3 Simple Ways To Develop Self-Discipline

Yay, the threesome is back – ‘just in time’ in ‘these days’.

What is the secret to personal growth? More and more I come to the conclusion that it is all about consistency. The consistency of doing one step after another.

Self-discipline became a fundamental component of my life. Not only in order to circumvent procrastination or to regulate over-thinking, but in order to basically get anything done.

Of course – change doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes there are these massive fall-backs.

At the beginning I didn’t get this straight. I couldn’t establish discipline. It frustrated me. In the end it even increased my anxiety – the thing I wanted to learn to manage.

Until I understood that this whole personal development thing is not a straight line. I had to learn to set my intention right. I had to learn to focus. And I had to learn to get up – again and again and again after every single fall-back.

Also I had to learn to household with my energies, because I pressured myself so much.

It’s like running a marathon. If you burn all your energy at the beginning of the race you won’t be able to finish.

There are these punchlines circulating in social media: ‘Change comes in an instance.’ Yes. It does – but only after a long training period. You might read these quotes by inspirational speakers (Is this still a term?) like Tony Robbins or Simon Sinek (just as an example). But did you ever study their whole story?

Every success story is a rocky road. No matter if it’s the story of a company, an artist or a thought leader.

It is the incremental change that paves the road to self-mastery.

For me personally everything in my life became an act of balance. I can cope with the adversities of life only (and just about), because I made the decision to practice self-discipline at the beginning of this blog in 2017.

Before that I was not able to make a living.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but seriously my life was a mess. Slowly (!) the fog is lifting and there are things that I can share confidently with you now…

1. Timer

Let’s start very practical. I established meditation, yoga, writing and language learning in my life – step by step. On this path the timer became my best friend. For some time I used a method called ‘pomodoro method’ to keep me going. Check out this threesome to find some more inspiration.

2. Cold Showers

Probably you read this already – maybe even on my blog. In my opinion cold showers are still highly underrated. I mentioned it earlier as a trick to reduce stress. It doesn’t only support the immune system, but it also helps to develop self-discipline.

If you manage to turn the tap on ‘cold’ in the morning every challenge of the day becomes easier. Additionally to that cold water can function as an antidepressant. How? Apparently a cold shower triggers our peripheral nerve ends. This trigger could drive forth a series of impulses that help to rewire the brain. My theory is that you receive such a shock moment that you forget about all your worries.

3. Practice ‘Delay of Gratification’

What do I mean by that? We are animals and as we can train our dog we can train ourselves.

This is indeed as easy said as done – if you are committed to change.

For example: If you don’t want to relinquish chocolate completely from your life, but you want to reduce sugar and at the same time you wish to exercise more – then set yourself some rules.

You are allowed to eat a piece (or a whole bar) of chocolate if you go running for 30 minutes.

My example now would be: I finish this article right here and then I will make my third coffee of the day and listen to music.

What else?

I don’t believe in super tough measurements anymore. This was one of my major lessons after my numerous self-imposed micro challenges. I can’t just apply the productivity tools of others. But what really helped me to integrate my own tools was the practice of self-discipline.

Add-on:

There is a thing that startles me a lot right now: Some people seem to expect ‘change’. Some people seem to wait for the moment when ‘things get better again’. But only very few individuals understand that it is about us – especially in ‘these days’. It is about us to take positive action towards a better world. And this requires some sort of discipline – especially in times of chaos.

 

3 Tools That Help Me To Reveal Toxic Thinking Patterns

Growing personally remains a matter of observing our habits and altering them. If we want to change, we need to break with our conditions and reveal our true needs. “Habit needs unconsciousness to be repeated. Where consciousness enters, habit falls.” Again I refer to Thích Nhất Hạnh here.

Habit has no power anymore as soon as we are aware of it. But how do we break the chains of habit and practice ‘change’ persistently? How do we get our willpower back?

There were so many things that I wanted to quit or change in my life. I read dozens of articles and books on self-improvement, on how to establish healthy routines and foster positive changes.

More and more I found out that if I want to live in a new way, I have to find out what are the old ways?

