I gave a talk at the local RSD group here in Munich yesterday and thought I would write up some of the resources I mentioned. So here we go.
Hands down, the two best daygamers out there. Do yourself a favor and check out their stuff – most of it is free.
Both of them have excellent YouTube channels, which you can find here and here.
Among my numerous talents is a faculty for prophecy. I know, it’s unfair, but some people just get it all. So, let me tell you right now how your next attempt at losing weight/getting fit/making more money/improving your love life is going to go:
Stage 1: the stage of inspiration
Oh, you can feel it! The time for change has come! Maybe you just finished reading an excellent self-help book about how to get rich. Or a friend who just started Crossfit gave you a pep talk. Or Oprah just lost thirty pounds (again) and you know you can do it, too! So, let’s do it! Nothing can stop us this time around, this time you are really going to stick with it! Success is practically within reach.
A friend of mine, who for years has been whining about not being successful, inspired this post. It’s a quick start guide to success. I will dispense with my usual long windedness and just lay out the bare steps. After reading this, you will know everything you need to know to reach your goals. If you still don’t, it’s your own damn fault. Stop blaming the world and making excuses.
I recently posted my first guest post ever, talking about my approach to habit building. In passing, I also mentioned that, every time I break a habit, I punish myself by paying $100 to an anti-charity. Quite predictably, that is the thing most people commented on. The tone was, “Oh, that’s an interesting idea but that’s taking it a little bit too far.”
To which I simply have to say: the danger is never overdoing it.
I usually try to talk about unique content on this blog, i.e. things originating from the space between my ears. Today is going to be an exception: I’ll give you a quick and dirty summary of “Getting Things Done,” a book by David Allen, which details his productivity system. This system is considered to be, by many, the best productivity system out there.
It’s also one of the driest, most boring self-help books ever written. I’ve read it about 4-5 times over the years, and on occasion it has taken me as long as a whole year just to re-read it one more time… That’s how non-exciting it is. And that’s not David Allen’s fault by any means, he really is a very cool guy; it just comes with the subject.
One of my biggest interests in life is learning. If I encounter something new and exciting, I will get obsessed with it. I will read anything I can find on it, I will talk to people who have already done it and most importantly, I will practice it. The urge to constantly practice will be so overwhelming, that I will artificially have to restrict myself to avoid going overboard, as Radical Effort can actually be a very counter-productive approach.
As a result of my passion for learning, I’ve been asking myself for years how you can get better at learning itself. How can you make sure you WILL succeed at your chosen area of learning? I know it sounds really unworldly, but this is a question that has kept me up for many a night. I hate the idea of wasting time on sub-optimal methods, it just drives me nuts.
If you are interested in self improvement (otherwise, why would you be reading this blog…), I’m sure you have experienced the following process: You come across a certain idea that completely sets you on fire. Maybe it’s working out to become more muscular or maybe it’s starting your own location independent business or maybe even learning how to talk to girls. Regardless, you get really excited about it. Then suddenly there seems to be a whole new realm of possibilities and you throw yourself into it. You read anything you can get your hands on about the subject. You start talking to friends about it. You join a gym / you start a website / you go out on the streets and talk to strangers. You go full force and give it everything you have. And the world seems great, because you are actually doing it! You are going after what you truly want and that feels liberating and inspiring.
This lasts for about two months or so…
We have established that, when it comes to personal productivity, Energy Management always has to take a front row seat. No energy, no productivity – no matter what productivity system you use. This is because personal energy is a finite resource: Once you’ve used it up, you are pretty much done for the day.
We also looked at practical ways of maximizing your available energy on any given day. So ideally, you start every day with a “points total” of 100 energy points; i.e. your maximum capacity.
Now it’s time to discuss ways of using that available energy in the smartest possible way, since we want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. There are different factors which may affect this, like timing, quality of the task and so on. We’ll now go through them step by step.
After having introduced the concept of Energy Management in my last article, I would now like to talk about some practical applications. Just a quick recap: The term “Energy Management” refers to the idea that in order to be more productive, you need to make the best use of your mental and physical energy. This tops out all other productivity efforts, like finding your “purpose” or organizing your to-dos. Energy Manangement always has to come first.
Applying energy management to your life involves two steps:
- Maximizing your available energy
- Making use of your available energy in the smartest possible way
For this article, I am going to focus on the first step, how to maximize your available energy during the day. Basically, you want to make sure you have as much fuel in the tank as possible. Having this fuel will make a huge difference for your personal productivity as most people tend to operate with half a tank on a regular basis—so regularly, in fact, that they don’t even recognize it anymore and just assume that they are running on their base energy level.
One thing I’ve been pondering a lot recently is a concept I like to call “Energy Management.” In my opinion, it’s one of the most important aspects of productivity and habit building, if not the single most important. Energy management deals with one simple question: How do you use your available energy (mental and physical) to get the most out of your day?
Ironically enough, most traditional productivity systems only pay lip service to managing your energy.