The Mindful Productivity Habit Plan

By Leo Babauta

In the Mindful Productivity Habit Overview, we looked at some key principles that will guide us this month.

In this module plan, let’s talk about how we’ll be implementing those principles on a daily basis, and forming the Mindful Productivity Habit.

The Daily Plan

Every day this month, we’ll have a 10-minute Mindful Productivity Session (at a minimum), where we’ll do the following things:

  1. Set our Most Important Tasks (MITs). Take a minute at the beginning of your session to pick the 3 Most Important Tasks you have to do today. You’ll focus on at least the first one in this session, perhaps even 2 or 3 of them. Alternatively, you could pick your 3 MITs before you go to bed the night before, and be ready to go once your session starts. Don’t know which 3 tasks are most important? We’ll go more into this in an upcoming article.
  2. Set our intention for the first task. Pick one of the MITs to start with, and think about what your intention is. Not what outcome you’d like to achieve, but what you’re doing this for. Is it to help others? To make your life better? To be happier? Just for the joy of it? To feed your family? To practice mindfulness or compassion? To learn? Pick one or more intentions, and let these intentions guide your actions as you start the task.
  3. Take the first, tiny step of the task. Don’t focus on the entire project or task, like writing a book or report or doing your taxes. Focus on the first, tiny step. What one little thing can you do? When I run, I focus on getting my shoes on, then getting out the door. When I write, I focus on opening up a blank page and writing a rough title, then putting a few ideas down on the page. Just get started, with the smallest possible step.
  4. Stay in the moment and practice mindfulness. As you do each tiny step, practice being aware of your body and breath, of the urges to switch away from the task. Use this task as meditation practice. More on this in an upcoming article.

Creating the Habit

To turn this Mindful Productivity Session into a habit, we’ll follow this plan:

  1. Set a trigger. What event that’s already in your daily routine will you tie this new trigger to? If you don’t have a regular daily routine, find something you normally do every day: wake up, go to bed, eat breakfast or lunch, brush your teeth, shower, turn on your computer, arrive at work, have a cup of coffee/tea, etc.
  2. Create reminders. How will you remember to do your habit when the trigger happens? Put physical reminders around wherever the trigger happens. For example, if the trigger is “waking up” then put notes or a big sign somewhere around your bed, so you don’t miss it. If the trigger is “drink water after waking up” then put a sign next to your water glass. Use phone and computer reminders as backups.
  3. Start the session immediately after the trigger. If you want it to be a habit, then make the session automatic, no decisions to be made, no questions asked, no delaying. The trigger happens, and you immediately start the session. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
  4. Create accountability. Once you’re done with the session, report it to your accountability group in the forum, or use the open team for this module. Having accountability keeps you on track when you might otherwise skip the habit.

OK, so that’s the plan: pick a trigger, set reminders, start the session, report to an accountability group. Every day.

Let’s do this!