I read a great post over at 99u.com about 7 productivity tips you can gleam from Star Wars. Here are a few of my favorites:
1) Rest when you have nothing to do.
When Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn is fighting Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, a transparent door closes, dividing them (see in video above). Darth Maul paces back and forth ready to continue their battle while Qui-Gon simply sits and rests, seemingly doing nothing.
In modern society we all feel like we have to be like Darth Maul. Pacing, finding a “purpose,” being anxious, stressed, waiting for doors to open. But it is great to just rest and be happy and not move when you don’t have to. I will tell you those doors will open, and it’s great.
I know for myself that when i don’t spend time to rest my productivity nosedives. Sometimes we get under so much pressure that we feel like that time to rest will hurt, but usually the opposite is true. I also find my problem solving and creativity are so much higher after a little rest.
2) Rid yourself of everything you don’t need.
Obi-Wan lives a simple life in exile for 40 years when he’s on Tatooine. Yoda, Jedi Master, lives in a simple swamp hut after he loses his battle with the Emperor. They were still capable of laughing, of living, of staying healthy, and were able to train the next generation. They didn’t need anything to keep them entertained. It’s a story. But this is the way I would like to live: with my friend and my health intact, and not a material care in the world.
Clutter can be such a distraction to me. Simple almost always helps me focus and get more done.
5) Be around other Jedis.
Once Anakin Skywalker starts hanging out with Darth Sidious he becomes a bad guy (see above). Here are some things that are hard in life: being honest, being kind, and trying to add value to others. These things take time and energy. When you are around people who steal your energy then those things become even harder. As a wise man once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Just like we teach our students being around those that have the traits we wish to have helps build those habits. When I’m around those that are creative and productive it helps to inspire those traits in me as well. I recommend finding those people around you and schedule time to be hang around them. Even if it’s just for coffee, discussing what you are working can with them can be a huge lift to you, especially if you are feeling stuck.