This is perhaps the most challenging balancing act when you're looking to do more.
Let's say you're tracking your productivity on important stuff, you're doing your weekly review, and you realize that when you're in a loud environment, you get less work done.
So you realize that. Maybe you never realized it before, but now you realize it's true.
And you notice it keeps holding true, even when you try to concentrate through it.
This puts you at a very tricky crossroads.
Want a fun, profitable, healthy experiment to run for a month?
Try drinking only water.
I've switched onto "Water Only" a few times in my life. I'm running it right now. It's terrific.
The merits of the policy:
-- No liquid calories and all the downsides that come with those: unless you're playing sports or doing heavy manual labor, liquid cals basically come in two forms: bad and worse. Merely bad liquid calories are things like juice that have some other micronutrients. Why are they bad, then? Because you're missing out on all the fiber and satiety that comes from eating that apple instead of drinking apple juice, and -- again if you're not getting lots of fitness -- the spike in blood sugar, followed by insulin, leads to a crash. And that's juice, which isn't all that bad. The "worse" is Coca-Cola and similar stuff that really ought not to be put in the human body if you're aiming for mental and physical performance.
Two months ago, I offered a streamlined test consulting service called "Get Your Next Project On Rails" -- and I got to see some tremendous results and growth from people who participated.
One of the women who participated has been very gracious in allowing me to publish her experience as a case study. She said I could share her experience in full, as long as her name and location are omitted. So we'll call her "Alice" for this case study; she can chime in if she wants to take credit for her achievements.
In this post, there's some nice actionable and universal lessons on behavior change and I'm grateful that Alice is letting us share this.
Time is really important — perhaps the only completely non-renewable resource for an individual.
Kai Zau and I are running a group training improving this over the next 4.5 weeks.
The Basic Idea
We all have 24 hours per day. We all spend some of those hours in ways we are greatly happy we spend them, and we waste and feel dumb about how we spend some of those hours.
We want to improve on that. We’ll do two things —
Have you ever gone into your email to search for something, saw a new important email, and forgot entirely what you were searching for?
Computer usage in general seems to be conducive to doing that. You go to Wikipedia to look up some fact, and suddenly it's two hours later. Ok, you're much more knowledgeable about the Cold War or Ancient Mesopotamia or something, but was that really how you wanted to spend the last two hours?
I've found this to just be something about computers in general: they're such marvelous multi-purpose machines that it's easy to get sucked off one's current objective into something else.
I'm always exploring better ways to work, and a couple years I had an idea of doing "tally marks" as I worked: I would mark down every single action I did. If I was lost or stuck, I would cut down to the simplest possible action, rapidly marking down tallies.
At first I did this on the computer, but eventually I came to a way of working with a notebook and pens right next to me that's been an absolute godsend and marvelous boost.
I just emptied my email@example.com email address for the first time in a while; I got so much mail after the final issues of Upstream Effects series (#7/8/9), I wasn't able to get to all of it processed until now.
What's interesting is, about 30 minutes into to a "I'm finally going to get this empty" session, I wanted to get up and do something else. It's like, some little tiny pressure in the back of my head is telling me to go do something more novel.
It felt like the email would never end.
This is a good problem to have, I admit. Getting to read feedback from people who send notes saying that an issue made them re-think their week, helped them set huge plans, helped them get a project successful, or that they shared the writing with their kids -- this is amazing.
And I want to write back and not let all those emails go stale. And yet, there it is, when I finally have some time, my mind tells me to go do something else.
The Case for Dennis Rodman is one of the finest things on the entire internet.
If you hate statistics, you'll hate it.
If you can merely muddle through statistics -- you don't have to like them -- it's a set of essays where bombshell after bombshell of epiphany and mental models break through.
It looks at bias, naive and advanced statistics, hubris, winning, contributions to team efforts, resource usage, utilization, media, narratives, historical eras and change... it's sometimes meandering, sometimes laser-focused, highly aware of itself and its own potential flaws... it's a masterpiece.
You should probably read it, but that's not the point of this post.
I don't really get excited too easily, but this has me really excited -- it looks like the time tracking app I've been wanting for years.
Eternity Time Log is an iOS app (iPhone, iPad) that lets you track time easily.
Why do I like it?
Setup takes like 5 minutes to figure out, to create a bunch of different hierarchical categories. So I can add "blog" and "TSR" under writing, and when I track time on either of those, it both adds up to writing time... and then it takes only a single button to start and stop --
Podcast Appearance on The Art of Authenticity --
Had an awesome conversation with my friend Laura Coe on her new and killer Art of Authenticity podcast --
Linkage to Sebastian Marshall on Art of Authenticity
Or check it on Laura's site.
(While you're there, check out Carlos Miceli's appearance too -- Carlos is such an ace and such a positive wonderful guy, you'll enjoy his episode too.)
It's Sunday, so I did my Weekly Review today.
Last week was a barnburner -- one of the most productive "normal weeks" I've had in recent history. A week at a conference or the culmination of a huge event might be highly productive, but I size those up a little differently than a week where I'm just going through the standard sets of work I typically do without some large external happenings.
Last week, an incredibly large amount of good and important things got done.
Thus, I was excited to review the week. How'd this happen? Why'd it go so well? What can I learn from it?
I'll give you the spoiler right now: 13 hours of great work accounted for just about all of the results this week.