Archives for posts with tag: Productivity

Many times we think that we need to be doing something all the time in order to be productive or just to prevent wasting our time. But even so, every so often we think we don’t have enough time or that we haven’t done enough.

What if the thing we haven’t done enough is to not do anything? The thing you’re worried about not having had time to do might just be that you haven’t taken your time to be still, to think, to not think, or to just enjoy being.

I bet there are hundreds of things in your head that you’d like to have time to process, but so many things are left untouched because you don’t have any time for your brain to work with what’s already in it.

When I ride the bus, the train or the subway, I barely see anyone without a phone in their hand, checking up on mail, communities, talking to someone somewhere else or playing games. People are desperately trying to fill out the ’empty’ time  while going somewhere.

Once in a while just try to consciously do nothing when riding the bus or the subway ( or at other times as well! ). Just be still, see if there are something you want to just think about, or just be, without thinking about anything. It’s strangely refreshing and your brain will probably like the time off from all the constant focus shifts that it has to withstand every day.

Spend some time with focus on yourself, just being aware of yourself, how your body feels, how your mind feels. Many times we’re so busy doing things that we don’t understand what we really need or that we’re getting stressed. Maybe you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re stressed without even knowing it or because your head is whirling with thoughts.

By being still and quiet you can sometimes realize that something’s going on inside you, and that you might be able to fix it before it blooms, or think through things so you don’t do it the time just before you fall asleep. When being still and quiet, you may also come up with ideas and solutions that you wouldn’t have otherwise because you were too busy doing something.

Try to leave some space. Sometimes the most productive thing to do is to do nothing at all.

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I couldn't find any cool picture on laundry, so I'll post this picture on a really handsome cat instead. I think it's sitting in a laundry basket (seriously)

I’ve been idle here for quite some time now, so I thought it’d be a good idea to just continue writing instead of worrying about what to write. I won’t just throw in anything here, but you might get the idea. I’m just gonna write about things that come to my mind that I find interesting and maybe someone might just like it.

So I wanna start out by saying that yesterday I did all my laundry by hand, as I normally do, and it was quite a bunch of clothes (for being washed by hand), and it was a bit intimidating before I started (it wasn’t THAT much, it rather… felt much), but then as usual, I put some music on, put on the headphones and started half dancing and squeezing the crap out of those shirts and pants and underwear and socks!

And hey did I feel good when I was done? I’d just beaten those clothes right back to where they came from, and in 1-2 days I’d be able to wear them again, clean and nice! All right! So I marched up to the third floor (I live in a guest house in Japan with three floors), feeling pretty good, to hang it all on some ropes on the veranda… Did you know that they have that pretty uncomfortable snow mixed rain in Japan as well? Well, they do, and it was falling outside.

The problem with washing by hand is that things don’t tend to be as ‘dry’ as if you’d washed them by machine, so it can be nice to hang them up outside so if some water drips, it ends up on the floor or the veranda floor, or your neighbor’s fallen laundry, but, since I had to hang everything up I had to use my room.

I felt pretty comfortable and secure, hanging that laundry by the window, so when I went to bed I could just lay looking at it until I fall asleep, knowing that I did that laundry and it is DONE.

I wake up, and it’d been dripping some amount of water down to the list in front of the window, and there’d been condension on the metal list above the window as well, so I wiped it up with a small towel and it was cool, and I started feeling good again.

Now this might sound pretty unnecessary; why wouldn’t I just wash my laundry by machine like other people and shut up about it, and I wouldn’t have to worry about dripping water either. Win-win?

Or is it?

When I woke up, and saw my laundry there, and the area around the windows looking a bit like the inside of an aquarium, I felt GOOD. -> I <- had washed my own clothes, and they would be clean because I did. And I did save about 600 yen (about 5 euros, 50 sek) because we don’t have free washing machines here, and you have to tumble everything twice to get it dry. And also, it was fun, dancing to silly Japanese eurobeat pop music and squeezing socks and feeling warm water on my hands (which I protect by wearing dishing gloves since my last laundry session).

And it also feels really great having the feeling that you’ve done something yourself. It’s the same as I feel when eating food that I’ve cooked. It might not always be the best tasting food, but I did it myself, I probably developed some skills without knowing it, and I saved some money not eating out.

But it takes up some of my time, doesn’t it!? YES! But it’s time spent feeling good! And doing things that directly helps me a bit in my future life, pretty much always feels good! If I cook, I’ll probably get better after a while. If  I do my laundry by hand, I can listen to music, get my clothes clean (and some arm exercise) and I can get them clean in the future even if the power is out for some reason. And at the same time I’ll be saving some money. It might not be huge amounts each time, but it adds up!

Also, if you don’t do it yourself, what are you doing then? I find doing laundry and cooking be more valuable to my life than watching tv-shows or playing games! Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t book my friday night up so I’ll be free to do the laundry because it’s just THAT fun, and I like playing games. But you might get the point, that it contributes some value to my life by making me feel good over a longer period of time, rather than just laughing for a couple of minutes and when it’s done, I have to find something else to make me laugh for another few minutes. By doing things that contribute to your life and makes you feel good, you’ll feel better overall. And if you always eat out or do things by machine, you might get some time over, but what are you doing with that time? Are you really just saving time to watch more tv-shows? Or have you actually taken some awesome decisions in your life and started doing things you love and develop skills on your free time?

If you’re saving time so you can watch more tv-shows, I’d like to recommend doing things more by hand. If you’re already developing skills and do things you love, you’ll have time for those too, and it’s always nice with a break! You will also be consuming less!

Feeling good inside (sometimes outside too) is what I think life is about.

Here’s another post to read to feel good! Might not be 100% related, but heck, it’s my blog so I can post it if I want to! : D

Have a GREAT day!

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This is something I’ve been thinking and reading quite a lot about lately. What’s “tweaking your life” about?

For example, a few months ago I started practicing guitar more than I used to before. Maybe 30 minutes almost everyday. At first it seemed like usual, I didn’t see any instant results, so it felt a bit boring (Remember that this happens to me, even though I’ve been practicing guitar for years and KNOW results show up over time, and I still have a hard time convincing myself sometimes). I was practicing a thing called sweep picking, but it was really hard at the beginning, I went in slow motion speed, trying to get the pick and fingers in the right places ding the sweeps. But week by week I felt the speed and accuracy increase, and I got thrilled by it! I showed of my new skills to a friend, and she refused to believe that just a few months ago I couldn’t do it at all! I’m far from mastering it, but I’m way better than I was before.

Tweak: Started practicing guitar, which I like, about 30 minutes almost every day.
Result: Guitar skills improving faster than I imagined.

Everything you do add up do what you are. If you quit one bad habit, you’ve deleted one thing you didn’t like about yourself or your life. It might seem like a small thing, but then you learn something new that you like, and then you’ve deleted one bad thing and added one good thing, that’s two good things, and you’ve improved yourself towards what you want to be. And you have a lot of time in life to delete bad habits and add good ones and learn new skills. The more you do this the closer you’ll be to the person you want to be!

When I started thinking thinking more of the long run than the short run, that is, results over time instead of results in one hour, things started adding upp more quickly than I though. More than often the joy of doing new things or quitting bad things is the thrill of the moment. You always get that when you try something new, but it’s hard to sustain because once the first curve of success plains out a bit, it’s hard to imagine that what you don’t see results of right now will show result in the future, probably a closer future than the one you’re thinking of.

So don’t think it’s a waste doing small improvements. Big improvements start as small ones, and add up! It doesn’t just sound nice, it’s true as well! I’ve written about this before, but I’m so excited about it, I have to write about it again!

… doesn’t compensate for practice not done today!

Why is it so often that when we want to do something we end up doing something completely different? You’re sitting there thinking you really want to learn how to do something, that you really should start studying or that it’d be a great idea to start exercise today, but instead you end up watching a movie or playing games.

I’ve been thinking of this quite a lot lately, and I think that we act the way we do because we’re not seeing any immediate results of what we’re doing. We’re afraid  that it’s a waste of time doing things that takes more than ten minutes to get a result from, instead of getting an instant laugh from a tv-show or win a game online.

I know some people that have hobbies and ideas that both they and I know are the real joy in their life, but never the less they’re very often ending up doing nothing most of the days.

It’s never too late to start getting back on track though! Remember that/those skill/-s you have? Do you remember that you actually practiced to get them, and do you remember the people you know that don’t have them? Well, that’s the long run results of practice, and it’s easy to forget that!

In my experience it’s the long term results that are the ones that gives the most joy, because you know you’ve worked hard for them, and that it’s taken a lot of will to get there, but you did it! That’s a proof of that you’re able to achieve things that are more valuable than getting lots of friends on a certain online community.

And there is no better time to start than today. Today is always the best day to start!

One thing that’s important when practicing something is to stay focused. Avoid watching tv or chat online at the same time as practicing, close that down. If the instant kick urge is too strong when you’re in your room, get out of your room and do it somewhere else. This guy has a few things to say about focus, so if you want, check it out! Start practicing in small chunks of time just to get the routine in there, then start extending the chunks of time until you’re doing things you love and want to get better at so much that you will happy pretty much all the time!

I’ll end with a quote I read today on an awesome blog of happiness: “Happiness not spent today, doesn’t equal more happiness tomorrow” – Scott Dinsmore

The same goes for practice. Practice done tomorrow doesn’t compensate for practice not done today. (Fine, it didn’t end with the quote, but I hope it’s all the same!)

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You could learn how to play this!

Sometimes it’s really easy to be content with working or going to school. Like it doesn’t matter what you do before you go there or after you get home, because you’ve already been a good girl or boy and done your duty for society.

I’ve been there and I’m still struggling with it sometimes. But I also know that living that way will never get anywhere in life, and I won’t get better at things I like or do things I want to do. Your life is more than just going to work or school, thinking otherwise is punishing yourself.

I was taking a walk today, and I took a quiet break in the nearby park, watched some children play around, and just sat there. I was thinking I should practice some guitar and study Japanese today, but I was also blocked by the thought “Wouldn’t it be nicer just to not do anything demanding today? It’s weekend after all”.

But even though I like to have some days when I don’t do anything, it hit me that doing these things wouldn’t be demanding. I love playing guitar, and I really want to learn Japanese, that’s why I’m here, so why am I thinking like this?

I don’t get better at Japanese or playing guitar by not doing it. It can help watching a movie or just listening to music from time to time but at some point you will have to get off your ass and just do what you love and get better at it. And you WILL get better at it if you just keep doing it regularly and don’t give up too fast. And it’s fun getting better at what you love! If it gets a bit dull, take a break, take a walk, and get back to doing it!

Getting good at things and making changes in your life take time, so having good motivation and do things you love is important. And it’s so much more rewarding, both for your soul and your aims, to let yourself take time to get good at things. If you got good at anything in just a few days, then anyone could be good anything without putting any effort to it, and that would take away all the fun.

Making a better person of yourself is what I believe life is about, and I also believe that that is how you get happy, by constantly improving yourself and your mind.

What do you want to do?

  • Learn to play the guitar? Pick up the guitar, search youtube for guitar tutorials!
  • Start saving money? Stop spending and learn to be happy with what you’ve got!
  • Getting healthier? Check Internet for healthy recipes, cut out unhealthy food and start moving!
  • Getting a cleaner room/house? Clean it, declutter it and keep it clean and decluttered!

What do you want to get good at? What do you love doing? Are you doing it right now? If not, start doing them! It’s your life, so do the things you love, there’s no reason in the world not to!

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