They are your health, your relationships, your inner-personal life, your work, your finances, and your rest and recreation.
Each area of your life overlaps with and impacts the others. And yet you only have the capacity to give your full attention to one or two areas at a time. Use habits and routines to maintain health in every area while giving extra attention to the one or two areas that need it.
So this is a completely random but fun experiment… but what app would you pick if you could only pick ONE?
I know, I know. It’s an impossible choice. I’d be so torn between several: camera, notes, music, messages, tasks…
And, as nerdy as it sounds, I think I’d pick the app [Things](https://thesweetsetup.com/apps/best-personal-gtd-app-suite/). (The to-do list manager.)
Things is not my most used app at all. But… it’s super fast, very easy to use and navigate, and very versatile. I think it’d work as the single spot to keep all my ideas, reminders, projects, tasks, notes, etc.
I think I’d prefer the simplicity and speed over the missing features.
If it was a different device — say iPad or Mac, I’d pick a different app. I’d probably pick *[Ulysses](https://thesweetsetup.com/ulysses-quick-start-5-most-used-features/)* as the only app I could use on my iPad. And *[Notion](https://thesweetsetup.com/a-beginners-guide-to-notion/)* as the only app I could use on my Mac. (Or I would totally cheat and say *Safari* on Mac.)
– Scroll through your photo timeline and browse past photos and memories.
– Open Day One (my favorite journaling app) and write down one highlight from your day so far.
– Write down 3 new ideas in the Notes app.
– Send a text message to a friend or family member to tell them how awesome they are.
– Don’t get out your phone at all.
It’s not so easy to be bored anymore. You have to *choose* to be bored. Back when I was a kid (ha!) it used to be that boredom chose you — if you were waiting somewhere and there was nothing to do and you were bored. Now, you’re never bored. You can see 9 second videos of some stranger surfing on the other side of the world, or get a live video stream of someone’s hike over Tokyo. This stuff is amazing.
But it means we have to be proactive about our boredom and down time. It means we have to be intentional about creating margin for thought. If 100% of our down time is filled with passive entertainment and bits of information, then when does our mind have a chance to be calm? When do we have a moment to think without *needing* to think?
You can’t control your outcomes, you can only control your effort. And so, as you continue to work toward accomplishing your big, wild goals for 2023 … **focus on the things you can control**.
Stack a new habit next to an old one to help you build your new habit more easily.
Goals give you a direction and help you make progress. If you had to stop everything you were doing and could only pursue one goal what would that be?
If your organization is spending time on things that are not important, it will be nearly impossible to maintain motivation for yourself and your team; it will be difficult to find enjoyment within the tensions and pressures of business.
When you can get clear about your goals, you can get clear about the action you need to take. Goals help you and your team move from a passive / reactive state to an intentional and proactive one.
PS: If you’re a business owner, next week I’m hosting a two day intensive for business owners only. Find out more here.
In my office is a stack of fancy, ready-to-use note cards, with stamps right there. I use them constantly to easily send folks hand-written notes in the mail. One of my favorite things. And Hoban Cards makes the best.
– 90 minutes of writing each morning
– Only have my phone available from 12:30pm – 8:30pm each day
– Keep my phone outside my office during work hours
– 20 minute workout
Seinfeld is brilliant and fascinating. I love his approaches and discipline for consistently shipping creative work. Systematize, remove distractions, focus, show up every day…
Habit Trackers are vastly underrated. Why? Because results come from consistency over time. Any singular, small action that is done once will not produce any meaningful results in your life. This is true for good actions as well as bad actions. Using a habit tracker is one of the best ways to stay focused and on track with the small actions that drive meaningful results in your life. (If you’re not a Notion user, we also have a habit tracker built in to our 2023 Planner.)
Twyla Tharp’s morning workout routine is an inspiration.
Few people enjoy hopping out of bed and going directly to a workout. So, Twyla “cheated” by making it easier to get started.
In her book, The Creative Habit, Twyla shares that her morning routine was NOT to go to the gym. Instead, it was far more simple: *wake up, put on sweats, go outside, hail a cab to the gym.*
The thing she is *actually* trying to do — exercise — was not the thing she committed to do each day. Instead, she focused on getting herself out of her apartment and into a cab. Once she was in the cab and on her way to the gym, the inertia took it from there.
If you focus on the very first steps of the starting line, it can be much easier to just get started.
Science shows that “giving compliments in relationships makes both expressers & recipients feel more positive than they expect to feel”.
By the way, have I told you how awesome you are?
A Zero Time Habit is a new term I’ve been noodling on. In a nut, a Zero Time Habit is a lifestyle practice that takes ZERO time to do and, in return, it gives you back more time / energy.
Many habits require time to complete — such as your workout routine, reading, journaling, scheduling your week and your day, etc. But some habits require no time at all.
Examples of Zero Time habits:
– **Not drinking alcohol** — this takes no additional time from your day, and it improves your sleep and mental focus.
– **Living within a financial budget** — once you’ve created your budget, it takes no additional time to live within it, and it improves your finances.
– **Going to bed on time** — this gives you back time and energy in the mornings and throughout your day.
– **Keeping your smartphone in a different room** — this gives you back undistracted time and focus for doing your most important work in the office or even for [spending time with family](https://shawnblanc.net/2019/02/there-will-be-poop/).
Think of a Zero Time Habit as something you don’t do *so that* you can do more of what you want.