Things that are working

Don’t laugh but I still have Lizzy’s foot when she was 3 years old as my screen photo. It’s just so cute. hahaha

As effort to reduce mental load, less stress, I’ve implemented few things since January 9 (first day back to office).

  • Just to do it. If a task takes less than 5 min, just do it and not add it to my to-do list. Often times when I’m at the gym or running or meditating, I remember doing something. When I stop that activity, I write it down to add to my todo list later. That process may take longer than just doing it.
  • Do not open email before I finish my to-do lists that are quick. Once I open my work email, I’m absorbed by all work related things that I need to respond. Then those todo lists remain undone but parked in my mind, feeling behind.
  • Block apps during downtime (6pm to 9am on weekdays and all day on weekends). This is game changer!!! I block all apps except communication apps that are essential (WhatsApp is not essential). While I am mindful of not on my phone when I am at home, when there’s a notification I feel like I have to check. With all the apps blocked, I don’t get those notifications. When I need to use the app, I unblock it for 1 or 15 min, and it goes back to blocked, reminding me it’s downtime. This is absolutely the best change I’ve made this month so far, and don’t plan to go back to pre-blocking.
  • Have a YouTube account just for workout videos. This aims to avoid distraction and remind myself to open YouTube only when it’s functional, not mindless browsing. For other YouTubers account, I have it on my computer.
  • Social media only on designated days (Friday-Sunday) on my computer. Not surprisingly, once I don’t have FB and instagram on my phone, I don’t remember opening them often.
  • Do not open work email on weekends. It’s tempting to check on work email to know if anything is going on that requires my immediate attention but most of the times it’s not really urgent. But once I see those emails, I start thinking about them. The last time I did that on a Saturday morning, I got pissed for the rest of the day. Now my work email app is not even in home screen, I’d need to search it when wanting to open it. I’ve told my team about this change, and ask them to text me when really urgent.

Let me know if you’ve implemented anything new to reduce mental load.

4 thoughts on “Things that are working

  1. I think I have tried most of these. I feel like I’m constantly trying to improve my productivity, decrease distraction, etc. I really never check work email on the weekends though. It would be very rare for me to get anything I need to deal with over the weekend. I have social media on my phone currently, and I feel like I’m using more than I should, BUT I have been following and particpating some in a couple online groups for this Shred program I’m doing. I like browsing the comments, and it has helped me to stay motivated. So I’m okay with it for now. My Apple watch is really helping me too to not always have to have my phone near me, because I know I won’t miss a call or text but yet I can’t just “scroll” on my watch like I do on my phone.


  2. that’s great. I was often time checking emails from work and once I pick up the phon, I tend to check other things. now, this system is helping me to be happily leave the phone in the charging station when I’m with my family. All people that needs me are with me, so not really needing the phone for anything else.


  3. Now that I have a separate phone for work, I don’t check work emails as often on the weekend. I really dislike having 2 phones! When my colleague retires this spring, I will have to take over some work he does on saturday morning. It’s only about 45-60 minutes so not bad overall but not ideal…

    I like all the features the iPhone has to help you ignore your phone/be more productive! When I was on social media, I would limit myself to 20 min between FB and IG and that really helped prevent me from scrolling!


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