Sleep is one of my top priorities but recently it seems like it is getting in the way of me getting more things done. This is a quick analysis of my day to day life to try and find what makes me less productive:
The book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker makes it very clear that if you do not sleep 7 to 8 hours a night, you are doing your health a huge disservice. This is why I am very adamant about getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. I think here is where my problem lies because when I go to sleep late I end up waking up later in the day. For example, there are nights like last night when I go to sleep at 2 am and wake up around 11 am. But wait, I got 9 hours of sleep and still woke up with a whole lot of time to get almost anything done. Why then, am I still complaining about my productivity?
Okay, now I see it is not my sleep time or the time I wake up. There is a discipline issue here as well, but that is something that I will deal with another day. If sleep isn't the issue, then it's probably what I do in between each task that is the problem. These intermediate activities, which are youtube videos and online games of chess, are what have me up at 2 am to finish editing a picture, and recording the podcast.
My problem seems to be with distractions and finishing a task all at once. How can we get rid of distractions? I am currently on Day 5 of my no phone experiment, which had the purpose of limiting distractions. Although the first two days I did seem more productive, these last two days I have noticed that I actively look for things to distract me. I am the one who is doing the sabotaging, not my technology. I would bet money that even if I got rid of all technology, I would still find something around me to distract me.
I have no problem staying focused on my distracting activities. Why is it that I do not look to be distracted from my distractions?
YouTube videos and chess games online are my two current activities that I can stay focused on. These two things get me excited, and I have fun the entire time I am doing them. I did notice, however, that when I repeatedly lose chess games I just stop playing chess because it is no longer enjoyable.
The solution I am coming to as I write this is that although my tasks are not HUGE by any stretch of the imagination, they are big enough not to be addictive. I think that if I separate each task into bite sizes I can make them more addictive. For example, I found myself dreading my morning bodyweight workout that I have intentionally taken from its original 8-minute form and extended it to a more intense 15+ minute workout. I am violating a principle of habit building here, by making tasks less enjoyable with their length. Another idea for increasing my productivity is using the reward system where each task is followed by a rewarding activity, such as one game of chess.
Conclusion: I am going to run a 2-day test this weekend, where I first make everything easier to do by cutting tasks up into small segments. As for how I will do this, I still do not know. Second I will add rewards after my highest priority tasks.
I will come back to report my results here:
How I split up tasks: