January 15, 2017

Unconventional Resolutions for 2017

Jocelyn Glei is one of my favorite modern thinkers. Her work focuses on productivity and creativity in the digital age, and her blog is a source of grounding for me as a business owner.

I write for a living, which means that I have to pull myself out of that thing called the internet. To create valuable work, I need a routine that looks more like a Trappist monk’s (even though I work with Silicon Valley companies and online publications).

But it’s a lot easier to get pulled into my Instagram at 8:00 am than to begin work with a clear mind. Here’s where Glei comes in. Her writing continually reminds me that the heart of my work needs to be distraction-free. So, instead of suggesting people make resolutions this year, Glei asked professionals to make anti-resolutions. As Glei shared in  Fast Company article: “Productivity is really about what you don’t do.”

This year, I borrowed some of Glei’s anti-resolutions and added my own.

7 Things I Don’t Do:

  • I don’t read my email until I’ve completed an hour and a half of deep work.
  • I don’t work more than three hours without a tea break.
  • I don’t eat in front of a screen — or at my desk.
  • I don’t turn on Slack until the afternoon.
  • I don’t read the news while working.
  • I don’t check social media until lunch.
  • I don’t apologize to prospective clients for charging market rates.

7 Things I Do:

  • I do write for fun.
  • I do send a few handwritten notes a week.
  • I do leave 1.5x the time I think I need for projects.
  • I do keep a variety of projects on my slate, so I can shift tasks based on my mood and energy level.
  • I do buy and read real books every week.
  • I do clean off my desk.
  • I do practice the motto, “Done is better than perfect.”

These resolutions aren’t hard-and-fast rules. They’re guidelines that help me focus on creating work that matters. When I follow them, a few things happen: I feel present and relaxed. Things get done. I leave my desk on time.