Midterm Rehab – A Winning Routine

When stress hits, we react quickly. We focus our attention and effort like a laser beam on the task that needs done. We tend to put down “optional” activities for a time to sprint and catch up.

Except we never catch up. The laser focus on one area means that no progress is happening in any of the others. And so low-priority tasks smolder until they become next week’s fires. The all-or-nothing approach just doesn’t work.

We need a way to get energy and clarity

It turns out that your mental energy is a finite resource. Have you ever tried starting a big project at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon? Good luck. When you’re focused on an effort, you’re burning motivation. Eventually it runs out and you need to recharge. You’re not lazy, just human.

Lack of clarity is an energy sink. If you’re constantly rethinking what you’re doing, re-deciding what you should be working on, you’re burning mental energy without making progress.

The best productivity commitment I ever made was deciding to get up earlier.

I spend two hours awake before leaving the house in the morning. I’m up before anyone else. I get that time to take care of me. All those things I wish I had time for but don’t because I have a job, and wife, and kid that I will always prioritize over myself.

I spend that two hours making deposits in my Life Accounts (see my post from October 10). I look at the big picture. I gain clarity and decide how to make the right progress on each of my responsibilities, rather than just one. These days, I fight very few fires of my own making.

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