How Valuable Were Your Last 40 Minutes?
A simple test of purposeful productivity, based on your own definition of success.
New! I wanted to make something special for paid subscribers, while still keeping most of the newsletters free for everyone:
All paid subscribers (any level) will have unlimited access to a set of resources, including audio reflections, ADHD cheat sheets, playlists, and more. Immediately upon joining, you should receive an access link via email. (If you’re already a paid subscriber, check your inbox.)
I’ll be adding to these resources as the year goes on, so let me know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see more of. Alright, on with today’s post…
The Goal: Do More of What Matters
When I started this newsletter, I noted that it would be about mental health and purposeful productivity—but I haven’t said much about the second topic yet.
In the origins story post, I explained how I’d felt let down by traditional time management and “getting things done” methods. This is true—but it could also be misunderstood as my rejecting everything about productivity in general.
That’s not the case at all!
I don’t believe the answer to feeling overwhelmed and anxious is merely to opt-out and do less … it’s to do more of what matters.
Some part of that process comes with acceptance: the understanding that we simply cannot do ALL of what we want. Still, as much as possible, we want to prioritize and be effective.
And while we all have different priorities and values, I’m guessing that on some level, you want to do more of what matters, too.
So let’s make it really practical…
The Quick Test: How Did You Spend Your Last 40 Minutes?
Here’s an instant, simple test of how you’re doing: ask yourself, at any given part of the day, how valuable were your last forty minutes?
There’s nothing complicated about this exercise. You literally just pause what you’re doing and ask if the past block of time has been useful, productive, or interesting.
Did you learn something?
Did you help someone?
Did you have fun?
Did you make progress toward one of your goals?
If you can answer yes to any of those questions, great—keep doing more of that.
If no, an adjustment might be needed. And if you can’t remember what you’ve been doing for the past forty minutes, the answer to those questions is probably no.
Oh, one key point: YOU decide what matters. YOU choose what “valuable” means. That way, you aren’t measuring yourself by anyone’s standard other than your own.
Once you determine what success looks like, now you have a quick way to get there—forty minutes at a time.
How did you spend the last 40 minutes? (If it’s early in the morning, think about a time period from yesterday.)
What do you do to spend more time on things that matter to you?
Do you have “time blindness”? (We’ll talk about this much more in a future post.)
Alright, who needs another cup of coffee?