Advertising
Advertising

Trial by Fire Productivity – The Intro

Trial by Fire Productivity – The Intro
Tools

    Launching a new project is extremely time-consuming. It’s at these times I begin to learn how effective my productivity process and tools really are.

    Since creating a 36-hour day is out of the question, the next best thing is making the hours you have more productive. Enter tools and processes.

    Advertising

    The thing is, you can never know how well they’re going to work under real stress, until you’re in the middle of a firestorm. So I decided to run an experiment. Not in a controlled environment, but in a real-world situation – hectic and full-on.

    The Plan…

    Over the next 60 days, I will be preparing my new venture for launch. I have some aggressive time lines, plus existing commitments. In order to hit my goals, I need to be ultra-productive – and that means I’ll need some effective tools and processes.

    Advertising

    But I’m starting clean.

    I’ve used so many different tools and methods over the years that tend to fail when I need them most. So this time, I have decided to go commando – so to speak.

    Advertising

    I’m ditching everything in the way of tools and processes, but a few essentials – Google calendar, grid-lined spiral notebook, and Thunderbird. Then as I need something, I’m going to pick a tool and add it in.

    In order for it to work, I am setting a few criteria. I’m keeping it somewhat loose, since I’ll be adjusting as I go:

    Advertising

    • Efficiency First – Above all, whatever I choose, it has to make my workflow more efficient. As a lifehack junkie, I could have the tendency to add a bunch of tools, based solely on the coolness factor. So my primary focus when deciding will be efficiency.
    • Instant Use – I won’t have time to read a manual or do a bunch of tutorials, so I have to be able to integrate it right away. This means it has to be extremely easy to use. Now, fortunately, I’m kind of a techie. So this may give me a little less of a learning curve.
    • Analog vs. Digital – I’ve used both paper and digital tools. I prefer simplicity, so sometimes that means paper, sometimes the convenience of data on a machine. I’ll be looking at both.
    • Cross Platform – I use both Windows and Linux, and at least 2 machines at a time. So whatever computer-based tool I use, it has to be able to be accessible from both, and preferably can share between them.
    • Cost – I’ve spent so much money over the years on stuff that I end up not using. For this experiment, I plan to use free or cheap tools – ideally open source, but ease of use and the other criteria may trump that.

    The Progress…

    Each week, I’ll post about a tool or process I’ve added and how well it’s integrated into my work-flow.

    At the end of the first 30 days, I may do a podcast or vodcast that covers some of the more useful things in more detail. It depends on how well this works, if I’ll have the time.

    In the end, I may be back to just grid paper and Google calendar. But I hope to find some useful tools that will help make my life as a home-based entrepreneur, easier.

    Tony D. Clark is an entrepreneur, writer, and artist who spends a lot of time talking others into profiting from what they know, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest provides inspiration, tips, and advice for the home-based entrepreneur and those aspiring to be one – all served up with humor and cartoons.

    More by this author

    Tony D. Clark

    Tony is the blog owner of "Success from the Nest". He aspires to help people do meaningful work and reach their dreams.

    Why Your Perception Is Your Reality Ultimate Pros and Cons Excel Workbook Lifehack.org Podcast Episode 7 – Trial By Fire Productivity Episode 2: Leon Ho Getting to Plumb How Do You Woo the Muse?

    Trending in Featured

    1 I’m Feeling Bored: 10 Ways to Conquer Boredom (and Busyness) 2 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It) 3 What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It 4 5 Reasons Why Being a Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect 5 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    I’m Feeling Bored: 10 Ways to Conquer Boredom (and Busyness)

    I’m Feeling Bored: 10 Ways to Conquer Boredom (and Busyness)

    If you’re saying “I’m feeling bored,” it’s important to realize that boredom and feeling too busy are the same problem. Some people claim I’m being too ambitious trying to strike down chronic boredom and busyness at the same time. I’d argue that the only way to take them out is simultaneously.

    The problem stems from how you manage your attention. Both boredom and busyness stem from feeling there is a lack of quality in how you focus your attention.

    Boredom is feeling that there are too few high-quality ways to spend attention. Busyness is forced boredom. This means that you feel there are high quality ways to spend attention, but your attention is being stolen from you before you can use it.

    I’m Feeling Bored: It’s in Your Mind

    Feelings of boredom and busyness are subjective. You can’t look out in the world and claim it is busy or boring. To say these feelings are subjective is obvious, but that misses a key point. The real problem is quality.

    Being engaged, neither busy or bored, happens when your attention is focused on high-quality activities.

    You can probably remember times when you were completely engaged. This could have been working on a project you were passionate about, spending time with your family, sky diving or vacationing under the sun. Why were you engaged in these moments and not in others?

    A likely reason was because those experiences had a higher quality. They allowed you to enter into an immersive flow state, in which your entire consciousness was devoted to the activity.[1]

    In the best cases your entire reality revolves around what you are doing. You’ll understand what I mean if you’ve read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (which, I must admit, inspired most of these ideas).

