Simplifying Productivity and Building Sustainable Habits

Simplifying Productivity and Building Sustainable Habits
Photo by Daniel Leone / Unsplash

Today, I wanted to share a few thoughts on productivity and habit-building that I've picked up along my journey. Life can sometimes throw us a curveball, and it's during those times that our routines and habits tend to take a hit. I recently experienced a period of chaos and personal challenges that caused me to fall out of my established routines. However, I've learned a thing or two about habit-building and getting back on track that I believe can help you too.

Let's start by discussing habit-building. Over the past few years, I've delved deep into the topic, especially as it relates to my health and wellness. I've successfully lost over 30 (closer to 40) kilos, improved my cardiovascular fitness and sleep habits, and even transformed into an avid reader (from someone who could never read a chapter, to someone reading 30+ books a year). Achieving these goals required breaking old habits and creating new ones – a challenging task, to say the least. But the key is to take it one step at a time.

When you find yourself slipping from your routines, it's normal to want to react immediately and fix everything at once. However, I've learned that a more effective approach is to ease yourself back into your routines gradually. This is where the concept of keystone habits comes into play. Keystone habits are behaviours that have a domino effect, where one positive habit leads to the development of others.

Identifying your keystone habits and focusing on reintegrating them can make all the difference. Remember, it's essential to prioritise the habits that align with your desired identity. By envisioning yourself as the person you aspire to be, you'll naturally embody those qualities and exhibit corresponding behaviours. For example, if you see yourself as a health-conscious fitness enthusiast, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or choosing fruits over sweets will become second nature.

Now, let's shift gears and delve into the topic of productivity. We tend to overcomplicate this aspect of our lives, believing that a complex system or app is the key to unlocking our potential. However, simplicity is often the secret ingredient to success. Don't be fooled by the allure of intricate systems that promise to optimise your productivity. Instead, focus on finding uncomplicated solutions that get the job done.

Take note-taking apps, for instance. I've spent countless hours exploring and testing various options, hoping to find the perfect one that would bring all my ideas together seamlessly. I myself have tried, to name a few:

  • Supernotes
  • RemNote
  • Roam Research
  • Obsidian
  • LogSeq
  • Walling
  • Notion
  • Evernote
  • SimpleNote
  • Drafts
  • Craft

This is hardly 20% of the list.

However, after much trial and error, I've come to the realisation that simplicity trumps complexity. I've decided to settle on Apple Notes, despite its lack of certain features I desire.

Why? Well, Apple Notes excels in its ease of use. With a single click, I can capture an idea, go from a thought to a note within seconds. No more waiting for apps to load or pondering over folder organisation. It's about getting things done efficiently, and Apple Notes delivers that speed and ubiquity I value. Of course, for more complex documents and collaborative work, I still rely on Notion. But for quick personal notes, Apple Notes is my go-to.

When it comes to productivity, remember that simple solutions often yield the best results. Complex systems may initially seem attractive, but remember, managing and maintaining such systems can overshadow the actual work you need to do. So, instead of getting caught up in intricate apps or elaborate protocols, grab a pen and paper and create a to-do list. Focus on time-blocking, prioritisation matrices, and setting realistic quarterly goals.

Speaking of goals, they're one of the main driving force behind your productivity. They give you direction. However, merely setting goals won't carry you to success – it takes action. Start by defining your ambitions and then break them down into achievable milestones within a quarter. Why a quarter? Well, monthly targets can become overwhelming, and anything longer tends to fade into the background.

To ensure you stay on track, consider using the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) system. Establish clear objectives, determine how you'll know you've accomplished them, and then get to work using straightforward methods. Don't overcomplicate matters; simple tactics often yield great results.

Before I sign off, I'd like to express my gratitude. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey of self-reflection and personal growth. I'm not just an author; I'm someone who has learned from their experiences and mistakes. It's through these lessons that I'm able to share relatable anecdotes and insights with you.

Remember, building sustainable habits and cultivating productivity is a continuous process. It's about embracing simplicity, prioritising your goals, and maintaining a positive mindset. Trust me, with effort, hard work, and a determined mindset, you can achieve incredible things.

Wishing you all the best on your journey to productivity and personal growth!

Keep it simple, stay motivated, and always learn from your experiences.