STEP OF THE DAY
Take one step every day toward becoming the best you can be
THIS IS OUR BLOG
I figured there’s no reason not to do a weekly newsletter kind of thing. I also don’t want to let it go to waste in your inbox so crossposting it here! 🙂
In case you missed it last week:
Or the week before that:
Youtube channels I’m really enjoying this week/binge watching more than I should:
Music I’m listening to:
Palms Trax Boiler Room Dekmantel Sao Paolo (also: only a little over 2 months until Dekmantel 2017! Super excited)
I’m a big fan of Wattcost and preordered one. It’s a device that figures out your home and let’s you save electricity and thus money and the planet.
If you’re keen to order one, you can do so here. We both get 15$ off if you use this link 😉
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Tip 1 – Audible
If you’re not on Audible yet (or some other platform to listen to audiobooks), get on it!
We love Audible and listen up to 3 books a day.
Listening on 2x speed makes it go even faster. Fill up your daily commute, cooking time, cleaning time, … with listening time and you’ll be surprised how many books you’ll read in no time.
If you want to try Audible for free and get 2 free books – use this link!
Tip 2- Always carry a book
If you have a book with you – preferably in your hand – you can easily fill up waiting time with reading time instead of social media time 😉
Tip 3 – Dedicate time to reading
… make it a habit and stick to it! 15 minutes before or after lunch? Almost 100 hours of reading per year. Average reading speed and book thickness makes for approximately 30 books per year!
Tip 4 – Put a book next to your sofa or bed
… and read 1 page every time you sit down or get in bed. This will link the action to reading and you’ll build a habit of reading every time you get in your sofa or bed.
Added benefit: you avoid “harmful” smartphone time right before going to sleep.
If you know someone who would benefit from reading this post please show it to them! 🙂
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Who doesn’t have a busy life? I know I do. 💩
Sometimes I feel like my mind won’t stop racing from 6 in the morning until, at least, 10 at night.😴 Crashing and burning out is inevitable if you try to keep this up. We get sick, break down and give up.
Willpower can only take you so far. But willpower and a zen mind can take you way further – apparently. 😉
Recently I read a couple of books on mindfulness and they got me thinking. How can I be more mindful? Will it help me deal with these issues?
In this article we briefly explain mindfulness, give some easy tips on how to be more mindful and point you in the right direction if you want to read more on this subject.
What is mindfulness
In four words, mindfulness means “living here and now”. But that doesn’t sound very fancy, does it? For those of you who’ve read our article on flow, this is an example of mindfulness.
Science has shown that being mindful is a way to improve quality of life and leads to a longer, happier life. Who doesn’t want that? 😄
How to be more mindful – with minimum effort.
If you want to be more mindful, here are some tips we practice to slow down our racing brains during the day. Feel free to share yours via your favorite social media channel.
- Put full focus on experiencing your body and your actions when going through your daily routines. Brushing your teeth. Putting on your clothes. Feel what you are doing.
- I sometimes practice mindful eating. Which means leaving my phone in my pocket (preferably on airplane or Do Not Disturb mode), taking a seat on a table with no distractions, slowly eating my food, bite by bite, and really experiencing my meal. 🍽
I put down my fork & knife after each bite and put my hands on the table so I can focus on what’s going on in my mouth.
Only after I swallow, will I start with the next bite and pick up my fork & knife again.
It’s amazing how having a meal can clear your head.
“Mindful eating”, sounds weird? I thought so too, until I gave it a try.😉
- Headspace is a great meditation app with 10 minute meditation sessions. Give it a shot. The first 10 sessions are free and after that a subscription isn’t that expensive. We’re giving away a free month of Headspace soon! Keep an eye on our social media channels. 😄
- Making sure you’re not distracted doing your work or daily chores. The state of mind called ‘Flow’, where you are fully engaged in the task you are doing, is a way to be more mindful. We have an article with tips on how to setup your iPhone for distraction-free work and/or life.
Work with Outlook for your mails/tasks? Try disabling all notifications for a new mail (sound, popups,…). Other email programs have similar customisability to disable distractions.
Further reading on mindfulness
We can highly recommend the books below if you want to learn more about mindfulness. We get a small commission when you buy books through our website but that doesn’t make it more expensive for you 😉
- Practicing the power of now by Eckhart Tolle
- The Science of Mindfulness: A research-based path to well-being by The Great Courses (Audible)
Both are available through Audible, our preferred way of “reading”. If you don’t have it yet, get it here with 2 free audiobooks.
How do you practice mindfulness? Let us know via a comment on your favorite social media channel. 😉😄
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Busy busy busy busy. And that phone keeps vibrating and making noise. You get out of Flow.
Don’t know what flow is?
Ever had an experience of time just flowing by without you noticing. When it feels like you’ve been doing something for 5 minutes and all of a sudden 2 hours have passed?
That is Flow.
Flow is a state of mind where we are fully absorbed in the present activity.
Research has shown that people who experience flow more often live longer. It’s also a great way to be more productive and be more mindful.
Sadly, our phones and their notifications keep interrupting.
In this short article, we’ll show you how to set up your iPhone to make sure you don’t get disturbed when you don’t want to. The goal is to achieve and sustain your state of flow more often and to ultimately be more productive.
We will explain 2 things
- How to use Do Not Disturb
- How to tweak Notifications so they don’t bother you.
Do not disturb
iPhones have a Do Not Disturb function. Toggle it on from the control centre (swipe up from the bottom of your screen) or from the settings app.
If I really want to get shit done, this is how I do it. Sadly, this isn’t always an option in a fast paced environment like my job. People need to be able to reach me sometimes so some calls have to be able to get through.
