B&T regular Dr Amantha Imber (pictured below) is the founder of Inventium Australia innovation consultancy and the host of How I Work, a podcast about the habits and rituals of the world’s most successful innovators. In her latest post, the goodly doc takes a look at your bedside table and what it means for an effective work day…
My bedside table used to be bad news. Like many people, I used to charge my phone and watch about half a metre from my head. And like many, my phone was my alarm clock. So I was basically setting my day up to give into one of the worst temptations – checking my phone upon waking, and by doing so, starting my day with other people’s stuff.
Other people’s stuff might mean requests that have come in overnight via email, comments on a article or post, or multiple messages from a conversation about a meeting location on a What’s App group. While other people’s stuff might seem relatively innocuous, they basically determine the state of mind we get out of bed in.
I remember one morning where I woke up and hopped onto an article I had had published the day before. I wanted to see what feedback I had received in the form of comments or tweets. Clearly the terms “constructive feedback” and “online comments” are an oxymoron, but nonetheless, I used to find reading online comments irresistible.
The article in question was one I wrote about the problems with mindfulness on creativity. I thought it was a clever angle about the darker side of mindfulness (an antidote to the endless stream of mindfulness advocates) and would perhaps attract a reader like me who had struggled to adopt a mindfulness habit.
But no, clearly the mindfulness supporters read anything with the word mindfulness in the title and had swarmed on this article to inform me that I was clearly a resentful mindfulness failure and to stop reporting on research that is clearly incorrect. It wasn’t incorrect (#justsaying).
So, armed with this criticism, I think it’s fair to say I didn’t bounce out of bed that morning. No. I rolled out, dragged myself into the shower, got ready for work, and inflicted my grumpy mood on pretty much anyone who was in my path. I certainly didn’t feel in the mood to engage in any task that was remotely challenging. And working on my latest article after having this one completely bagged was seriously not going to happen.
Imagine though, if I could rewind the first 60 seconds of my day to not having checked my phone. I could have gone about my merry way and almost definitely, got a whole lot more done and avoided inflicting my miserable mood onto my family and team mates.
So for me, the perfect bedside table has become a digital-free zone. I have an alarm clock (yes, I felt like I was back in the 80s when I bought it). The alarm clock tells me the time and tells me when to wake up by playing Canon in D and shining a bright light all over my bedroom.
Next to my alarm clock, I have a notepad and pen. This was a late addition to the game, but nonetheless, a really important one. I realised after removing my phone from my bedroom, that I missed having something to write down random ideas and to do list notes, and instead found myself playing memory games with myself to try to ensure I remembered them in the morning. For example, if I had to remember to get almond milk, Granny Smith apples, and avocados from the supermarket the next day, I’d make up a story about a granny who was making an avocado sandwich for her daughter Almond. Yep, literary genius in action.
This was not an effective strategy.
Instead, I now have an old fashioned notebook and pen, which captures my ideas and gets to do list items out of my head. It allows my brain to have a good night’s sleep rather than try to memorise things. When I wake up, I can then look at what I wrote down and either add them to my to-do list or continue to build on the idea I had late at night.
So to get your day off to the perfect start, simply put a “real” alarm clock, a pen and a notepad next to your bed. Everything else can be relegated to another room in your home.
Please login with linkedin to commentDr Amantha Imber
The Monkeys has been named Effective Agency of the Year at the 2020 Australian Effie Awards, scooping four Golds, two Silvers and one Bronze across three clients, Beam Suntory, NRMA Insurance and Telstra. One Gold was awarded to BMF for ALDI Australia for ‘ALDI Good Different’, which also went on to win the coveted Grand […]
Inner Health has revolutionised its famous blue bugs as part of a new brand platform launching this week. Developed by VMLY&R, the new platform ‘Listen to your Gut’ re-introduces the bugs in a whole new environment. VMLY&R Client Service Director Jo Millington said the new platform aimed to reposition Inner Health as an overall health […]
Insight-led communications consultancy, The Mint Partners has expanded its technology portfolio with the addition of luxury audio lifestyle brand Bang & Olufsen. Founded in 1925 in Struer, Denmark, Bang & Olufsen has pushed the boundaries of audio technology for almost a century. The company continues to be at the forefront of acoustic innovation with its […]
WA car and home insurer, RAC has launched a new campaign to show locals that they understand the priceless relationship members have with their belongings. Created by Wunderman Thompson Perth, the campaign titled ‘We See What You See’ uses computer generated imagery (CGI) to depict the unique relationship a family has with their insured items – […]
Paper Moose has created a campaign for the recently announced carbon-neutral telco brand, felix, due to go to market towards the end of the year. This is the first work from Paper Moose since winning a competitive pitch for the new TPG Telecom brand. The teaser campaign raises awareness of the nearly 1 million tonnes […]