Manage Yourself or Somebody Else Will

Like I’ve written yesterday, I now started to block out some time, just for my self management and productivity stuff. Let’s start with 2 Pomodori, split over the day. One in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Maybe it’s too much, maybe I need more. We will see.

In the first Pomodori, my daily writing and journaling will happen, which means 10 minutes writing, 10 minutes journaling and 5 minutes margin. And since I blocked out 30 minutes in my calendar I even have 5 minutes more margin to get to the next thing on my list.

And this is the perfect opportunity to talk about a topic that always gets into my way, kind of. If you don’t allocate time for your important tasks, someone else will. If you got big holes in your schedule and an empty calendar there is a big chance people make plans for you. Be it in the office where people throw meetings or phone calls at you or be it friends and family that plan your day for you.

Don’t get me wrong here, it’s also important to spend time with friends and family, but don’t let them plan out your day, that you have nothing left for yourself.

You can start easily like I do at the moment. Block one hour in the morning or whenever you want, where you just focus on yourself and on nothing else.

What I do in second Pomodori for myself, I will tell you tomorrow, since I hope there will be something in the mail, I am waiting for which will change my process a bit 👍

Take Care of Yourself

I have failed. Lastly I had announced a season 2 of my 10 minute writings and I failed miserably. Who’s fault was it? Mine, totally mine.

Since I quit my job in April, life of course didn’t get any easier. I have to tie all loose ends in the company, teach coworkers things, write migrations for the new stuff and on and on and on. I have to take care of tons of things, which are just such a waste of time in my opinion, but they have to be done. And yes, maybe I have procrastinated on some of these and now they all come together.

And this sucks!

So instead of crying like a little baby, let’s take the important lessons out of it. And I am not telling this to you only, it’s also for myself. I have to remember this stuff and use it.

I am really in to journaling and habit tracking and all sort of productivity things and routines and self reflections stuff. I know it helps me and makes me feel better, when I look back or when I am down and just want to look at the things I have already accomplished in my life.

But sadly in this situations, I always let myself come short. I don’t take the time to sit down to reflect, to write my journal or do my reviews and write down thoughts. Instead I am pushing harder on someone else goals and put every piece of energy that I have in there.

So I will try something different (I already tried it sometime 😉 ); At the moment I am only opening my journal in the evening and also (when I write my 10 minutes) I am doing it after 11 PM. I will block half an hour out of my calendar for myself. This won’t be a morning routine or evening routine, I won’t do it right after I wake up or go to bed.

This thing is called something like Time Blocking. I am already doing it when I want to accomplish a state of focus, if I am working on important stuff. But since I take mental health very seriously, I also want to do it for myself in the future.

And to end todays post; since I have failed to accomplish the goal last time, it now will stick until 5th of December 🤷‍♀️.

See you 👍

Turn down all the noise

At some day in January I have deleted all of my work accounts from my mobile devices like my iPhone and iPad, otherwise I would have freaked out at that moment. Since then I have experimented with a ton of other things. So let’s talk about my results.

The result is quite simple: TURN IT OFF.

I have turned of every notification on my phone; no badges, no sounds, no banners. I have three exceptions for this on which I will come back later.

It may sound hard to do this and yes, the first day was quite hard. My phone became to silent and didn’t flash all the time an email popped in.

Another positive thing here, I don’t grab my phone so often and don’t get distracted so easily. If I am now grabbing the phone it has more intention and not because a stupid newsletter popped up about something I do not care.

It’s a good feeling.

A few exceptions

I have indeed three exceptions. For example if you call me the second time, my phone will ring loud. Which is a simple kind of emergency rule.

Things 3 show badges for todays tasks. To quickly be able to look where I am for the day.

Whatsapp messages; I am not chatting with a ton of people, so I leave that one, because only kind of important people have my number and they know, I hate to be distracted by useless stuff 😉

Don’t be a dick

Last Saturday we bought a new closet for our bedroom. It was the one standing in the store all the time, so we got it way cheaper and of course we had to disassemble it.

