How to Become Productive and Avoid a Stroke


What are your time wasters? What is slowing down your creativity? What could you do to get more done in less time and with less effort? How can you reduce your email and get a better life both professionally and personal? How can you reduce your work hours without producing less?

Many years ago I worked for Time Manager International and developed a personal interest of being an effective person. I have read loads and loads of books on time management, personal effectiveness, get things done and other stuff that could help me get more done with less effort an within a normal time frame. And I have done a lot of presentations on personal effectiveness. So I, if anybody, should know how to deal with high work pressure.

But, as you know. The shoemakers kids have no shoes. The cow forgets she has been a calf, as my mother always reminded me.

You can read a book, participate at a seminar and be full of inspiration and good intentions. It all works well for a while, but after a while you fall back and into the same old behavior as before. The result is devastating, you become tired, overworked and get burnt out. It has happened to me several times in my life, at least 3-4 times. And I promise you that meeting the wall is really tough. It ends up with you on the sick list – staying away from work – two – three months in my case. Many people end up being set out for a year or two. In worst cases the never come back to work.

Pushing the reset button

Last time this happened to me was just some weeks ago when I had a blackout – early in the morning – an hour before I was supposed to jump on to the commuter train for a meeting with a business partner. I had just come in from the morning dog walk, sitting down in the coach with a coffee and my iPad to get a status update.

When I stood up I suddenly had a blackout. For a second everything was dark and I got very dizzy. The room turned around and I felt like I was heavily drunk. I could hardly stand on my feet without holding on to the furniture. I managed to get myself downstairs and into the bed.

My wife took charge of the situation, called the medical emergency service who told her to get me there. After half an hour they sent me to the hospital where the doctors were quite certain I had a stroke.

You can imagine what thoughts that go through your head when you lie there in the hospital bed, in the emergency room with nurses and doctors running around, with wires and hoses attached all over your body, and with beeping data screens with graphs showing how bad everything was.

I promise you – it’s not something you will want to experience. You can imagine the fear and the thoughts that passes through your brain. What will happen to my kids, my grand children, my wife, my dog and the cat? How will life be for them without me? Will you survive this? What will life be after this?

The feelings and thoughts you get in those cases are like someone pushing your reset button. And when the final message, after all the fears, the anxiety and going through lots of brain scans, CT’s, blood samples, ultra sound tests, blood glucose and blood pressure tests, is this:

– We can not find any signs of a stroke. But we are very concerned about your blood pressure. You should really rethink how you work and live. This is your new chance. And it could be your last chance. Your body is five years older than your age, the doc told me.

That message was a life changer for me. And if you, may it not happen, would have the same experience, and survive – it will be a life changer for you too.

Well, enough about me and the deadly outcome that may be the result of working too much. I guess you got my message:

Work smarter – not harder!

That is why I publish the video below. It’s a great presentation by Scott Hanselman, Principle Program Manager at Microsoft, on how to work smarter and get a better and more meaningful life. It has been a great and very needed reminder for me personally – even though he does not say anything I did not know already. But he says it all in a very humorous way, making you recognize your own situation, and rethink the way you work.

Enjoy the video!

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