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3 habits for a productive lifestyle

Updated: Feb 1

Having a new year around the corner, I am all pumped up as usual with a fresh look at the time and things I want to try in the new year. Some people swear by new year's resolutions, and some think that they are just a part of the consumer culture that never works in the long run. Regardless of the result of a resolution I believe that it is always wonderful to reflect on the past year and give ourselves a pep talk to move forward with new motivation. What could I try a bit harder to make life healthier and more positive?

I find that creating that balanced coach within us who can cheer our journey, yet push forward when it is off track is an art in itself. It is a good time for me to share the top 3 habits that I find helpful to create that coach within myself.

1. The Two Minute Rule - it was established by David Allen in his book Getting Things Done. The two-minute rule aims to banish procrastination and help people accomplish small tasks. If you can do an action in two minutes or less, tackle it. I use this strategy especially with emails and tidying up. Sometimes there is an overwhelming number of emails that I need to respond to. With this mindset I clear my mind much more easily.

2. Time Blocking - The simplest way to explain this concept is that you plan your day with a block of 30 minutes or an hour. This method is seasonal for me too. I use it more rigorously in some and much more loosely at other times in life. Some of you may not have much flexibility in your days, which means that the time blocking system is all the more important in your free time. I find that the greatest benefits of the time blocking are being more intentional about how you spend time and growing awareness of how you spend time. That is especially important when there is nothing you 'need' to do. My piano practice is the most productive when I know in advance when the hour of practice is and protect it from distractions by setting a timer for its duration. This way of approaching the passion of my life has helped me to forget about time while I am super aware of the value of time.

3. A Brain Dump - I've noticed that every time I practice the piano my brain begins to generate random reminders and thoughts; tasks that I need to do or ideas that have been hidden for a while. Something about playing the piano is meditative in its nature and it is easy for the brain to activate the unconscious part of the mind. I also interpret that it is the brain's way of saying 'you didn't do anything about this, so I will keep using the frontal part of you to keep reminding you!'. I decided that I would create a place to dump any thought that comes to my mind. I literally try to catch any thoughts in a paper journal or a folder in my note app called 'Brain Dump'. I do this mostly in the morning or whenever I try to focus. I prefer using paper for this activity as these ideas often become a seed of more subjects provoking thought and it is easier to see when it is on paper. Of course, I have only a few seconds to catch my thoughts, so I do it on my phone quickly. Once I take thoughts out of me, it is much easier to take the next action or at the very least I can free up my memory. Then I can focus better on a task in front of me. This is my important defense tool for productivity.

I hope you are having a relaxing and joyful holiday season! Please share your productivity tool with me!


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