Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday Feature: 7 Minutes to Productivity

The other day, I stumbled across an article on Twitter about a morning routine that would change my work life. It looked interesting, so I retweeted it, mainly so I could find it again. In the process, I found a comment another reader had left for the author:
"Jokes on you. I don't fall for this click-bait anymore."
Point taken (even though the reply wasn't meant for me). There are a ton of "habits of the most productive people" articles out there and I, too, have stopped clicking on them. No matter how many times I read about people meditating at 6 AM, that is not a habit I will replicate. I'm also not convinced that the same stuff/different day plan works well for everyone (although I do cherry-pick some worthwhile ideas from some of these pieces). As for me, I like changing up my routine from day to day.

But some days, a routine -- any routine -- just won't click into place. When I had one of those days earlier this week -- a not-quite-enough-sleep, not-nearly-enough-motivation day -- I went back to my Twitter feed to re-read the article.

And I tried it.

And I liked it.

Because it allowed me to step out of lockstep productivity mode (or, in my case, the lack thereof) and included pausing to tap into what was going on internally (which is usually why I'm procrastinating in the first place), it worked. There's a lot of research to back this up, too -- research that encourages us to let our minds wander first in order to focus them later (or, what we called "brainstorming" when I was a kid), and to delay the start of a project in order to allow ourselves to consider the possibilities.

The process was also a good match for one of my 20 in 2020 list items -- be mindful -- without requiring a huge, schedule-busting time commitment (my busted schedule was why I was trying this in the first place).

I'm not in the market for a morning routine overhaul, but this is one I'll keep in my back pocket for days when I should be. It gave me permission to just chill while also corralling my wayward thoughts in a time-limited way that got me off my duff and back to work.

Not a bad way to spend seven minutes.

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