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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Productivity

In Forge. More on Medium.

📋 Today’s Tip: Make that boring appointment you’ve put off. (It’ll be fun!)

Imagine it: You go to a place that’s not your home. You sit down. Someone talks to you, while you look at something that’s not the wall above your WFH desk. Someone else is in charge; your job is just to relax and be still. That’s right…you’re at the dentist’s office.

“This is what a year of quarantine does to a person: It makes a dentist appointment feel like the spa,” as Kristin Wong writes on Medium.“I’d forgotten what everyday life was like before COVID. It’s exciting…


The habit can help drive your best ideas forward

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Earlier this year, I wrote about the seven emails you should send every week to get ahead in your career. Getting into people’s inboxes can help you strengthen your connections, stay top of mind as opportunities come up, and learn about industry trends. But sometimes, you want to dive deeper than a few paragraphs. For that, my tool of choice is the good, old-fashioned phone call.

I reserve at least an hour a day to take calls while going for a walk — it’s my all-in-one networking, ideation, and Vitamin D solution. I like to choose a mix of people…


To find your focus, understand the relationship between motivation and discomfort

Photo: Attila Csaszar/Getty Images

It took me five years to write my last book, which was a lot longer than it should have taken. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do — I did. I just didn’t do it. I wasn’t motivated.

My book, Indistractable, is about how to stop getting distracted. Ironically, the problem was that I kept getting distracted. That is, until I learned the key to finally doing what I set out to do.

When I finally understood the biology behind why we do what we do, I didn’t just write the book; I became more productive at…


🚶🏽‍♀️Today’s tip: Take a walk around the neighborhood.

For the past year and change, many of us have spent an inordinate amount of time in our homes, while also viscerally feeling our connections with and responsibilities for our fellow humans. Saul Austerlitz writes on Medium: “It’s a condition of the crisis we are still living through that our worlds have simultaneously grown and shrunk.” One solution? Take a long walk through the neighborhood where you live.

As Austerlitz puts it, “There is little that is as soothing as the feeling of leaving the house on a mild spring day or…


🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, when in the day am I most energetic?

You’ve probably fallen into the Coffee Trap before, wherein you have your first cup of coffee and suddenly, as the caffeine courses through you, decide you can conquer the world that day…only to find yourself rethinking your ambitions a few hours later. The good news is, these energy peaks and valleys can work to your advantage.

The TodoistOfficial Instagram account makes a great point: The key to daily productivity is scheduling around energy, because “timing is integral to our decisions, actions, and reactions.” So look at the…


If you’re wondering why you’re not happy, why things are always hard, try this thought experiment from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius

Photo: zero take/Unsplash

We can imagine that Marcus Aurelius was a busy man, perhaps the busiest man in the world. He had 14 children. He was living through a pandemic. He had a nagging stomach ailment. He was taking philosophy classes.

Oh, and he was the emperor of Rome. His domain stretched some 2.2 million square miles and included some 120 million people for whom he was both responsible for and in charge of.

How did he manage it all? How did he get it all done? Without losing his mind? Without falling behind?

We know that one question played a huge role.


I’d be mortified if anyone read my daily tasks from the past year

Photo: Grace Cary/Getty Images

A lot of people despise the tyrannical, never-ending nature of to-do lists. I am not one of them. To-do lists have always imbued a sense of order into my world. To-do lists keep track of things I can’t. In my life, to-do lists are a friend, not a foe.

About a year ago, I switched back to a paper and pen to write my daily list. Life in pandemic shutdown was simply too overwhelming and too dominated by screens to continue using my phone’s Notes app to keep track of each bizarre day. …


Understanding the distinction is the first step to managing your time

Photo: Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Because I write about distraction and how to avoid it, I often get asked the question “Aren’t distractions sometimes a good thing? Don’t we all need some distraction in our lives?”

Nope!

Distractions are always bad. Period. Diversions, on the other hand, can be good. This isn’t just hair-splitting: The two concepts are fundamentally different, and if you want to use your time productively, you need to understand the important distinction between them.

As I explain in my book Indistractable, distraction is an action that pulls you away from what you intended to do.

Distraction prevents you from living out…


🎾 Today’s tip: Watch a TV show or tennis match to borrow a productivity boost.

Feeling hopelessly stuck in a rut? The good news is, you don’t need to pull yourself out. Let someone else motivate you instead.

As Lauren Allain explains in Forge: “When my productivity dwindles, I watch Survivor, Alone, The Amazing Race, or an epic sports event — and watch my productivity and motivation skyrocket.” After watching someone else perform difficult-to-impossible physical and mental feats, “replying to my pile of unread emails seems much more manageable.” Finishing that nagging memo is harder than doing nothing, but it’s…


😴 Today’s tip: Take a 10-minute nap.

Naps. We love them, we yearn for them, we strive to sneak them in whenever possible. And it turns out there is an optimal amount of time that an afternoon snooze should last. On Medium, Michael Hunter, MD, writes about an Australian study that had different groups of participants nap for 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes. Ultimately, researchers suggested that 10 minutes was “the most effective afternoon nap duration,” Hunter explains. So nap away — it’ll do your body and brain some good. Just make sure to set an alarm.

🛌 More…

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