Category Archives: Essentialism

On productivity and focus

Focus your energy on what's important to you. Image from 'Essentialism' by Greg McKeown

I read an interesting article today on motivation and how to get more done using Temptation Bundling.

The basic premise is…

doing what you want and what you should be doing together, but only together

I usually try not to be the contrary one, however I believe this line of thinking can be truly detrimental to people’s health (mental and physical).

I love Todoist, and I love trying to improve my productivity. But I also love life!

I aim to be efficient and productive precisely so I have more (dedicated) time for the things I enjoy—i.e. the ‘temptations’.

I’m sure watching TV while on a treadmill actually works quite well, but I suspect it may be the exception to the rule. The current trend towards busyness, multi-tasking—including this teaspoon-of-sugar approach to getting things done—and generally just trying to fit more in I see as a false-economy.

Not only does it reduce the enjoyment of the things you want to do, but it negatively impacts the quality of the work you’re trying to do simultaneously. Oh yeah, and it can damage your brain!

So, what can you do if you’re struggling for motivation? Well, motivation is complex, there are many variables and no silver bullet. But when I struggle, I try to remember to ask myself why I’m struggling? And go from there. Consider:

  • Is this actually important?
  • Is this actually the best use of my time?
  • Am I avoiding something I don’t feel I have the information, skills or resources to do well?
  • Can I automate, delegate or outsource this?
  • Do I have the energy and focus to do this now? What can I do to get the energy and focus?

Once you think you know why, a solution may be obvious. If not, you could try ‘tricking’ yourself with bribes and rewards. It may even work. I find the tricks only work once or twice before the same lack of willpower that allowed me to procrastinate in the first place will allow me access to the reward without completing the task!—Its amazing what you can justify to yourself if you try hard enough 🙂

In summary, for your own personal satisfaction and enjoyment I recommend:

  1. Do your work, be focussed, be efficient, be productive.
  2. If you’re struggling with motivation, ask yourself why? And go from there.
  3. Then relax, enjoy, be mindful and present in the moment.

Get the most out of your life by focusing on what’s important to you and then doing justice to each activity. One at a time.

Recommended reading:

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