A Curious Outpost

Setting daily intentions and avoiding productivity pressure

Share this post:

First off, major thanks to those of you that left such thoughtful & in-depth comments last week about your creative successes and obstacles.

One of the comments was from Elisha, who shared something she’s been doing at home about setting daily intentions and avoiding productivity pressure.

Over coffee in the morning Elisha and her boyfriend sit down and talk about what they want to get done that day, sharing and confirming each other’s list, from little things around the house like laundry or whatever & what they need to get done for work, to personal or creative projects.

This activity, stating your personal list each day, helps clear mental clutter first of all by making you say out loud what your priorities are, and it also gives you the extra advantage of having whoever you shared with be able to encourage you throughout the day. Try it and let me know what details you notice.

If you live alone or don’t have anybody around to try it with, try just writing the things down on a whiteboard or even sending them in a message to a friend. If you have a mellow list you’re trying to work through – nothing too crazy – it can help you keep going instead of getting sucked into the news or the fridge, both of which are total traps for me lately since we’re stuck at home so much.

An other trap worth mentioning is what Elisha called “productive pressure” in her comment. Maybe you’ve already heard of this, but it’s worth remembering. It can be tempting a lot times to try and measure our progress, as if there’s some kind of critical level we need to achieve each day in terms of answering emails, checking boxes, or maybe even clocking hours if you’re working remotely.

None of that matters if you aren’t taking care of yourself and your priorities first. Think about it, what good does it do you to have answered all your new emails and done whatever busywork they were about if you didn’t take any time to work on your own list? Are you going to stay up super late and do a worse job at whatever you’re up to?

I know personally, if there’s only so much time, I feel better when I’m conscious of the importance of everything on my list, and I’m able to work first on the things that are either due sooner, or are simply more important to me.

Try ignoring your email until after lunch, and see what you get done out of your own initiative in the morning. I think the best description I heard anybody give of emails was something like, “emails are just other people’s to-do lists for you”.

Leave a comment telling me what you found most helpful and why, and especially tell me what are your big projects that you’re trying to make some headway on?

If you’re into this kind of content and you want to stay in the loop, you can follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn, or sign up for the newsletter at the top of the page, I’ll look forward to talking to you again next week!

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Get notified about comments and replies
Notify me about
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 31, 2020 22:06

Great article on getting present to your priorities. Nice work Sam !!

March 31, 2020 23:14

Hey, Sam! Thanks for sharing this article. I live by myself and the idea of writing things down and sending them in a message resonates with me. It helps me maintain communication with some friends whom I didnt contact often lately and get some suggestions on how to accomplish the to-do lists. Anyway, do you find yourself be able to a little bit avoid that ‘productive pressure’ lately? I personally feel like I can escape from some ‘routines’ and learn Japanese again after almost 1 year didnt touch it.

April 1, 2020 18:58

Thanks and appreciation for your attention to thriving in better zones and on higher plateaus. A wise reminder that rigidity of check lists and boxes does not always translate into fluidity or forward thinking.

Bodhi Kai
Bodhi Kai
April 22, 2020 09:21

I love it Sam, keep up the good work! Also, you filmed this video in one of my favorite power spots in Missoula…cheers!!