Three little life hacks

Sometimes people think, because I write about productivity, that everything functions smoothly around here. It does not. I have certain mental blocks. For instance, it occurred to me this weekend that I would be speaking this Friday at a huge conference (Watermark, in CA – say hi if you’re there!). I would be signing books that people would be buying. People who buy one of my books are, of all the people on the planet, probably the most likely to purchase future books. I have a new book coming out in May. Yet I had nothing to give people to inform them of that.

The result is this embarrassingly DIY book mark that I can stick in their copies of I Know How She Does It, 168 Hours, etc. If you are at Watermark, please stop by and we can laugh about it together. I have had this conference, and my book launch, on my calendar for many months. Enough time to have ordered real book marks if I had thought about it. I did not.

I feel like much of February has been like that. I tried to use a gift card someone gave me for a massage — which was a very nice thing of them to do — and the massage wound up being rescheduled twice (once was the spa’s fault, once was mine). I had a great activity schedule worked out, and then the swim coach sent an email this weekend saying we were shifting to a new practice schedule. Now the boys go at completely different times. Since February has often been a light month in my line of work, I put a lot of optional stuff in the month. Which then made it not light, especially given the snow days and such.

Also, I twisted my ankle this weekend at the Please Touch Museum.* A very mild injury — I was able to run a very slow, barefoot mile the next day — but still. My first injury during the running streak wasn’t even a running injury! It was a klutzy injury.

Anyway, here are a few little life hacks I have been using that have been helpful of late.

We grill in bulk. We have had slightly nicer weather, so my husband broke out the grill this weekend. I bought a whole giant package of steaks at Costco. We ate some that night, and now the rest have become the base of my lunches this whole week. G also cooked up a big thing of spaghetti squash, and mixed vegetables, and I have been blending those together as well.

I run in spurts. This is an upside of working from home. A run need not be a huge undertaking. I did a video conference in my running clothes with a nice shirt over the top the other day. Then after the call, I removed the nice top, went for a 20 minute run, and was back in time for the next call. Since this was audio only, all was good, and then I could go out for 15 more minutes after that before I had to deal with the next thing.

I assign a task to the sidelines. I gave myself an assignment to complete a certain article while at gymnastics the other night. At karate, I assigned myself responses to four somewhat thorny emails. It feels marvelously productive to cross things off the list during a time that would be easy to lose.

What little things have been making you feel productive of late?

*Tripping over the edge of the mat elevating the replica Sid the Science Kid playground.

4 thoughts on “Three little life hacks

  1. I can fall and twist my ankle off even a playmat so you have my amused empathy for that as well.

    In what seems a counterintuitive change, I started alternating tasks at work. I usually do all of one kind of task at a time in bunches but it’s apparently gotten very boring lately so I’m going back and forth between two types of tasks and I’m getting them all done much earlier in the day. Weird but nice!

    1. I do that sometimes, too! It helps if I’m feeling extra bored or recalcitrant about a certain project, and keeps my break times from getting out of control, since the break is just to work on another work task. I got the 30/30 app a billion years ago when it was free at Starbucks (do they still give out those little cards for apps?) and set up a custom timer to switch between two tasks. The interval is 11/16/11/16, with the longer one for the worst task. Anyway, all this to say it helps, and I either chip away at the boring task, or I end up getting into it and can keep going without switching.

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