7 Ideas for A More Productive Life
I recently shared a little instagram story about the "one minute rule" from Gretchen Rubin's podcast "Happier" and was blown away by the hundreds of messages I received about people wanting/trying/being more productive. This has a huge area of interest for me a) because I own my own business and therefore am my own boss b) because of that it kind of makes me feel like I never stop working/I can never get enough done - which I'm learning is something freaking EVERYONE can relate to. So here are the things I've gleaned from wellness retreats, many hours of podcasts (a few of which I'll link below), and conversations with amazing beings who seem to have it just a little more together than I do. I'm laughing putting this list out because each of these ideas are things I'm still struggling with, but if I can drop just a little more podcast wisdom "The places where you have the biggest challenges are the places you have the most to give."
So yea here's my extremely not Ph.D. level life advice:
1. Make your bed. You're an adult. Or trying to be.
2. Create a morning routine, especially if you're a creative or work from home. Or an evening routine if you're a night person. Either one will help with “decision fatigue”, the idea that we are less creative and less productive if you're constantly having to expend mental energy on making small decisions. Doing things like setting out your clothes the night before and having an established morning will start your day smoothly. Mine (ideally) is drinking a full glass of water, making tea and a healthy snack, a 10 minute mediation (I use an app called Headspace. I think there are others called Calm or Buddhify). I'm also trying to work in some kind of movement or stretching. Stanford scientists found you're more creative and are better able to problem solve after a few minutes of walking around.
3. One minute rule. If it takes less than one minute – do it. Then all those small tasks won't keep weighing on you. The other version of this I've heard is called the one touch rule. Only touch each thing once. Don't open the same email 4 times and half draft a response. Just deal with each and give it your attention until it's done. PS: I'm terrible at this one.
4. Be mindful of “the endless scroll”. Did you know the average person checks their phone 150 times per day? I've gotten lost in the social medias enough times to know it can take so many minutes/hours from the day if I'm not conscious about it. Set dedicated times for social media/whatever your kryptonite is or set a timer if you're giving yourself a break. The overarching idea here is to be more intentional with our relationship to our phones and social media.
Listen to: Design Ethicist Tristan Harris on The Ezra Klein Show. Yes, it's more than an hour, but a REALLY interesting podcast on this, particularly around the 24 – 38 min area.
One additional podcast that I've referenced as one of my favorites last year, but is worth mentioning here: Cal Newport on doing Deep Work (It was his idea above about setting structured times)
5. Make a list of the top things that would make you feel accomplished for the day. Do those first. This is an idea from Tim Ferris's book “Tools of Titans”. Look at your to-do list and ask: “Which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant?
6. Learn to focus. It takes your brain time to switch and fully focus on a new task. I always was proud of my ability to do 5 things at once, but I have realized how much better I do (and feel) when I concentrate on just one at a time. It's also hard, but I think focus is becoming a rare commodity these days. Sometimes the hardest thing is just to sit quietly with yourself or that thing that feels hard to figure out, write, do, etc when we have so many distractions available.
Listen to: Manoush Zomorodi: How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas Particularly around the 5 min mark
7. 5 min rule. Inertia is not only a physical law of the universe, but also a mental one. Try committing to doing something for 5 minutes...then see how you feel. The hardest part is usually starting.
That's it for now! Definitely know that I'm still struggling with a lot of these, but it's nice to give myself some guidelines. If you have any ideas that I missed I would LOVE for you to leave me a comment below or come find me @chelseakauai :)