Repair Your Relationship to Your Productivity Tools

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​How well do these tools work for you -- your alarm clock, your to-do list, and your calendar?

If you had a good relationship with these most basic productivity tools, they can make a significant difference in helping you live a purposeful, contributory life.
People who don't feel productive, almost certainly have developed a flippant, or avoidant, attitude towards these tools:

Your alarm app/clock goes off, and you turn it off, and keep doing whatever you were doing. You’ve just dissed your alarm clock… not good for the relationship!

You finish another day with a bunch of items still “due” or “overdue” on your to-do list. You’ve further eroded your relationship with your to-do list.

You use your calendar to set an appointment with yourself to work on something. The time comes, and goes, and you ignore that appointment. You're digging further into your bad habit of avoiding your calendar.

These tools can very effectively help you manifest your intentions... but not if you have a terrible relationship to them.

This can be repaired with practice.

​YOUR ALARM: 5-Minute Reset Practice

When you have 5 minutes to repair your relationship to your alarm, try this: 

Set your alarm clock for 1 minute, and then lay down and relax. When the alarm rings, immediately move your body and get up. You are in process of creating a new muscle memory, a new instinct about what you do when the alarm clock rings. 

Now, set your alarm for 1 minute again, and lay back down. When it rings, immediately get up again. 

Do this one more time, for a total of 3 practices. 

You have now begun to reset your relationship to your alarm, with some new muscle memory that when the alarm rings, you move your body… you don’t just ignore it and keep sleeping or not making a change.  

This 5 minutes of practice seems so simple, but it really can have a dramatic positive effect on your being able to stay on top of things, if you use your alarm to remind you when it’s time to do something different in your day.

Another version of the above practice that may be even more practical for you -- Set your alarm for a few minutes. Then, go and do something that is typically very absorbing for you, that makes you lose track of time, e.g. surfing Facebook, watching videos, reading a book you love, etc. Now when the alarm rings, be very intentional about stopping that activity, getting up and moving your body and physically facing another direction. Try this exercise 3 times, and you will have begun becoming intentional and conscious when under the hypnosis of that activity. Try this another 5-10 times, and you will have repaired your relationship with your alarm and given yourself the new ability to manage your trances. 

I used to ignore my alarm all the time, and ended up always being late to appointments, or behind on my work.

Once I did the above "reset" practice several times, I starting building a new relationship with my alarm, and now, when the alarm rings, my body instinctively gets up / moves enough to snap me out of whatever trance I was in, allowing me to make a different choice. Barely any willpower is needed… it has become instinct.

To to a full "reset" of your relationship with / attitude towards your alarm, I recommend practicing this 5 minute exercise daily for 3 days. Start with 5 minutes today, and you will be well on your way to a better relationship with this basic productivity tool.


Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could schedule time to work on your projects, and actually work on them, so that you get them done?

Most people (especially heart-based entrepreneurs) have a terrible relationship with their calendar when it comes to “appointments” with themselves. They (maybe you?) might say that scheduling with yourself just “doesn’t work”. 

That’s not true. It’s simply that you’ve built an instinct to ignore your own appointments with yourself.

Clients often wonder how I get so much done. This is how -- having my most productive projects scheduled into my calendar, and then following my calendar.

Here is the exercise to reset the relationship with your calendar:

Start a brand new calendar for the purpose of this exercise. If you use iPhone/Apple Calendar (iCal) or Google Calendar (my preference), this is easy to do: just create a new calendar in your existing account.

Now, add 2 appointments today (at different times of the day) to work on something that is not hard, yet is productive. You can make it a 15-minute appointment, to make it easier to do this exercise.

Set a notification/alarm for each appointment… now that you have a better relationship to your alarm, assuming you followed the alarm-reset exercise in the previous section.

Set an intention within yourself that you will absolutely keep these appointments with yourself, just like you would absolutely be on time for an appointment with the most important client you’ve ever had in your business.

When the time comes, drop whatever you are doing, and keep the appointment. Work on the thing you scheduled to do… no matter how you feel, and no matter how unskillful you are at that activity. The key is to work on it.  (This is why it helps to just set a short appointment for now.)

