I had a girlfriend years ago who would dress in her workout clothes first thing in the morning as a way to show intention around working out. By putting on her workout outfit, she was ‘ready to engage’ and she knew that she would work out after dropping her kids off at school that morning. These days, yoga pants and yoga tops are a fashion trend and may not indicate a person is intending to head to the gym or that they have just visited a gym, but in her case; it was the trigger to create the consistent habit of working out.
Putting yourself intentionally into a place of productivity can have powerful outcomes in your work and life. We can orient ourselves to being more productive by either getting in a productive stance or getting ourselves in a place or location of productivity. In the coming months, we are going to take a deeper look at how to put yourself in a position of productivity, and thus a position of power.
A productive stance.
How you hold yourself is everything. When you walk into a meeting –whether you realize it or not — your posture could change the entire outcome of an important negotiation. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has studied nonverbal expressions of power and dominance and she has done extensive research on the power of posture, which she expounds upon in her TED talk.
Is there an important sales call to make or a difficult phone call to initiate? You might want to think about standing while you do so. Many times when we need ‘power’ or ‘authority’ in conversations, our words are lost in a more sedentary and slouchy position. Standing gives us greater confidence and articulation. When making a sales pitch over the phone, I have historically dawned my business suit before picking up the phone. What is crazy is that my posture changes after I have transitioned to a suit – my shoulders are back and I am standing up straighter.
In fact, Maria Popova–the creator of Brain Pickings — an incredibly influential and tediously curated blog about creativity that takes about 450 hours per month to run — boasts that her best work happens while standing on a wobble board. “It might sound crazy, but it actually helps you balance your posture much more evenly than just standing on your feet, in which case you inevitably shift your weight to one leg or the other, subtly twisting your spine. With the wobble board, so long as you have a single touchpoint—like a finger on the keyboard—it becomes incredibly easy to balance, and you’re forced by gravity into perfect alignment,” said Popova in an interview with Life Hacker.
Get up from your desk and try it for a second. Stand tall, feel your feet on the ground, open your chest with arms at your sides, slightly tuck your tailbone, engage your thighs, roll your shoulders back and down to lower your shoulder blades, and bring your chin back so your ears are above your shoulders. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
What happened when you did this? Believe it or not, this is one of the most powerful poses in the yoga practice because it is the foundation of all standing, balancing poses as well as inversions like handstand.
Productivity isn’t always a noun, sometimes it needs to an intentionally manifested in our posture. As Cuddy says, “Change your posture, and you could change your life.”