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Way, way back when, Shawn showed off one of his cool tricks for spurring the creative juices each morning. Rather than sitting down cold turkey at the computer to begin work for the day, Shawn would leave a note right in front of his keyboard the prior evening outlining the next step, the next idea, or the next topic to write. Rather than sitting down to chaos, the note provided a clear path forward for Shawn.
This was my first introduction to a “startup” routine.
Honestly, the introduction didn’t root — I only developed a startup routine about five or six months ago.
I had no idea what I was missing. Since adopting my own startup routine, I’ve never felt so in control. I wake up in the morning with a new shot of confidence and a spurt of energy because I know what’s coming. I know what I’m in for. Less reaction. More action.
I can point the rooting of this startup routine to the discovery of Sunsama. Sunsama has done a number of things for my life in recent months. The app has rooted this startup routine and is developing a shutdown routine. The app helps me come to grips with an immense workload and an acceptance of my limits each day. The app helps track my time, carve out moments of personal time, and ensure my actions are aligned with my objectives each week. Sunsama has quickly become one of the most fundamental apps in my workflow.
This startup routine, though? It’s this startup routine in Sunsama which has altered how I work.
You need input, advice, and inspiration in order to make decisions, come up with new ideas, or take action on something.
But with too many inputs (especially too many non-essential inputs), your ability to think clearly and make decisions is hindered. It leads to less progress, dual focus, and, ultimately, very little traction.
How would you describe your average day?
Here are some common answers I see to this question. People often describe their day as being:
In contrast, how would you describe your ideal day? How do you WISH your average day was?
For me, my average day is generally fulfilling, fun, and productive.
As much as I love a good vacation in the Colorado mountains, I would get a bit stir crazy if I didn’t ever have something to put my hand to. And, of course, if all I ever did was work, I’d burn myself out — which is what I used to do.
I used to work 70 hours a week. In 2015 I only took about 10 days off the whole year. I even worked over my Christmas vacation! Yikes.
It took me years to become comfortable with taking time off. Evenings, weekends, long lunches, even vacations… I would feel guilty if I wasn’t cramming every minute of my day with something productive and important.
Dr. Richard Swenson writes, in his book on Margin, that we must “develop the necessary underpinnings for margin that will allow us to accept its importance without guilt. For just as we need to eat and sleep, so we also need to breathe.”
When you’re at capacity, there is no room for anything else. But when there is space left over — when there is margin — that space enables you to breath.
Notion is constantly coming out with new features, which as an avid user, I greatly appreciate. One of the most notable new features is sub-tasks and dependencies. This is a fantastic new feature for those who work on a team in Notion, making it an even stronger contender with Asana.
The dependency feature lets you know what tasks need to be completed before another one, a great feature for teams who work using the Scrum and Agile project management method.
There are a million habit-tracking apps out there. But almost all of them are built on some form of the idea, “Don’t break the chain.”
The basic idea is that when you consistently show and take action, you create a lot of momentum toward creating positive change. And that makes a lot of sense. But when you mess up and break your streak, it can be pretty discouraging.
This is great for helping you keep an established habit going, but it can be frustrating when you fall off the wagon.
If you’ve felt this before and are looking for a habit tracker to help you make positive changes without the guilt, then you need to check out Polar Habits.
Polar Habits is a simple web app that allows you to create habits and build momentum by completing them. The momentum is calculated by adding the number of days you’ve consecutively completed the task or subtracting the number of days you’ve consecutively missed and is displayed visually in a Dashboard.
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Our Must-Have, Most Used Productivity Apps
We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through hundreds of apps to find the very best. We put together a short list of our must-have, most-used apps for increasing productivity.