Simple, right? I have to avoid unhealthy behaviours. But what are these toxic behaviours? Smoking? Eating sugar? Drinking too much coffee? Yeah, these are the obvious ones. But what else is there? How many times have I found myself ruminating negative thoughts and mistakes? How many times do I still make others responsible for my feelings?

To get to the core of my toxic ways ot thinking I really need to have a closer look. How can I develop compassion for myself, if I don’t know me (well enough)? There are some easy steps that help me with the process of becoming more self-aware. I would like to share them with you in this threesome.

1. Practice Being Alert

Survey your behaviour – especially in conversations. I found out that a lot of times I take things too personal. This is a way of giving away my power. It is proof that I have problems with ‘staying with myself’. It is a sign for lacking self-awareness and at the end self-love.

It sounds familiar to you? So, what can you do instead?

Listen more than you speak. Watch yourself and see how your feelings resonate with the words that are spoken. When do you react emotionally? When do you get angry? When do you take things personally? Instead of plain reaction – get in touch with your emotions and desires. Ask yourself why you act like this? What would be an appropriate reaction?

By being aware of our reactions we are learning to review our thinking from a higher perspective. This way we can identify unhealthy thinking patterns.

2. Slow Down

Eat slow, walk slow, breathe slow, be slow. Abandon rushing from your life and everything will change. All of a sudden you will notice things that you’ve never noticed before. You will understand everything better.

“If you win time you win it all,” says Buddha and his disciples.

By paying better attention to our environment we automatically pay attention to what is happening inside of us. This doesn’t only give us the opportunity to act appropriate but also to arrive in the ‘now’. This is meditation – being slow.

3. Find the ‘Why’

I really need to understand the benefits of quitting a bad habit before I can alter it. For example: Theoretically I understand why eating sugar is a bad thing, but as long as I never find out what happens if I stop eating sugar / start meditating / going for a run in the morning I will never establish this habit.

I think this is why it is so hard to adapt the habits of ‘successful people’, because these habits might don’t suit our real needs. Journaling is might be helpful for people who like to write. But for some it is maybe not, because they get even more caught up in there strange thinking patterns.

We have to ask why in both directions. Why do we cling to negative habits? What can we do instead? And why / how changes a new habit my overall well-being? In any way we need to be open to ‘try something new’ every once in a while, if we really want to change our lives.

 

3 Ways To Eventually Get Things Done

A few days ago I told you why I get nothing done. Writing this down I realized a recurring pattern: I’m too hard on myself. Tadaa! – Nothing new. However I won’t give up on changing this mindset. I do it by reprogramming my belief system, nurturing self-love on a daily basis, but also by classical change of behaviours. This article touches all of these ‘categories’.

A long time ago I shot off my first threesome about how to tackle procrastination. This is a good sequel.

1. Be realistic

I’m contemplating about writing since I’ve started writing – especially this blog. But only recently I had some major breakthroughs. I started to read a lot more about writing and – most importantly – about the people who write things I want to write.

Most of them don’t have this ‘regular life’ – whatever that is. Also they invested a lot of time in their work. And this made me realize: My goals are just unrealistic and this is why ‘I get nothing done’.

I used to think: “If I don’t publish an article today, I’m not a good writer.” Ironically this belief spirals me deeper into my negative thinking patterns instead of pushing my motivation. And isn’t this what I want to change with this blog?

What’s the point of publishing at all costs if I’m just ‘not ready yet’? If I do an hour of writing a day and afterwards I still think “I did nothing.” Come on, Uli, THIS is self-destructive. I will drop that from now on and instead cultivate healthy writing routines – no matter if I publish or not. This leads me to the next point:

2. Set the stage

Sometimes I’m ‘not in the mood’ to write. I don’t have a desk. I don’t have ‘inspiration’. I have people around, because I sleep in a hostel or or or. These things work as perfect excuses. What I learnt is to just ‘make space’ for my head.

If I don’t have the right setting to get work done and I’m not able to shut off the distraction, sometimes it is enough to just change the location. Either it is just changing the room or going to a café or a library. Other times I might have to improvise – change device or just hide in the forest with my notebook. Where there is a will, there is a way.

