I'm sitting on my IKEA futon set opposite my desk, gazing at the productive workspace I designed. I imagine myself as ultra-productive and healthy. I’m standing with a straight spine hammering out content, managing my systems, engaging in critical conversations with my team and network, and producing results like a machine. In reality, I spend twice as much time tweaking and improving my workflow than watering the seeds of productivity. I'm lucky if I produce results 30% of the time. 😳
I'm writing about productivity today because it directly relates to my habits and my healthy lifestyle. 💪🏾 One of the many gifts I received in my eight (8) years of working for the World Adult Kickball Association was learning how to manage myself in a virtual work environment. We were WFH before it was a thing. I learned about the Eisenhower Matrix, the Pomodoro Technique, and workspace declutter while figuring out how to leverage Facebook to drive business instead of Craigslist in the mid-aughts. I found a groove after all those years for what worked for me and what didn't.
I learned that my personality leaned well to virtual self-driven work, and at the same time, it's not for everyone. I fancied myself a less accomplished version of Tim Ferriss. That was even a reach. 🤣
I eventually boiled my lessons down.
Here's my playbook for getting things done. 📘
1) Keep things simple
2) Stack wins-accomplishments
3) Protect your focus
4) Stick to your strengths
This method can apply to any project or goal, particularly to the way we approach our health.
Simplicity makes things (you guessed it): simple. And truly easier. I've found more merit in completing simple tasks and breaking things down in as bite-size as possible, which plays into #2 here.
Stacking wins gives you momentum. I like to think of it as inertia. An object in motion stays in motion. If you can check off boxes and continue to do so, the habit of completing the task(s) will start to become, well, a habit. Simple small wins are very accessible, especially if you are on a roll.
Here's an example of my morning broken into simple tasks made to stack on each other for momentum.
Step 1: Upon waking, sit up for 10 minutes in bed to focus on my breath for meditation. (I started with 5 minutes in the beginning) 🧘🏽♂️
Step 2: Immediately following 10 minutes of breath focus, do at least two rounds of Wim Hof breathing technique. (Approximately another 10 minutes) 💨
Step 3: Go to the bathroom. 🚽
Step 4: Brush teeth for 2 minutes (left-handed for brain sharpening). 🪥
Step 5: 3 Minutes of a cold shower, plunge, or exposure. 🧊
Step 6: Heat water for tea and saltwater beverage. 🔥
Step 7: Steep green tea for 5 minutes. 🫖
Step 8: Pour and drink salt water mixture. 🚰
Step 9: Pour lemon, ginger, turmeric (homemade and preblended) into tea. 🍋
Step 10: Grind black pepper into tea. 🌶
Step 11: Sip tea. Top off with cool water as needed. ☕️
At this point, it's so engrained. I've been doing this particular sequence for the last three (3) months. While I'll likely tweak it eventually, I know the key 🔑 is to break it down. Keep things simple. And stack the wins.
The truth is most of my attention to improving should be on: Protecting my focus and sticking to my strengths.
I commend anyone who can protect their focus these days. Our brains are fighting an uphill battle to fend off all the distractions, particularly with modern technology. Every movie and tv show is at your fingertips. Your entire friend network is a direct message away on an app. I fall victim to the trappings of a busy life through distraction. Even with notifications disabled on my phone, it's easy for me to get sucked into a rabbit hole.
My best trick for the onslaught is time blocking. My favorite time blocking method is the Pomodoro Technique. I've been using this timer below for the simple visual and getting away from modern tech reliance.
Finally, I notice when I stick to my strengths, I do my best work. Not to say I don't strive to learn and grow. I find that to yield results day after day and moment by moment, it takes comfort and confidence. For me, that comes from staying within my strengths most of the time. It doesn't matter the work or task at hand. Take your approach. Use your talents. You'll find a way to a solution, and if you can't, you can ask for help or come back as you learn and hone new skills.
Happy Healthy & Productive Tuesday! 🎉