Journal Review 2017 - Lessons
Lessons In Productivity
Productivity – Daily Things
Act fearlessly, communicating honestly my reasons.
Charging phone outside the bedroom, helps not paying attention to it in the morning and going without it for some time, ideally till after lunch.
When building habits, will need to overcome the initial resistance, an initial suffering, but this will pass and the habit will become easier and easier to do. How can I change my environment to support it.
When practicing habits, think of how to best progress through challenges making them less of a chore and more of an inquest.
Cravings to be satisfied can be mistook for cravings to be satiated. i.e. hunger to snack can often be a symptom of lack of engagement or desire for instant gratification.
Mentally generate pleasures - Steer these such immediate gratification desires to mentally generated pleasures of longer term pursuits of progression, learning, creation, power of self knowing, self respecting discipline and mastery.
The long practice game - All learning practices, (e.g. Kitesurfing, Drawing, Yoga, etc,) can be practiced and progressed deliberately over a lifetime and needn't be cracked right away. Turn frustration into determination. Track progress for longevity. Every little helps.
Events late in the evening affect sleep – these involve an element of recovery the next day. Long weekend events can involve multiple subsequent days of recovery solely due to missed sleep, not even factoring in alcohol.
Willpower being essentially unlimited in the ‘growth mindset’. That seeing strenuous tasks as rewarding/concentration building, then has that very effect.
Tomorrow’s wakeup mission - Have an idea each evening what I’ll work on the next day, a reason to spring up the next day.
Work on reducing the time spent thinking about doing something positive and just do it, e.g. yoga time-to-mat, cold shower time-to-cold.
Sun stroke hangover is terrible, avoid prolonged exposure – hat + shade, - wear suncream. - watch out for sun blisters, lip protection too.
Sun – aim to get a little bit of it each day, helps mood and sleep.
Spend more leisure time on my own when I recognise I need it.
How to get out of a rut: incremental motivation momentum. Do one small vigorous workout win. Just do that. It will be easy to use that practiced exercsion of action to fuel a chain of other wins. Do one small learning practice win. Take time off from your current main focus to do something pleasing and connect with someone positive.
Cultivating *emptiness* Reducing time spent in unfulfilling activities, keeping life open for good things to come into place.
Recognising and practicing the ability to apprehend negative thoughts, demote them, and actively not indulge them and instead steer to the positive, to think about success.
Productivity - Working
Problem Solving - Spend time really understanding the problem at hand before attempting to hack away solving it. Draw diagrams, restate knowledge, interrogate your understanding, explain it to someone else.
Short stints of work may not be worth embarking on – Some work is not suited to being done with small chunks of time. (e.g. code features that involve architectural / research work). Better to save them for later. Of my available tasks and goals, assign which can be tackled in short chunks, and which need periods of extended focus, etc.
Lock self into practice (e.g. If I were to go to an exercise class, I’d have to go and do the whole thing, If I were to go to the beach, I’d more likely do lots, If I were to reserved hours where I couldn’t do anything else..)
Finish work daily for joy and longevity - So many joyful moments to be had when finishing work at a reasonable time. Be productive with serenity. No project is worth stressing so much over and working 12+ hours a day over.
Set tight deadlines to mitigate procrastination.
Keep track of daily wins so as to feel content with visible progression.
Start each day with a daily task sheet or daily objective.
Starting the day with space away from home, e.g. coffee outside, or walk outside, walk to the park drink coffee, etc. Some time to collect thoughts and return to working area with a fresher focus, not so narrow minded.
Play the long game, serenity and joyful approach as a competitive advantage. (on stopping for yoga when feeling like in a rush to complete something) –
When stuck for concentration on an abstract idea or. product work, take features back to the "What am I trying to achieve?" more frequently and maybe talk it through with a friend or an imagined person.
Enforced business hours - Recreate the office environment when working from home by ‘Lock’ myself away with tea and water, not allowing myself to do anything else that I wouldn’t at a normal office.
Limit morning distractions - No phone till after morning/lunchtime ritual (work-yoga-lunch). Every morning. If I want to do proper stints of work, I need to turn my phone off.
Schedule meetings around my productivity and guard it. - Scheduling meetings at a time where they will least inconvenience my productivity (afternoons). Tell people to call me if anything changes as I may not have my smartphone on.
Schedule in high stakes progress meetings where I demo in front of friends/colleagues/advisors. Several of them, enough to be embarrassed on failure, imposing deadlines for eustress.
Productivity - Creations
Validate your own ideas by thinking about them as if they were someone else’s. e.g. if someone came and told you about the idea - what would you say?
Validate your own ideas by explaining them via 5 short, one line advertisements.
Develop interactions before developing details (code, tech, etc).
Relevant mock data - and as most ‘real’ as possible to guide peoples imagination, else they get distracted or can’t follow your train of thought and make the same assumptions and interpretation you do.
Invest more time into preparing for pitching, showcase features as answers to a brief.
Share more as an artist - Like all artists I can’t exist in a vacuum and I must work on selling myself to be successful, in addition to working on my art / craft.
The sustainability of working on ‘projects’ - I could build things forever, while fulfilling for creation and experimentation sake alone, these won’t necessarily get me closer to working with the passionate team I desire or financial sustainability. Bare this in mind as I spend time creating. Keep detailed logs about my project aims and progress to use as art portfolio pieces and to engage other minds.