3. Take your goals seriously

This is a very personal advice. I notice over and over again how I downgrade my own priorities. For me writing is a really big part of my life. In the past I’ve always tried to ‘fit it in’ into my daily life. And a lot of times it didn’t fit in, because I replaced it with other – what I considered – priorities.

Of course, we have to work and sometimes we have to do things if we want it or not in order to make a living in this world. But if we don’t take our personal goals seriously there is not a chance to reach them.

This applies to any creative activity, but also to a change of diet, exercising, going for more walks, spending time with the kids or whatever. This fits into the category of self-love. Love yourself and do what you love! This should be the highest priority.

In one of my next articles I will explain why self-care is so essential for making the world a better place.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Lao Tzu

 

Why Gratefulness is a Practice

… and three ways to practice it.

“You don’t know why you do it, but life will reward you. It’s like going to the gym,” Adriano is annotating my – at times exhausting – nomad life style. I still have to smile about the metaphor as my lifestyle is not at all healthy at times.

I learn a lot during travelling – about: being happy with less, appreciating privacy or a space to live in, valuing a fully equipped kitchen, absorbing hugs from people I just met a few moments earlier… These are a few of many things travelling taught me. But what do I benefit the most from? Probably it is the skill of ‘being grateful’.

‘Be grateful’ might sounds a bit platitudinous. It is one of the phrases that got exploited by our ‘cultural narrators’ (I have to admit, I stole this expression from school of life.)

Nevertheless it is so important to cultivate this well-quoted ‘gratefulness’ in order to live life properly. Recently I found out that it is actually a skill to be grateful.

First you might have to think about things to be grateful for: “Today I had a coffee and a really good chat with a friend, my boss or the taxi driver was in a good mood, the weather was good…”

Appreciation grows exponentially.

If you practice being grateful everyday, you will notice more and more things to be grateful for. Appreciation grows exponentially. It’s like a perpetuum mobile that keeps moving as soon as you prompt it.

One day, you don’t need to tell yourself anymore to ‘be grateful’. It becomes your natural trait.

What happens when you are grateful? Life loses its tightness automatically. You are beginning to appreciate the huge miracle you are a part of. It is here. It is you. You are beginning to appreciate the beauty.

When you know good things will come float into your life, you will walk through life only with curiosity. But you need to initiate it. You need to get in touch with the core of joy in order to cultivate it. At the beginning you need to search for the beauty. But as soon as you find it, you can nourish it – like a plant that grows inside of you.

Alright, but how do we practice gratefulness? Here we go with the not-so-threesome-style threesome.

1. List of Gratefulness

Write down what you are grateful for regularly. Maybe you even start a small book only for things to be grateful for. It can be the tiniest things, you will see how this will change your whole perspective on your day.

2. Gratefulness as a Reward System

Let gratefulness be your reward system – appreciate your own achievements. Every time you finish something during the day take a moment of appreciation. For example if you tick off a task of your To-Do-List, this can be a reason to smile. It can be the smallest task. But if you take a moment every time you accomplish something, you will automatically gain gratitude. A positive side-effect is a rise of motivation as you honour yourself much more.

3. Minute of Appreciation

It took a while – but nowadays I’m trying to use technology as my tool (and not my undertaker as it used to be due to self-diagnosed social-media-addiction.) Set a daily alarm for a “Minute of Appreciation” (or three or five minutes, it is up to you.). Only one minutes a day will help you to activate the flow of gratitude. It doesn’t matter which time of the day it will be. In the morning it will boost your energy level, but also it can be a good way to balance the afternoon low. Or even before going to sleep it can be a good fertilizer for positive dreams.

All this – of course – is perceived from the perspective of a spoilt western european. But funnily I learnt the most about appreciation/gratefulness from people who have the least.

 

3 Things That Really Hold You Back From Achieving Your Goals

It is time for another threesome – my way of condensing my learnings and unlearnings. So, this is pretty basic down to the core of ‘getting stuff done’. Enough of the eye-washing! This is the truth about why you don’t achieve your goals (lessons to myself, of course):

1. You’re not following your true goals

Firstly I need to clarify this: When I speak about goals I’m not necessarily speaking about career goals. I’m talking about what you do in your life, how you spend your time, what you eat, how you live.

