5 min read

The Productivity Benefits of a Gratitude Mindset

Hello there! I'm Brennan Davis, the creator of CreaDev Labs, a place of learning and experimentation on productivity and personal knowledge management. Each week I share tips, experiments, and resources to help you build your very own productivity and knowledge management systems. If you're new around here, be sure to check out my archive of previous newsletter editions. If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider sharing with a friend!

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It's that time of year where are thoughts are turned from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life towards the things for which we are most grateful for. I love this time of year because it gives us a built in opportunity to focus on what's most important: the relationships we have with friends and family.

Having a gratitude mindset doesn't have to be isolated to the last couple months of the year, of course. Being grateful can benefit us in many areas of our lives, including our productivity. I personally keep a Gratitude Log in my Bullet Journal so I can have a place to write down what I'm grateful for each and every day. It helps me remain focused on the important things in my life, and helps me see the world around me in a more positive light.

Here's some other benefits I've seen from having a year long gratitude mindset:

We can be happy in the current moment

Focusing on what we're grateful for helps us to be content with what we already have, and diminishes the constant need and stress of acquiring more. It's perfectly fine to want things, but we can feel much more peace and happiness in the current moment by being grateful for what we already have instead of obsessing over something we might get in the future.

This closely aligns with something James Clear wrote in his book Atomic Habits:

"When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don't have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running."

In the same way, whenever we take stock of what we have and are sincerely grateful for it, then we can be happy right away. We don't have to wait until we've acquired more.

Helps us better utilize the tools we already have

As a fan of productivity tools, I'm often researching new apps and methods that I could potentially use to improve my productivity and/or personal knowledge management systems. This often causes me to chase after the newest and shiniest tools and waste a lot of time trying to make them fit into my system. It's far more efficient to look at the tools I already have and find creative ways to use them to fit my needs.

This past year I've tried to focus on getting the most out of what I'm currently using, and it has saved me so much time, which has led to greatly increased productivity. I'm grateful to be at a place where I'm content with the tools I have and am excited to continue finding creative solutions to my productivity problems.

Take a look at your current tools and focus on the things you like about them. Be happy and grateful for what you have. Productivity can be achieved with the simplest of tools, so whatever you have is worth being grateful for.

Helps us set up more meaningful systems and goals

I believe most of us are most grateful for the relationships in our lives, and focusing on those relationships can help us set up more meaningful systems and goals. For example, whenever I'm thinking about the future, I try to keep the needs of my family front and center. I want them to be taken care of, so the goals I set are primarily centered around how to better provide for them.

If we keep what's most important to us in mind when goal setting, we will end up living a much more rewarding and fulfilling life. Money and fame don't bring happiness: our relationships with other people do.

What benefits have you seen from having a gratitude mindset? Please share with me by sending an email to brennan@creadevlabs.com, or if you're viewing this on the website please share in the comments section below.


Things I'm working on to improve my productivity and personal knowledge management practices

As I've been starting to use GoodNotes as my primary personal knowledge management app, I've been encountering a lot of ideas that I'd like to turn into content on CreaDev Labs. I've been tagging this content with tags like "#newsletter" and "#YouTube" so I can later on search for those tags and see all my content ideas in one place. I currently have a list of content ideas in my Bullet Journal, but since I've started tagging things in GoodNotes in this way, I'm thinking of transferring the list to GoodNotes so I can have all my ideas in one place.

Note with tags at the bottom for searching
Search results for #newsletter tag

What I'm Reading / Watching / Listening to:

Resources and ideas from others to explore

Video: Why you procrastinate even when it feels bad
Procrastinating is probably something we've all found ourselves doing, and historically this has been seen as a sign of laziness. In this video, however, they talk about how procrastination has more to do with caring too much rather than being apathetic. Because we care so much about the outcome of something we need to do, we hesitate to get started because we fear we won't be able to meet our own high expectations. Procrastination is therefore more closely tied to perfectionism rather than laziness. And the more we put something off, the more threatening it becomes in our minds, and it grows even harder to get started. The best way to combat procrastination is to push through that initial hesitation we have and just get started. Most often we find once we get started that doing the thing isn't as bad as we build it up to be in our minds, and our productivity improves as a result.

Video: Do You Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Every Night?
As shown in this video, the answer to this question is not so black and white. 8 hours is an average, meaning some people are okay with less than 8 hours, and others may need a little more. The biggest thing I took away from the video is all the fear mongering and stress about sleep is actually increasing our sleep problems, not helping them. As long as you feel well rested throughout the day, even without a full 8 hours of sleep, then you're probably getting the right amount of sleep. For those who do have trouble getting enough sleep, there's a method mentioned at the end of the video that is supposed to have a high success rate of helping people get better sleep (though it's not talked about in detail, so you'll need to do a little Googling).

Latest Book Chapter Summary

Sketchnoted chapter summaries of books I'm currently reading

Summary of The Bullet Journal Method: Notebooks
Sketchnoted summary of the section titled “Notebooks” in Ryder Carroll’s book “The Bullet Journal Method”

Questions or comments?

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