You can add people to a group (via the Contacts app) and allow this group to bypass Do Not Disturb or let people who call you twice within 3 minutes to come through:
Another option is Emergency bypass which is reached from the contacts or phone app by clicking on the Ringtone menu:
It also helps in conditioning other people to value your time. Teach the people around you not to call for things that can be done via email. Simply asking them to “shoot you a quick email to remind you” might help.
Using iOS’ built in sms replies for incoming calls is an easy way to do this. Among others I have one that says “cant pick up, please sms or email”. This changes a long distraction (phone call) to a brief one (tap respond with text and choose this reply).
A screen lighting up, a sound or the vibration of your phone. Each on its own is enough to take your mind off of your task and out of flow. Simply turning off the notifications is something I don’t recommend because sometimes you want to know what’s up.
Here is how I set up the notifications of apps like Messages, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram for maximum flow:
This way you can still unlock your phone and see what’s going on (the red badge numbers will still be there) but you won’t get disturbed by the light, sound and vibration 🙂
How do you tweak your phone’s settings to help flow or productivity? Let us know, we might learn a thing or two and might even update this article!
By the way, did you know flow is a mindfulness technique? 😉
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It’s december. The new year is right around the corner.
Millions of people will make tens of millions of so called new year’s resolutions. The start of a grand plan to change their life for the better. Think of all the “I’ll get fit” and “I’ll quit smoking” ‘s you hear around this time of the year. One might even aim to read more books..
Too bad most people hardly ever get past the resolution-stage. Why is that?
One simple reason is that people are creatures of habit.
In this article we’ll help you conquer these giant new year’s resolution mountains through the use of technology and habit hacking.
We’ll talk about three things in this article:
- How a habit works
- How to create or change a habit
- How to use technology in the process.
To finish up the article we have some practical examples from our own lives.
Sidenote: If you’ve already read a lot about habits, skip to Habit hacking 2.0
How habits work
In the simplest terms, habits work like this:
A cue triggers a routine in the hope of getting a reward.
- Cue: We enter the kitchen and see the fridge
- Routine: We open the fridge or cupboard and stuff our faces
- Reward: Sweet sweet sugary hapiness
Optional guilty feelings after.
That’s it. Easy as that. Can you think of a habit from your daily life and figure out the cues and routines?
This short explanation is all we need to know for this article. If you want to know more, check out our book page on The Power of Habit or read the book yourself. 😉
Creating or changing habits
Creating a new habit
If you want to create a new habit, the easiest way to do it is to pair it to an existing habit or cue/trigger. We’re in the habit of not reinventing the wheel, so check the following infographic. It’s not ours, but it explains it all.
BTW: keep in mind you want to avoid using rewards that might turn into “bad habits” in the long term.
Changing a habit
We can use the same principles to change a habit. This time however, we want to change the rewards from negative to positive. For example, taking a walk instead of smoking a cigarette. The following infographic from Charles Duhigg’s website explains it in more detail:
Habit hacking 2.0
We recently stumbled upon the app ‘Productivity’ which basically does all of the below but with less of a hassle. Check it out here.
Most of us have a smartphone that has basic location awareness & a clock and/or alarm. These 2 basic functions can be used to vastly increase our success rate in creating or changing habits.
Create a location or time based daily reminder that you can use as a cue. After a while you can delete them because the habit will be ingrained in your daily life. iPhone users can use the Reminders app or any other task manager with basic functionality:
You can also use your smartphone calendar. For example, plan your week on Sunday and make sure the time slots for your workouts are blocked/filled including travel time and time you need to prepare or shower afterwards.
Figure out for yourself what works best for your life. Everyone is different so what works for one person might not for the other.
Examples from our own lives
I take supplements like vitamin D, magnesium and fish oil. I used to forget this every day. I set a daily reminder “when I arrive home” to take them. Now I don’t need the reminder because arriving home became the cue to trigger this habit.
My favorite example is how I got to read more books. It’s actually twofold: read more books & listen to more audiobooks. I’ve read/listened to over a hundred books this year alone, so apparently it worked. 🙂
I put a book next to my toilet, sofa and bed. Every time I took a seat or got in bed I read 1 page.
Just 1. Easy Peasy. Even when I’m suuuuuper tired (or even drunk), 1 page before going to sleep is easy. Now I probably read around 10 or more pages every night. Multiply by (almost) 365 and you actually read a lot on a yearly basis!
Audiobooks. We love them because they are sooooo easy. I started listening in the car, doing housework and cooking. I listen to around 3 every week. Now when I’m not listening to one in my car or when vacuüming it feels weird!
So, give it a shot! BTW don’t wait for the new year to start with your project 😉 Start now!
If you want some further reading on habit hacking, check out this article by FastForwardAmy on Willpower hacking or our own, previously referenced book review on The Power of Habit (it has some youtube video’s for the lazy).
What habits will you try to create or change and how did this article help? Let us know 😉
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The route to a better you
Before we get you on your way, we thought it good to explain why we built this site.
Overall, we hope to show you a productive way of spending your free time, other than just watching television.
We like to read books, a lot of books, primarily focused on self-improvement. We’ve always found it hard to find the next book to read and that’s why we decided to build ReadRoute.com.
On ReadRoute.com, we’ll aim to guide you through the immense amount of available content and show you where to find the good stuff. We intend to provide you an overview of the books we liked the most, but also show you where to find blogs worth reading, youtube channels worth subscribing to and ted talks worth watching.
Readroute.com will aim to serve as your filter to find quality content, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes we made (spend 10 hours reading a book that’s not worthwile).
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any remarks or ideas, we read every mail and really appreciate the feedback.