Habits > tasks
(Estimated reading time: less than a minute)
Last week I let a few of my habits slip. This is quite unusual for me, but it’s not unheard of. Flicking through my journal I noticed that when I get myself into a ‘funk’, it’s often linked to changes in my routines. This includes irregular entries in my journal.
I know that things like exercise can have a direct bearing on productivity and creativity. But why would a dip in my photography practice be associated with reduced performance?
The best answer that I can come up with is:- regular habits create a rhythm that helps with juggling demands. I’d be intrigued if anyone has other ideas or is aware of any research in this area.
The way we walk
So this popped into one of my feeds today:
It resonated with me because it reminded me of something that I saw on my drive home last night.
I stopped at a set of traffic lights. While I was sitting, I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see a three girls (probably about 10 yeas old) walking towards the junction. Well, two of them were walking. One of them was dancing her way along the street. And when she reached the traffic lights, she continued to bounce on her toes as she waited to cross. When it was time to cross, she resumed her wee dance and carried on.
I don’t know if the way she ‘walked’ affected her mood, but it cheered me up!
I recently listened to Chase Jarvis interviewing Ramit Sethi. (It’s a long listen at approximately 80 minutes, but it’s worth it!)
This interview triggered several thoughts, which will appear here in due course.
My key takeaway was:
What are the self-limiting, self-fulfilling stories that I tell myself?
We frequently limit our potential by accepting limitations and developing a fixed, negative mindset about them. We tend to express them in extreme terms – for example, “I can never… “
“Never”? Really? That’s a very long time!
I’m not suggesting that you can be good at anything that you turn your mind to. But, if you have a self-limiting, self-fulfilling mantra that you’d like to change, what are you prepared to do about it?
Are you willing to invest a bit of time to generate ideas to overcome the problem? Will you commit to some focussed learning to develop skills in this area?
Or, are you comfortable to stick in the self-pitying, ‘whinge zone’?
Tomorrow, I’ll share an example from my own whingeing!
I copied the title of this post from a recent article by Oliver Burkeman. I’ve commuted for almost all of my working life. Currently, I drive 30 miles each way, which takes about 45 minutes in the morning and an hour in the afternoon (due to increased volume of traffic).
Over the years, my attitude to my daily journey has changed. For years I tholed it – passing the time by listening to a combination of news and music.
Then I learned to embrace it as an opportunity to learn. Zig Zigler talked about the automobile university.
In recent years I’ve come to embrace it. (‘Love’ would be stretching the point too far.) My habits have changed a bit. I mainly listen to podcasts, although I still catch the news headlines. Sometimes I drive in ‘silence’ – without anything other than the noise of my car to distract me. I use the time to anticipate the day ahead or review what happened at work. I use a voice recorder (with a lapel microphone) to capture ideas as they come to me.
But, the biggest change hasn’t been adjusting my habits, but changing my mindset.
I get to spend almost two hours a day alone with my thoughts. I can choose how to fill the time. I commute through some awe-inspiring landscapes. And, I’ve accepted that some days my journey will take longer if I get stuck behind slow-moving vehicles. And that’s OK.
One final thought – a key to ‘surviving’ my commute is what I do at the end of it (both times). I stretch, exercise (a short walk in the morning; something more vigorous after work) and ease myself into the next phase of my day. I don’t rush to start working; instead I take about 15 minutes to settle into the office – making a cup of tea, filling my water bottle, chatting to some of the other early birds.