“Sorry ma’am, we’re closed,” he informs the frantic shopper as he pulls down the shutters. “I just need one thing,” the customer shouts back in protest, squeaks by and runs into the store. “You have 3 minutes,” he shouts towards her, shaking his head. I can hear him mumbling, “Employees need holidays too.”
Darn! Becca and I need a lot more than 3 minutes to get all our Christmas groceries. Besides, it’s the weekend, which is when we do all our grocery shopping. How the hell can anyone do it in 3 minutes? 2 minutes, by the time we get to the door and sneak into the store.
Even so, the eternal (and some would say foolish) optimist in me believes we can. Besides, we’re having friends over for Christmas and failure is not an option. Once inside, I quickly run down our mental checklist. Meat, fruits, dairy, eggs, veggies, tortillas, grains, spices…beer. Christmas or not, never forget beer. We split the list between us and scamper off in different directions. We have no time to lose.
So…did we do it?
Took us about five minutes though. My wife and I have managed to do our entire grocery shopping in under five minutes. Which is impressive because, believe you me, we are picky eaters and our list is long. How did we do it?
When A Crisis Is A Good Thing
In one word…desperation.
Desperation puts the mind in a crisis mode. When one’s in a crisis, one stops thinking and starts doing. Nothing will get you out of your head and into your body like a crisis. A crisis has no room for heavy analysis or over-thinking; you must simply act. With the adrenalin pumping through your veins, you can do amazing stuff—stuff that defies reason, logic and time. Then, time-wise, even the impossible becomes possible.
But time is a very subjective thing. Did you ever hear of the saying, “work expands to take up all available time?” Give someone 1/2 hour to do something and that is what it’ll take them. Give them half a day and that’s what it’ll take them. Now, give them only 5 minutes and don’t be surprised if they get it done.
In addition to our time-induced desperation, there are a couple of other things that helped us kill it at the grocery store: 1) knowing exactly what you need, and 2) being very opinionated and having strong food preferences.
Our wants in life are endless, but they are also great time and energy suction devices. The needs in life, on the other hand, are few and consume very little of our time and energy. The good thing about a crisis is that it locks your attention onto your needs.
Marshall Those Emotions
I know, I know, it’s hard to be around highly opinionated people with strong preferences. Usually, these folks like what they like and nothing else. They may even come across as unreceptive to new ideas. Well, guess what? This “flaw” of theirs is actually a blessing in a crisis because it counters indecisiveness.
In a crisis, highly opinionated people people are driven by pure emotion. Your emotional brain (your limbic system) is much older than your rational brain, which is quite feeble. Powered by emotion, you’re able to make split-second decisions. So trust your primal, emotional brain.
So there you have it. Want to be insanely productive in life? Here’s Sage’s productivity secret in a nutshell:
- Know exactly what you want (by focusing on your needs).
- See it “done” in your mind’s eye (before you even begin).
- Set a time limit (hey, be reasonable).
- Let your emotions work for you (your emotions are your friends).
Viola! You’ll out shine yourself each time, every time.
Image Source: simmons.edu