How to Be More Productive

When I first started researching meditation and Buddhism a few years ago, I came across Zen Habits, a very popular blog by Leo Babauta.  You may already be familiar with his writing.  If not, Zen Habits is excellent and I recommend it if you’re interested in the topic.

I haven’t read his articles in a while, but the title of his post the other day caught my eye: “My Typical Day: How I Get People to Think I’m Productive.”  That sounded like a valuable skill to me, so I wanted in on his secrets.

Reading his article made me laugh.  I disagreed with him for the first time that I can remember.  He’s in fact very productive.  Maybe he’s accustomed to being highly productive, so if he’s merely productive it feels like low-productivity to him.  So, how does he do this?

Strategy & Template for Our Day

What he actually does is provide us with an effective strategy and template for being (more) productive.  His main goals are to exercise, meditate, write, tend to administrative tasks, and eat healthy meals.

Here is a template of his typical day:

1.  I have a small morning routine of stretching, meditating, reading and writing that I do almost every day.
2.  I try to work out almost every day.
3.  Even if I have a lazy day, I usually write 1-2 things a day.
4.  I try to process my email close to empty at some point.
5.  I have people (you guys and my Sea Change members) waiting on my articles, so no matter what, I’ll get those done.
6.  I’ve structured my meals so that I eat the same thing every day (mostly), and so I don’t have to think about them.

Adjusting to Our Goals

We can take this template and adjust to fit our own goals.  For example:

1.  I have a small morning routine of [stretching, meditating, reading and writing] that I do almost every day.

Adjust:  What are your goals and what’s good for your body and soul?  Maybe it includes going for a short walk, enjoying a few minutes of silence, writing in your diary, strumming your guitar, tending your plants, etc.  If possible, do these things in the morning.  Being good to yourself is the best way to start your day.  Try to do these things every day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.

2.  I try to [work out] almost every day.

Adjust:  Exercise is good for all of us, so I’ll leave it there.  Any exercise — ride your bike, play tennis/soccer/squash/volleyball, jump rope, do yoga to a DVD, stretch and flex your muscles in your chair, take the stairs, do some sit ups, dance in the hallway to your favorite music.

3.  Even if I have a lazy day, I usually [write 1-2 things a day].

Adjust:  If writing is what you want to do, leave it there.  Otherwise replace with your goals and dreams.  Music?  Art?  Photography?  Stock car racing?  Cooking?  Day trading?  Learning a language?  Taking some night or correspondence classes?

4.  I try to [process my email close to empty at some point].

Adjust:  Pretty much all of us should do this, so I’ll leave it there.  Add your own administrative tasks, as needed.

5.  I have people…waiting on [my articles] so no matter what, I’ll get those done.

Adjust:  What are you responsible for?  Replace articles with your responsibilities and commitments.

6.  I’ve structured my meals so that I eat the same thing every day (mostly), and so I don’t have to think about them.

Adjust:  This seems like a good idea for all of us to try.

Overall Strategy

This template is most effective when implemented as a routine.  When we take defined and structured steps and action every day to achieve our goals and dreams, we’ll obtain the most noticeable results.

I Don’t Know Where to Start!

Your days are overloaded and you’re overwhelmed.  Where to begin?  Start where you are.  Identify your goals.  What are your goals?  Identify what needs to be done to achieve those goals.  Then, break down those tasks into a list or template for your day.  Start as sweeping or as small as needed.  Then build on that.

You’ll see results and more beauty as you create more productive days.  Your productive days will become routine, and easier — or lazy as Leo might say.

 

_____
[Quotes in italics, from:  “My Typical Day: How I Get People to Think I’m Productive,” by Leo Babauta.  Posted:  January 23, 2015.]

 

13 thoughts on “How to Be More Productive

    1. Yes, you do, Juan!

      I always enjoy your posts and that’s in part because of your Zen mind frame as you go through life’s challenges, upheavals and heartbreaks.

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s always great to see you :).

      Like

            1. It must be tremendously difficult for you to watch her make that decision. I hope that she’ll find her way out and onto a healthier path. I also hope that you’re able to maintain peace of mind.

              Like

  1. I just wrote out my own list for my daily routine, and seeing it all written down makes it seem so much more achievable than just thinking “I want to start stretching more”. Thanks so much for a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leah,

      Thanks so much, I’m glad you like this one. Sometimes a written overview can really help with organization and planning. It can also show us that we’re accomplishing more than we realize!

      I just visited your blog and started following. I’m looking forward to more of your posts!

      Thanks again,
      Danica

      Like

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