3 MORE Tips to Help You Increase Your Productivity

In today’s episode, I want to continue on from the previous episode and share 3 more thoughts on how to become more productive and build healthy habits around your blogging and in your life.


While normally our episodes are designed as stand alone episodes this one really does build upon the last one, so I would encourage you to listen to that one first if you haven’t done so, yet.

In it I talked about:

  • Starting with your why and building goals around it
  • The power of saying ‘it’s just what I do’ and ‘normalising’ the habits you’re trying to build through making appointments with yourself
  • Building Systems rather than thinking just about building ‘good habits’

Today I want to extend upon these ideas and talk about how I got my own weekly system or routine to the point it’s currently at – because it didn’t just happen!

Listen to this podcast here on iTunes (or in the player above).

Today I’ll share:

  • The power of ‘leveling up’ your habits
  • My approach to when you can’t keep your schedule up
  • And how I stay sane as someone who doesn’t like systems – but has one!

So if you’re someone who struggles with managing your time or have tried to build good habits but have failed to stay on track – this episode is just for you.

In Today’s Episode 3 MORE Tips Productivity Tips to Help You Build Healthy Habits

  • Start with Small Things and ‘Level Up’
  • Never Miss 2 in a Row
  • Create Space to play



Further Resources on 3 MORE Tips Productivity Tips to Help You Build Healthy Habits


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Hi there, it’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 164 of the ProBlogger podcast. I’m the guy behind problogger.com, a blog, a podcast, an event, a job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you to grow your blog and to achieve your dreams as a blogger. You can learn more about ProBlogger and see all our latest episode and the tutorials that we publish every couple of days on ProBlogger at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, I want to continue on from the previous episode and share three more thoughts on how to become a more productive blogger and how to build healthy habits that help you to achieve your blogging goals, but also goals in other areas of your life as well.

Normally, our episodes are designed to be stand alone, you can just listen to one and then move on. This one today definitely builds upon the last one. If you haven’t listened to Episode 163, I do encourage you to go back and listen to that one first because everything I say today builds upon that.

In that previous episode for those of you who need a recap, because it’s been a few days, I talked about starting with your why and building your goals around that why. I talked about the power of saying, “It’s just what I do,” and normalizing the habits that you’re trying to build through making appointments with yourself. Lastly in the last episode, I talked about building systems rather than just thinking about building good habits.

Today, I want to extend upon those ideas and I want to talk about how I got my own weekly system or routine to the point it’s currently at because it didn’t just happen. Today, I’m going to talk about the power of levelling up your habits. I’m going to talk about my approach when you can’t quite keep that schedule up for different reasons. Lastly, I want to talk about how I stay sane as someone who doesn’t like systems but is living my life by one. If you’re someone who struggles with managing your time and you try to build those good habits in the past but have failed to stay on track, this episode is just for you.

Continuing on from that last episode, today I want to start by talking about starting with small things and levelling up. Most of the good habits and elements of the system that I’ve built for my week started off not as you see them today, but they started off really quite small. There have been a few times where I’ve started big. For example, deciding to walk 10,000 steps a day, that was a pretty big thing. Most of the time, my habits, the things that I do, have started off by being quite small to start with, and I’ve evolved them, I’ve levelled them up.

As I mentioned in the last episode, I talked about my health journey in that particular one. I want to go back to that. Made a series of small changes to help me get where I’m currently at today in my health journey. It started actually even before I started walking with my diet. As many of you know, I use the five two diet, it’s intermittent fasting for a period of time. I don’t practice it anymore because I actually lost too much weight on it and it was starting to waste away but it was a really good starting point for me to get some of those extra kilos off.

For me, that was the starting point, actually doing that. I worked on that for a few weeks, a few months, and then I decided to start to level things up because I knew I was addressing my diet but I wasn’t addressing my exercise. That’s the time that I started to walk, and that was 10,000 steps a day.

That was pretty much as far as I went for six or seven months with my health journey. Getting the diet under control and getting the walking. The reason I did that, I just didn’t level up too quickly after that. I wanted those things to become normal for me. I wanted to normalize that as I talked about in the last episode.

After six months of walking, I decided that the next thing for me to level up was to get a stand up desk and to spend more of my days standing rather than sitting. You will probably have read lots of articles on the why of that so I’m not going to go into great depth. Again, this was something I started really small. I bought the desk, I brought it home, I set it up, and I decided that I would spend the first hour of every working day standing up, that was all. I would sit for the rest of the day. It was a small step.

I went after a while, after I got used to that. It does take a little while to get used to. I decided to do an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, then gradually I moved it to a whole morning and an hour late in the afternoon. Gradually, I’ve been able to move to a point where I spend most of my day standing now. Again, it wasn’t something I just decided to do straight away, I worked my way up.

The next element was to add in some gym work and to get a personal trainer. I go two days a week to my personal trainer. That’s getting to the point where that’s starting to be normal for me. I’ve been doing that for six months now. I’m now considering my next level up. Going to a gym by myself to do a bit more cardio work because most of the work I’m doing at the PT is strength work.

For me, it’s been a really gradual thing. It’s taken me two years to get to the point that I’m at. I’m gradually levelling up. I don’t know where this all going to end in this health journey for me. If you had asked me two years ago to walk 10,000 steps a day, to stand up most of the day at my desk, to go to the PT twice a week, to go to the gym on other days, I don’t think  I would have done any of it. It would have been too much for me. Small steps, normalize that behavior, then level up. I think the same thing applies in the work that you’re the doing, the habits that you’re trying to build in your blogging. Really, I guess that’s what this part is, what this podcast is about.