Congratulations -- you have begun to build an instinct that appointments with yourself matter just as much as with an important client. Because who is actually the most important client in your business and life? You. The more respect you treat yourself, the more others tend to respect you also. And without your productivity, there would be no business at all.

The exercise is not yet done:

Now set another 2 appointments for tomorrow, at different times of the day, short appointment s to work on some productive activity that isn’t too hard.

Keep those appointments, no matter how you are feeling. Remember that you are doing something outside your normal way of operating, so it will not feel easy at first, but it will get easier, I promise.

Keep tomorrow’s appointments.

Then set another 2 appointments with yourself for the day after tomorrow, and keep those as well.

Now you’ve completed this exercise, you are well on your way to becoming more productive than before.

You can now start again to set occasional appointments with yourself (gradually get into it) on your real calendar, to do productive projects that you may have been putting off. Having done this exercise as outlined above, you’ll find it strangely easier to keep those appointments and work on those projects.

It’s almost miraculous, the power of re-wiring your brain so that previously-hard things become easier. 

Try this exercise and see for yourself. You are building a new instinct and relationship of productive ease with your calendar. 

There’s another result of this -- over time, you’ll become wiser about how you schedule your calendar, because you actually keep it!


Imagine being able to clear your to-do list everyday.  

I’m grateful that I have this habit. It gives me a sense of empowerment, flow, creativity, and clarity that I didn’t have, compared to when I was used to being constantly behind on my tasks.

You truly can have a life where you feel empowered and at ease everyday. 

Here is the exercise to re-set your relationship to your to-do list:

Start a new to-do list. Use whatever tool you typically use (whether that's a post-it note, or a Microsoft Word document, or some to-do list app), but start a new list or category. 

Or if you don’t currently use a to-do list, just start it on a new document or piece of paper.

On this new list, write down 3 very doable yet productive actions, that you might not have done otherwise. 

Ideally, your to-do list is related to your calendar in this way: 

A calendar appointment with yourself is to work on a project or big task, which may have several smaller tasks that are written on the to-do list. 

A calendar appointment might say “Work on blog post”.

A to-do list might then say:
  • Brainstorm topics for the blog post
  • Choose topic that energizes me now
  • Outline the main points I definitely want to make
  • Write a messy first draft

Whether or not you connect your to-do list with a calendar appointment, the point of this exercise is to pay attention to your to-do list: Write down 3 doable tasks that you will do today.

Then do those 3 tasks as soon as possible today.

Check them off as you do them.

Once you are complete, add 3 more doable, productive things for tomorrow’s to-do list.  Do them tomorrow as soon as possible and check them off as you do them.

Finally, do this again for the day after tomorrow.

If any day you cannot do the tasks, it is perfectly fine to either:
  • Postpone the task for another date.
  • Delete the task, because you realize it’s not that important. We need to prune things often, to stay on top of truly important tasks… trusting that whatever is important will actually re-surface in our mind again, or some other person or source will remind us.

By doing this 3-day exercise, you have begun to reset your relationship with your to-do list! 

Any Relationship Requires ​Maintenance

Just like any relationship requires, your new new relationship with your key productivity tools -- Your Alarm, Your Calendar, Your To Do List -- also needs to be maintained.

The rewards for doing this is an conscious life of accomplishment, contribution, real growth, and deep sense of fulfillment and well-being.

If you’d done the exercises above, it should be easier now to maintain a good relationship.

But always remember: Every single day, you have the opportunity to maintain, or erode, your relationship with these tools. 

Everytime my alarm goes off, I follow my instinct to get up, and thus maintain a good relationship with my alarm. Everytime I see an appointment with myself on the calendar, I do my best to follow that appointment. I’m not perfect everytime, but it’s fairly accurate. Same thing with my to-do list: it’s become normal for me to have a clear to-do list by the end of each day.

The energy that is released, as well as sense of well-being, has been instrumental for my productiviyy and creativity.

I wish for you an excellent relationship with your productivity tools, so that you can truly manifest the highest positive vision for your business and life.