I've been experimenting with mindfulness on and off in the past couple years. It made me a lot more aware of how I think and feel, among other things.
One cool thing I noticed was my brain subconsciously grouping my activities into a few distinct categories, such as:
- Productive work ("getting the important stuff done")
- Socializing ("nurturing my relationships")
- Organizational ("life maintenance and chores")
- Fun ("doing things I actively enjoy")
- Procrastination ("wasting time")
After observing myself for a while I realized the days I've felt the best about were either 100% productive (laser-focused on meaningful work to the detriment of everything else) or diversely-good.
Diversely-good days are days when I engage in a healthy mix of activities in a focused manner:
- Meaningful work is at the core of a diversely-good day. It can be a small block of time, such as "writing an essay for 1.5 hours", but it has to be there.
- The day also has to include something I actively enjoy, such as socialization or another fun activity (or both at once). Passive entertainment doesn't cut it.
- Finally, I have to stay focused and mindful throughout the day for it to feel "diversely-good". Mindlessly cycling through activities is not an option.
A few things increase the likelihood of my days being diversely-good:
- Mindful mornings. My routine is simple: no phone first thing in the morning, no news and social media, quick exercise, journaling, coffee.
- Core work plan. I don't like busy calendars, but outlining 1-3 meaningful tasks the night before makes it easy to jump right in and get them done.
- Staying open to the unexpected. The best diversely-good days include a random welcome distraction, such as "hey let's go grab a coffee in a few".
- Distraction blockers. I've been on and off app and website blockers over the years, but I've found myself to be a lot more focused when using one. (Freedom is my current blocker of choice.)
Wishing you a diversely-good week ahead!
A few thoughts
This April is hotter than usual. Spring with its fresh winds and increasingly warm sunshine is my favorite season, so I don't enjoy seeing it slowly turn into summer. By the way, do you know the difference between weather and climate?
Practice not taking feedback as criticism. Doing so is incredibly detrimental to your progress, let alone your mental health. Feedback is good for you. And criticism can be taken into account or discarded as irrelevant.
But feedback isn't always welcome. I give feedback generously by default, often without thinking about it. It doesn't help and can hurt when the person I'm talking to simply wants sympathy.
Loved reading this
Ode to Bread "My best days are when I approach my work like this. Though not as tasty, there is much inherent satisfaction from doing my craft, whether designing a user interface, writing an algorithm, or spinning up graphics for a marketing campaign. Of course, not all parts of the process are easy or delightful. The middle part of the journey can be excruciating, where uncertainties and potholes abound. But the payoff is worth it."
Product Validation In Action "At the end of 2018, we decided to give a try to market our product, […] a holiday management application for small businesses in Hungary. It started as an application for in-house use, but as time passed more and more people in our network wanted to use it. In the end, we decided to validate the product on the market."
Maker Risks "the defensive tactics above are a good start, but you still need one more thing. if you’ve ever been asked “what’s your killer feature?” or “where’s the moat?“, you’re already painfully aware. surprisingly, respondents often provide a statistical answer. from “we rank on page 1” to “our plugin is 3x faster” or “our pricing is 50% cheaper."
I tried skipping this section, but this email just ends too abruptly without it. Feels wrong. I'll spend another week thinking about a better way to end these.