Sort of continuing on from my previous post about distraction, this one is a great read on a related topic; procrastination. Either one, distraction or procrastination, will stop you from getting things done. Thankfully, this is one of those articles that actually have actionable items at the end.
I would post my notes/takeaways here, but they would all be just word for word copies of what the author has said. James Clear has this talent for elegantly simplifying what he's trying to say. It makes it extremely hard to write down notes without actually copying exactly what he said. So just follow the link. It is well worth your time if you happen to deal with distraction and procrastination.
Focus on consuming information that you know you need right now
Trying to consume everything to learn something, is not the best use of time. It is better to consume information that you know you need right now. Consuming information that you might need in the future, in other words reading just in case you will need it, is a waste of time.
In this article, Tiago Forte quotes David Allen on the benefits of having an organized reading list available all the time. The reason being, is that life is full of these random moments where we don't have anything to do. Having an organized reading list can come in handy during those moments. It is better to spend that time reading something good, than to spend that time browsing social media or consuming junk information.
A great read on applying the Inbox Zero approach to tackling emails.
It is a pretty long read, but I think it's worth your time. Especially if you have overflowing email inboxes like me. If you find yourself doubting whether it's worth your time, I suggest scrolling all the way down to the “Fifth, practice making triage decisions” section. In there you will see how everything comes together. It will give you a good idea of whether this approach will actually work for you or not.
They gave me a CX-5 as my loaner car for last week. It was a 2020 Grand Touring Reserve model, which means AWD with the turbo! It was hilariously fast, for a family CUV that is. That Mazda SkyActiv 2.5T engine is strong. Love the power in everyday driving.
Got back my Mazdaspeed3 last Saturday. I'm glad to have it back. But I also have to say that I was so spoiled by that CX-5 turbo loaner car. It was a really good car!
Anyway, cost to repair the leak in the Mazdaspeed3 transmission was $1,071. It was actually the transmission shifting mechanism that was leaking, not the transmission itself. Thankfully it was an affordable repair bill. And that's thanks to an emergency fund set up for times like this.
Last week I intentionally decreased the amount of stuff I've been reading. This is to give my brain a chance to digest what I've just read.
I've also taken to adding articles/posts that I want to read, into my Are.na Bookmarks/Reading List bucket. This seems to help decrease the unease that I feel, from not being able to immediately read interesting articles/posts. Since I know that I will eventually get to them someday in the future, it allows my brain to relax and focus on the current task at hand.
Since I have been trying to read less, a problem that I'm running into is what to do with my free time when I can't read. I would prefer to work on my digital garden, but I cannot do so when I'm not at home. This is because my notes in Obsidian, while synced to a Github repo, are not easy to work with via my phone. So, I now have a lot more time to think through things because I'm trying to read less, but during those times I can't work on my digital garden. That's one big limitation with my Obsidian setup.
That said, maybe I should look at it as a benefit in some way. I shouldn't be using my phone that much anyway.
Reason #2: filtering out information takes effort.
Contrary to common sense, ignoring things is not a passive mental process.
Researchers have found that it takes energy to ignore irrelevant stimuli.
In other words, ignoring something still takes a toll on your mental stamina. Think of it this way, we wake up in the morning and our mental stamina bar is at 100% full. If you have to go through the day trying to ignore irrelevant stimuli, your mental stamina bar will probably be down to 50% by lunchtime. By the time you go home, it may be down to 10%. Then you end up just getting fast food because you can't think of anything else better to eat. And you crash down on your sofa to binge-watch Netflix, because your brain is too tired to do something else.
Why do I keep a work journal at the office?
I was looking up “journals” and found a blog post from a software developer who kept a work journal. I thought it was interesting and decided to give it a try. A few weeks after, I read Cal Newport's books and found out that he too kept a journal at work. So that was even more incentive to keep one.
What do I use as a work journal?
I have a medium sized, ruled, Moleskine 007 Limited Edition notebook. It has rounded corners, an elastic band to keep it closed and comes with a bookmark ribbon. I bought it at Barnes and Noble. Other stores carry Moleskine notebooks, but only Barnes and Noble seem to offer the limited edition ones.
There is a saying that goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. That is the basis for the first productivity tip that I'm sharing on this journal. As you can tell by the title though, I added “Out of Reach” in between. The reason for that is explained towards the end of this post.
My usual routine when I got to work was to take out my phone and place it on my desk, right in front of me, between the keyboard and my monitors. The idea being that I would easily spot any notification and can act on them.
To the old me, this setup was perfectly fine. Years ago, I was so into apps and staying up to date on my notifications, that I didn't mind having a phone right in front of me. This was partly the reason I switched from a Windows Phone to an iPhone; the notifications system on Windows Phones were subpar and it just didn't have any of the cool apps available on iPhones.