This weekend I felt discouraged after getting cold but dragged myself outside to go for a walk and clear my head. I ended up getting a cup of coffee and just sat on a bench for 30 minutes and letting random thoughts go in and out of my head. It turned into a form of personal meditation where some ideas crystallized and stuck around while others quickly disappeared. It felt great (so great that I ended up going back to my apartment and doing a bunch of chores I’ve been putting of!), especially considering that I had to drag myself away from the couch to even go for the walk and would have much preferred to just sit on the couch and watch football.
While sitting on the bench I made three resolutions that are making me feel more inspired and productive. They’re all simple and only require commitment but I’m definitely benefiting from them.
- Stop procrastinating. We all have a ton of things to do and I got into the habit of delaying simple ones like dropping off clothes for dry cleaning or selling some old electronics on eBay. Lately I’ve started going through my list of todos and it feels great. Each small achievement is something that I can cross off and encourages me to move on to the next one. For most of these priority doesn’t even matter since the important stuff happens anyway; it’s the small items that tend to get stuck in a state of never done.
- Focus on one thing at a time. This is the hardest one for me but I realized that I tend to get distracted too easily. Whether it’s checking my email or browsing Hacker News it’s a huge inefficiency. I’ve also found myself trying to do work passively while watching a football game and it’s noticeable how little I get done that there’s no point in even attempting to work. It’s not possible to achieve flow without being able to concentrate on one thing and quality suffers. It’s not even a good use of time since you’ll just end up taking a longer time to do two things poorly. It’s better off to get the stuff that requires your attention out of the way and then spend the rest of the time relaxing.
- Take distraction free breaks. Given how useful going for a aimless walk was I decided to make this a habit and try to go for at least three a week. So far I tried going before work but it wasn’t the same. Either the subconscious knowledge that I needed to track my time in order to get to the office or being in a highly trafficked city intersection made it harder to get lost in my thoughts. In any case I might end up making this a once-a-week activity and do it on the weekends in a quieter place where I can be distraction free.
I’d love to know of other resolutions that people have embraced to make them feel happier, inspired, and productive so if you have any ideas definitely let me know.