When I first heard about the idea of "Life-hacking", I thought "what a brilliant idea". You can basically perform science experiments on yourself! Truthfully, it's not as much about science experiments as I love bright-shiny objects: I love trying out new things. The idea of a new project, new tool, new strategy, new app, new software brings me a lot of joy. This past year, I have experimented on my own productivity strategies. The most important part of productivity wasn't just getting more done, but rather creating time for things that matter and doing things that matter. Here are the top 3 lessons that have stuck:
1: Morning Routine
I started a morning routine after reading the book Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod. As I wrote in the post: Before this daily habit, I would wake up and think incessantly about all of the things I needed to do, or check social media or email or watch late-night talk shows. Honestly, the to-do list is still there, but I find that this morning habit has provided me with clarity and focus and spurs me into actively doing what I need to do rather than just thinking about all of the things I need to do.
Since implementing a morning routine, I have greatly simplified it and describe it in this post. I always do the first two steps of the morning routine: breathe/meditate for 5 minutes and get completely ready from head-to-toe. I've found that these two steps help prepare me for anything that may come my way.
I think it's also important to note that I don't check email, social media, or news sites first thing in the morning.
2: Upbeat Music Playlist
I love most kinds of music. In the post 10 Songs for Maximizing Your Motivation, I shared that most of my motivation challenges happen with tasks that I don’t want to do but that I actually need to do. I have found that music is a powerful motivator and can help replenish my energy. It helps pump me up or gives me something enjoyable to look forward to. When I need some help with getting started with a task, I like to play songs that have a fast pace that get me bouncing my head to the beat and dancing in my chair. Here are my top 10 songs (including the link for the YouTube playlist) for head-bouncing, chair-dancing motivation.
The music also acts as a timer. For instance, I wanted to clean off some shelves prior to a graduation party. I put on the song "You'll Be Back" from the musical Hamilton. For 3 1/2 minutes, I sang along. I am not one who enjoys cleaning (although I enjoy a clean house). The music provides both motivation and a timer. It's amazing what you can get done in less than 4 minutes!
3: The 2-Minute Tool
I've found the 2 Minute Tool to be a great anti-procrastination tool, a great way to break down large projects, and a great way to begin new habits. In the post, I shared a before/after picture of working through some of my dad's stuff when I helped him downsize. Here's what I shared in the post: I've embraced the concept of small actions and have found it to be one of the best things for changing things that I want to change in my life. For dad's stuff, I used the 2-Minute Tool like this:
Work for 2 minutes and gather all of the pictures in one spot. Repeat several times.
Work for 2 minutes and place all of the bills and financial paperwork in one spot. Repeat several times.
Gather all of the seasonal items and place them in the basement. Do this for 2 minutes.
I kept working through various categories of items to gather them together and then to store, recycle, donate. This process took me about a week through the course of many 2-minute sessions. I have a tower of bins with photographs to go through and send to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Was it fun? Not really. Was it satisfying? Absolutely. Was it overwhelming? It was very doable.
Resources Mentioned in This post
Figuring out what matters: https://www.nicolesoer.com/post/create-momentum-for-2021-figure-out-your-life-buckets
Original morning routine: https://www.nicolesoer.com/post/2-life-changing-things
Simplified morning routine: https://www.nicolesoer.com/post/my-4-step-minimal-morning-routine
Upbeat music playlist: https://www.nicolesoer.com/post/10-songs-for-maximizing-motivation