Habits For Being More Productive

I am being asked more and more how I manage to produce what some seem to think is a significant amount of content.

To be honest I am trying to become more productive but I appreciate people are noticing.

One of the key lessons I learned when losing weight last year was the massive impact habit can have on our lives.

My poor eating and weight issues were the results of deeply ingrained habits.

Losing 165 lbs was the result of changing habit, not willpower.

Yes, I needed willpower initially, but after a certain period, the new habits took hold.

What amazes me is that I now no longer crave or even want the old unhealthy foods.

In the past, I would “diet” while allowing myself cheat days or little rewards that only served to keep the flames of the habit (some might say addiction) alive.

This time there were no cheat days – I woke each day with the goal of only eating whole-food, plant-based meals.

In time, struggle gave way to acceptance and then to enjoyment.

The habit of healthy eating is now deeply ingrained, no willpower necessary.

I honestly never thought I would be able to say that – but such is the power of habit.

I am now attempting to apply this powerful concept to (hopefully) all areas of my life.

Writing each day is one habit I have been developing. Whether blogs, sketching out course ideas or connecting with my email subscribers.

It is now something I enjoy and look forward to doing.

The newest habit I am trying to form is keeping a daily journal.

I have tried to keep to-do lists in the past but had a poor track record of keeping up with them. I would finally remember to refer back to them days or weeks later only to realize I didn’t accomplish much of what I had written down.

With my new journal, I am forcing myself to refer to it every morning and evening.

I list my goals, both long-term and daily, and then break down my daily calendar hour by hour with the tasks I need to complete, leaving little or no time unaccounted for (I include downtime or breaks in my schedule).

I then follow this schedule as closely as possible.

At the end of the day, I go back through the journal to see where I could have improved and also to reflect on what went well.

I then list the goals and tasks for the next day, so I wake up productive, not wondering what I should do.

 

Dealing With Overwhelm

You are on this list because you are creative – interested in music, singing, teaching.

This also means we likely have the same type of mind, one that races with ideas and distractions to the point of overwhelming us at times.

This can lead to getting stuck – not knowing what to do next.

Creative endeavors usually do not have a boss and a time clock standing over you.

We are left on our own to create, which can be good and bad.

The downside is we can get stuck in procrastination, perfectionism, and self-doubt.

The next thing we know, the day is gone.

We end up disappointed with ourselves, which leads to more procrastination and doubt.

For me, keeping myself accountable to my journal forces me to push through these roadblocks, to make myself focused and to remove distractions.

The Beatles would report to the recording studio 5-days a week religiously. It was their work habit. They did not record when they felt like it, waiting for inspiration.

If you find yourself stuck or frustrated with your creative output, there is nothing wrong with you or your work ethic.

You merely need to create new habits.

Start with something simple, a small achievable daily goal, such as writing 500 words every morning or practicing singing for 20 minutes no matter what.

You will need to use your willpower muscles for the first 6 to 12 weeks.

And then the magic of habit will kick in.

You will keep this date with yourself without reminder – in fact; you will likely find yourself looking forward to it.

And then add another habit, or expand the one you now have.

The best time to start was yesterday; the second best time is today.

To better singing (and habits),

John

P.S. The journal I am currently using is by BestSelf, but there are plenty of others that can do the job.