Just some notes...
Have trouble focusing on one task, following through on plans, and reaching goals?
You probably need to work on developing your brain's executive functions.
Mindfulness meditation (at least 5-10 minutes every day); going for walks; aerobic exercise; positive social interactions; reading; intellectual skill development; dealing with temptations and addictions; improve sleep quality and quantity.
How to be productive?
Focus on one task at a time; develop executive functions; remove or limit distractions (Internet is a common one); focus on most important goals requiring high concentration first thing in the morning. Experiment with developing a daily (especially morning) routine as you become committed to a particular professional path or skill set.
How to overcome Internet time wasters?
Mild: "Freedom" and other apps that limit your online activity and can be set and reset each time. Moderate: "Intego Family Protector" app (can be set up to only allow you Internet access for certain hours of the day, as long as you give the password to someone else). Extreme: have no Internet at home and find somewhere else to work online.
How to improve outlook and overcome negativity bias?
Practice "what went well" reflection exercise at the end of each day, or some variation thereof. Personally, I spend 10 minutes remembering how I spent the day, the constructive motives behind my actions (even if they were not as successful as I wanted), and the happy moments and feelings of pride and satisfaction, and basically try to empathize with myself. This really seems to work for me, and the efficacy of the technique has been repeatedly proven in experiments.
Top diet improvements?
Cut out all refined sugars and flours. Replace with whole foods. Learn a few simple food preparation techniques in order to be able to maintain a healthy diet. Treat food preparation as a habit formation exercise.
Top fitness improvements?
Integrate walking or cycling or other moderate aerobic activity into your everyday life. Begin a bare minimum strength training routine and either focus on explosiveness or maxing out on reps, which gives you the best hormonal response. Stand, walk, or lie down instead of sitting so much. Extreme: get rid of your car and move to a part of town where you can get everywhere you need to go by foot, bicycle, or public transportation.
Top happiness improvements?
Supportive friendships, emotional support on a daily basis, meditation and positive psychology practices, basic physical health and nutrition, sun exposure (for some people), hormonal correction (generally attainable through diet, exercise, and stress reduction), improving sleep quality/quantity (for many people).
Down in the dumps and need a happiness injection?
My personal favorite is to go backpacking with a friend or friends, or even alone. This affects me on all levels and almost invariably does the trick. Find your individual recipe that provides you with a change of pace or scenery and physical, emotional, and mental stimulation.
My favorite sources of information to "keep my finger on the pulse?"
The Long Now Foundation talks, selected TED talks, Tim Ferriss Podcast.
Jun 29, 2014
Just some notes...