Office Hours Session 1

Here's the audio replay of the first Office Hours session:

Introduction to Emergency Interventions & “Track Everything”

Welcome to the first emergency intervention techniques. In this bonus chapter, I will share some extreme productivity techniques. These can help you get unstuck and they can help you become super productive... but they're not sustainable. Use with care.

In this lesson, you'll discover my first of these extreme techniques, which I call "Track Everything".

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The Personal Information Filter

A method I've been using for years to keep myself sane and keep information overload at bay is what I call the Personal Information Filter. It's what I use to decide what to pay attention to and what to ignore. And it's the reason I'm not overwhelmed with information and I don't waste time trying to read and learn things that aren't useful for me in the moment.

The “Just Show Up” Method

Actor Terry Crews shared a piece of advice in a Reddit thread which inspired the technique I share in this lesson. The gist of it is this: what can you do to take the pressure off and "just show up" to the gym, to work, to your deep work sessions?

I've applied this in some areas of my life and I encourage you to use this as a "motivation hack" for habits that you find difficult to build.

How to Deal With a Lack of Support from Friends, Family & Peers

Unfortunately, when you start making changes in your life and start making progress towards ambitious goals, people around you aren't always supportive of that.

In this video, I discuss 3 practical things you can do, to deal with push-back from friends, peers, clients etc.

However, this is just based on my narrow personal experience. I'd love to hear from you, if you have also dealt with this problem and how you went about it. Share your story in a comment below!

Multi-Device Environment Optimization

Your main work devices (and your main distraction devices) are usually a phone and a computer (either desktop or laptop). But many of us have more devices than that in our environment, including multiple computers, tablets and TVs.

In this lesson, we expand on the principle laid out before and look at 5 ways in which you can optimize your work environment with multiple devices in play.

A Note On Method #5

The last method about using 2 phones can be useful, but I want to clarify one thing here: it is better to rid yourself of addictive distractions completely, than to find a compromise.

My primary suggestion is that you have just one phone and you make that phone as boring and distraction free as possible. Method #5 in this lesson is useful if you can't get yourself to do that and it can be a step for weaning yourself off of phone addiction.

Batch Your Communication Work

Communication work like emails, Slack, meetings etc. can easily creep up on you and take over your entire work day. Communication batching is the best solution to this problem that I've found so far.

The principle of communication batching is very simple. The implementation will depend on what kinds of communication take up most of your time. For me, it has worked well with email and Slack communication as well as in person meetings and online meetings.

Reminders & Recurring Tasks

 At this point in the process, the focus & action system has grown to include many components. To maintain and improve this system, I recommend that you add reminders and recurring tasks to your calendar.

Specifically, I recommend the following:

  • Once a week, spend 20-40 minutes reviewing your past week and clearing up the "Done" column in your personal productivity board.
  • At the start of each week, spend 15-30 minutes planning the week ahead. Review the "In" column in Trello and get tasks for the week ready in the "This Week" column.
  • Once a month, spend 20-45 minutes cleaning up your Trello boards. Clean up the "In" column, make sure priorities are set right and review your braindump board.
  • Once every quarter, review your Mantra Document. Make sure the statements still ring true and re-write if needed.
  • Once every quarter, review your Big Picture Goals and vision document. See if you're still on track towards your big goals and make additions or changes if needed.

I recommend starting with these recurring tasks and gradually adding more or changing the existing ones, as you get used to working with them.

Ongoing Work & Finite Projects

When you're designing your schedule, you're once again confronted with priorities. You can't fit everything into a 24 hour day and you can't add hours to your days, either.

One way I quickly determine how to prioritize my time is to distinguish between ongoing work and finite projects. Whenever possible, I want to be spending my best hours of the day working on finite projects.

Ongoing work is something I try to systematize, automate and delegate. Here's the blog post about marketing automation tools that I mention in the lesson.

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