Restlessness is the ugly brother of laziness. Restlessness is the desire to be productive without the laser focus on just what you want to produce. Imagine a machine gun in the hands of a ten year old; restlessness is something that I have been struggling with now more than ever lately. I always have a strong desire to get out of a work situation that I find myself in and grab at any glimmer of light that I can find. Because I am borderline desperate to find the light, I always tend to jump into everything without following through on other tasks and receiving all of their benefits. As of right now, I am implementing these minor habit changes to hopefully pump the brakes a little bit to foster a stronger sense of progress in all areas of my life.
One book at a time. Before this article, I was reading upwards of 5 books at any given time; not good. I ended up getting lost in books, but the wrong way and for the wrong reasons. My original thought was that reading so many books at once would allow me to cover more territory. After jumping from book to book, I would end up rereading the last two pages to get situated back into wherever I left off. This process would instantly set me back in a number of different ways. My new plan allows me to read 10 pages a day of one book while taking notes. This still allows me to jump around a bit, but provides me with a deeper understanding of the material that I am reading. Maybe I’ll be able to stick with one book all the way through someday, but the problem is that I read like a 5-year-old. In other words, my reading speed is so slow that I wouldn’t be able to cover all the fields I want to in a short time span. So, if you’ve experienced similar issues, try to read just one book a week, especially if you tried to read 5 books at once like me.
Limit your tasks for the day. I think I love making a “to-do” list just as much as I like marking off my completed tasks. However, I would certainly get carried away with the number of items on my list by always thinking that I could knock down 15 things in one day. Apparently, I didn’t realize that taking care of human functions took time, such as eating and using the restroom. Just as good as it feels to take things off of your daily list, it could feel quite the opposite when you’re unable to complete a single task. Well, I have recently tried to limit my ambitious self to two or three tasks a day. This allows me to accomplish the important tasks during the day, and then save some time to relax a bit at the end of the day.
Get a giant whiteboard. I would cover my studio in whiteboards if could. Whiteboards are possibly my favorite invention, aside from a toaster oven or a Razor scooter. When I was in college, I built myself a giant whiteboard that measured 6 feet by 4 feet. My roommate and I would write out everything that we thought we could expect to see on our upcoming exams. I was instantly hooked. You might not be in school, but you can still write all of your tasks on a whiteboard. The size of the whiteboard, unlike that small sticky note that we all know will end up falling out of your pocket, makes it easier to visually organize your tasks and goals throughout the day.
Rest. Hey, if nothing else, be content and live in the moment. This concept has been a struggle for me throughout my life. In fact, I used to date a girl who would call me out for my restlessness. When we would spend time together, I would become consumed by looking at restaurants, museums, or any other activity that I could think for us to do together. I kept asking her what she would be interested in doing, and she would simply say, “I am happy just being here.” I was pleasantly surprised by her response. This is something that I have carried with me ever since but also struggled with. If this concept is hard for you, I would recommend meditating (which she recommended too) and reading The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan W. Watts. Take a tip from them, breath, and be happy in the present moment.