I was just reading Ribbonfarm [note: if you like this blog, you'll almost certainly like Ribbonfarm] --
-- and I realized that I had a lot of well-defined, interesting, enjoyable work to do that I wasn't doing.
And I was on top of mind energy, start of day energy... the really good energy, the kind you don't want to burn.
I wasn't taking a break between work sessions. I just had accidentally drifted over there.
Ok, so, I'm writing this short blog post and getting back to work. It was interesting to catch myself, though. There was no good reason to be there -- and again, I love Ribbonfarm. But it was the wrong time to be reading there.
Just started re-reading Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" -- a nice, reflective book. Recommended.
Question for you: What's your ratio of reading a book new to re-reading something you've already read? I find myself, more and more, re-reading works I enjoyed and looking for more lessons rather than picking up something new.
Small, big win -- get multiple colors of pens.
I found nice packs of pens in Morocco that contained one each of a black, blue, green, and red pen. I bought five packs.
Incredibly useful. My system:
Black -- big details, big picture.Blue -- specific notes, little details.Green -- complete, or on-track and doesn't need attention.Red -- next up, urgent, unacceptable, or needs attention.
It makes is easy to skim notebooks rapidly. I can look at the black ink if I want to figure out what's going on, can skim over anything blue unless I want details... if I'm in a real hurry, I can just look for what's red and do that. If I want to see progress/timelines, diving into a mix of blue and green will give me that.
I'm getting tons of "let's chat" and "let's catch up" and "can I introduce you to so-and-so" who I'm asked if I could help out... the amount of these I get has gone up steadily each year. Which is really super cool and flattering, I'd have killed to have this many quality people wanting to come into my life 5 years ago.
Right now I'm on a heads-down project cycle, kind of sequestered away from anyone and anything I know in Istanbul except a few smart collaborators and colleagues. But I like everybody, and I'm so grateful since so many people have helped me so much in my life, so I do what I can. For calls that I'm going to take, I've been looking to schedule starting in mid-July or late-July when I should be stable and on a less intense pace.
That said, I got referred to a bright young kid by a buddy of mine I really respect, who asked if I can help him. I like the guy who referred him to me and I said ok, I can't get on Skype right now with my schedule, but have him email me.
He sent me an email, and yup, probably brilliant -- four languages at fluency (the three besides English are not commonly mixed together, too, thus opening opportunities), web development skills, knowledge of law and patents, good work background, background in chemistry and some design/engineering type stuff, and entrepreneurship.
And he writes that he's got all this great stuff going on, but is falling down a bit, and out of money, etc.
I've written about time tracking before -- if you haven't seen one of these, you can search 'time tracking' in the box on the right.
Here's the newest version --
-------------------------------------------START OF DAY:Time awake/total sleep:Appointments today:What's required for reasonable sleep?-------------------------------------------MORNING ROUTINETime started:Make bed:Drink water:Vitamins:Brush teeth:Stretch:Breathe:Gratitude:Life goals:Visualize very briefly:Meditate:Time complete:-------------------------------------------LOOK AT RESOURCE BOOKWhat observations, if any?-------------------------------------------SIMPLE TRACKING:
Not so many major takeaways this week, though 4th June is a good example of the principle that you can't use any single method of tracking or metrics to get a full picture.
Case in point: I'd been waking up a bit later each day, and then on 3rd June I had some excellent inspiration and stayed up working all night until 7:30AM, and got a lot done.
I woke up late in the day on the 4th, and then said -- "You know what, I'm going to normalize my sleep schedule" -- and basically just took the day off to get a bit more sleep, interspersed with a bit of discussion, but very little computer usage and no set work. I didn't have any set appointments, so this wasn't particularly difficult.
Of course, the 4th looks like a disaster on the Lights spreadsheet -- things being relatively smooth, and then everything falling off. But, no -- rather, it was an intentional choice to get back on a very-early-morning schedule.
My friend Michael Roderick is doing this really cool thing --
Basically, he's taking calls where you pay what you want.
I know almost no-one that has his humanitarian streak -- he's incredibly helpful and genuinely good -- and yet is also incredibly pragmatic, tactical, operational.
The concept of Clarity Sessions is simple. I am often asked for my advice when people are struggling with what they want to do next in their career, life, or other pursuits. I have decided to start offering sessions to help others get clear on what they want, what is next for them, and in some cases help them flesh out their ideas.
Excellent commencement speech by Admiral William McRaven --
Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.
If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.
It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
I keep track of my habits and the things I want to do each day on a "Lights Spreadsheet" that looks like the above.
There was a great comment by Adam last week,
"Your spreadsheet tracks target desirable behaviors, which is great, but it doesn't tell you what you did instead if you didn't meet your target..."
It's a very sharp comment -- he goes on to describe how he measures his time and other factors, and how it's useful to him.
From a younger Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Education of a Bodybuilder" --
"Already, since my experiences at the lake, I was a strong believer in training partners. I needed someone not only to teach me but to inspire me. I trained better, harder, if I was around someone whose enthusiasm was as strong as mine and who would be impressed by my enthusiasm. That first winter, I trained with Karl Gerstl, the doctor who had helped me with my initial program. Aside from his usefulness as a translator, it was especially helpful to be around Karl. He knew everything about the body. He was serious and worked hard. We trained the same way, except our goals and our diets were different: I wanted to gain weight, to bulk up; Karl wanted to lose it. But Karl gave me the boost I needed.
There were certain days when something held me back and I didn't train as hard as on other days. That was inexplicable to me. Some days nothing could hold me back. Other days I'd be down. On the down days I couldn't handle anywhere near my normal amount of weight. It puzzled me. Karl and I discussed it. He had read a great deal of psychology (at fifteen I barely knew the word, though his argument made good sense and in fact helped lay the foundation for my later thinking). "It's not your body, Arnold. Your body can't change that much from one day to the next. It's in your mind. On some days your goals are just clearer. On the bad days you need someone to help get you going. It's like when you ride a bicycle behind a bus and get caught up in the slipstream. The wind sucks you along with it. You just need some prodding, some challenge."
Karl was right. Every month, I had at least a week when I didn't really want to train and I questioned myself: Why should I train hard if I don't feel like it? These were the days Karl pulled me out of it. He'd say, "Man, I feel great today! I want to do bench presses. Let's do twenty-five instead of twenty. How about a contest? Ten shillings to the one who does the most bench presses."
It worked perfectly. He forced me to get off my butt, to get my sluggish body moving. It became extremely important to have somebody standing behind me saying, "Let's do more, Arnold. Come on—another set, one more rep." And it was just as important for me to help somebody else. Watching him work out, encouraging him, somehow drove me on to do an even tougher set."