In the past few weeks I have had an enormous amount of realization about how to organize the priorities in my life. It stemmed from the book I’m currently reading: Atomic Habits. In a portion of the book James Clear discusses environmental design and how changing friction, or the number of steps involved in a given action, can help you accomplish the goals that are important to you. Clear made a claim that has stuck with me since reading the book, “disciplined people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.” Up until implementing this I was very undisciplined; I would make goals but would never follow up, start projects and never finish them, and mainly be prone to distractions easily.
So I tried this idea to implement friction to see what the result would be on my level of productivity. I started by making two lists: bad habits (time wasters) and good habits. I then went down this list and did two things: make my bad habits so difficult that I would forget I even had them and make my good habits so easy that I could do them everyday. and to my surprise, it was literally that easy. Basically all you have to do is:
- Increase Friction for Bad Habits
- Decrease Friction for Good Habits
Here is how I changed my environment: I started by blocking Youtube from my computer and deleting the app from my phone. Next I went in settings on my phone and put limits on my social media apps to just 30 minutes a day (It’s tempting to press “Ignore for 15 Minutes,” but it’s a good start). What I learned is that just by increasing the number of steps it took to do a bad habit would make me usually forget entirely about it. More Importantly, I typically didn’t even have to make the good habits that much easier, I just naturally did them because I eliminated most of the distractions that used to get in the way. I created an environment where I don’t even need to have any self control simply because I don’t see the bad cues anymore. Thanks James Clear.