The Power of Limiting Habits
I want to be productive and I want to find that balance between productivity and happiness that doesn't burn me out. Being productive for at least 4 hours a day is all that I should ask of myself, but even that is a stretch. What I've found is that being productive in small increments everyday is the most effective approach to having the life I want to live.
|Two Awesome Hours, by Josh Davis Ph.D.|
I learned something important from the book, Two Awesome Hours, by Josh Davis Ph.D. Trying to cram 10 lbs of shit(time for productivity) into a 5lb bag(my brain and life) is impossible. At some point, that bag is going to overflow and shit is going to be everywhere. Heck! I didn't plan to clean all of this up! Life is not that simple either. Random events popup on the daily and having huge chunks of time set aside for habits and productivity is not realistic. Working 8 hours day without getting distracted doesn't happen. Checkout this book!
I follow a bunch of experts in the realm of biohacking, productivity, and efficiency; both in mind and body. If I had to name a few of these so-called productivity magicians I might name Dave Asprey, Tim Ferris, Jim Kwik, and maybe even Joe Rogan. All of these so-called gurus preach on the power of habits and following these like a religion. In many ways, the power of habits is commonsense. But what is a habit? It's something that I do everyday. Eating food, drinking water, waking up in the morning, or going to bed. These are all habits. They are processes that ensure that I stay alive. If I do something everyday, it is inevitable that it'll become part of who I am. This idea of a habit is so important to keep in mind. At a point, we all die and so do our habits. Some of us want habits that are more than just ensuring our physical survival, but we want habits that ensure our spiritual or mental survival. I want habits that ensure I don't get bored and I achieve what I want. I don't want to be like many people I know. They have done nothing creative in their lives and I can't imagine leaving this plane of existence without a smudge of me. If you think that perspective is selfish, you would be correct. At a point, I think we all have to be selfish to survive; there is no fighting it. It is what makes us human.
Habits are hilarious. People will tell us to say self-affirmations, to meditate, to journal all our feelings, yaddah yaddah yaddah. I look in the mirror in the morning and I say, "Damn you look fine, Austin. You got this. If I died today, would I be happy?" Saying statements like this may work for some people, but objectively its funny. All of this habit work is silly and flat out ludicrous. I say this because I don't think there is a perfect solution to happiness or having the utmost productive life. We try so hard, but in the end does it matter? (RIP Chester Bennington) The answer is yes; it matters. It affects our mental psyche and some would argue through studies our physical. Everything is connected. I meditate and journal, but I have noticed something interesting about my habits over the years. I always start habits with the idea of cramming them into a time-slot of 5 to 10 minutes a day. This makes a habit attainable. Eventually I fall in love with the habit and become overly confident. I start writing or meditating for longer periods of time. I set a new time-slot for them in my brain. Now, I've set more goals in my brain for all of my habits. They now take 20 minutes each. This adds up to maybe over an hour. Little do I know that I'm so in love with those habits I'm spending more time than even my new goals. Everything always doubles as much as I hate to admit it. Whenever I set a goal, I horribly underestimate by half. If I want to write for 10 minutes, it takes me about 20 minutes. This may sound all too familiar to you. After this happens, the attainability of my habits decreases tenfold. Hint, hint! Two awesome hours.. Keep everything in moderation because at the end of the day, we're all human. We all get distracted. We can't focus for long amounts of time.
This is why habits die. I randomly get stressed out. There are days at work where my brain is turned to mush. I get home and with so much stress. On days like this, I feel like I'm carrying a ton of weights on my back and I just want fall on the ground and sleep it all away. Following my habits when in this state is impossible especially with the enormous amount of time they take to complete. Oh, and I have all these other things I need to do to survive like cook dinner and what have you. With this being said, I just dropped my habit and swept them under the couch. It only takes a day for a habit to die. Then, I have to start from scratch. Starting habits from scratch sucks and it is not as easy as taking a walk in the park.
I apologize for stringing out the point of this article. What I'm trying to say is that once you start a habit, make it easy to attain. For the past year, I've done this with fictional writing. I write 10 minutes a day. If I want to write more, I can, but I never actually increase the 10 minutes of allotted time. I never bump the goal, and thus my goal of writing for 10 minutes a day is always attainable. Better yet, I write with my brother and having a support system along with a limited habit. This makes it hard to break.
Unbreakable habits that explore creatively makes everyday feel purposeful even when everything else might be shitty. Purpose is what we're all searching for and having that feels good. It makes me feel happy.