Your goal might be to eventually be writing everyday but to suddenly go from no post a day to a daily post, that might be too much for you. You might need to do one post a week, you might do two, you might do three, you might gradually level things up. The same with your social media, the same with running a podcast, there’s different ways to go about it. Sometimes to get to that end result that you want, you need to take a small step and then to level up.

Levelling up is the first thing I want to talk about today. The next one is kind of a little rule, another little mantra that I have. The mantra is never miss two in a row. Let me explain because kind of is a bit cryptic. The reality is that that schedule that you see, I cannot keep it up every single day. There are things that get in the way of that. The reality is for 10,000 steps a day, my walking, I can’t do that everyday. I travel, I’m getting on a plane next Tuesday to go to a conference in Orlando. I’m going to sit on planes for 36 hours to get to that conference. That period, I’m not going to be able to do 10,000 steps unless I have a long layover in an airport where I can walk around. I’ve done that plenty of times in the past.

There are sometimes some ways to weave in the walk around some of these things. Travelling, going on a holiday, getting sick, family commitments, these things all get in the way. Sometimes I can weave them in like walking around an airport, I remember doing that once at Singapore airport, going for a really long walk. I also don’t want my schedule to rule my life. I give myself permission from time to time to have time away from my routine.

The little rule that I do have is that I try not to miss two in a row. This means different things for the different habits. For example, my walking, if I miss a day, I try not to miss the next day. That’s my rule. I try to walk at least every second day. My goal is to walk everyday but sometimes things happen.

Earlier in the year we’ve been to Thailand as a family for holiday. It was tough to get my 10,000 steps in a day there. We were in a resort, it wasn’t a very big resort, it didn’t lend itself to long walk, hated the weather, lots of rain, it was hot, and plus I was on holiday so I gave myself some days off but I still managed to go every second day.

With my personal trainer, means that when I’m travelling I can’t go. I’m going to be away for a whole week next week but what I’ve decided to do is to find a gym locally that I can go to once while I’m away. I’m not going to do my normal two sessions a week, I’m going to do one, I’m going to miss one. Giving myself permission to do that.

With creating content on my blog, I may not be able to keep up the normal routine while I’m away at the conference but I’m going to try and reach my goal every second day. Write half the post that I would normally write, I would create half of the podcast.

For me, the key I guess here is to try and find ways to keep the practice of what I’m doing going, to keep those muscles working even if it’s not at the frequency that I am aiming for. I guess what I’m trying to do is to keep it normal. It’s just what I do, I create content, I walk, I go to the gym, I do these things, these are normal. For me, where I get into trouble is where I have extended breaks away from things. I try and find ways to keep things going. Whether that’s not missing two in a row, maybe there’s some other way to do that for you.

That works for me, the state I’m in at the moment. I will say when I first started walking 10,000 steps a day, I didn’t want to miss a day. That’s where I did walk around Singapore airport and did my 10,000 steps anyway. Sometimes in the early days or building habits, sometimes you get excited and you want to keep pushing through, and that’s totally fine. I became a bit obsessed, I wanted to keep my unbroken record of days of getting 10,000 steps going and that was part of my motivation in the early days. You don’t have to build a system that rules your life. The system is there to help you achieve your goals, sometimes you need to be a bit gracious with yourself.

The last that I want to talk about in this little mini series that I’m doing is to create space to play. The first version of my weekly routine was wall to wall activity. I packed every minute from 8:00AM to 10:00PM full of activity, trying to be productive all through the day. I realized that that was going to kill me. Really, as much as I was getting a lot done, it wasn’t something I could sustain.

As I mentioned in the last episode, my myers-brigg personality type is to be a P on that I’m part of the spectrum there. I’m naturally very spontaneous, impulsive. Sometimes where I’ve got space to play, that’s where I get my best ideas. For me to not leave time to be spontaneous and impulsive squashes some of those good ideas out of my life. It also squashes up space that I get energy. I know I get energy when I have a space to dream, to think, and to play with ideas.

If you look at my schedule today, you’ll see that I’ve now created space in my schedule to play. Some of that happens at the end of the day, some of that happens on the weekends, but I also put aside Monday afternoons for this exact reason. For me, every day is different how I use my playtime. Sometimes it’s reading a novel, sometimes it’s watching something on Netflix, other times it’s going to a movie, or going to a café, or having a date with Vanessa, or having a sleep. Other days it ends up being a working kind of thing where I write something that is a bit more playful or something that’s more of a passion project.

For me, I really need that time to play. That may just be my personality type but I suspect most of us need that time as well. To schedule time for rest, for play, for dreaming, for imagining, that blue sky thinking is a really important thing as well. If you want to be productive, I think it’s really important to build those things in as well.

They’re my six things I’ve kind of gone through over the last couple of episodes. I would love to hear what you’ve got to say as well. My six things were to start with your goals and your why. Number two was the power of normalizing things, it’s just what I do, scheduling the things that you want to build into good habits. Number three was to think about systems, not just the habits, and actually schedule the important things that you want to build into your life. Number four was to start with small things and then to level up. Number five was to never miss two in a row, might be three. And number six was to create space to play.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these. Do one them resonate with you? Do you disagree with one? Or is there something else you would into the mix?

You can tweet me at @problogger, or leave a comment at my Facebook page at facebook.com/problogger. Love to hear what you think about this, what has helped you, and what you’re going to do as a result of this as well. Love to chat with you more on this particular topic. It’s one that I’m constantly learning on as well, so do be in touch.

I’ll chat with you in a couple of days time in Episode 165 where I’ve got an amazing interview to share with you from one of the most popular speak is that we have ever had at the ProBlogger event. Tune into that in a couple of days time.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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