As you may have gleaned from my other posts, productivity and time management are on my mind a lot. I’m one of those people who finds it so fun to hack my time, discover cool new ways to increase my focus, and show up on time.

But in my work with my clients, I’ve noticed that it’s easy to slip into the nitty gritty and miss the entire point: To spend more time doing things you absolutely love. (And to learn to love what you haven’t loved up until now.)

It’s not to feel like every single minute is “optimized,” to prove that you’ve earned your busy badge, or outstay your coworkers in the office every day. Unless you want your gravestone to read “[FIRST NAME GOES HERE]Excellent at optimizing productivity apps“?

BUT: Do you know your compelling reason for changing your productivity and time management habits? If not, here’s a quick 7-minute exercise that’s perfect to do today, as you sit on your couch with a cup of coffee (or a beer) in hand:

For each category below, spend 1 minute (no more — set a timer) coming up with something that you want that feels totally impossible for you to have. It can be physical or non-physical; a thing, a belief, an experience, etc. Anything goes, but just one thing per category:

  1. Self confidence
  2. Career
  3. Finances
  4. Community and relationships
  5. Health and wellness
  6. Creativity
  7. Physical environment (city, home, possessions, etc)

Use this sentence to guide you: “It feels impossible, but in [category above], I want _____________.” You can also use this one: “If I had a magic wand, I would wish for ____________.”