Chances are you’re familiar with the default settings on your computer or phone. Maybe you never even thought about them.
What about the default settings in your life?
Have you thought about those?
Are they helping or hurting you when it comes to being productive?
Note: The following article originally appeared in the Productive! Magazine No.34 – A monthly dose of inspiring, practical and timeless articles written by the best productivity experts on the Internet. I’m a regular contributor
Defaults determine how devices perform in different situations.
They are the manufacturer presets that control a computer’s hardware or software. The purpose is to create reliable and predictable processes and make work easier.
Defaults help you know how a device works without having to read a manual. Like Apple says…”it just works.”
They help you be more productive because you’ve got a starting point and a standard system to follow.
Sure defaults work for computers, but what about for your productivity?
Here’s a newsflash for you…
People aren’t computers!
But like computers, we do tend to follow a certain set of routines, habits, and actions.
In other words, we usually work from our default settings.
Have you ever noticed how easily influenced you are by your surroundings?
It’s so much easier to get work done when you’re in your ideal environment. Too often, it’s easier to take the path of least resistance.
People tend to make decisions based on the environment instead of what’s in our best interest.
Imagine sitting down to your computer ready to start your work day. You’re feeling productive. But then you see browser tabs filled with new emails and notifications from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
You’re going to get distracted. And, the mental rush you get from staying busy makes you feel productive. But time slips away.
What about putting your phone next to your bed as an alarm. Sure it’s convenient and can track your sleep. But, are you really surprised when the morning is over and you’re running late?
Too often our default settings are created by chance and circumstance.
It’s time to take control and make defaults work for you rather than against you.
Here is the one step process to reset your default settings:
Change your environment.
Changing default settings is one of the easiest productivity tricks out there if you act with intention. Just change your environment to be in line with the habits you desire and the goals you’re working toward.
For example, don’t leave all your tabs open at the end of the work day just to get distracted first thing tomorrow. Either:
- shut down all your tabs,
- or have only the apps/tabs you’ll need for work open when you start the next day
Or perhaps if you’re trying to improve your health, have healthy options available.
Buy seltzer water instead of beer and keep a bowl of nuts or fruit instead of candy. Even if you change nothing else, you’ll improve your health.
What about that alarm clock?
Try using an old-fashioned alarm and put your phone on the other side of the room. Then you won’t be as tempted to sit in bed staring at your screen all morning.
Remember, you are the one in control of your personal productivity.
Just like you can change the defaults on your computer or phone, you get to determine your own default settings.
Design your defaults to start building strong habits that will help you be more productive and accomplish your grandest goals.
If you want help designing the default settings in your life check out some of the resources I’ve put together for busy people like you.