Creation over Consumption: A Challenge

Our lives are an ever-changing balance between creation and consumption. Mindful and intentional consumption is important and essential–consuming food, resources, and ideas, when done with intention, contributes meaningfully to our lives and helps us contribute meaningfully to the lives of others.

Unfortunately, though, our culture is largely one of mindless consumption. When we’re bored (or just not overstimulated), we scroll through Facebook, flip on the TV, or surf Buzzfeed. We play mobile games while we’re waiting in line. We listen to the news in the morning and the radio in the car, and spend the rest of our day with several tabs of email open and social media sending us notifications every five minutes.

On the other hand, how much time do we spend every day creating value? How much time do we spend on creative hobbies or passion projects or actively contributing to our health? If you’re anything like me, that amount is much, much lower. Some days, it might be non-existent. Continue reading

Prioritizing like Warren Buffett

In a post on Live Your Legend, Scott Dinsmore talks about one tip on prioritization that Warren Buffett gave his pilot. The system goes like this:

  1. List the top 25 goals you want to achieve, either in the next few years or in your lifetime.
  2. From that list of 25 goals, pick your top five most important. Put those on their own list of current goals.
  3. Put the other 20 goals on another list.
  4. Avoid those 20 goals at all costs until you achieve the first five.

Sounds a little terrifying, doesn’t it? Committing to five goals so much that you’re willing to sacrifice all of the others to achieve them? But, according to Warren Buffett, that’s how you become successful: focus on your highest-priority goals to the exclusion of all else. There are a lot of good articles out there about why taking advice from those in extraordinary circumstances can be less than helpful, but I think this one might be the exception to the rule. Continue reading

Four Steps to a Peaceful Evening

I can’t count the number of blogs I’ve read on the importance of beginning a morning routine. You hear so often about how everyone’s lives would be better if they just got up a little earlier and did a little more in the morning. While I’m fully in support of taking advantage of your mornings, it seems to me that finishing your days well is just as important as starting them well. If you’re ending your days feeling exhausted, stressed, and behind in your work, here are some ways to make that time a little more positive. Continue reading

Your Health: This Time, It’s Personal

If you knew absolutely nothing about health and fitness and set out armed with Google to learn how to live your healthiest life, you might not get very far. Go vegan! No, go vegetarian! No, eat lots of meat! No, eat only fish! Exercise every day for seven minutes! No, exercise twice a week for two hours! There’s no shortage of information on health out there, but much of it is completely contradictory. If you then found yourself determined to dig into the science, you’d find the same thing. Beyond a few commonly accepted truisms (don’t starve yourself or over-stuff yourself, move your body consistently, eat more vegetables), even the science seems to give different answers.

For a lot of people, this leads to decision paralysis. Well, if I can’t figure out what’s best, they think, I guess I just won’t do anything at all. Or, maybe worse, I’ll try everything but give up before I have time to make any progress. All this conflicting information causes you to self-sabotage from the very beginning. Continue reading

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (a review)

On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to go see a screening of Minimalism, which is a documentary put together by The Minimalists, some of my favorite podcasters (much better known for their website and books). Unlike their other projects, though, this was mostly dedicated to yelling the stories of other minimalists, including Courtney Carver, Joshua Becker, Leo Babauta, and Tammy Strobel. What’s awesome about that is minimalism is often portrayed as something only single white guys do, so it was a lot of fun to see the ways in which these other individuals interacted with the idea of minimalism. Continue reading

A Better Alternative to a Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? It’s usually a highly aspirational collection of accomplishments and adventures you want to complete before you, well, kick the bucket. The idea was popularized in the 2007 movie “The Bucket List” and has since spawned many websites, books, blogs, and artistically filtered pictures on Pinterest. That’s how you live life to the fullest, right? Set audacious goals?

The Problem with Bucket Lists

The truth is, though, bucket lists aren’t really lists of “goals,” or at least, not in any helpful sense. They tend to be vague, at least in a plan of execution, and don’t have a deadline. In my experience, deadlines are one of the most helpful motivators in the world. Without a deadline, your bucket list ends up being a “someday” list — full of things that would be nice to do, but that you probably won’t fight too hard to accomplish. At least not until, well, someday. Continue reading

Where Does Your Time Go?

You have 168 hours every week. Is hard to believe? It doesn’t seem like it can possibly be that much time. Even if you work 40 hours a week, sleep 8 hours a night, and spend 12 hours commuting, you still have 60 other hours to work with. So, what are you using your time for?

Self-Awareness

No matter what your answer to that question is, you’re very likely wrong. People are prone to drastically overestimating how much time they spend actually working and underestimating many of their other activities. Laura Vanderkam, time management guru, admits to complaining endlessly about her 60-hour work week until she discovered that in actuality, she was working much closer to 40. If you’re hard on yourself about not spending enough time on your family or yourself, this could be you. Continue reading

The Wonders of a (Partial) Internet Blackout

Last week, I decided to do a productivity experiment/challenge that included living for a week as if I had no wifi at home (though I live with three other people, so I couldn’t actually turn it off). I had other challenges for the week as well, which I’ll recap throughout the week, but I want to start with this one because it’s such a profound challenge as an ever-connected Millennial. Continue reading

The Why of Productivity: Your Level 50

In my post at the beginning of this week, I promised I was going to take some time during the week to blog about my Level 50, a term I took from Nerd Fitness to describe my ideal life. The idea is that you have know why you’re doing what you’re doing. What do you want your life to look like? Life is about the journey, not the destination, to be sure, but what direction is that journey taking you? Continue reading

The Productivity Challenge Week 1: WiFi

Happy Sunday! Tomorrow’s the start of a new week, and to celebrate the upcoming launch of my productivity eBook, I wanted to start a new series on my blog. You see, I’ve spent many, many hours of my life reading productivity blogs and books, listening to lectures, etc. But there’s a difference between knowing all of the fabulous productivity advice that’s out there and actually using it. And since I’m trying to get this eBook done and out to you all as soon as possible, I thought, what better way than to do a series where I actually take my own advice and chronicle my progress? Continue reading