Moving into Level 4-Higher Level Thinking with Routines
(I'll be talking about the Levels of Productivity specifically Levels 3 and 4.)
This week saw my system of note-taking expand to beyond what I could do straight away. The number of tabs on my browser grew and grew and were related to but separate from my projects. My daily routine of journaling was OK but showed itself to be lacking in a system to take the tabs into the system for later processing. Without a shutdown routine my tabs kept growing and my browser got overloaded as did my number of open loops.
When the number of open loops increases, our sleep is disturbed from thinking of this or that because you know your work isn't as complete as it should be and the open loops aren't written anywhere (so your brain has to store them). With the end of the teaching semester at university, the number of tasks and open loops got so overwhelming to the point that it seems like none of them were worked on which only raises anxiety more.
Routines, a much despised word (in my world)
I have always been resistant to having any routines in my life. I seem to thrive in chaos (or at least I think I do). Routines are boring, and boredom lacks dopamine and for me, leads to rabbit holes, interesting ideas (not often implemented) and other creative but less productive behaviour. However, to quote my own work, "Level 4 people realise that each day should begin with prioritising the projects and tasks that could or should get done that day along with a end of work routine celebrating wins, tying up loose ends and shutting down the productivity system" (Levels of Productivity article).
Here are a few routines that I need to work into my LIFE system:
- A way to capture cool ideas and websites that pop across my path without interrupting my flow of the current task.
- A routine of processing the daily captures into projects, tasks and content ideas (without venturing off down more rabbit holes).
- A routine firmly in place of deciding on the day's priorities and making it fun to stick to that (more attractive than the rabbit holes).
- A gamified system of rewards for sticking to my priorities.
- A definite shutdown routine that includes closing all the open loops each day.
- Learning to say no or maybe later to myself more often so that I can complete what is already on my plate (and storing the ideas for later review).
- Doing all this without boring myself too much (and running off into the chaotic future).
While I am already looking into Level 5: Strategic Laziness, I need to be firmly placed in the middle of Level 4 with my routines first. I love the concept of making everything more fun and enjoying the journey along the way. Perhaps with enjoyment along the way I will not only like routines but want to hang around in Level 4: Higher level thinking more.
Wish me luck!
The practice is not the means to the outcome, the practice is the outcome. The practice is all we can control. — Seth Godin
Belinda Allan is an education advisor who is dedicated to empowering lifelong learners. By exploring the intersection of technology, personal development and learning futures, Belinda uses her expertise in education, IT and AI to guide individuals in creating the course or training program of their dreams. With a focus on how AI can drive productivity and well-being in the ever-changing landscape of education and work, Belinda will help you unlock your full potential.
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