I've been delaying writing posts for a while. However, I thought to myself last night: Jonathan, if the human race were to be wiped out tomorrow, wouldn't you want one of the last accomplishments of humanity to be a post on your blog? Yess!
Since it's approaching New Years, I've been reflecting on my number one weakness: prioritizing what things I'm doing. The following are 3 methods that I've been using to make task prioritization easier.
Trello is an app that arranges tasks into columns on a board. It's mainly used by companies to keep track of project timelines, but if you think about it your life really is just a big project. Of course, we could write all of the things we need to do down in a notebook, and that's still a viable option, but for those who want a more convenient method that is more scalable and doesn't waste paper, Trello works really well.
It's really easy to keep track of tasks and add tasks as you think of new things to do. The board itself is easily customizable. You can change what the columns are, you can color code your tasks, you can even assign deadlines to time-sensitive stuff. There's even a mobile app so that you can efficiently check tasks while you're in the subway! Yay!
The Pomodoro Timer
I've been using the Pomodoro Technique semi-consistently for a while now at work, and I should try to use it more at home. It's a way to make sure you're not just working continuously and burning yourself out. You allot a set amount of time to work, after which you take a short break. My usual schedule is to set the timer for 30 minutes, after which I take a 5 minute break and drink some water.
A more advanced version is where, after a number of Pomodoro iterations (usually 4-5 iterations), you take a longer break, say 15 minutes or so, and then reset your iterations count.
If you find yourself getting burnt out because you've been sitting on your tush-tush all day typing while staring glassy eyed at a computer screen, I can guarantee that Pomodoro will help. There's even an app called Forest (only on iOS, unfortunately) which lets you grow trees using Pomodoro, which I imagine would add a bit of incentive to stay consistent!
Remembering to Breathe
This one is the hardest for me, but it really helps. Often times while working, or just going through life in general, I'll enter "autopilot", where I stop actively paying attention to what's going on. Idk about everyone else, but this significantly impacts my ability to listen and be aware of my surroundings.
Often times while working, or just being in a conversation with a group of people, my mind will wander and miss everything that's going on around me.
That's where the breath comes in, because it's a simple act that brings us back to the present moment. Even if you don't consistently meditate (I'm only at the level where I'm sort of consistent), just remembering to consciously breathe after a session of working, or while in a conversation lull really helps stay present.
The Calm app is a great tool to get started on learning how to breathe mindfully and use the breath to stay present.