Day 20 – Respond

We are on the homestretch y’all – 2/3rds of the way complete in our 31 days of productivity hacks – hang in there!  You might wonder what today’s post has to do with productivity – the answer is EVERYTHING.  Remember, productivity is about getting things WE CARE ABOUT done – and if our mind is not harnessed, we’ll be like the waves of the ocean – tossed this way and that way – perpetually unmoored.

Challenged to change ourselves…

The whole idea of creating Slay The Chaos was to, well, SLAY THE CHAOS – get rid of it. Kill it.  Slay it. We’d learn to create systems and processes and a lifestyle that minimized and finally eliminated the chaos.

And while a noble endeavor, unfortunately, chaos is a fact of life. There will be days where we are faced with uncontrollables…factors beyond our control. The loud co-worker, the loss of someone dear, the sick child, the copier jamming, the computer crashing, hard conversations…days where we’ll be tempted to throw our hands in the air and not even try to try.

But at STC we’re also about learning how to live within the chaos because while we cannot control certain factors – we ALWAYS have the ability to harness our mind.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The challenge with chaos is that it’s not the chaos itself – it’s our RESPONSE to the chaos. If we EXPECT things to be orderly and simple and they aren’t…we have a choice on how to respond. We can get anxious and stressed out OR we can determine if there’s a way to un-chaos OR we can just accept the situation as is (not always my favorite).

I’ve learned a thing or two about acceptance this last year or so. On the surface, acceptance feels like giving up or not caring. But when you are faced with uncontrollables what other choice do you have? It’s not that you don’t care…you are just no longer fighting.


And just how is this state of no fighting achieved? We talked a bit about it last week – it begins with mindfulness and is practiced in meditation. Meditation is not a mystical ancient mystery. It’s a practical way to practice acceptance and letting go.

Let’s take a quick example: You have a meeting with someone and it turns south right off the bat. Your go-to response is like a snake – quick to strike. But what if, in that space of input and reaction you were mindful of:

The hardness of your heart towards the someone behaving imperfectly.
The catch in your breath as things start to fall apart and get messy.
The speed of your heart as they interrupt your thoughts and misinterpret your words.
The frustration that things aren’t going your way.

That space – that space between the input and response – grows when we practice meditation. We are aware of our mind and reactions and we learn to change ourselves. We stop fighting what we can’t win and start winning over our mind.

If you are interested – my favorite app is CALM.  They have a free version to get you started and then a paid version if you want additional features.

See ya tomorrow.

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The legal stuff – I’ll never write nor promote a product I don’t believe in…with that said, this post could contain affiliate links (read more), which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you – these small commissions simply help me finance this blog.  Thanks for being here.

Donna Matthews

Donna is a passionate soul eager to help others clear the chaos from their minds, souls, and homes with keep it simple, real life, productivity and organizational solutions.