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On Getting More Done - Top-down, or bottom up?

I've gotten a lot of emails lately, which has been fantastic. My email volume keeps going up.

There's one question I've gotten a few times, in a few different forms. "How do you do so much [thing]?" Reading is a common one, since I read a lot of books. Or balancing projects with working, traveling, tourism, connecting with people.

First off, I don't think I'm so good at getting stuff done. I see there's a lot more I could do. There's probably a lot better role models than me - if you can find someone who works a stimulating high powered job, competes athletically, parents, and does some philanthropy or art, that person is way ahead of me and you ought to look them up and ask them for their thoughts next time you see them.

I used to be insanely busy like that, with 3-5 things that should be a full time effort on the go at the same time. That's probably part of the secret to it right there - if you overload yourself without getting to breaking point, you'll be amazed at what you can do.

There's ripple effects when you're extremely busy. You stop screwing off and wasting time, because you can't. And other people start respecting your time more, too. If your entire calendar is open, people are flaky and whimsical and ambiguous with plans. But when you say, "My only time free for the next three weeks is this Saturday, at 8AM" - guess what? People come meet you at 8AM Saturday. Now, it'd be absurd to ask someone to commute into the city to meet you at 8AM on Saturday if you weren't busy, but if you are busy, you do it because you have to. And people respect your time.

The internet is low-return entertainment

On minimalift

It’s not good enough. I wouldn’t be acting like this if I had children to feed. I’m too comfortable. I joked the other day that marriage has made me flabby and weak. In truth, the time off was well spent but in returning to “normal” I’ve embraced the worst and shunned the best of my routines.

I love ritual as a concept. Regular, reoccurring beneficial activities. My most enjoyable days are like clockwork, with the “big rocks” toppling early. When I evaluate honestly, using the internet like a replacement television is far and away the largest obstruction to my productivity, and removing it as an obstruction the biggest win. Honestly, I am better off dedicating my free time to quality video games.

What does an ideal or perfect day look like? You’ll see exercises like this commonly in business, marketing or personal development seminars. Usually there’s a financial focus - work out the cost of your perfect day and you can plan your income requirements around it. The trouble with this approach is that financial freedom is more than replicating the same day over and over. My wedding day was pretty perfect but I’d need a fair chunk of cash to have another one! Anyhow, never mind the money and the concept of perfect. Instead, let’s ask a better question: what does an optimum “normal” day look like for me? I often toy with the concept of templating my best self. This should get me pretty close (and close the loop on it once and for all):

More than eight hours sleep. Ten is great.

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