Thinking about thinking

My friend Suha offered me a tip on battling negativity and it got me thinking.

One of my most persistent thoughts — you are not good enough — could easily lead me down a vicious negative spiral of thoughts.

The single thought could colour the rest of my day or week.

Track down the source of your thoughts.

“Your emotions are usually induced by a thought,” wrote Suha. “Influence your emotions by tracking back to its source and countering that thought by working through it.”

It struck me that a majority of my thoughts weren’t my own. Growing up, I wanted to do something, I did it. I taught myself how to code and design.

I didn’t pause to consider whether I was good enough.

As an adult, I was informed that I was in fact, not good enough repeatedly until I caved in and believed it.

Allow people to form opinions about you.

Today, I was casually reminded I was a perfectionist. It’s why I set high standards for myself. It’s why I never get anything done. And it’s ingrained in my DNA, which is why I will always be miserable.

In the past, I would have retaliated. Today, I took it.

I don’t have to agree with anyone who offers personal attacks as criticism. I can improve what I can, with the help of my unwavering support system.

Pause whenever you’re feeling negative.

Identify the root of why you feel the way you. Journaling or talking to a friend can be helpful.

The most important thing is to be aware of your thoughts, and to reexamine what you truly believe about yourself.

Goodbye Monday blues

More often than not, positivity comes out of negative things. That includes Monday blues. Instead of ignoring it, I use it as an opportunity to address what is bothering me and how I can tackle it over the next week.

On Sunday, write down all the tasks you need to get done. Then, prioritise the ones you need done urgently. For example, you could mark it with a star. Also, mark the tasks that can be done in under five minutes. Note all your daily tasks — this will also be included. Set deadlines for all your tasks. Once you have a list of all the tasks you need to complete, you can start distributing them.

Start every day with your morning routine. While it is tempting to get started immediately, taking time to look after yourself in the morning can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed. If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and tend to procrastinate, you can take advantage of this. Start the day with meditation — essentially “doing nothing” — and you’ll feel motivated to tackle those tasks you need to get done.

Group tasks that take less than five minutes together. You might discover that they will take less time to complete. If a task is urgent and takes under five minutes to complete, do it first thing in the morning. Plus, crossing out a bunch of tasks in quick succession can give you a slight focus boost.

Get started on the difficult tasks early. These might take time so set a deadline. If it will take more than one day or week, break them down into smaller tasks. This way, you’ll always have some progress on it.

Don’t rely on motivation. While motivation can help you work with more enthusiasm, it’s not going to be there all the time. Enjoy it while it lasts. It’s when you’re unmotivated that you need to keep going.

Allocate time to rest. Take a day off so you have something to look forward to. Decide when to stop working — either when you’re done with all your tasks, or at a certain time. Since you’ve completed your most important task early in the day, it is okay to stop for the day.

At the end of your week, reflect on what you can do better. Take note of when you’re most productive. It’s probably in the mornings — even for night owls.

Come Sunday, start again.

February links

Interesting links on habits and creativity I’ve come across this month.

Video: It’s not you. Phones are designed to be addicting.

Everything from the refresh feature down to the colour of the icons on your phone was designed to be addicting. Understanding why you’re is the first step to regaining control. Read my post on stepping back from social media.

Article & Podcast: Five Habit Tracker

What are the five habits that will have the greatest impact on your life? Sean McCabe and Ben Toalson discuss a developing impactful habits and coming up with metrics for measuring those habits.

Article: Iceland’s Population Is Staggeringly Creative. Why?

One in four people in Icelanders work in a creative field. A recent study explores the driving forces behind the creative community.

Article: 13 Things That Will Happen When You “Level-Up” As A Person

“Leveling up” as a person should feel good, but it doesn’t. In fact, you may feel more discouraged than ever. Enjoy the lessons you learn.