Edit or Eliminate?

It is OK to change your mind.

For several years I have had a calendar entry on the 1st of each month reminding me to send photos from my phone to Lightroom. But as life has changed, this calendar entry inevitably was closed instead of snoozed, or popped up when I thought I would have time so I dismissed it too early.

Edit or Eliminate?

The result was not productive – I still had photos on my phone that needed to be transferred.

This is not to say that if you leave photos on your phone in perpetuity you are not leading a Sustainably Productive (SusPro) life. Only you can decide that. I had decided what was SusPro for me was moving the photos on a monthly basis. The challenge was that my methods of reminder were no longer working.

Actual footage of my photos situation. This is about the max I can deal with and maintain Sustainable Productivity.

It was time for an edit.

Not time for elimination. See – I still needed the photos off of my phone. If I have thousands of images on my phone, I get overwhelmed (unsustainable), and I can’t find what I need (unproductive). I might take a screen shot of a book I want to add to my TBR or a recipe posted on a Facebook group. If I cannot retrieve it when needed, it is not useful for me.

Eliminating photos from my phone is not the SusPro way forward for me. Enter – the edit.

This one was simple for me. I made it a reminder on my phone instead of a calendar entry. Most phones have a native app for reminders. My iPhone allows me to make it recurring each month with no end time. Plus I can set the time for it to fire (i.e., not while I am working and have no time to move photos). Bonus points for being able to snooze it for certain windows of time (1 hour, until this evening or tomorrow).

Practical Application

Sometimes it is hard to figure out what edit to make. You know you cannot eliminate something, but the current practice is not working. Here are some real life examples from clients, divided into each Sustainable Productivity pillar.

Health & Fitness

Challenge: Changes in weather disrupts your exercise routine.

Potential Edits: Have a plan B in your pocket. If it is too hot to run outside, head to the treadmill. Take advantage of summer pool season by lap swimming and letting pilates slide for a few months.

Mental Well-being

Challenge: Summer camp drop off for the kids conflicts with a work meeting.

Potential Edits: Carpool and offer to do the afternoon pick up. Poll your colleagues to see if they could meet at another time.  Take the call from a nearby coffee shop or park after dropping off kids at camp.

Environmental Surroundings

Challenge: Your college student is home for the summer and clutter is taking over your house.

Potential Edits: Let her keep her room in the disastrous state, but close the door. Have a talk with her about how the clutter makes you feel and agree on boundaries (i.e., dishes go from her room into the dishwasher, not on the counter “for later”).

Your Turn

Sometimes when you are too close to the situation, it is hard to see the edits. Or you have lived with the challenge so long you get too frustrated to edit and you just eliminate. Let’s crowd source this on social media to see what edits you could make. Come over to Facebook and share challenges so we can all create the life we don’t need to escape.

By |2021-06-27T09:54:39-04:00June 28th, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

Making Adjustments

It is ok to change your mind – that is what making adjustments is all about. Sometimes your well-crafted plan to live a Sustainably Productive life does not work. There could be several reasons for this.

  1. Schedules change
  2. Priorities change
  3. Minds change

Whatever the reason – making adjustments is OK. In fact, making adjustments is encouraged. That is part of the Continuous Improvement work that is in the Sustainable You coursework.

At the start of 2021, I set a goal to do 90 minutes of yoga each week. I applied Sustainable Productivity principles and broke it down to do a 30 minute YouTube video 3 times each week.

This was great for the first 3 months of the year. Once the weather started getting nicer, I wanted to be outside and on my bike more. Now that I am vaccinated, I want to join my regular in person hot yoga class (exercising in a 100 degree room with a mask on sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?!).

But what about the original goal I set for 90 minutes a week? If I do 1 class in studio each week that is only 60 minutes. 2 classes in studio does not fit my budget or schedule right now. The YouTube video is not as inviting since I would have to be inside.

Non-Sustainable Productivity solution: Throw out the whole plan.

Sustainable Productivity solution: Make adjustments using the Continuous Improvement steps.

Step 1 – Record the result

This is an easy one if you have been using the Sustainable You Habit Tracker. If I look back at the last 2 weeks, I have a big ZERO for yoga.

Step 2 – Why this result

This step can take some tough love. A tool that can help to get to the root cause of the result is the 5 Whys. Start with the high level question: Why did I skip yoga over the last 2 weeks.

  1. I wanted to garden and ride my bike instead. Then ask why again (2nd why): Why did I want to garden and bike instead?
  2. A desire to be outside. Then ask why again (3rd why): Why did I want to be outside?
  3. The weather has gotten so nice. Ask why again (4th why): Why did I want to be out in warmer weather?
  4. It is pretty this time of year, so much to look at and do. The last (5th) why: Why is this different from yoga?
  5. I am bored doing the same routine and need a change of scenery. 

Once you get to that 5th question, you usually have a root cause that you can use to make your adjustment.

Step 3 – Adjustment

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater in not sustainable nor productive. Not doing yoga is not a productive way to improve my mental well-being or physical fitness. But continuing to “require” the 30-minute YouTube video 3 times per week is just going to make me crabby, which is not sustainable.

Enter the beauty of making adjustments. Here are a few that I am making for this week:

  • 1 yoga class in studio
  • 2 bike rides
  • Garden on breaks from work

Next weekend I can repeat these Continuous Improvement steps and see if any more adjustments need to be made.

Permission Slip

I can hear you thinking (or perhaps yelling at me through your device screen): BUT YOU SET A GOAL FOR THE YEAR FOR 90 MINUTES!!!

That is true. And you know what else is true? It is ok to change your mind.

If you go to the core of your WHY, then you can be true to your intention of creating a life you don’t want to numb out and escape from. HOW you create that life can change as you make adjustments.

Consider this post a permission slip to change your mind.

I want to create a life I don’t need to escape by calming my monkey mind and being physically active to reduce physical aches and pains. I can do that through yoga or time in the garden or in the bike saddle – or a combination of all three!

Your Turn

What isn’t working with your habits? What small adjustments can you make? I encourage you to try the 5 Why’s exercise to try to get to the root of the issue. If you need help walking through this or the Continuous Improvement steps, I would love to talk it through with you.

By |2021-05-18T08:48:07-04:00April 20th, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

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