Fitness, nutrition, meditation. I’ve tried it all.

Photo by Steven Erixon on Unsplash

Alternating HIIT with lifting? Check.

Headspace subscription? Check.

Low-carb lifestyle? Mostly a check.

Today I want to share a secret with you all. I’m a proactive person, and I love self-optimization. That’s why the increasing sense of doom and gloom at the start of my workdays throughout 2020 at first just felt like a challenge. All I needed to do to feel better at work was tweak a few things, and then I’d be a well-oiled, happy machine.

But the truth is, it wasn’t that simple. Despite trying all the things articles were recommending, I still felt drained and buzzed…

Why focus is in and productivity is out

Property of Dialed.

If you’re reading this, chances are you fit the following profile:

  • You’re motivated.
  • You believe in self-betterment as a constant process.
  • And you probably have an intuitive sense that work shouldn’t be this chaotic.

If that’s an accurate description of yourself, then it may well be time to start a focus practice. By utilizing a focus practice, it’s possible to totally change the way you work, how impactful that work is, and how good you feel while doing it.

1. Focus > Productivity

Productivity is out, and focus is in. Why?

Simply put, because productivity is outdated. Productivity as a concept became popular in…

Why realizing that I didn’t just want to do more, but to feel better about what I was doing radically changed my start to 2021.

Photo by Daria Pimkina on Unsplash

We can all agree that 2020 was literally insane.

I’ve always been someone who likes to take the beginning of a calendar year to reflect on what I’ve learned, and what my goals for the next 12 months will be. When I took stock of 2020, one thing in particular jumped out at me.

When we recognize just how much is out of our control, the best thing we can do is learn how to focus on what actually matters. And the truth is, we tell ourselves a great story about how we’re doing just that, when the reality of…

It’s not what you think

There’s a concerning trend that powers a huge subset of the content being clicked on, read, and shared these days. I’ll call it ‘productivity-bait’.

Why does productivity bait work so well?

The answer is simple but surprising.

We are addicted to the failure of our productivity.

Now, you might stop here and think, “hold up, he’s got it all backwards. Surely if we are addicted to anything, it’s to optimizing our productivity.” But no, I stand by what I said. Let’s take a step back and think this through in the form of a story.

It’s 3:30 on a Wednesday…

How to implement the work flow your brain is built for.

Photo by Kazi Mizan on Unsplash

Not all brain activity is created equal.

Intuitively we know this, but we don’t always structure our lives accordingly.

Put another way, I think it’s safe to bet that anyone reading this article knows about the importance of prioritizing and how our brains tend to work best first thing in the morning, before they get clouded with information.

But how often do you act on this knowledge? How much of the time do you follow through on not checking any texts, emails, or tweets before you’ve done the most important work of the day?

How often do you write out…

It’s not what you think

We’re addicted to the failure of productivity.

There’s a concerning trend that powers a huge subset of the content being clicked on, read, and shared these days. I’ll call it ‘productivity-bait’.

Why does productivity bait work so well?

The answer is simple but surprising.

We are addicted to the failure of our productivity.

Now, you might stop here and think, “hold up, he’s got it all backward. Surely if we are addicted to anything, it’s to optimizing our productivity.” But no, I stand by what I said. …

Principle #2: Boredom is your secret weapon.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

We are living in a state of contradiction.

On the one hand, we are obsessed with optimization. Technology has afforded us enormous mobility, flexibility, and opportunity. On the other hand, we’ve never been more overworked, more distracted, and more disillusioned with our work.

We’ve missed the forest for the trees. We’ve been like a bunch of zombies obsessing over some tiny detail when the big issue is that we’re barely human anymore.

We’re so rushed to improve our work output that we’ve completely lost track of what actually makes a difference to our work style, and more importantly, our quality…

When stories promise increased productivity in a few steps, here’s how you should think it through.

What does focused work look like for you?

In a recent article, Darius Foroux argued that productivity boils down to two steps: sit down, and do one thing.

I agree with the fundamental argument here, but the reason this advice is a) so attractive, and b) so simple, is because of everything the simple argument is obscuring. It’s like the tip of the iceberg. To better understand why this method is so effective, let’s break down everything these two steps imply.

Step one: sit down.

Sounds simple enough, right? Sitting is painless, easy, we do it all the time…

But to sit down means to have conquered all of the external triggers

How your need for validation is secretly derailing your potential

Photo courtesy of Erica Howe

A notification from your boss just popped up on your screen. She’s finally replying to the draft of a project you poured your heart and soul into.

Heart thumping, you leave the task at hand and eagerly open the email. To your dismay, she’s made all sorts of edits and comments, and suggested that you try a new angle.

Now, do you plunge back into your afternoon with inspiration and vigor, or do you dismally distract yourself with social media and admin until the end of the day, when you go home, crack a beer, and binge on Netflix?

Most…

“To-do lists make us mix up our tasks with our priorities.”

Photo courtesy of Erica Howe

There’s a raging debate afoot. To-do list or not to-do list?

On the one hand, studies show that to-do lists can decrease anxiety and boost productivity, because they give a manageable structure to our goals. E.J. Masicampo, an associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University, argues this is important because “When a goal is unfinished it might be a weight on your mind…It can be omnipresent whether you’re aware of it or not.”

On the other hand, a growing number of people are burnt out on the almighty…

Finn

Work different. Learn about focus on twitter @Dialedai and become a beta tester for revolutionary Focusboards at www.dialed.ai.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store