A productivity system is how you get big results.
No System = Lost
That makes you vulnerable to complain and blame. Here’s the system I used to make 6-figures online this year. Borrow parts for yourself and experiment.
Default answer is no
Author Simon Sinek says to start with why. I start with no.
“No” is the greatest productivity enhancer in history. My schedule is already jam-packed so I’m rarely looking for more opportunities.
Opportunities equal more time. More time given to more opportunities equals a lack of focus. Spray and pray doesn’t work.
Use no like you’re married to each other and a yes would be cheating on the love of your life.
A lot of email
Yep, that’s your outrage face. Productivity gurus will tell you email is a nightmare. The thing about productivity is it’s deeply personal. I don’t mind email. I’m an online writer so the format suits me nicely.
I currently use the web version of Microsoft Outlook. It sucks. I hate Microsoft with every bone in my body. I want to switch to Gmail but the effort is too much. So I stay with what has worked for over a decade.
I wake up to emails. I bang out the important replies to customers and my business partner. Then I delete a lot of emails that are spam.
The end of the day is where I prefer to action the admin emails, as that’s when my energy is lower. I use the heck out of the email snooze button. I snooze emails to get them out of my inbox and focus my attention. Snoozed emails act as great reminders too.
Exercise, plants, sun, naps
A lot of productivity p*rn forgets about the most important thing: energy. Naval Ravikant taught me this:
Startups die when the founders run out of energy.
The same is true with productivity. If you operate on low energy for long enough you’ll go nowhere. I use the energy multipliers of exercise, plants, sun, and naps.
If my energy is off then it’s always one of these pillars. Exercise releases nice endorphins that enhance my energy levels.
Eating plants helps to naturally reduce inflammation and feed my body what mother nature intended. Sun helps boost my Vitamin D levels and reconnect me to my evolutionary mammal roots. Naps are the real superpower. I do 15–20 minute naps in the afternoon if I feel tired.
When I wake up from a nap it’s like I’ve started the day again.
My energy is off the charts. I did this before work-from-home became a survival requirement to stay away from coroni-macaroni.
I used to nap in the lobby of the bank I worked at. 15 minutes … and I’d be good to go. Sure, a few imbeciles judged me. But the success that extra energy bought allowed me to eventually quit my job. So they lost. Not me.
Focus on natural energy to be more productive.
Get a second brain
My brain is overflowing. Todd Brison saw a meltdown coming. He forced me to buy a second brain.
Her name is Roam Research. We spend a lot of time together. I write down all of my thoughts and use tags to make them discoverable again. Roam uses artificial intelligence to link thoughts together that I may not have connected myself.
Roam has allowed me to write ten times faster. Instead of thinking about what to write, I now go to Roam and she tells me what to write. I search my second brain. I grab ideas from all over and then paste them together into a piece of art I’m proud of (and will one day turn into an NFT).
The productivity secret of Roam is you don’t need to make sorting decisions. There are no folders. There is no hierarchy with your notes. This genius isn’t understood until you try the app for yourself.
Build your own database, or think like a monkey.
I get confused AF pretty easily. Give me a visual and I’m like a kid at a clown show holding an ice cream. Trello allows me to plan and brainstorm visually. I used Trello as CRM software at my old job. Shhh … don’t tell my old boss.
See your productivity visually for a different perspective.
Most of my time goes to writing
I write for different apps on different days.
I write for this platform on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I write for Substack on Tuesdays. I write for LinkedIn on Mondays or Thursdays. I write for Twitter every day.
This has evolved over the years. I never used to write this much. But I freaking love it. It’s what makes me happy and gives meaning to my sometimes insane productivity schedule.
When you do work you love, productivity doesn’t feel like it exists.
Spend most of your time doing things you love. It’s easier to get motivated.
Do ruthless idea generation
James Altucher taught me to write down ten ideas per day. It fires up my creativity. And in the future we’ll get paid based on our creativity not our productivity. Few understand this.
On days when I don’t write, or before and after I write, I’m doing idea generation. At any one time I have hundreds of ideas on the go. Some are business ideas, or writing ideas, or eBook ideas, or social media ideas.
I write down all of my thoughts. I write down how things make me feel. I write down parts of life I’ve forgotten. Like the other day I remembered what it was like to smoke a joint for the first time. I hadn’t thought about that bizarre experience for years.
Ideas are tiny seeds.
They tell us what to spend our productive hours working on. Prioritize idea generation to get more results from your effort.
I shouldn’t tell you this. Here goes: I work too hard.
I need to dial it back a bit. I spend the evenings resting. I rest for most of Sunday. I rest from 6 PM on Saturday. Every two weeks I take one half-day to goof off.
It’s not enough rest though. I recently did something extremely stupid. It could have ruined my life. When I think about what caused it, the uncomfortable truth bubbles to the surface.
Schedule rests days to make productive days sustainable long term.
Calls with my circle of power
There are a group of six people I call on rotation.
Each of them is extraordinary in their own field. I make it part of my productivity system to stay in touch. It would be easier to forget to call them. But that’s how you drop important people from your life accidentally. So I make an effort.
These mostly finance industry titans help push reset buttons in my brain. They make me think. They challenge me.
Oh, and they’re all 10X smarter than I am, and will ever be.
Online relationship building
I spend time every week connecting with fellow creators. The apps these conversations happen in are Telegram, Slack, and Discord.
I used to think Slack made me the most productive when managing these conversations. Not anymore. Slack got slack. They didn’t evolve.
Discord is where it’s at. The way they organize information, channels and people, is brilliant. I love them because they’re Web 3.0 friendly too. Much of the blockchain and crypto culture happens in Discord.
I build relationships by helping others, sharing ideas, and supporting fellow creators on social media. It’s genuine unlike the concept of networking that is forced in order to generate a transaction.
I don’t do ‘transactions.’ I make friends I like to help.
Time spent building relationships helps save time looking for opportunities later on.
Software to support my productivity system
- WP Engine for website hosting
- Loom for recording videos
- Teachable for managing online courses
- Stripe and Transferwise for getting paid
- Crypto.com as a digital wallet
- Twitter for learning
- LinkedIn for business talk
- Quora to find weird questions
- Substack and ConvertKit for newsletters
- Brave for a web browser that doesn’t stalk me
- Grammarly to make me look like I know how to spell
- Hemingway App to remove passive voice in writing
- Youtube to study the future (Web 3.0)
That’s it amigo. That’s my personal productivity system. I’ve used it to make more than 6-figures this year. I don’t say that to brag. I say that so you know the system has been strength tested and isn’t built by a wannabe guru.
Build a personal productivity system. Use it to design the life you want.