Sandhya Krishnan is an ICF certified mindfulness, productivity and wellness coach and has spent years digging deep into questions about what makes us tick, and how we can surpass our own expectations. She’s a speaker and founder of Dynamic Living, as well as her own YouTube channel. She recently hosted a Take Five session for us on productivity, with a focus on goal setting and building resilience. We chat with this multifaceted achiever a little more.
How was the definition of productivity changed over the past few weeks?
Not since the advent of the machines in the industrial age has productivity seen such a radical shift in definition. Computers and AI are already telling us how monotonous, competitive, and repetitive tasks could be done better, in fact, much better, by machines. Now we’re learning that so much of what we thought was an essential part of our work-life is actually ‘shallow work’ – easy to replicate, time and resource consuming, and producing no real value to anyone.
This is also a time of great financial loss for industry, so if we don’t learn these lessons and incorporate them into our work culture going forward, many companies will have the rug swept out from under their feet by the more nimble ones that have learnt to reorient themselves to what is truly important. They will be more efficient, more economical, and truly more productive.
"For individuals, this is a time of reorientation. We are reconnecting with families, friends and still probably producing tremendous value for our employers."
And finding that we don’t, in fact, need to work 12 hour days in order to deliver on our targets! Again, it will be a tragedy if we don’t carry these lessons forward. But we need to be aware of how powerful habit energy is. And we need to fight to build new neural pathways, new habits within our brains, within our systems.
What has your experience during quarantine been like?
Since I work primarily from my home office, not much has changed for me, work wise. If anything, I have needed to be more present for my clients but I also for my family and community. Initially that overwhelmed me, but I sat back, meditated, thought about it a bit, and removed things which just weren’t a priority anymore, or never were actually!
Like with many others, this experience has told me how simple life is, what my priorities really are, and how little we actually need to get by, to be happy.
What is the biggest challenge you think people are facing right now?
When we are faced with uncertainty, threats that we cannot see, when we have to confront the idea of mortality, this triggers a stress response within us. We get anxious. This often switches off or puts on standby, our logical brain, and we begin to behave irrationally, we get suspicious, we become selfish, start attacking those who we feel different from, and those that we perceive as enemies.
But this is also a time where we can rise above our animalistic instincts. Create a new collective consciousness, reignite values of universal brotherhood, compassion, selflessness and caring. And the amazing part is that it only takes a few to ignite the spark!
What are easy things people can do to try to get back on track and stay motivated?
Change of any kind is disruptive. And jumping headlong into it is just a recipe to get caught up in the whirlwind, to get overwhelmed. To me, it’s like being asked to enter The Matrix. You could just jump blindly in, deal with what comes to you smack you in the face, end up getting caught by Agent Smiths! Or, you could spend a little time trying to understand the new normal, and find your way through the maze. But for your brain to think strategically, you need to free up some space; and this will not happen if you are on social media, WhatsApp or news channels 24/7.
Once you’ve found your strategy, then just start living this new life. Test it out. See how it’s working for you. Course correct if you must. That is the scientific process.
What do you think are some positive uses of the time we have available to us now?
Number one has to be reconnect with yourself. Above all else! We have lost ourselves in humdrum to dos and must haves.. We might never get a chance like this where we’re forced to self-reflect, have the option to live our lives more consciously, be more present for ourselves, the people and causes that are important to us, to live more selflessly and to give back for everything that we have been consuming, all through our lives.
"Learn to find deep enjoyment rather than instant pleasures."
That often requires patience, a learner’s mindset, and a little effort. It probably is not going to happen if you’re sitting for hours watching video and TV shows! When you learn to truly love yourself, your world will transform.