Productivity & Habits

Last year I wrote a post about productivity: To-Do or Not To-Do
In this I describe how I have discovered Trello as a platform for my to do lists and some different methods to tackle them as a Kanban system. I have had great success with this at work but not so much in my personal life. One of the main reasons being that I forget to look at my list when I am at home. When I am at work, I am at my PC the whole time and therefore have it in view, but at home I try to limit screen time as much as possible, which means I forget about my to-dos 😀

Recently I have started to combat that with a simple little white board in the kitchen. It’s in plain sight pretty much all the time and it is working so much better.

I do use the 3 item to-do concept for it though and use Trello for my backlog list.
The 3 item to-do list is really true. Essentially, the concept states that anything beyond 3 items will hinder your productivity.
Read more here:

Using this concept, my new white board, Trello, and Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits book, I want to accomplish the following things:

  • Establish and sustain some new positive habits: I want to do this the Zen Habits’ way, which will take at least 6 weeks for each habit. although I believe it is possible to introduce another habit before the end of the 6 weeks to run in parallel. I highly recommend Leo Babauta’s book (linked above) to help through the process of mastering change and forming new habits. I think I will start with a simple exercise routine as a habit as this plays nicely along with trying to have more energy. (see my recent post: 5 keys to more energy)
  • Hobbies / Arts / Crafts pool: Make and sort a backlog list of projects  of things I want to do, sorted by priority. This will then be part of basis to pull from for my 3-item to do list. My goal is to always have one of my to-dos be from this category.
  • Cleaning and household projects: I also need a list of these by priority, so I can add one of them a day to my 3-item to-do or maybe do 2 or 3 on the weekend. 
  • My side hustle aka Jamberry: I want to be more efficient and spend less time. I am utilizing the Maeven app and plan on doing a power hour each Sunday.
  • Journal: At some point next week I want to also do a morning journal. as this is part of the Zen Habits steps, I believe it will come naturally. But I think this is also an important item to be consistent and reflect on your day and make plans.

In my 3 item to-do I do not want to include my habits. Why? Well the idea of a habit is to do it automatically like brushing your teeth. And you don’t put that on your to-do, do you? 😀

I also talked to my partner about these and he even participates in the 3-item to-do on our white board. He says it helps him complete the tasks, because he is annoyed seeing them up there 🙂

If you think this might work for you, give it a go and PLEASE let me know how it worked for you!
If you maybe already have a great system how to organize and be productive, please share. I always love to hear new approaches. And any feedback in general is very welcome.

I hope you enjoyed this post and come back for more!

5 keys to more energy

5 Keys to More Energy

About a year ago, I wrote a post about ways I was going to improve my energy levels: I need an energy boost!
Some of the ideas were good, like utilizing the book “Zen Habits” by Leo Babauta. I will come back to this book in future posts, as it is a really good tool to implement habits into your life making them second nature instead of dreaded tasks you always find an excuse for. Although you got to go through the full process, or it won’t stick as you can see with me 🙂
No excuses!
Some of the ideas in my previous post were just way too focused on apps and technology, which is really something I try to reduce in my day to day life. It’s a crutch at best and a rabbit hole and time sink at worst.
So, after some reading and soul searching, I recognized that there are really only these 5 very simple things that lead to more energy:

1. A Healthy Diet

I am not a fan of fad diets, so I am not going to tell you in too much detail what you need to eat for a healthy diet, but I think we all know the main ingredients to this already: more fruits and veggies, less processed foods, more fiber, a lot of water and MODERATION! 
I believe in making eating healthy simple and I found that just keeping to those few simple rules goes a long way. And it is hard enough, because believe me I do want that pizza or burger too 🙂
By making sure I drink a glass of water BEFORE meals and always adding some veggies, I have already knocked out almost all of those rules. But I also add some vitamin supplements, because it is hard to get all of what you need just from food, especially that many foods are changed from their original form for agriculture and mass production and do not contain as much vitamins naturally.
And the cleaner you eat the less sluggish you feel.

2. Exercise

This is also a known fact that regular exercise will increase your energy level. And it doesn’t even have to be long or some crazy workout plan. Just a little walk or some jumping jacks every day will help. I had started the Zen Habits steps for making exercising a habit and plan on picking this back up. As I said it is not fool proof but a lot more effective than anything else so far. But more to that in a later post.

3. Enough Sleep

It is pretty much a no-brainer that you need to be well rested to have more energy. But it also matters to get a good quality sleep. Simple ways to improve the quality of your sleep are making it at least 90 min long to get REM sleep, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and drinking alcohol and coffee in moderation.

4. Reduce Stress 

Reducing stress is very important for your energy and overall health. Constant load of stress can wear on you and exhaust you. But it has to be taken with a grain of salt, because there is also positive stress. Positive stress may also be harmful if it happens to excess but mostly it will actually give you more energy. I look at it as something that excites you and gets you going is positive stress. Like something that is a challenge you enjoy taking on. Negative stress is things you dread, deadlines, worries, those kind of things.
Everyone has a different technique that works best for them to reduce stress. This firstly includes removing the source of the stress, for example if you have financial trouble to find help and a way to reduce dept. And that is hard to say, as it may be out of our control to change.
Often we are stressed because we rush so much. In that case we are to slow down, step back and take in the moment. Take a relaxing bath, have a nice cup of tea, maybe do some quick 15 min meditation are all some simple ways to reduce the stress a little.

5. Positivity

This goes hand in hand with the stress, but it is very important to have a positive outlook to increase your energy. Sometimes we can just try and find positive sides to a situation, or find positivity in being grateful for something. The whole concept of mindfulness for me leads to positivity.

Of course, for each of these some of you may have additional hurdles that prevent you from doing this. If you suffer from anxiety and depression for example it’s not so simple to try and have positivity or sleep well. Or if you have a thyroid problem, there is more to the diet than what I wrote.
In no way am I saying this is the one and only list and holy grail, just some points that should work for most people.

What has worked for you to have more energy? Would you add something to the list you feel is essential and I have missed?