“Decide what you need to do, make a habit of it, and come to love it rather than resent it... Finding joy in what needs doing is magical.”

- Tim O’Reilly in an interview with Gretchen Rubin

Wellness Tip

Try Mood Monitoring With a Mental Health App

Being glued to our smartphones may not be great for our mental health – but then again, it depends a lot on how we use them.

One way your phone can benefit you is as a way to monitor and manage your mental health. There are a bunch of apps out there that allow you to track moods and symptoms, learn coping strategies, and even talk with qualified mental health professionals.

Early research is promising. For example, this study on the app MoodPrism found an increase in mental wellbeing.

Here are a few others to check out:

  • MoodMission – an evidence-based app for overcoming depression and anxiety
  • TalkSpace – an app that gives you access to a licensed therapist
  • Moodfit – the app to track moods, set goals, and access Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tools
  • Happify – fun app with science-based games for reducing stress and overcoming negative thoughts

There are so many excellent apps out there, so do a search online – you’re bound to find one that suits your needs.

Productivity Tip

Say No

"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything," says self-made billionaire, Warren Buffett.

Steve Jobs used the same principle at Apple. “You have to pick carefully... Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things,” he once said.

If we go on a lot about priorities, this is why. To be successful – in work, in business, or in life – you have to focus on what matters.

To put it another way – what we give our attention to grows.

Saying no to the thousand unimportant things that compete for our attention is what allows us to dedicate ourselves to the things we want to grow.

Do you use the Priorities section of your Panda Planner? It’s a great way to narrow down what you want to focus on.

Just remember that you can’t do everything – and that’s okay. Define your priorities, and deciding what to say “no” to becomes a whole lot easier.

Routine Breakdown

Tim O’Reilly - Author and Founder/CEO of O’Reilly Media

Author and CEO Tim O’Reilly has a morning routine that may change the way you look at household chores. As we quoted above, it’s all about finding joy in what needs doing.
Here’s his routine:

  • Wakes between 5 and 6.30 am
  • Does some yoga or goes running with his wife
  • Does household chores. “I treat morning chores as a kind of meditation. Hanging laundry on the line is especially like that for me.”
  • Reads books and poetry. “Sustained time with another mind rather than constant media snacking is so important!”

Why it works:

  • If you can make rising early work for you, you’re bound to reap some proven benefits.
  • Morning exercise is good for the brain.
  • Doing chores in the morning can have surprising benefits – like giving you a sense of accomplishment that leads to increased productivity throughout the day.
  • O’Reilly is right about reading: it reduces stress, strengthens the brains, prevents cognitive decline, and more.

He also has a point about chores as a form of meditation. In one 2014 study, college students were instructed to wash dishes either normally or in a state of mindfulness. The mindful group felt more inspired and mentally stimulated (yes – by doing dishes!). Negative feelings like nervousness also decreased.

Why not try doing tomorrow’s chores mindfully? That means paying attention to the little details – the feeling of fabrics on your skin, the smell of soap bubbles in the sink.

This guide has some useful tips and instructions for how to apply mindfulness to daily chores. Check it out for some more ideas, and give it a shot tomorrow!