An Experiment in Personal ProductivityEducation
It’s already March, the third month of the year. A sixth of the year has already passed. We’ve lived through over 59 days in 2018. I often feel surprised at how fast the days have gone by but also anxious due to all the long-term projects and tasks I’ve taken on but put off (more on this later). I’m sure we’ve all had moments in the past where you start to feel anxiety sinking in from sudden realisations such as this. It frequently stems from our lethargy and from the guilt that comes with it.
However it’s not all bad news. It’s good that you know now rather than later, when 2018 comes to end and the whole cycle repeats next year. As an example, at the start of the year I set myself a major goal. Watch what I eat (at least more often than usual) and exercise daily. It’s not a particularly specific or measurable goal but it’s something I’ve recognised as a way to improve my life. They’ve constantly been on the backburner while I tackle everyday chores and upcoming deadlines and I’m sure it’s the same for many of you out there. But that’s an unfulfilling way to live. If you live your whole life trying to meet deadlines and dousing endless fires of unforeseen problems then you might never reach those lifelong aspirations..
Have a look at the following diagram:
You may or may not know this table. There are many names and various forms for this but for the sake of simplicity let’s call it the Task Manager. I’ll explain it briefly: there are four quadrants. Each one is accompanied by two headings: Important or Not Important and Urgent or Not Urgent. “What do each of those headings mean?” you may be wondering and below you’ll find the answer.
Quadrant 1: This is where you place your deadlines and upcoming events that are critical to your livelihood (be it job or education) and is often where most of us put the majority of our tasks. Unanticipated events and issues will pop up here too so it’s important to have time to deal with those.
Quadrant 2: This is where tasks that tend to be related to your lifestyle and your everyday life out of work. This can include: grocery shopping, laundry and all sorts of mundane things that need to be done but often get left to the last minute.
Quadrant 3: Now this is where the magic happens. This is where you can put tasks or projects that are long-term and also get put off because they don’t necessarily reward you instantly. These are things that require work over a long period of time to achieve. We should all remember to be striving towards aspirations in this quadrant. But more on that later.
Quadrant 4: This is often called the relaxation region. Activities that are put here don’t necessarily equate to success or a reward but are needed to keep us sane and to keep us happy. Things like going out with friends, walking in the park or reading a book. But sometimes this section accumulates loads of junk that we also need to cut out. Time is a resource that we can never get back so why work on something that you don’t need or get anything out of?
So where am I going with this? I often tune in to a YouTube channel called Charisma on Command, where two friends called Charlie and Ben bring their viewers content on how to be more charismatic in their everyday lives and other intriguing mindsets to change the way you and I think. I was inspired to try out two of their videos: How to Achieve 10x More Every Day and 5 Morning Routine Habits of Successful People. Essentially they cover how to make the most of your day, every day and how to get things done for the tasks in Quadrant 3.
I tried doing the habits in the videos for two weeks. I suggest you watch them first before reading my thoughts on them:
Is it worth it? My first thoughts on the first day (which was also a Monday) of the two weeks. I was mentally weighing if an extra 30 mins of sleep was better than trying the routine. Luckily I managed to push myself to get out of bed.
Alright this is pretty tough. Waking up earlier than usual is a definite killer for me and I often slept through my earlier alarm the following two days.
But it’s actually pretty good. The four-minute workout paired with a cold shower really gets you going. I love it. Missed this out a few times because I was running late however, on the days I did manage to get it done, I remained alert for the rest of the morning. Felt great.
New habits are difficult to get into… Apparently it takes an average of 66 days to get into a new habit and two weeks was nowhere near enough time to get into the groove. I tried using the Habitbull app but I never seemed to get any alerts. I’ll have to tinker with it.
I feel like I’m getting things done. I love the feeling of completing a task. Unfortunately I often suffer from severe procrastination if I’m not in the right state of mind (but I’m sure this happens to all of us at times). Everyday is a step in the right direction and doesn’t feel wasted.
It doesn’t have to be exactly the same. If I run out of time to do these things at home, I like doing the meditation or work on the move since they’re both fine to do on the move. But the first time I tried meditation in the car I fell asleep. So be wary of things like that.
There you have it. That’s a brief summary of my thoughts after two weeks of following those tips. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it for the rest of the year as my quest for sleep grows ever more dire by the day. Try it out for yourself, you may or may not like it. Maybe add your own touch to it to make it yours. After all, life is all about testing different things and it may very well bring you something great.
Text by Robert Speirs, an IB student at the British School Jakarta