Maybe you are not quite satisfied with your life, but you don’t really know what is wrong? On the surface you might have everything you need, but this is might not be what you really need.

What did you like doing when you were a kid? What filled you with excitement when you were ten years old? You might say “Yeah, but now I’m grown up. I don’t have time to climb trees, to play, to test myself.” I don’t say this is what you are supposed to be doing now, but maybe it gives you a hint. Maybe the huzz and buzz in your life just stopped you from doing what you love?

2. You are not working on your goals

This is pretty straight forward, but the hardest part of it all. Let’s assume you have an idea of what you want to achieve or do. Now the hard part is to break the big goal down into small steps and actually start making these steps. The funny thing is – as soon as you start walking things will evolve automatically. But finding the balls to get started and not to be outmaneuvered by self-doubt or inadaquate perfectionism – this can be a challenge.

Maybe you still have too many things to do? You need to focus on what you really want to do. This involves dropping some other tasks or what you consider as your responsibility. I just read a good article on saying no. (Have you ever heard about the rule of two thirds?)

3. Your comfortzone is still your sacred ground

Maybe you already made some steps in the right direction, but you got comfortable in your current position. In order to really achieve the goals you need to expand your comfortzone. You will never improve, if you don’t risk any of your comfort.

It is always good to question your current habits and hobbies in order to move forward. What are you not willing to give up? But what do you might have to give up in order to come closer to your goals? You know it. You just need to open your eyes. Also: Setting the goals higher than you feel comfortable with is a useful tool in order to come closer to your desired way of life. It will force you to get out of your comfortzone.

 

3 Fertilizer for Personal Growth

Alright, this is real life stuff right here. The threesome goes into the next round without mercy. This is the essence of this whole personal development thing on the spot: The willingness to learn, to adapt and to be open for change. What helps us to not stop learning? What keeps us on track on our journey of personal growth?

1. Being Patient

“I can’t do this.” “I’m too stupid.” “This is not for me.” “I will never change.” How many times in my life had this negative believe system prevented me from reaching my personal goals? It took me a long time to really understand that learning is a long process. I don’t learn a language within a day and for sure I don’t change my believe system within a day.

It takes actually a lot of time and it always starts with the first step. A steep learning curve can be frightening, but by doing one step at a time we automatically learn. It’s like climbing a mountain. (Sometimes it’s the mountain without the peak.) We don’t fly to the top. Physical effort is needed and in the meantime the view is our reward.

Patience is crucial for this learning process. Don’t expect to be perfect at anything from the very beginning. Mistakes are not only okay, but necessary to improve and to internalize learnings. This is simply how our brain works. Perfectionism is preventing us from learning.

A couple of weeks ago I published “Fail Fast, Learn Quick” if you feel like diving deeper into this topic.

2. Talking To People

Nowadays every person is exposed to different cultural influences through the media, through work and social relationships. This makes everyone of us a very unique human being. The good thing about being highly individualized is that we can learn a lot from each other – from actual skills to habits through to different ways of interacting with each other.

Every person has a different worldview and every conversation is the opportunity to learn something new. Every encounter with another person can be valuable if we are open to listen closely and ask questions with real curiosity.

3. Embracing the Unknown

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you’ve always got.” – After all it is really important that we are opening up to the unknown. Facing new situations, new skills or experiences unbiased and with a positive attitude is the base for personal development.

Sometimes we might face a situation that we never thought we would master. If we maintain a positive mindset in these situations we are going to grow. Considering different perspectives as mentioned before helps us to gain understanding for foreign circumstances.

 

“You will learn in spite of yourself; that’s the rule.”

Carlos Castaneda from “The Teachings of Don Juan – A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”

 

3 Steps Towards Positive Thinking

Alright, it is time to revive the threesome. I’d like to call it writing exploration. What do I explore here? There are a lot of insights that I want to integrate into my life myself. In order to manifest my discoveries I need to write them down here. This growthbuddy is here to help me and hopefully you too. The other day I watched a talk that inspired me to write this article. I condensed the most valuable insights here.

