A very Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
It’s been a while since I’ve contributed a personal article. Christmas was a busy time with family and cooking turkeys for gatherings. Yes, I’m an aspiring domestic goddess, and whilst I cannot compare to my colleague Mayen Pane who creates the most amazing culinary masterpieces, I guess I can continue to work at it!
Productivity Hack #1 – Pomodoros
Developed by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique is about breaking your work periods into 25-minute chunks separated by 5-minute breaks. Each 25-minute chunk is a “pomodoro”. After about four pomodoros, you’re encouraged to take a 15 to 20-minute break as it allows your mind to have a proper rest.
By focusing on completing the task at hand in 25 minutes, you’re more likely to get things done instead of being distracted by other tasks. You know how it is…an email comes in, someone sends you a text, or a FB alert pops up… suddenly you find yourself attending to that instead of focusing on completing what you set out to do.
Ever since I started using pomodoros or ‘pomodori’ as I like to call them (it’s the plural in Italian for pomodoro which is a tomato), I’ve found that I’m completing more tasks within a shorter period and that means, a shorter to-do list at the end of my day.
Productivity Hack #2 – Habit Stacking
This is a term used by habit, decision-making expert, James Clear, in his book ATOMIC HABITS.
“Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention. Rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit.”-James Clear, Atomic Habits, Pg 74
For a while now, I’ve been trying to meditate regularly in the mornings but it’s always been rather patchy given the circumstances. That means I forget to meditate for a period and then I find myself out-of-sorts and bad-tempered. Basically, I’m not feeling grounded, so I wanted to address this.
Taking inspiration from Atomic Habits, I now create a habit of meditating the first thing I wake up. I realised my mind starts to wander as soon as I’m awake and I reach for my mobile phone to check messages etc. So now, when I wake up, I meditate then get out of bed and start my day. I don’t check my mobile phone which can sometimes be depressing especially if you read the news.
This has got me thinking about what other usual daily habits do I have and how can I stack a positive habit on top of that…
Productivity Hack #3 – Weekend Planning
My business coach taught me this weekend planning trick. It’s so helpful to keep one on track to achieving goals and ensure a productive week.
While I use a digital calendar like Google Calendar to manage my work meetings and social appointments, there’s nothing better than good ol’ pen and paper. Don’t you find it so satisfying to check that box when you’ve completed something? I do, and that’s why I can’t imagine not having a paper diary or planner.
My favourite planner is the Passion Planner and I use it to plan my tasks, jot my notes and plan my week.
How this works:
I create the appointments in my Google Calendar whenever the need arises (that helps with reminders on my mobile).
Then every Sunday, for only 25 minutes (remember the pomodoro?) I will map out the following week’s activities in my Passion Planner.
This means transferring those digital appointments to my paper planner, then filling in the time slots for personal and work tasks that I want to handle.
What’s more, the Passion Planner has a section for gratitude journaling, and I write out the good things that happened during the week which makes me feel happy about what’s happened and satisfied about the progress I’ve made. It’s a lovely way to end the week or start the week (if Sunday is the start of the week for you).
I hope these three little productivity hacks help you and wish you a fabulous start to 2022!
Here’s to starting STRONG!