My Latest Productivity Hack – an Old-School $10 Alarm Clock
Productivity doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy.
I recently bought an old-school $10 alarm clock that has made a remarkable difference in how productive I am.
Why? Because it allows me to leave my smartphone in a drawer overnight, which gives me a much more effective start to the day. I get out of bed immediately. I don’t check social media or email first thing. I don’t get hooked on technology immediately. I feel more relaxed.
This is more impactful than you may think. For starters, it saves me a couple of minutes every single day. When I use my smartphone as alarm clock, I can’t stop myself from checking it first thing in the morning, while I’m still lying in bed. These minutes offer no real benefit – they simply serve to satisfy my phone addiction.
In fact, this early morning phone-checking comes with serious risks. You see, when I’ve received a negative text message or email, I’m feeling worse than before, and how I feel has a big impact on my productivity. In general, the better I feel, the more productive I am, and vice-versa. Checking my phone first thing in the morning poses a risk that I can easily avoid with my new alarm clock.
So, this little trick helps me have a better start to the day – and how we start the day impacts the entire rest of the day. This was one of the most important lessons I learned on my path of recovery from procrastination: When you start the day in a productive manner and with as little procrastination as possible, you’ll keep that momentum going and you’ll have a very pleasant day. (I've referred to this as morning momentum in a previous article.)
On the other hand, if you start dillydallying early in the morning, start wasting time, start giving in to silly urges and impulses, then you’ll find yourself doing that for the entire rest of the day as well.
It’s similar to Newton’s first law of motion: “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.”
It’s all about momentum.
Understand: The kind of momentum you create first thing in the morning is very hard to stop – an object in motion stays in motion. When you begin in a disciplined and productive manner, you’ll ride that positive momentum for the remainder of the day. When you begin in a half-hearted and unproductive manner, you’ll likewise ride that negative momentum for the rest of the day.
You see, the first few hours of the day carry more importance than the remaining hours. (This is, of course, nothing but the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Principle, which basically states that not everything matters equally, but some things matter more than others. Eighty percent of your results will come from twenty percent of your actions.)
Therefore, if you want to be more productive and procrastinate less, put disproportionate amounts of effort into the first few hours of the day. Start with as much discipline and energy as possible. Put as much focus into your activities as you can muster. Don’t eat crappy food. Don’t turn on the television. Don’t goof off. Instead, really crush the first hour of your day. Make sure you create positive momentum, and you’ll find yourself riding that high for hours to come.
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