1. Make timetravel a routine

What do you have in mind right now? Are you consumed by negative thoughts? Do you feel stress or tension inside of you? Take a moment to recognise what is going on inside of you. And now think about something really really positive. Some event that made you really happy – no matter if it was in the distant past or recently. Go back to this emotion and smile. Was it this amazing sunset at your last holidays? The birthday of your daughter or your son? Extensive dancing last Saturday?

Be as happy as you were in this moment. Take a moment to really go back to this place and enjoy the feeling. It’s the best if you do this with your eyes closed. But really take a couple of minutes to dive into this experience that lifted your heart higher.

Wow – that was intense. But isn’t it interesting? You were able to relive a feeling only with your mind. Imagine you have all these positive memories in your head. Like in a house with a very sunny balcony, where you spend a warm autumn afternoon, there are these positive thoughts in your mind where you can always go back to. So why go back to the dark and damp basement of your mind all the time?

How we feel depend on where we are in our head. What I realized over the past years of self-exploration: I can actually control where my thoughts go if I really want to. And it is actually not that hard.

2. Cultivate positive thoughts

A long long time I thought. “I’m just a pessimist.” “I’m paranoid.” “I’m different.” Until I found out that it is only me who focusses on negative thoughts. I’m actually addicted to negative thinking. “THIS is inanity.” – I thought to myself. But this time I didn’t say it with the bashing voice in my head. No, I actually understood that this is not insanity, it is just the wrong conditioning. I always felt like a slave to my thoughts until I figured that I just have to change them. Now that I write it down I can’t believe I didn’t understand that earlier. I just took my own thoughts way to seriously all the past 30 years. And this became my reality.

Okay, it is easy to change my thoughts from negative into positive once. But how do I manifest positive thinking as a mindset? Well, how do I get better at anything? Yes, by practice. It is just like going to the gym. I need to exercise positive thinking. As soon as a negative thoughts hit me I acknowledge them. I say “hi” and then I switch to the warm soothing voice in my head. This voice reminds me that there is a lot of positive stuff happening in my life.

Like our home we need to clean, maintain and sometimes refurbish our mind. A bed of beautiful flowers stays beautiful as long as we care for it. I always thought positive thinking is rocket science. I need to study it. But fortunately not – I can just do it. I can just think positive.

3. Create your happy place

Okay, this one is a bit over the top, but for me this metaphor helps me to survive my vivid travel life: I made my mind the most wonderful place on the planet. Well, sometimes it’s still messy, haha.  But having a cosy home in my head helps me to bare my own presence. If I really think about it, where else would I feel really at home in this messed up world apart from “in my head”?

Sounds crazy? For me too!

 

3 Habits that Help Me to Live in the Present Moment

Do you know this feeling of losing control over your time and energy? This feeling of being controlled by external forces? If not I envy you. These days I feel like I’m burning out a bit.

Jobwise but also socially a lot of commitments gnaw away my energy – finishing video projects in one job, long nights at the bar-job, mulled wine at the Christmas market ;), family meetings and so on and so on. Plus: I stress myself out in order to finish my personal goals for this year. The end of the year should be the time to hibernate or at least recover and reset, but somehow it is the opposite – busy as f***.

Of course it is up to me, but somehow I can’t help myself right now. Well, there is something I can do in order to reclaim control: Aiming for a life in the present moment!

Time to pull the handbrake – Another threesome is overdue! 😉

1. Breathing Actively

Yes, the good old breathe. Without it our whole body wouldn’t work. It doesn’t only provide every cell in our body with oxygen. It also relaxes us. If we pay attention to our breathe we become aware of our body. And as soon as we focus on our body we forget our daily and mainly trivial problems.
That’s why I started to breathe more thoughtfully. Especially in stressful situations a few rounds of deep inhalation and exhalation release a lot of tension.

I always imagine how clean air is flowing into my body. From my nasal wings the air flows into my lungs, where it spreads out into every tiny fibre of my chest. All of a sudden my chest is filled with fresh air which starts circulating through the rest of my body. It wanders through my arms into my fingertips and from my belly into my legs and toes. Every part of my body gets subserved with oxygen. Through this image I arrive in the present moment as my thoughts become obsolete. Just try it yourself.

