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Productive Interview Series: Henrik Edberg

Productive Interview Series: Henrik Edberg

Productive Interview Series is a quick four questions interview, targets on productive people who have been changing their work/life style with life hacks and self-development tips. The following are the answers from Henrik Edberg, the person behind The Positivity Blog.

Henrik

    Who are you?
    Well, I´m a 26 year old student living on west coast of Sweden. I´ve got a degree in journalism and I´ve also studied movies for three semesters. I really like House, seafood, Pez, good quotes, Veronica Mars, clementines (I eat them like popcorn), telling people about things, Cantata no.140 by Bach, Ralph Wiggum and warm summer days with clear blue skies.

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    I’ve recently (in September 2006) started blogging about personal development at The Positivity Blog.

    What have you done to increase your productivity?
    First, I tried to find some methods to decrease my – for many years, enormous – tendencies to procrastinate. I´m starting to get the procrastination more and more out of the way and that feels pretty good. One method that I use is to make a small deal with myself: I just do 5 minutes of work on the thing I procrastinate about. When those 5 minutes are over I can stop if I want and set a time for another 5 minutes some time later. But usually when those 5 minutes are over I have some momentum and just continue working.

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    I’ve started writing down everything I need/want to do in a program called My Life Organized using some sort of GTD-template that comes with the program. I haven´t gotten into GTD that much yet though. I use my lists, ordered in different categories, and then I apply the Pareto Principle and other methods to figure out what is most important for me to do right now and how to declutter my life from the less important stuff.

    One way I discovered recently to get things done was through Eckhart Tolle´s seminar-dvd “The Flowering of Human Conciousness”. Simple and effective stuff that really helps reduce the fear, anxiety and old habits that often can stop one from being, among other things, productive in life.

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    What is your best life hack?
    Investing in myself. By that I mean reading/listening/watching products from various branches of personal development and making it a habit. I really like the advice that you should spend an hour each night reading. Even if you don´t have an hour each night it´s good to try to find some free time.

    For instance, I like to listen to audiobooks on personal development while doing the dishes and riding the bus. Find small patches of time to reinvest in yourself. Over time these small chunks add up and can make a big change.

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    What are your favorite posts at lifehack.org?
    I really like 9 tips in Life that Lead to Happiness. Wonderful stuff. I especially like the points about spending a couple of minutes every day thinking about the things that make you happy and to find solutions to problems instead of wallowing in self-pity.

    Are you confident on your life being productive – like Henrik’s story? Have you applied lifehacks, tips and tricks that help you get through procrastination or any parts of your life? Send us an email – tips at lifehack.org, I am happy to help you to share your experience.

    Previous Productive Interviews: Andy Mitchell, Patrick Rhone

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2020

    How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

    How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

    Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

    But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

    Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

    Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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    Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

    It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

    They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

    To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

    2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

    Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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    Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

    3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

    Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

    Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

    4. Be Who You Are

    It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

    You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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    You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

    Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

    5. Slow Down and Let Go

    Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

    Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

    Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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    So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

    When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

    The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

    Final Thoughts

    What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

    To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

    If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

    More About Stepping Out of Comfort Zone

    Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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