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2×4: An Interview with Patrick Rhone

2×4: An Interview with Patrick Rhone

    Patrick Rhone has a gift. He takes things that seem ordinary, things that are so easily overlooked and helps you to see the opportunity in them. He doesn’t tell you how to do this. He doesn’t give you the paint by numbers. He makes you do the work, but shares how he goes about doing it himself. As I said in my review of his latest book, enough, “Rather than providing a checklist for being more mindful, it felt as if I was allowed to examine the benefits from a more mindful existence.”

    Patrick shows you the potential in the ordinary and the ability to make everything, especially yourself, better. He’s also a voice of reason for needing less rather than more stuff to achieve that better self.

    Without further ado, here’s a look at how Patrick Rhone, the creator of Minimal Mac and the thinker behind the enough book and podcast approaches his creative and productive pursuits.

    Creativity

    Have you always considered yourself a creative person?

    Yes. I come from a family of creatives. My mother is an actress and director. Her mother was a world class concert pianist. So, it is in the genetics I guess.

    What mediums and inspirations do you gravitate toward to realize your creative goals?

    Well, as a writer I’m inspired by nearly everything in life. I’m in near constant search for an interesting story to tell and those can be had almost anywhere. Example:

    The magnolias, having suffered a few years of neglect, were beginning to look more bush than tree. Renegade shoots and leaves covered the bottom blocking the sun from the other plants below. Therefore, loppers in hand, I set out to shape them back into a more beguiling form fitting their true nature.

    That is simply the beginning of a story about my yard work from this afternoon. But, I also look for the often unseen connections between the mundane and the extraordinary.

    For instance, the story of trimming a tree in order to shape it and help it grow could easily be a metaphor for our lives and a possible path to self-improvement. Trimming the excess that is sucking energy from the trunk is a pretty good idea for our lives as well.

    As for mediums? Well, I like a saying a friend recently spoke to me which is “Paper is never passive”. I find much truth in this.

    If you had to point to one thing, what specific posts or creations are you most proud of and why?

    My two books — Keeping It Straight and Enough (note: please link to these???). Mainly because, well, writing books is a very hard thing. Writing a book one is proud of and that one believes can really make a difference is even harder. These two items represent the best of my work released thus far.

    Any suggestions for those who feel they may not be creative enough to unlock their inner artist?

    Sure. Stop lying to yourself. Sit down. Do the work. Seek constant improvement. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to those in the field you admire and ask for their suggestions. Take them to heart. Put them to practice. Then, sit down and do the work.

    Creativity is not a blessing, it is a habit.

    Productivity

    Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?

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    There is not enough space for this but let’s try…

    Writer.  Podcaster. Blogger. Author. Essayist. Speaker. Technology Consultant. Father (of three, two are adults). Husband. Homeowner (of 3 houses). Lover. Fighter. Buddhist.

    How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?

    With great care, some skill, and not nearly as much success as I would like. This is simply life and I do the best I can.

    What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?

    Pen and paper is essential. I always have both at hand.

    OmniFocus for when things get to big for even pen and paper to manage.

    I try not to remember life before my iPhone.

    What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?

    Quantify everything that has your attention (or deserves it), decide what you need to do about it, then do it. That is the basis of every successful productivity method ever written.

      More by this author

      2×4: An Interview with David Sparks 2×4: An Interview with Myke Hurley 2×4: An Interview With CJ Chilvers 2X4 Interviews 2×4: An Interview With Gabe Weatherhead 2×4: An Interview With Brett Kelly

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      1 Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them 2 The Power of Tapping into Your Hidden Creativity 3 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 4 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life 5 Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

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      Last Updated on August 6, 2019

      Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

      Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

      Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

      So what changed?

      I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

      My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

      Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

      But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

      1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

      Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

      If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

      Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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      How to Tackle It?

      Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

      For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

      Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

      2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

      This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

      The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

      How to Tackle It?

      Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

      If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

      Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

      3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

      This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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      The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

      The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

      How to Tackle It?

      Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

      For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

      A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

      If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

      4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

      Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

      Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

      How to Tackle It?

      It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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      Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

      For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

      Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

      In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

      5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

      This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

      Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

      However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

      How to Tackle It?

      Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

      Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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      Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

      If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

      Bottom Line

      I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

      You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

      I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

      I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

      Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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