2. Acknowledging My Location

Well, often the breathing goes hand in hand with locating myself: On the way to the subway I acknowledge my surrounding – the trees, the sky, the colours, the air. I try not to think about my tasks at work.
The other day I read something interesting about “stress”, which made me realise that stress is just an invention of the western society. In Namibia for example the word stress doesn’t even exist. They divide time into rooms. In every moment you are present only in one room. You only act, live, love or work in one room. The next action will eventually take place in a different room. But now you exist only in this one room, so there is no need to be bothered about the next room.

Everything, every action has it’s time and it’s space. If you brush your teeth you don’t tie your shoes. If you tie your shoes, you are not at the subway. If you are in the subway you can’t be bothered about your job. If you experience the present moment – the room you are in – you can’t be bothered about the future.

3. Remembering that I am Not My Thoughts

We were born with the absence of thoughts. When we were born we didn’t have thought in our head. Basically we were the essence of life, pure existence, true love or however you want to call it. We didn’t have all these doubts and questions in our head. Sometimes in stressful situations I really like to go back to this place in my head. It helps me to take things more easily. I try to see my thoughts just as something temporary that can’t effect my mood.

Just give it a try and drop all your thoughts. Remember that your thoughts are just something superficial you can easily leave behind. Feel the relief and the freedom. This is meditation too.

“That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.”

Osho

 

3 Habits That Make Me Happy(ier)

I still suck at meditating. I’m far away from being a non-smoker (after announcing “I quit smoking” several times.) Sometimes I even leave the house without brushing my teeth (luckily I store a toothbrush at the office). I feel so ill-disciplined in many ways.

BUT in order to stay motivated in the process of incorporating positive new behaviors, I want to share even my small successes and learnings with you. (That’s the whole idea of growthbuddy). There are some healthy things I integrated (nearly) without any effort into my everyday life that improve my day.

I figured that “three” is a good number to skim through. 🙂

1. Showering Cold

In July I read a facebook post about cold showers. This friend was literally raving about the revolutionary effect of cold showers on his life. I was fairly impressed. The benefits of contrast showers in “Kneipp” manor in order to increase the blood circulation were not new to me. In the past I experienced cold showers as an unbeatable hangover-cure. So I gave it a go.

The water in Munich is freezing cold, but luckily it was boiling hot summer during that time. “Why not have this feeling of jumping into a mountain river every morning?”, I thought to myself and ever since I’m finishing (not beginning;) my showers cold.

What can I say? The effects I’ve noticed after three months are staggering:

  • I feel more awake – also during the whole day. No coffee can unleash this level of energy.
  • I feel stronger and happier, because I already master a challenge before I even leave the house. 😉
  • My body is toning automatically: Hot showers increase the blood circulation too, but cold showers are also triggering the so called “brown adipose tissue”. In other words: They burn more fat! Besides that cold showers help draining fluid retention in the body.
  • My hair is more healthy as cold water treats the hair structure.
  • Hungovers are easy to tackle as cold showers help detoxing.;)

2. Stretching and Squatting

During the past ten years I’ve been trying different sports: Yoga, Functional Training, Parcours, (Russian) Martial Arts, Qi-Gong, Running. During the last years I went to the Bouldering gym regularly, but the gaps between my visits vary a lot.

I still exercise as often as I can, but I just don’t really stick with anything. But there is something I found out, that helps me to improve my over-all well-being during the day: Stretching!

What do I do and why?

  • Before I go to bed and in the morning I do back stretches like a forward bend, some qi-gong movements or tricks of my favourite youtube fitness trainer in order to relieve stress and sleep (or wake up) easier.
  • Bridge or downward-facing-dog or even practicing handstand at lunchbreak before the afternoon-low is kicking in (or to cure it).
  • Writing an e-mail or brushing my teeth or doing whatever (sometimes even waiting for the bus, if not too many people are watching) in deep squat position.

Stretching is good. We all know that. The trick is, that I try to integrate it into my day-to-day life as often as I can. I don’t need to “find the time”. But these small exercises help me to relieve stress or tension in my back and my whole body feels more refreshed. I can’t really give you the scientifical reason for it, but it feels like my feet are warmer as well.

