, it shouldn’t dictate our lives. Shutting down the voice allows us to experience life without being interrupted by feelings of separation, anxiety, or lack of confidence.