    Advertising

    Improving the Quality of Your Activities

    So how do you improve quality in your experiences when you’re saying “I’m feeling bored”? I believe there are two major ways you can do it: externally and internally. If you are chronically busy (and actively disliking the busyness) or bored, then you’ll need to tackle external and internal factors that contribute to these negative feelings.

    Here are some ways to consider improving quality in your experiences:

    Externally

    1. Plan Ahead

    Schedule your life to ensure there aren’t huge gaps or work overflows later. This can mean scheduling high-quality experiences if you find yourself frequently bored. It can also mean dividing large projects if you find yourself chronically busy.

    • Plan weekend activities for next month now. This not only gives you something to look forward to, but it also forces you to stay productive instead of just busy.
    • Map out what is placing demands on your time. Can you consolidate all your “busy work” (such as responding to emails) into one block of time instead of allowing it to cause constant interruptions in your day?

    2. Win-Win

    If you must perform an activity you think has low quality, you’re going to feel bored. Find ways to reorganize your life so that jobs, chores, and duties can become interesting, high-quality experiences.

    Turn mind-numbing chores into opportunities for growth and learning. For example, listen to an audio book or lecture on the commute to work or while you’re cleaning your house.

    3. Prioritize

    If you don’t manage time, you’ll never have enough of it. There are always more things to do than you have time for. Get your values straight so that the highest priorities are handled first and your life doesn’t get overtaken by the unimportant.

    Set a vision for your life, and determine how everything you do either contributes or detracts from that vision. Chances are, the things that don’t align with your vision are some of the same things that bore you. After you identify low-priority activities, you can try to make them more meaningful, or you can find ways to eliminate them.

    4. Put Quality of Experience First

    It is easy to get caught up in external goals that don’t fulfill their promises. Focus on goals that will give you a greater quality, not just a bigger paycheck or more status to brag about.

    Advertising

    Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals that align with your life’s vision.[2]

    5. Escape the Motions

    Habits are a part of your life, but don’t let them become the only thing. Break out of your patterns if they aren’t giving you what you need. Instead of staying in, go out and meet new people on a Friday night. Just do something to get away from doing the same old thing.

    Schedule times to break from your routines. I thrive on having a routine most days, but I also give myself opportunities to break from sameness.

    Say “yes” to trying something new. Nothing spices up your day like trying something new.

    Internally

    Most of the ways to improve your quality of experience and conquer boredom are internal. Remember, it’s not just what you do, but also how you do it.

    1. Build an Inner World

    I’m not suggesting you create a complete rift between yourself and reality when you find yourself thinking “I’m feeling bored,” but also realize that if you can’t find quality in your immediate surroundings, you can find it within yourself.

    Solving internal problems, reviewing knowledge, coming up with new ideas, creating stories, or even planning for the future are all areas you can explore in the mind without any external stimuli.

    Use “boring” moments as opportunities to brainstorm. It’s a lot easier to cope with a humdrum reality if you’re able to use the time to explore possibilities within your mind.

    Advertising

    If you’re really at a loss, you can imagine a story about 2-3 of the people and objects in your vicinity. This is a great way to exercise your creativity and sharpen your observation skills.

    2. Seek Quality in the Now

    Try starting small with some simple questions. What are you doing right now? What can you find that has value for you? Seeking quality right now allows you to find it even if your environment is bare or overloaded.

    Activities like waiting in line can be turned into moments of self-reflection or times to remind yourself of your vision.

    3. Don’t Resist

    Busyness and boredom could also be described as symptoms of resisting what is. Fully accepting whatever situation you are in and making the most of it is one way to conquer feeling bored.

    Resistance is something that can’t be done half-way. Either completely push away and seek quality elsewhere, or accept your surroundings and find it here.

    4. Unchain Yourself

    A lot of mental unease is caused because you feel forced to do something. You have to go to work, study for your test, do this or that. Realize that you don’t have to do anything, just accept different results. Freedom is in your mind.

    Weigh whether the activity causing your discomfort is essential or expendable. For example, paying your bills is non-negotiable, but you can opt to live a more modest lifestyle or actively search for a job you enjoy.

    Use a mantra to remind yourself of your freedom. “I am free” and “I have the power to change my circumstances” can reinforce the notion that you have choices.

    Advertising

    5. Stop

    Boredom and feeling overloaded are both patterns. They are mental spirals you run on yourself that loop back on each other. If you just interrupt yourself for a few minutes and think more deeply about the problem, you can often come up with a good answer independent of these suggestions.

    Meditate your way out of boredom. Sometimes boredom and busyness are caused by feeling disconnected from what you are doing. Use meditation to ground yourself in the present.

    You can learn how to meditate here.

    Take up a gratitude practice. Whenever you’re feeling too bored or too busy, stop to think about all the things that are going well. Being able to simply say, “I got out of bed this morning,” and “I have food to eat,” help you take stock of your blessings.

    The Bottom Line

    As boredom and busyness arise from the same source, the same strategies can be used to tackle them and find a sweet spot of a balanced mindset. Find high-quality activities when you start saying “I’m feeling bored,” and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can turn things around.

    More Tips on Tackling Boredom

    Featured photo credit: Siddharth Bhogra via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next