For today I rented a transporter to get this thing home. My plan was to leave the two main part assembled and put them in the transporter in one piece. But while starting to put it apart I recognized there were a ton of loose screws broken brackets and more stuff like this. And this brings me to a thing in tech, that I sadly see every single day. People don’t think about what happens later. As the guys that build the closet and didn’t think about someone taking it apart to take it home. People write bad code and don’t give a shit who has to care about it later. We build systems and don’t think about, if it’s easy to update.

If we would all pay a bit more attention and think and care about the people coming after us, I am sure the world would be a quite better place. And it doesn’t matter if you are writing code, building closets, burning tires or doing something that harms you or your environment. So to close this, don’t be a dick 😉

Keep the momentum up

This fits great after yesterdays post about starting. Once you have started and have gained some traction it’s more important that ever to stay motivated and keep the momentum up.

Moment what?

Momentum, the product of mass and velocity of an object. If you started eating a pizza and it tastes so freaking great that you just can’t stop. That’s momentum. The pizza example ain’t that good, but exchange the pizza with a project and eating with working. Now that actually is momentum.

If you are in this state of mind, if you are on fire, keep it up, keep the words, the code, the videos, whatever flowing. But you ask, how?

Think of the little milestones you already got

What parts of the project did you already set up? How much lines you have already written? How many tickets you have moved to Done? If you think back about what you have already accomplished, this can keep you going.

Hold on to the vision

Why you started the project? To solve a problem, to cure your own itch? Will it make you happier? Will it serve other people?

By constantly remembering yourself why you do it, it will get easier and easier to keep working on your project.

There is no right time

This is a tough one, since I struggle with myself a lot. I bet you also have had this feeling of, it’s not the right time to start something or maybe end something.

There is always a reason to not start something. It doesn’t matter if it’s a goal, a project or anything else. How often do you hear something of this examples;

  • After vacation I will go start to eat healthier
  • After finishing with school I will work on my self management
  • Next year I will start different
  • I won’t watch as much TV after this week
  • I won’t drink any alcohol after this party

If you stick to this excuses, yes they are nothing as excuses, you will hardly get anything done in your life. There is always a reason to not do something that is loud enough in your brain to keep you from doing it.

Don’t hold yourself back. If you really think about what is holding you back from achieving a goal, mostly it’s fear. What could happen if you screw it up? Yeah, but what happens if you don’t screw it up. And how are the chances to even screw it up? In most cases, it won’t have any negative effects on your life. You maybe could waste time and money. But at least you’ve tried it.

The worst thing that could happen and will happen, if you don’t start working on your heart projects, is that you wake up one day and realize you missed all the oppurtunities and it’s too late. Don’t let that happen to you.

Productivity versus Deadlines

This post comes into my mind, because right now I am working on a task, that has kind of a deadline, tomorrow morning. So I need to finish it, before I got to bed 🤷‍♀️.

Pay attention to the effects

I will finish this task today, even if it means I have to stay up until 1 AM. But before you do something like this, think about the effect that it could have.

One point to think about is, trading your hours and your attention. If I put in the hours today they will miss tomorrow. If I put in 1 more hour today, I will sleep an hour longer tomorrow. If I don’t sleep that hour longer, it will work against my productivity.

Be sure about the costs

By trying to finish this one damn task today, you will get less sleep, or you have less power tomorrow and the day after.

Now compare, is it worth it? You are trading one task versus one or two days, on which cannot focus or put in all the power you would have had, if you just went to bad and worked on it the other day.

Drama baby

Yes, this post is by intention written more dramatic than it should be. I want to make sure, you get the point. 😉

See you tomorrow!

Tell people about it

This evening I will have some friends over. The will stay after 12 o clock, as usual. This nights are always great, but also cost time. I want be able to take my usual time to write, as I would somewhere around 11 PM. Or will I?