3. Walking Different Ways Home

Even if I live in the self-pro-claimed “bike city” Munich, I prefer walking to riding the bicyle. Sometimes I move my ass on the seat of my mountain bike to cruise down Isar – the river in Munich, but I avoid the city traffic completely.

Mainly I’m just lazy, but also I’m afraid of dying – it might sounds ridiculous, but I’m paranoid because of the traffic and the other bikers (because they are so fast and rude, haha.) Instead of stepping into the pedals I read books in the subway and go for extensive pavement walks across the city.

After work I’ve started to drive one station too far or I take a different line to a different area from where I can reach my home within a 20 minutes to two hours walking distance. (depending on how much time I have).

On Sundays the “left-right-left-game” became my favourite occupation. Instead of choosing a route, I navigate into a rough direction and turn left and right alternately. It always leads me to suprising places. I discover new interesting restaurants and meet different people.Sometimes I even walk home 10 km from the city centre just to get “a better feel” for the distances.

What are the benefits?

  • Walking calms my nerves down, when I feel over-exerted or brain-wrecked it improves my over-all well-being.
  • An additional plus to the physical and mental benefits is the fact that I get to know the city much better. Sometimes I even walk slow intentionally to acknowledge my surrounding.
  • I walk between 8 and 15 km nearly every day.

 

3 Tricks That Will Boost Your Productivity

I am a procrastinator. Everyday I find excuses, why I’m not able to achieve my goals. Sometimes a dentist appointment is hindering me. On other days time-consuming social commitments are filling my day. On some days I’m just too tired, too lazy, too ‘uninspired’, too hungover, too “busy” with anything else apart from what I actually want to do. There is always something, that holds me back from doing, what really matters to me.

You find yourself in my distractibility? The first step is to ACCEPT, that life is an unpredictable mess sometimes (my life most of the time).

Let’s not resign ourselves to the situation of being a procrastinator. Instead of punishing ourselves for being non-productive and expanding our lack of self-confidence, let’s start to develop strategies! These tricks already helped me.

1. Go for 10-minutes Slots

I’m postponing things ALL THE TIME, but under pressure I can work effectively. So why not produce the pressure myself before the deadline is scratching the neck?

This is an advice I already got from different resources: Go for ten minute time slots! Setting an alarm is not only useful when boiling eggs, but also when you’re brain is bubbling over. Interestingly Blender Guru Andrew Price was my final eye-opener. (Video below)

The trick is to focus on one thing you have to do, one idea or one project. You start the task and within ten minutes you work as fast and intense as you can. After these ten minutes you will notice, how much you can get done within only ten minutes. After these ten minutes you find yourself either highly motivated to keep working (getting into the flow) or you move over to the next task/appointment or commitment. Either way – YOU GOT SOMETHING DONE.

Everybody should watch this video (not only people, who use Blender):

2. Fast Writing

“Writing is thinking” – This is a direct quote from the book “Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your Thinking Through Private Writing” by Mark Levy, which I read recently.

The key is: The faster you write, the faster you think. According to Levy you have to toss your perfectionism overboard in order to reach the “essence” of your thoughts. You don’t “plan” your thoughts, right? And sometimes you have genius ideas? So why not write down your thoughts exactly the way they leave your brain?

For me this book was groundbreaking in many ways. It didn’t only revolutionize my approach, when writing an article, but also when starting a new project at work. Every project starts with a written concept, so you can apply this trick to a lot of tasks. Combined with the “timer” this trick is your master weapon.

3. Do the First Step Immediately

You are thrilled by an idea. You really want to realize it – but when? I had this feeling with this website. This growth buddy rattled around in my head for a couple of weeks. Than I decided to just buy the domain – Et voilá, the first step was made. Of course, there is still a long way, but every journey starts with the first step, right? In case of this blog, the domain was the first step.

But sometimes you might come up with ideas you can’t realize, because you don’t have the skills or the knowledge. In this case you should share it with a friend or at least write it down in your ideas book or other document – but I highly recommend you to TALK ABOUT YOUR IDEAS. It helps.

Hopefully you find yourself in these tricks. Do you have more advice/resources about productivity? Leave them in the comments.