I’ve spent some time over the past few weeks setting better boundaries for myself and for Productivityist. The ideas in my mind, in addition to my normal workload, were weighing me down. It was time to get rid of some of them in order to move forward.
So after careful consideration, I made some pretty bold choices:
- I decided to remove Do Better with Asana from our offerings. I have found someone who is willing to take what Jeremy and I created and reinvigorate it themselves. It was tough to part with this product because I know it will help people, but it’s no longer a fit for me (or Productivityist).
- I’ve made a commitment to write less about how to use productivity apps and more about how to incorporate elements of TimeCrafting into productivity apps instead. I’ve long said that the approach is more important than the app and I want to make sure that the direction of my writing and Productivityist aligns with that. That doesn’t mean I won’t discuss apps from time to time, but they won’t be a focus. Considering that a lot of visitors come to this site because they are looking for help with apps, the short-term effects of going this route may be felt in terms of lost traffic. But I believe that over the long-term, the benefits of drawing this line in the sand will be great.
- The focus on products will be to update and upgrade existing ones rather than to create new ones. Any that no longer fit the vision of Productivityist will be revamped or retired. Some of the books I’ve written will be available elsewhere (Amazon, Noisetrade, etc.) but not through Productivityist. Some of the books that Productivityist will create won’t be available anywhere but through Amazon. I’ve crafted a very specific product development plan that we’ll use and the primary objective will be to make those products that I want to offer bigger and better than before.
These are just three ways I’ve started to set boundaries for myself and for Productivityist. There are many others that I’ve put in place, but I wanted to share the first three with you because that is one of the ways you can stick to the boundaries you’ve set.
Share Your Boundaries
When you make your boundaries widely known, you can be held accountable to them. Sometimes it isn’t enough to have them kept to yourself or held privately. Like habits and resolutions, sometimes you need to make boundaries known so that you feel compelled to stick to them so that your integrity and honour don’t suffer. Another benefit of making your boundaries known in public is that others will see what you are willing and not willing to do, which can result in less time explaining those things to them.
One of the other things I’ve done is I’ve followed the lead of Derek Sivers. He started The Now Page Movement and I’ve created a Now page on my own website.
This page clearly outlines what I’m doing right now and really puts my boundaries out there for everyone to see. We’ll be creating a Now page at Productivityist soon, where we’ll share what we’re up right now as a company and as individuals.
Simplify Your Boundaries
The simpler your boundaries are, the better. That’s one of the reasons why I love the idea of using themes for boundaries.
Creating a boundary for every day of the week can be incredibly freeing – ironic as that may sound. I know every morning when I wake up what the theme of the day is, which is essentially a boundary. It doesn’t mean I will only do those items that carry that theme (that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like) but the theme creates a boundary that I return to when I’m taken off of that track.
Themes are easy to remember. Instead of thinking about everything I have to do on a given day, I only need to recall what theme that day has and I’m able to pay attention to my intentions with ease.
Themes are also simple to adjust. I was able to shift what I did on a Sunday to Wednesday quickly all through swapping the themes for each day. It didn’t take long for my task management solution to follow that rhythm and align with the new daily themes.
When you have simple boundaries you can be agile and nimble. And that almost always leads to better productivity.
Celebrate Your Boundaries
Setting and sticking to your boundaries is far easier if you take the time to celebrate them. The reason you’ve put them in place is so that you can live up to the sixth tenet in The Way of The Productivityist Manifesto: Take the time to create space for yourself and you’ll create the space to make time for yourself.
As of this writing, I’m one-third of the way through the Whole30 Program. I chose this nutritional plan not only because I found it to be simple in how it is laid out (only meat, vegetables, and fruit – nothing else – over a thirty day period) but because I found that the benefits of going through the program would give me reason to celebrate. (I also chose it based on the recommendation of Courtney Carver, who writes about how to have a simple and successful Whole30 here.)
The hope is that it will give me a healthier body and mind, enhanced fitness and clarity, and more. I’m actually celebrating it along the way – hitting a tenth day with no sugar is huge milestone for me. The boundaries of the Whole30 have created a celebratory atmosphere…as long as I stick with it.
I don’t feel bad about the boundaries I’ve set. Whether they are related to dietary changes, productivity frameworks, or even my own availability to others. I celebrate the fact that they are in place. They protect my intentions and attention which allows me to protect my energy and my time. Boundaries allow me to get more of the right things done – the things I need and want to do – and eliminate the idea of things I “ought” to do. With boundaries, there are less things that I feel I “ought” to do.
I now have more certainty within my days, my weeks, and my months. I can deal with uncertainties better. I can deal with life better.
Boundaries are one of the best ways you can make an immediate impact on your productivity. So go and set some shareable, simple, and celebratory ones for yourself today.