A huge number of productivity books have been published but very few of these books combine productivity, creativity, and mental health. How do you achieve more without burning out in the process?
Using a mindful productivity audit is one way to assess your current systems and evaluate if you can perform better while taking care of your mind.
The first hour is the most important part of your day. It impacts your mindset by setting the tone for the rest of the day. A routine designed around your goals will always trump one that is based on habits you haven't thought about.
A calendar is a helpful tool to manage your time. It is there to guide you, not to rule you.
Review a typical week in your calendar.
Start exploring ways to improve your time management systems. It might be useful to block some time at the start of the day to adjust your calendar.
Research suggests a knowledge worker should spend four hours of deep creative, highly productive work per day.
How many hours do you currently dedicate to deep work? Look at your calendar and count the hours spent in deep work.
If you have too many hours, try to unblock some time for lighter work or recharging your mental energy. If you have too few, try and rearrange your time commitments to make space for up to four hours of deep work per day.
Taking breaks restore your motivation, consolidate your memory, increase your creativity, and prevent decision fatigue. Research suggests we need to take a break for 5 to 10 minutes every hour or so and a longer break (more than 30 minutes) every two to four hours.
Look at your calendar, and ensure you have a combination of short and long breaks during the day. During a break, move your body, do some deep breathing, chat with your peers, or go for a walk outside.
When we have lots of work, we can fall into the trap of neglecting to nourish our mind with enough high-quality input. Ways to cultivate curiosity include reading books, blogs, newsletters, taking online courses, joining learning communities, and more.
Instead of mindlessly repeating the same action with little regard for how they impact your performance, ensure you have time and space to reflect and incrementally improve the way you work.
A weekly review is a powerful way to direct your life with intention. It may be in the form of journaling. Include questions to assess what is going well, what is difficult, and what your focus should be during the following week.
Your working space can have an impact on your productivity. When working from home, are you crouching on the kitchen table or working from your sofa?
Is my chair is comfortable?
What is my posture when I am sitting?
Is the screen at eye level?
Do I get enough light?
Do I have access to liquids to stay hydrated throughout the day?
Do I enjoy my workspace?
It is easy for knowledge workers to accumulate screenshots and random files on their computer "just in case". Performing an audit of your digital workspace can reduce your cognitive load.
People working from home can be tempted to keep working until they feel too tired to keep going.
Creating habits, routines and rituals to frame your workday is essential for sustainable performance.
Winding down before you go to bed will help you sleep better and prepare your mind for the next day.
Write down everything you usually do in the last hour of a typical day. How many activities involve a screen? Do you spend time with your family? Do you read a book? Do you think you have bad habits in the evening?
Consider what you want to change and implement it in your evening routine.
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