Greetings, Fabulous Traveler!
We’re now halfway through the Productivity Journey. You’re looking at your to-do list and calendar every day, then choosing the most important tasks.
Have you started noticing some changes? Write to us, Fabulous Traveler, and let us know.
It’s one thing to know exactly what you need to do, but something completely different to do it. Have you ever been on the verge of starting an important task when you felt a sudden urge to clean your desk or answer your emails?
Our mind creates novel ways to steer us towards instant gratification actions. Beware of the creative procrastination trap.
Cleaning in itself is a boring task, but it’s still more fun than paying bills, or filing your tax returns. And though you may feel good about having a nice clean room, you can’t ignore the fact that you didn’t make any progress on your most important tasks.
Behaviour specialist Steven A. Safran reported a common pattern he saw in PhD students: “One student who was working on his master’s thesis told us that whenever he sat down to do his work, he would feel the need to clean his apartment. He did not like to clean but would have the urge whenever he needed to write. He got to the point where he felt he couldn’t start working if his room wasn’t clean. After finding other students in school with the same stories, we now believe that the cleanest apartments in the world belong to graduate students who need to do their theses!”
Fabulous Traveler, you’ll now learn 2 skills to deal with procrastination and distraction.
Imagine yourself in a few months. You’ve mastered these skills, you know how to focus on the most important tasks, and you’re now an execution machine, handling tasks one after another without flinching, and feeling great about the meaningful work you’re producing.
You’re getting there, Fabulous Traveler!
And your first step is to learn the Meaningful & Focused Work habit.
Skill: Meaningful & Focused Work
When you start working on a daunting task, it’s inevitable that distractions will try to put you off. So note down those distractions, and go back to your work.
This distractibility delay technique is inspired by the works of Steven A. Safran, Director of Behavioral Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
You’ll need a timer for this task. A kitchen timer is best, as it’s easy to check your progress from time to time. Setting a timer in your laptop doesn’t work as well, as it’s important to have a visual indicator directly in front of you so you can stay focused. There is also a pre-built Timer in The Fabulous that you can use when you're in the immersive mode.
Break down the task you’re trying to do if it’s big.
Put your to-do list notebook next to you.
Set your timer for 25 minutes.
Start working on your task.
When a distraction pops into your head, write it down in your notebook. Celebrate the fact that you didn’t get distracted by it and think: “I’ll worry about this later, it’s not an important task.”
Return to the original task and complete your work.
When you’ve completed your Meaningful Work session, you can look at your distractibility list. If you find anything of importance, add it to your to-do list.
We have a challenge and a One-Time Action.
Your One-Time Action
Get a timer – one that is not a distraction itself, but a focus-enhancer, or use The Fabulous pre-built timer.
Next week, 3 times, practise the Meaningful & Focused Work technique. Choose a task and set your timer for 25 minutes. Whenever a distraction pops up, write it down and return to your focused work.
Ready for this? Tap “I accept”, and we’ll add the habit to your morning routine. You can put it into any ritual, e.g. a “Start Work Day” ritual, and we’ll count this towards your challenge.
All my best wishes, Fabulous Traveler.
P.S.: How is everything going? Drop me a message if you need any help.