past vs the future

they say past returns don’t represent future returns but…past is generally a good indicator of the future.

you can safely predict your future capacity to execute a plan by your past capacity. If you plan to go to the gym every day, and previously you kept the habit of a daily exercise, it’s probably not an unreasonable belief that you can do it again.

Make Plans Work on 20% Effort

20% effort

If you need to tackle a challenging, yet unfamiliar goal, I recommend starting at 20% and moving upward. Figure out what you feel you could reasonably accomplish, cut it down severely and then slowly increase it as you get used to the habit. Some examples: Writing. Think you can do 1000 words a day? Make it 200 the first week, 250 the next, etc. Exercise. Think you can do an hour a day at the gym? Start with 15 minutes. Reading. Want to read a book a week? Try reading 5 pages a day. Language learning. Start with a twenty minute lesson, once a week.

Make Plans Work on 20% Effort

Start slow and build up as you get more comfortable.

Small things

The other day I noticed a small bunch of flowers that my wife put in our home office. Even though this was a small bunch, it had a very profound impact on the look and feel of the room. Somehow the room was more attractive, more welcoming, more bright.

This small observation got me to think about the world of work and productivity. I think and frankly I’ve experienced myself that seemingly small projects can propel your career or business light years ahead. 

There are many methods and processes we explore in order to keep productive and effective. We seek  systems or workflows that will drastically improve the way we work. But that’s difficult; it takes time and effort to shift thinking and habits from one style to another. Just imagine that implementing GTD® in full takes about 2 years.

Instead of trying to go all in and improve everything all at once, start small. Define what doesn’t work as a whole but approach it chunks. 
For those looking to implement GTD® check the Zen To Done posts which provide great overview on how to implement a simplified version of Getting Things Done methodology.

If you struggle with email look at ways to fix your inbox, see what’s not relevant that gets sent to you and unsubscribe. Look at filters and rules to automate filing, and learn keyboard shortcuts.

The same will apply to backlog of tasks or clutter in your rooms-tackling all of it in one go is difficult but taken in smaller pieces will be much easier and approachable.
Just like the small bunch of flowers can improve a whole room, a small change applied consistently can improve one’s life.

 

34 days

I was catching up on some of my favourite podcasts and that included Mikes on Mics episode 83 where the guys are talking about the intersection of self-improvement and productivity.  

One of the things that caught my attention was the idea of testing things over 34 days. Seems like an odd number but as Mikes explain, it makes sense. 

Trying different ways to stay productive, organised is part of a process of finding what works. However what does not make sense is jumping from place to place without a proper experimentation and time to adjust.  

Weekly time scale isn’t effective for that it’s just too short to see what’s good and bad. On the other end making a commitment to use a method or workflow for 34 days makes it inconvenient enough to see through different scenarios. Getting committed to a process for this number of days gives you much more time and opportunities to test it properly.

You can listen to the details at The Line Between Self-Improvement and Productivity 

Six keys to affecting a change

Change can be a hard pill to swallow, new habits and routines need to be setup. New behaviors need to be learned, tool accustomed to. In one word change is stressful.

This stress can cause that the change will not happen, we may see the obstacles first, the positive effects are not materialising quick enough. This again lead to a further stress.

Tony Schwartz shared couple steps which can make the change process a much easier and more manageable. These include things like:

  • being highly specific and precise in describing what you want to achieve
  • make only one change at time
  • strike a balance in the change you’re introducing 
  • remove the temptations
  • look out for thing that block your change
  • keep at it

You can read the full post on by following the link: six keys to changing almost anything