When someone controls their environment, they are much happier.
This is one of the key ingredients in becoming productive at what you do.
The idea is simple: You need to design your environment, whether it be digital or analog, to support you.
This means investing time in learning your tools, taking courses, rearranging your desk, buying equipment that will help you reduce activation energy and increase flow.
Activation energy is the amount of effort you must exert to do a task.
An example of a complex task that requires a lot of effort, especially for starters, would be getting into the habit of jogging early in the morning.
Thinking about the steps will probably prevent you from getting up.
What to wear? Which route today? Is it raining? Where are my running shoes?
Tasks with multiple steps or even unclear tasks require a lot of cognition to get things in order and that takes a toll on our will power, depleting even before we start.
To overcome this we simply divide and conquer. We define the subtasks beforehand and put them in order. An example would be preparing the running shoes easily accessible.
This is how you reduce activation energy. You simply avoid needless decisions in the morning and spending it on what matters i.e. deciding to run not deciding what to wear!
Flow is a mental state of being completely immersed in an activity.
It’s being in the zone of complete focus and enjoyment where you sometimes forget the passing of time.
More flow means you’ll get more things done deeply and creatively whilst being able to enjoy the activity.
Suddenly a task becomes a part of a milestone, not a chore.
Here are some samples of how I reduced activation energy and increased flow:
- I removed pain by buying the necessary tools for my work
- I deliberately practiced on how to navigate faster inside VIM editor using the right keystrokes.
- I organized my notes/snippets/tasks in a very accessible way.
- I schedule deep work
In an increasing distraction in our current world. These are just little steps we can take to keep our sanity in check.