That’s todays topic. Whenever you are trying to reach a certain goal, tell people about it.

The simple way

It doesn’t matter which goal it is. Make someone around you aware of it. It’s as simple as, telling your spouse, you are writing for 10 minutes everday. If she’s supportive, she will ask you every evening, if you got your ass down for ten minutes to write.

By telling some people near you, that you are going to write every day, you will feel more responsible to do it, than when you commit privately, without telling everybody else.

It’s simple; if you blog your writings, like I do, it’s easy to observe.

Go all in

Get an accountability buddy. It could also be your spouse, your best friend, some family member or everyone else. Someone that has some similar goals like yours, and can relate to your position. Be sure to check his promises also.

It doesn’t mean, you both have to do the same. But everybody has to make sure, the other one, is doing his job. You could also create some penalties, if someone misses his shot.

Use Tech

To end today’s writing, I want to give you some tech advice. There are tons of apps out there, for habit tracking and so on. For example, Habitica even provides support for multiple users; so feel free to check it out 😉

Getting in the zone

Sometimes you sit in front of your work and just everything else seems more interesting; YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, the pen you could play with. And you get overwhelmed by doing nothing. It happens to all of us. You have so many daunting tasks, that you just don’t want to work on anything. Here is my cure for this.

Isolate

First and most important thing, isolate yourself. Tell your coworker or anybody near you, that you are not available for the next half an hour or hour. Put your headphones on and start some music, but nothing that has too much text or meaning. I like electronic music in this case.

And the best thing you can do is, switch your location. Get out of your usual working space or position. Take your notebook somewhere else. Get in a comfortable chair, get outside if you can.

Set a timer

Nearly every phone has a default timer app, where you could set an hour on. On the notebook I use Befocused Pro, or I just tell Siri on my iPhone to set a timer to 60 minutes. Don’t watch at it every minute. Just wait for the 60 minutes to get by.

Pick the most daunting task

It sounds contra productive, but go through your list and pick the task that seems most annoying to you. Probably the one, that you have pushed from day to day.

And start working on it, don’t look on social media, don’t switch playlists in your music player. There is nothing else, only you and this little fucking task. It’s forbidden to do something else, put your phone away and turn the silent mode on, or even put it in flight mode.

You will see, after 10 to 15 minutes you got already so much done, congratulations, welcome in the zone 😉

What’s your secret weapon?

The procedure above works for me and many people I have told it, to do it like this. Maybe this doesn’t work for you the same way. Give it a try and come back. Tell me in the comments, what works best for you! See you tomorrow!

It’s a process – it doesn’t work over night

I think I don’t have to mention it, that I am quite into self optimization and stuff like productivity. But anyways, I am totally into this stuff.

I am thriving to get better and more organized, more productive. And sometimes people ask me for tools or methods, they could use. Of course, I am happy to help; but don’t think because you buy a tool or download the certain app that I use, or other people use, you are getting productive over night.

It takes time

Let’s use Pomodoro as an example here. When I am able to sketch out the tasks of a day, I split them down to 25 minute long tasks. When I estimated a feature I have to develop to 2 hours, it’s probably split into 4 pomodori, one for research and laying it out, two pomodori for actually writing the code and one for testing or integration. Only one example.

The thing is, you need to take your time to learn the system. You don’t wake up in the morning and think, today I am going to crush 15 pomodori, without having them planned.

Stick with it

It’s the same thing as everywhere in life; consistency counts and pays off. By using a system or an app for one day, it want stick long. Let’s stick with Pomodoro here. If you do it for one day, great, it’s a good start. But to develop the habit of working in 25 minute boxes, you need to do every single day, to get it into your head.

Consistency is key

Accepting that a new habit takes time to be implemented into your life can be frustrating. But it pays off. Stick to it and keep the momentum. See you tomorrow!