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The birth of the modern workday

If you're single in your 30s, chances are you've watched quite a few friends get hitched and make babies. While initially these milestones may incite jealousy, eventually the rose-colored glasses come off and you get to see them for what they really are—trade-offs that require a lot of work.

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This isn't to say they're not worth the sacrifice, it just means that the longer you wait to make these moves, the more time you will have to think mindfully about which scenarios actually make you happiest. Maybe you always thought you wanted children, for example, but after seeing the reality of what that entails you've changed your mind. Maybe you figured you would be a stay-at-home mom, but then you heard firsthand from friends how challenging that can be and have decided to remain committed to some version of your career. Maybe, after watching friends struggle with money, you've decided financial stability is an important criteria for anyone you seriously consider as a life partner.

Whatever the revelation may be, you probably wouldn't have known it with such clarity had you not been able to bear witness to the trials and tribulations of your trailblazing friends. It's an intensely luxurious thing to wake up each morning and realize that the day is yours to shape in whatever way you like. Sure, you may have an office job that doesn't allow you to exercise absolute free will, but what happens outside of that is all you. After work, you can go to the gym, read a book, take in a movie, drink a bottle of wine with a friend, go on a date—whatever you want.

Once you have a family, this reality becomes a distant memory. The trade-offs are, of course, wonderful in their own way—you get to go home to loved ones, you have a hand to hold in hard times, you get to spend time with your child, who is likely to be your favorite person on the planet—but still.

How great is it that you can go home tonight and eat mac and cheese in the bathtub while watching Sex and the City and flipping through Us Weekly if you want? Here are signs from Howes that you may be burned out or need better work-life boundaries:. Once you recognize that something needs to change, start with your mindset. A lot of people struggle to set boundaries or say no at work because they want to be liked, Howes says, but that strategy might not be helpful in the long run. Saying no teaches people to respect you and respect your time He suggests taking an honest look at your motivation for doing so much extra work.

Howes also suggests not engaging in gossip or getting drawn into office drama, which increases the time you spend talking and thinking about work and is just toxic. Should we talk about how to prioritize those? And Howes recommends heading into these conversations with a few potential solutions in mind.

If you need to set a boundary with a pushy colleague, try one of these scripts from Green:. And if you tend to have a hard time saying no, Howes recommends just not responding immediately. It does seem to be roughly true that what gets measured gets done.

A goal for many of the steps in this article is for you to use your phone less, and to use social media apps much, much less. I consider it the feedback part of the above quote. Then hopefully the reward is an intrinsic satisfaction in your own life and productivity. In addition to installing the widget, you should set yourself a goal for social media usage. Imagine you had a child and were setting a limit for how much television they could watch each day. Is one hour reasonable?

Is six hours reasonable? Now, instead of this child, consider instead that you are setting limits for yourself, and that social media has replaced your television watching time. I have zero pride preventing me from treating myself like a toddler in need of parental controls. The reality is that we all could use some strict blocks to prevent our worst habits. What you should consider is whether you have any habitual behaviors around checking specific websites and then use this feature to break those habits.

For example, I used to live in San Francisco and so had a habit of checking the website for the daily paper. I still type that URL into my browser just out of pure muscle memory. None of you are going to do this… but I tried a month with no access to a web browser. If you are up for this, I definitely want to hear from you.

20 things to master before you turn 40

The theory is that the browser is one of the addictive slot machines that draws your attention and wastes your time. So I used parental controls to disable Safari. When I tested this, I used Chrome as my occasional browser because the path for removing access again was shorter. There are four ways to organize your apps: by function, by color, by random chance, and alphabetically.

The home screen is for tools only. The second screen is apps organized into folders. However, on each screen and within each folder you have to make additional decisions about organizing.

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You should choose alphabetically. We want to set your phone up so that your rational brain is the boss, and your emotional, addictive, worst-decisions brain is asleep or blocked. The best explanation for this is in the book, Thinking, Fast and Slow or just read the NYT book review for a good overview.

The author lays out a model for the brain as having two systems. The Fast system is our default. The Slow system is what we think of as our rational brain. When I train meditation in my Heavy Mental program , I train a verbal way of moving the thoughts that come up during a meditation into our Slow system.


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That way we can analyze the thought, and then drop it. The entire trick is that activating your language center always activates your Slow system. When you go for an app, I want you to have the actual name of the app in mind. The second good reason is that alphabetical is less brittle. Organizing by function is hard because sometimes apps have more than one function. Organizing by app name is intellectually trivial in comparison.

For the vast majority of people, the ideal phone setup is to embrace Google Cloud services mail, calendar, photos, maps and pair them with Apple hardware. You can often configure the Apple apps to connect to the Google services. And Marshall was adamant that every experience he had with clients using automation tools turned out badly. Clients who chose automation were bailing on essential inbox habits. So, paired with the settings above, you should be working on your email habits.

That means primarily unsubscribing and blocking aggressively. I filter those into folders and only check those folders occasionally.

If you can build this habit, then you can use it to trigger new habits. In the Tiny Habits method , checking your calendar would be called an anchor habit. The reason I think that will work is because I trust that you will naturally want to check the calendar and weather, thus triggering the new and less natural habit of checking additional widgets. On the short meetings front, this is literally a chance to save yourself hours each day by making the meetings you go to shorter and more focused.

The key to focus is to have a clear goal, and push directly toward that goal. I have one friend, a CEO, who wants the time on his calendar to be as precious as the time on a U. If a meeting only needs seven minutes, then just give it seven minutes. This is yet another example of preferring the Google Cloud. And the custom settings for Home and Work are just small time-savers.

2. Start Taking Care of Your Health Now, Not Later

This will let you type faster through swiping. The keyboard will figure out what you mean. At first this will feel a little uncomfortable, but it will quickly become second nature. Gboard, from Google, also has a bunch more features too like GIF and emoji search.

#1. Your phone is a tool, not a boss

Especially with email, you want to avoid reading the same email twice. So if I happen to read a message that needs a response, I want to give that response right away.


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The main benefit of Google Photos is that the search is amazing. They use machine learning to categorize all of your photos so that you can later search them. For example, without any work I can find all my selfies by just searching for the word me. And I often pull up pictures of my dogs by searching for dog.

I have even had someone pull up photos of a specific handcrafted greenland kayak paddle. For photos, take the following steps. I end up storing my photos in four places: Google photos, iCloud, laptop and Dropbox sync. I should probably take them out of Dropbox. This is an example of where a messy-by-design organization structure beats rigid one.

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Search is more reliable and faster than you trying to manually categorize every photo. If you already love your note taking app and to-do list app, then fine, stick with those. This is a recommendation where habits beat tools.