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9 Great Ways to Manage Your Mind (Instead of Your Time)

November 08 2013 – 09:21am

Productivity is less about time management than it is about mind management. Sometimes you can get a ton of stuff done in a 10-minute burst, while other times you may be totally distracted and unproductive all day long.

The key to really making good use of your time is to master your mental energy. If you can do the right kind of work for your current mental state, or get yourself into the right mental state to do the work you need to do, then you’ll be well on your way to a more effective existence.

This is a topic that has fascinated me since before writing my book, and (because mind management was so important to writing that book) has continued to fascinate me. Here are my top thoughts on mind management:

  1. Mind Management (Not Time Management): The introduction to the overarching concepts of mind management. By working according to your mental state, and learning how to manage your mental state, you can get more out of your time.
  2. Permission to Suck: To become good at something, you have to first be not good at it. Don’t let the fear of imperfection stand in the way of starting.
  3. Stuff & Things: The whole world is full of “stuff” (undefined matter, like thinking and human desires) and things (defined matter, like money and products). All of the “things” are distracting, but to really be effective, you have to know how to turn “stuff” into “things.”
  4. Thinking is a Thing: It can be difficult to block off time for thinking. Thinking gets crowded out by everything else in your life. Making time for thinking can keep you operating mindfully.
  5. Prefrontal Mondays: High-level decision-making and prioritization uses your energy-hungry Prefrontal Cortex. Set aside a special time when you have lots of mental energy (perhaps Monday morning) to do this important kind of thinking.
  6. The 10-Minute Hack: To get started on something, set a very conservative goal (like working on it for 10-minutes). This makes it easy to get started; and once you do, you’ll want to keep going.
  7. Be Cognizant. Make Your Perfect Salad: Our awareness of what exists limits the quality of our experiences. You have to actively build your cognizance to come up with the combination of things that work for you.
  8. LifeBeans: Jelly Beans for Keeping Your Resolutions: Write yourself “prescriptions” for how often to do certain things to pursue your resolutions. Keep track of them with jelly beans.
  9. Goals are Bananas! The Fallacy of Goals: Focusing too intently on one far-off goal can distract you from opportunities that are right in front of you. The world changes too quickly to not remain mindful.

Don’t let a hyper-awareness of the most tangible things in front of you get in the way of making the most out of your mind.

P.S. I’m teaming up with some all-stars to make something that will help you manage your mind. Stay tuned. You’ll learn about it in early 2014.

9 Great Ways to Manage Your Mind (Instead of Your Time)

— ? David Kadavy (@kadavy) November 8, 2013

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This post is filed under Creative Productivity.