What are your default settings?

Robby Miles — №34 with Greg McKeown

Chances are you’re familiar with the default settings on your computer or phone. Maybe you never even thought about them.

What about the defaults in your life?

Have you thought about those?

Are they helping or hurting you when it comes to being productive?

Defaults determine how devices perform in different situations

Defaults 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.

They help you know how a device works without having to read a manual. Like Apple says, “it just works.”

Defaults help you to 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!

You’re not a robot programmed for perfect productivity.

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. The mental rush you get from staying busy makes you feel productive. But time slips away.

Take, for example, 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.

Reset your defaults

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 defaults: Change your environment.

Changing defaults 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 towards.

For example, don’t leave all your tabs open at the end of the work day just to get distracted first thing tomorrow. Either:

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 around 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 to be more productive and to accomplish your grandest goals.

Photo: Flickr / orphanjones CC BY 2.0

Robby miles

Robby Miles

Robby is a husband, a dad of four, a college prep teacher, a freelance writer, and an officer in the Army National Guard. After hours, he runs a Mission Mindset project to help people like himself stay on top of things.

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