Happy Monday, everybody! Today, I have a really exciting announcement for you which is that I am going to reveal the official Change Academy topic for the month of September!
So, in the month of September in Change Academy, we are talking about how to upgrade your workflow. So, we are gonna talk about systems. We are gonna talk about strategies to make your work more streamlined, more productive. When I say work, I mean whatever is on your list as work. So, if you are a stay-at-home mom, and it’s all of the life management things that are on your list, that’s great. If you’re a corporate worker, that’s great. If you’re a nurse, that’s great. It doesn’t matter who you are, these tips and strategies that we are going to be talking about this month are going to be able to be broadly applied across lots of different types of work.
We’re specifically going to be talking a lot about the science of flow. So, a flow state is what we experience when we are really into a task and time just starts to fly, and there’s actually very scientific applicable tools and tips for how to create that state and not just wait for it to be there like a, quote-unquote, “strike of inspiration” or whatnot.
So, all of the episodes this week are going to be just mini snippets or tidbits of what we’re really going to talk about in the workshop. So, if you’re enjoying this, I would definitely suggest either buying the workshop alone or signing up for Change Academy.
So, today, I want to talk about the story of me grading papers when I was a master’s student. So, when I was a master’s student, it wasn’t actually papers I was grading, it was speeches, and, at the end of the semester, the students would all submit their final speech recordings, and I would have to grade them within a week because of the way things were set up. And so, that meant that I had to spend pretty much most of my week just grading, and, let me tell you, I love teaching, but grading 80 speeches in a row is boring. And so, it required me to get very, very strategic about my workflow in order to make that task into something that I could get done in as efficient of a time as possible, but also something that I enjoyed.
So, this was a time in my life where I was pretty into CrossFit. This was during the pandemic, so I was doing CrossFit on my balcony, and I was grading speeches in my apartment. And so, because I was doing CrossFit on my balcony, I had downloaded this thing called WOD Timer. So, if you’re not familiar with CrossFit, WOD stands for workout of the day, and there are different types of workouts. One of them is called an EMOM which is every minute on the minute. So, it’s like every minute on the minute you do ten push-ups or something like that.
So, I had this timer that was set up so that every minute on the minute it would beep, and one day, I was grading, and I was thinking to myself, “I’m so bored. How do I make this more entertaining? How do I make this more efficient?” I thought to myself, “Hmm, I wonder if I put myself on a timer what this would do.”
Now, what that did was it did a couple of things. One, it gave my brain novelty which is really important when it comes to flow and enjoyment of our tasks. It changed the task so it felt not so monotonous. I was doing it differently than I had done it before. Two, it provided a way to gamify the task. So, what I did was I knew that it took me seven minutes to watch their speech, and then it took me, roughly, another seven minutes to go through and write all my comments. And so, I used this timer. I set it to be every minute for every 15 minutes it would beep, and I put the timer right in front of me.
And so, what I did was I made it a game to see, hey, can I complete and grade these speeches, each of them, in 15 minutes? Can I grade it by the time the timer beeps again? And, if I can, can I get ahead, right? Is there a way that I could become so efficient with this task that I can actually be done early?
What my lesson for you today is from that is that I would encourage you to ask yourself what you can do this week to incorporate task novelty in your schedule. How can you make a task that you do often that’s considered to be, quote, “boring,” new and different? Can you make it into a game? Can you time yourself? Can you do it in a different way? Can you focus on organizing your socks or whatever in a very specific formation? What can you do to take the boring and make it unboring?
That is what I’ve got for you today! We are gonna talk about the science behind why that works, the science behind novelty focus and flow in the Academy Workshop which is this Thursday, so I hope to see some of you there.
I will talk to you in the next episode!