Consider finishing each day/week with a small public progress report on what I’ve done.
Doing one thing too much or too long becomes boring, at the detriment to oneself and others. Passion and interest are great but I thrive on a rounded life that among them includes calm, awe, gratitude, people and conversation, artistic expression.
Productivity - Decisions / Executive / Business
Make decisions quickly to leave more time for other things.
‘Free’ isn’t worth a change in plans or virtues over, there is more to lose and gain than money.
Expect resistance - there is likely to be an amount of resistance from people or failure from initiatives, at least 50% of the occasions, take this in stride and continue to progress anyway.
Connecting with people face to face – Nothing can replace that brilliance when it comes to communicating / connecting.
(From Niki) – Founding teams should be equal equity as in the beginning everyone needs to do everything. Even if I were to bring the vision and the development, others need to be empowered. It’s mostly impossible to progress too far on one's own due to constraints on time/skills/resources. In his experience what kills a business after ~3 years is often that the founders fail to relinquish control from parts of the business that are not their speciality and distract from their focus or take too much of their time to do properly. e.g. hiring / marketing.
Hack systems to win. e,g, Deconstruct judgement and play to that game also – Don’t be confined by the written rules, within the narrow boundaries of the conventual restraints, work out the subtext also.
Even bullet points of script are hard to make sound natural and ad lib to. Use memory palaces to remember key speech points and journey through them more naturally.
Productivity - Teams / Company / People
Temper my creative expectations of others, cannot expect people to instantly produce results that are exactly on my point of reasoning or expectation. People as I do myself, need time, multiple iterations and what may sometimes feel like over the top explanation and guidance of the subject matter to align their thinking to ones own.
Regularly communicate and agree on priorities - Regularly assess where we have spent our time and adjust. Keep everyone on the same page.
Keep teammates involved and relevant and growing. Really rewarding when you make sure to stop the busy work to spend a few mins calmly guiding and explaining things to teammates so they can learn and help out.
Try and recognise the personality clashes between people and forewarn / prepare.
Humour and Humility are great traits for a leader to possess – to make people feel comfortable and agreeable. As picked up on from Richard Branson interview by Tim Ferris. Also displayed by former bosses.
Business style *needn't* be overly boring. (Also from RB interview)– Richard Branson has been known for cheeky business promotions, doing everything with his signature humour and style. Adventure, risk taking, negotiating, being friendly with people. Business can have this too.
Book: ‘Crucial Conversations’ – making it safe for other people to explain their opinion, having genuine respect for their side and for them in general. Starting with heart – What do you really want out of the conversation.
Book: ‘Start with Why’ – Starting with why appeals to the limbic system of the brain, ‘why’ creates a biological call to fit in with others that share your beliefs.
Travel / Adventure
Go to gigs with a day to spare if travelling long, so I’m not so tired by the time the evening comes.
Start hikes early to be more present - so as not to be concerned about fading light and to be able to meditate.
Staying at hostels you often get a fridge and a kitchen, plus the chance to meet interdisciplinary mix of other international travellers, It’s ideal when travelling alone, even if there was a big budget.
Be present, enjoy each present moment, not solely the destination.
Lessons In Food
Food always affects:
Eating poorly one day does often affect the next day (sleep isn't an entirely magical reset).
Eating poorly makes me unhappy at the end of the day.
Think of the impact to the week, not just to the instant.
Heavy meals and snacks, do have an effect on my future focus. Focus is directly related to intelligence and success.
Favour light meals when there are things to do.
Foods can either help me concentrate or crash.
Hunger is often a primitive wave – is not always a sign one needs food for nutrients. Can come habitually from hormones adapted to schedule. Can appear out of desire for novelty. Can be over pronounced due to insulin overshooting, either at time of digestion or e.g. the morning after a big meal. Faux hunger is easily subsided while exercising.
Aim to leave myself room, especially after lunch – There’s no need to eat to complete fullness. Time and time again in my journal I see times when I’ve eaten a big lunch and then not been able to work at peak productivity afterwards.
Banning snacking and Intermittent fasting - is a great positive constraint for me, it results in busying myself elsewise. Clears mental decision making space of what to eat for the meantime.
Defer – There are essentially infinite opportunities to snack / eat dessert in the future, eat pastries and sweets sometime then, seldomly now.
Lessons In Exercise
Exercise always affects:
Results in net positive productive hours - Exercise (at lunch) keeps me more productive in the hours after than I would otherwise be in the sum of the time taken to exercise and the hours after.
With exercise I ultimately feel smarter, more able to concentrate logically, more creative and more efficient, leading to better results.
A lack of exercise will gradually diminish happiness - On any given day, If I don’t do any physical exercise, I’m going to feel a little bit down at the end. This will build up over time. Realise that daily exercise is key to feeling well.
Yoga or chiropractor – Skipping yoga over time will make it likely for my posture to deteriorate and neck pain to resurface.
Yoga for sleep – I sleep more soundly after yoga.
Yoga for idea generation – Occupies the body, meditates part of the mind, often frees up other parts to solve problems and generate ideas while practicing.
Yoga before eating – Can’t kid myself into thinking I can do yoga a few hours after I eat lunch, no matter how light I feel it rarely ever happens, the conversation should be ‘ Do I want to not do yoga at all today and instead eat only slightly sooner’