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Changing the Default

Most productivity advice doesn’t help me. I work on a lot of projects at once. I read and reply to email throughout the day. I say yes more than I say no.

But I’ve found a new habit that is helping a lot. The habit is changing my default behavior.

Those of us who do knowledge work for much of the day have no shortage of choices. As I’ve written before, for me the ultimate superpower is to always know what to do next.

I’ve noticed that my default behavior, whenever I’m not sure what to do next, is to consume. I read the news online or check out social media. When I’m done with one news site or one social media platform, I look at another.

I don’t think this is bad, but I don’t need to do it all the time.

I’ve now started doing something else. Whenever I come to the end of a task and wonder, “OK, what’s next?” I try to answer it with something active, not passive.

The story I tell myself is that the default behavior is to create—not to consume.

I can now default to working on my manuscript, writing blog posts, developing the case studies for our new Adventure Capital course, and preparing for WDS.

I save the news reading for the morning and late afternoons, or whenever I make a conscious choice to take a break.

What helps you in your work?


Image: Lanier