8 Ways to Increase Productivity in the Shower

Be Ready When Inspiration Strikes

Whether you take a 2-minute shower or turn the bathtub into a luxurious home spa, the shower presents an interesting productivity situation. Your primary task is to get clean. Once you start your shower routine, however, your mind will start to turn elsewhere.

Maybe you get bored, mentally tapping your foot until you’re done. Maybe inspiration strikes, but your trusted molskine notebook is on your desk. Neither of these represents an effective use of your time, even though you’re still accomplishing one of your critical tasks for the day. You can do better.

Here are eight suggestions for how you can supercharge your time in the shower to get a productive start to your day.

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Every one who has taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it that makes a difference.

Nolan Bushnell, Founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, 1943–

Always Be Reading

Nothing helps you grow like a good book.

Reading is one of the best things you can do for your personal growth. You will learn from the greatest minds, be exposed to new ideas, and escape to strange and exotic lands.

My parents made certain to get each of us at least one book every birthday and Christmas. I wasn’t aware of how intentional this was until my parents, my siblings, and I were discussing (and coordinating) Christmas gifts for the grandchildren last year.

Children who are read to enter school with a vocabulary 4–5x larger than their non-read-to peers. Students who love to read consistently perform above average. Then as adults, reading tends to decline. We want to, but we don’t have time.

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Measure Your Progress Against the Road

Your life doesn’t compare to anyone else’s.

Have you ever been stopped at a red light and had a moment of panic when the car next to you moves? You push harder on the brake because—for just a second—it feels like you’re the one moving. It takes your brain that second to assess the situation and realize that you’re not going to roll into the car behind you.

It’s called relative motion. Used properly, it can greatly simplify the calculations in a physical problem. Used incorrectly, it will skew your frame of reference and perspective beyond belief.

The same is true when assessing your personal growth.

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8 Tips and Tools for Forgetful Productivity

Get more done and think less about it.

My parents bought me a Franklin Quest planner when I started junior high. They each had one, and each of us kids had one. We would joke about how our planners were our brains. They were how we kept track of everything we needed to do. Without them, we were lost.

Over the years, the nature of our trusted systems have changed, but the lessons I’ve learned from them are more applicable than ever. By writing down everything I need to do, it’s okay if I forget about it. I’ll be reminded of it and still get it done. The stress and anxiety of juggling a mental list of everything I need to do just isn’t there. I still have high pressure days where I am completely oversubscribed, but I can usually focus on one thing at a time, give it my complete attention until I’m done, and then move on.

In addition to the six principles I outlined in “Forgetting Everything You Need to Do”, here are eight specific tactics I use to let myself forget and still get things done.

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