I’m easily distracted. That’s like a mortal sin in today’s world. It’s probably ADD or something like that but I have enough diagnoses, I don’t care to slap on another one. Plus, they’d probably want to put me on medication, and me and medication don’t get along too well.
Actually that’s not true, we get get along too well.
Besides, if I do have ADD I don’t think I have it that bad. I’ve noticed that when I really try to focus — when I plan my days, schedule tasks and set goals I can pretty much get everything done.
The problem is I’m not good at those things. I loath those things. Still, I find that they help.
Creative Introverts vs Productivity
Introverts are often dreamers. It’s not hard for us to get distracted or procrastinate
If you’re an Introvert, that probably means you, like me, are also easily distracted and prone to procrastination. That’s a bad combination if you’re trying to be an Epic Introvert.
Sometimes I get a little tired of the constant push to be better, faster, stronger. It seems like we are all trying to be this perfect version of ourselves — 0% body fat, no carbs, not a minute wasted, busybusybusy.
We forget that imperfection is beautiful, it’s what makes us great and what makes our journey worth taking. We forget that most great things were born out of boredom.
That’s why popular productivity techniques like the The Pomodoro method never worked for me.
After trying everything to boost my productivity, I was ready to give up. I thought I would never be one of those people who could squeeze the most out of every second in the day. To be honest, I’m still not and I probably never will be. However, I did find a method that helped a lot.
This is a method I learned from Chase Jarvis, a photographer and a great guy to follow.
I’ve heard this method referred to as time chunking, or chunking, but Chase calls it “Structured Rejuvenation”. Basically, you allocate chunks of your day to working, while also scheduling breaks for yourself. You have work blocks, which are an hour and a half long, then you have thirty-minute breaks.
We Introverts need time to explore our thoughts, but we also need to get things done. That’s why this method works so well. Here’s how it works:
As you can see you have four work blocks and several, shorter break blocks. Those breaks can be used for whatever you want. You can use some of them to make important phone calls, while others you use to read, clean or meditate. Some days I schedule my break blocks to watch random YouTube videos.
The key to using this method is scheduling. You have to dedicate specific parts of your day to specific things. And that includes taking breaks. That’s why it’s called structured rejuvenation. If you aren’t dedicating time to rejuvenate your mind then you will never be happy or productive.
You probably also noticed the two-hour lunch break. It’s crazy, I know. But I’ve tried it and it still works great. Most days a two-hour lunch break is too much for me, but on the days I’ve done it I tend to get more done. For me, it’s all about what I do before that break that makes all the difference.
Finding the Right Combination
Although other productivity techniques never worked for me, combining some of them with structured rejuvenation does help. If you look around at what others do to increase productivity you will probably find the same is true for you. It’s not usually one thing that works, it’s a combination of various methods that seems to work best for most people, myself included.
Here’s a couple examples…
During my work-blocks I will often set a timer to go off every twenty-five-minutes, and then five-minutes after that. This reminds me to get up out of chair and move around. During the five-minutes I will stand, walk around the house, maybe check my email or load the dishwasher. Whatever it is, I make sure to do it standing.
So basically what I’ve done is combine the Pomodoro Method and the Structured Rejuvenation and it works great for me.
You are at your most productive within the first two or three hours after you wake up. That’s why morning routines are so important. If you listen to any podcasts then you have probably heard a lot about morning routines.
There’s all sorts of different techniques to get the most out of your morning but ultimately you will have to find your own. There’s a lot of stuff written about this already so I won’t go into much detail here. All you really need to know is that it’s important to have a specific morning routine. And that routine should involve these things:
- No email
How you do those things is up to you. You can move them around, add a workout or whatever you think is best for you. However, I really believe those five things above are staples of a good morning routine that will make your days better and more productive.
Try to give yourself an hour-and-a-half for your morning routine. This is the first block of your day and it sets up how you will feel and what you will be able to get done. It’s important to keep decisions and interruptions out of this part of the morning. Too many of either will lead to overwhelm and decreased energy.
You can’t expect every day to go as planned. You will have days where everything just falls apart and you will go so far off track that you can’t get back. That’s okay, we all have bad days. And some days are going to be a complete loss from the minute you start.
That doesn’t mean your routines aren’t working, it just means you’re alive.