Hi! I'm Anna.

Tinkering With Ideas #002: Alone time, lists, and flow.

published5 months ago
2 min read

Hi Reader 👋 -

Happy Thursday. I'm so glad you're here.

In this issue, we're talking about alone time and flow. When you're in a state of flow, you become fully immersed in what you're doing.

If you're like me, you might be recovering from Halloween this week. Between the sugar and the people, it can be overwhelming. Then there is this brief interlude before the holiday season hits full force.

If you feel like you're always go-go-go, I encourage you to start preserving some time each day for just you. And here are some ways to get started.

1) Reflection:

I'm writing this around 5:00 a.m. Contrary to what the Productivity Experts of The Internet will tell you, I do not think that waking up early is the key to "crushing your goals." Our bodies have a natural rhythm and not everyone is an early riser.

But I do think that we need some alone time. Away from work, kids, and other demands on our energy. And it should be consistent: a time you can look forward to every day.

I know it's hard when you're pulled in a million directions. Try to carve out a small amount of alone time. Maybe its 15 minutes before you start work for the day and you go outside and just... sit. Or in the evening before you go to bed. Gradually increase the time, if you can. Eventually, you'll cherish that time yourself and learn to fiercely guard it.

2) Product:

I'm a former product manager. Running a household requires a lot of the same skills: planning, organization, and an endless stream of stuff to get done.

I have been using Todoist for over 9 years. It's less impressive than it sounds — I was a casual/infrequent user for a long time. But it's become an essential part of my day now.

I have one list that is shared with my spouse. We add things to the list like "Take the car in for an oil change" and assign it to the person responsible and a due date, if applicable. It's an easy way to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks (since, let's face it, most of us can't remember everything). Anything that can lighten the mental load is worth it.

3) Tip:

When I have my "alone time" I want to be in a focused state. I use the time to work on projects that are important to me (like, oh hey, this newsletter).

To make the most of that time, I have to mentally disconnect from everything else taking up space in my brain. I do this by setting the mood: a candle or incense, a cup of coffee, and ambient music. My brain has learned that this combination means, "Focus time!" and it's easier for me to block everything else out.

I subscribe to Flow State on Substack. Every weekday morning, I'm emailed a new wordless album to try, perfect for focus time. If the day's selection doesn't suit me, I'll go back to a previous artist that I enjoyed.

Want more stuff to read? 💡

That's it for this issue of Tinkering! See you again in two weeks.


Anna Burgess Yang


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