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Doing a mindful productivity audit: 10 questions to improve your mental health while being productive

Haikal Kushahrin
Haikal Kushahrin
I’ve recently joined Ness Labs’ Mindful Productivity Challenge to learn how to be more productive while taking care of my mental health and avoiding burning out.
The challenge is simple: Every day, we learn about one new strategy and do a short exercise to put it into practice.
On the first day, we learned about conducting a mindful productivity audit, where we reflect on our current systems to better improve them.
Here are 10 questions for the audit:
  1. What is the first thing I do in the morning?
  2. How do I manage my calendar?
  3. How much time do I dedicate to deep work during a typical day?
  4. How many breaks do I take during a typical day?
  5. How do I cultivate my curiosity?
  6. Do I have time for self-reflection during the week?
  7. Is my physical workspace setting me up for success?
  8. Is my digital workspace setting me up for success?
  9. How do I know the work day is over?
  10. What is the last thing I do in the evening?
You can read learn more about the audit here, and if you’d like to join the challenge, sign up for the Ness Labs community!
Here are my answers to the questions:
What is the first thing I do in the morning?
If I wake up early, it will be brushing my teeth, making some coffee, and get started on my studying/morning routine.If I sleep in, I’m afraid of missing texts and email, so I open my phone the first thing in the morning.
How do I manage my calendar?
I timebox my to-do lists into my calendar and use my calendar, so I have a birds-eye view of all my classes and events.
How much time do I dedicate to deep work during a typical day?
I’m not too sure if I’ve been doing deep work recently. Currently in a slump. Maybe 2-3 hours on a good day?
How many breaks do I take during a typical day?
10 mins break for every 50-minute work session. I also have breaks before dinner for exercising.
How do I cultivate my curiosity?
I’m not sure if I’ve been following my curiosities recently. But I’d like to do so by reading and consuming a wide variety of material and seeing what piques my interest.
Do I have time for self-reflection during the week? If so, when?
Yes, every Sunday, as well as daily journaling to think about how I could’ve made the day better. I don’t think it helps as much, but I’ve been doing it regularly.
Is my physical workspace setting me up for success?
Recently shook up my workspace, and I feel more productive as a result. My previous one was a big productivity time sink. It’s not perfect, but it will do for the time being as I don’t have complete control over my physical workspace at the moment.
Is my digital workspace setting me up for success?
I’ve also recently been setting stronger limits on Internet usage on both my phone and laptop via ScreenTime on iOS and ColdTurkey blocker, so that had helped out the past week when I started it. Before this, I’ve set restrictions so that my digital workspace does not distract me, but they are easily bypassed, and I end up procrastinating on the net anyway. The new blockers are much more robust, so I don’t feel the urge to surf the net unless it’s time to do so
How do I know the workday is over?
I’ve also recently set my laptop to turn off immediately after a set time using Cold Turkey Blocker. That is when I know the workday is definitely over. I also set alarms on my phone, so I know it’s time to chill and relax.
What is the last thing I do in the evening?
Usually, it’s reviewing my day, reflecting, planning the next day, doing some chores such as the dishes and throwing the trash, and some light reading (fiction/non-fiction/biographies, whatever floats my boat) on my bed with a Kindle.

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Haikal Kushahrin
Haikal Kushahrin @haikalkushahrin

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