Today’s big idea is that while, yes, writing is a great way to get to know yourself better (something I’m talking more about in tomorrow’s interview with Kristen Manieri. Don’t miss this one!), it can also help you be more productive. And not the whirling dervish, work on a ton of things at once and end the day in an exhausted heap, kind of productivity. But peaceful productivity, where you can get in a zone because you know you’re working on the right thing for the right reason and the right time. Which is all too rare and that’s a shame, because it’s also all too wonderful.
You’re reading the transcript of an episode of the How to Be a Better Person podcast. If you’d rather listen, click the play button below.
Listen to the Podcast Here
And the cherry on top is that the writing prompt I’m sharing with you in today’s episode can be done in about three minutes
You don’t need to expound at length or be poetic when you’re doing this writing exercise. You really can just capture your first thoughts exactly as they come to you and they will still be very insightful.
I like to use writing as a way to figure out what I really want and need to be working on because it cuts through the noise of other people’s voices. Whether that’s your boss or your inner critic. And these two particular questions that you’ll answer are very simple and use very plain language. So they can pierce through the noisy thoughts swirling in your head and get to that place where you know what’s what.
OK, here’s your writing prompt for peaceful productivity.
Whenever you sit down at your desk to get work done, instead of diving into your inbox first thing and going straight into reaction mode, start your day knowing what’s most meaningful by asking yourself these two simple questions:
What’s most important to work on today?
What feels good to work on today?
Sometimes the answers will align, and sometimes they’ll be wildly different. But by tending to your answers, when you lay your head on the pillow tonight, you’ll know you spent time prioritizing the important over the merely urgent. And that’s a recipe for resting well.
Also, by thinking about your answers to these questions, you’ll think differently about the work that you do . You won’t be doing it because you have to, or because it’s due. Or because your num-nuts co-worker or family member didn’t do it. You’ll be doing it because it’s important, or because it feels good. That changes your energy, and shifts it into a higher level. And when you elevate your energy, you elevate your results.
So that’s your tiny assignment
To shift your energy and achieve peaceful productivity by writing down your answers to the two questions, What’s most important to work on today, and, What feels good to work on today?
The very act of writing something down is an exercise in being honest with yourself, because committing something to paper in your hand that’s untrue is just really hard to do (unless you have honesty issues, but that’s a subject for another episode).
Also, and I’ve said this before and I’ll maintain it until I die, when you read what you wrote with your very own hand, your conscious, nay-saying mind has an a-ha moment about what your subconscious mind has been trying to get you to hear. It helps you really see yourself. And in three minutes, no less. So I hope you will try it today, and that it will help you not only get the important things done, but also make time and space for the things that feel good!
Come back tomorrow when I’m interviewing mindfulness expert Kristen Manieri about how to use daily writing check ins–even if you only write down one bullet–to get to know yourself better.