It would be pretty awesome if we all had plenty of mental energy to stay motivated and disciplined all day long, to be highly productive and highly creative whenever we needed, and to always feel vibrant and optimistic about the future.
However, the more you try to control elements of your life – whether it is to improve your health, wealth, social life or whatever – the more apparent it is how finite and scarce this “mental energy” can be.
In particular, it seems that whenever we use willpower – in any form and for any reason – we are using up resources from this pool of mental energy, much faster than the pool is replenished.
Psychologists have carried out plenty of experiments that strongly appear to confirm this model of willpower – Jason Shen and Sebastian recently put together a great post about it here: http://sebastianmarshall.com/developing-willpower-by-jason-shen which is very much worth reading if you haven't already!
Psychologists have also shown that decisions on matters that affect us can deplete the same mental resource as willpower. In some sense, these decisions and willpower are the same:
Modafinil has been one of my favourite drugs since I first used it over 5 years ago. It was during my neuroscience final year and after a lot of research into how to over-ride my need for sleep I found it.
It's a great drug and on the whole, fairly safe for most people. But people who buy it without consulting a doctor first should be careful about any other medication use.
I also highly recommend taking it in very early in the morning. I leave a tablet next to my bed with some water, set an alarm for 4am, wake up and swallow it before falling back to sleep. It takes over 2 hours to reach peak plasma concentration and you will find it wakes you up after about 2-3 hours. This way, the second you start your day you are fully-dosed, and by the time your day is ending and you actually want to sleep, the dose should be wearing off (with a half-life of 10-15 hours).
To learn about how mod works, how to stay safe and check drug interactions and other useful info, please read this article I wrote: http://improveanthony.com/2013/10/29/conqueringsleepwithmodafinil/
Stay safe and good luck achieving! Peter
Sebastian has a post today, Nothing Magical: "There's a certain tendency to look for magical solutions...The thing is, the[re] usually isn't a magical thing."
I'll go a bit farther. It has served me well for many to years to state and believe: There are no Solutions. Except in chemistry. There is only continuing struggle, effort, achievement, mistakes. There are no "solutions" for health, time management, willpower, productivity. Every type of action in the world requires some sort of ongoing, time-indefinite application.
The worst misuse of the word is by the political class, who propose "solutions" to poverty, ignorance, laziness and obesity. There are no solutions government can offer, only individuals taking action to improve. Conditions might be improved, but this is not a solution, and never can be.
Just leave it at four simple words. There are no Solutions. Believing it can help to free your mind for more effective actions.
I've been tracking my time daily since October 2011, having seen a few articles that Sebastian had written about the idea. Here is a recent one that Sebastian wrote.
Time tracking has been immensely helpful in general, and like Sebastian's time tracking, mine has gone through many changes since I started while looking for whatever is going to be the most useful stuff to track for my life at that moment. Another nice benefit is that it serves as a memento for nostalgia purposes - I quite like looking back and seeing what I was doing 2 years ago.
You don't need any fancy tools to do this effectively - I've exclusively used a plain text file on my laptop, which I can edit with (for example) Notepad++.
(1) The basic format is always a diary where I list everything important that I did that day, and for my first month that's /all/ I included. Starting off simple is important to ensure that you can get into the habit of actually filling it out. Here is a sample from October 2011:
Mon 17 Oct
Sebastian had an interview with Niall Doherty a while ago, and a part of it hit me hard. I wrote a post about it a while ago.
From If You Feel Miserable...:
If you feel miserable, ask yourself:
Voice 1 tells me to go for the stars. Voice 2 tells me I'm not good enough.
Voice 1 speaks of unbreakable self-worth. Voice 2 is a fickle status whore.
The other day I was talking to my boss. I was asking him what parts of my work I should put more focus on – what type of work will generate revenue. He said I needed to help him push out more content. Content marketing seems to be the main focus of most online marketing nowadays. Almost everyone is giving away advice and tips.
So I asked him that, I said “You sure about content marketing? Everyone is doing content marketing these days”.
He replied “That’s why we have to create better content”.
Naturally, I replied to that with “Don’t you think the bar is being raised too high? If everyone is giving way free content, then pretty soon paid content will be free content. Don’t you think that because content marketing is so saturated that one day it will stop working?”
“Yes. One day, content marketing will stop working" He said, "But right now, it works. So we gotta go with what works. When I was young, I was caught up in the future, and I ended up wasting a lot of time chasing things that never happened, and getting nothing done.”
What follows is the one pager 0f the Meta-Learning chapter of Tim Ferriss Four Hour Chef (the first part of CaFE is one-paging whatever you’re learning).
It’s forming the foundation of my Mindset & Skill Acquisition Method, and I’ll be putting it to the test in the next few months with an experiment to learn surfing (which I'll be updating about on eddyazar.com).
You can get the full chapter and method notes here.
“It is possible to become worldclass in just about anything in six months or less. Armed with the right framework, you can seemingly perform miracles” – Tim Ferriss
Hey I know that Sebastian is highly recommending to listen to audio books. I prefer to listen to non-fiction books. Unfortunately its quite difficult to find good recommendations for them on the internet. So if you like to listen to audio books: What are your all time favourites? Cheers!