Hustle is designed
It’s 11:29am and I’m currently trying to catch my breath while a team of camera people and models shoot a commercial around me. I am not the talent, just a member of this gym writing a blog about productivity right after doing a set of 200 meter sprints.
So what does this scene have to do with being productive? I’ll get there but also let me tell you that I’m writing this on my phone and not my computer. On purpose. It has to do with laying tracks and wiring your brain. More about that in a sec.
Productivity is less about hustle and more about design.
So many try to white knuckle getting shit done and it’s short lived. That’s because they’re forcing it instead of using environment and your state as fuel. You want to create a space where production flows like water, eliminating all the dread so you can enjoy the process. Or at least as much as possible.
For many, the environment I’m currently in right now may be extremely distracting. But that’s why you have to know yourself and customize that space. Chaos works for me. Isolation doesn’t. I know that about myself. That’s why I spend a shit load of money hopping around coffee shops, being around the frenzy.
And of course it’s impossible to enjoy your work every second of every day. There is a grind involved in anything you do. But you will get so much more done when you create a space for flow rather than putting pressure on yourself to lay bricks, begrudgingly.
It’s like kissing. Force yourself to kiss someone when you’re not in the mood and let me know how far that goes.
I will be here in this chaotic photo shoot until I don’t feel like it then I will continue at a coffee shop or where I believe I feel like “kissing” again.
Let’s back up and start from the beginning.
My eyes bolt open at this time almost every day. It’s a blessing and a curse. It was a curse when my sleep got all fucked up many years ago from insomnia but these days it’s a blessing. It gives me a running start.
I start at Starbucks because it’s the only coffee shop open at this hour. I’m usually the only one there which is great. I can thaw out. Get warmed up. I start on my phone. Always. It’s like entering a cold pool using the steps instead of the diving board (computer).
My phone is for short form content. My computer for writing my book. I never mix the two. So my brain knows that when I’m punching keys on my phone, it’s going to be in a shot glass. Then when I’m on my laptop, I’m in book mode. This trains my brain to function differently, depending on what device I use.
Using different devices for different projects helps your brain to switch gears really fast.
This allows me to spin many plates. I like to work in sprints. I think everyone should. So I go back and forth from phone to computer. Computer to phone. 3o mins at a time with a ten minute break. Back and forth untill I’m juggling two or three blog posts and tearing into my book.
Note: If I dive into something and I’m really feeling it and great stuff is coming out, I don’t stop at 30 mins. I ride that wave until it crashes. The 30 minute sprint is just a general structure so I have a rountine.
Never stop creative momentum.
New enviornment. Different coffee shop. This time, Blue Bottle. Yes, it’s still a coffee shop but this place has better music, lighting, and I love the people who work there. They know me by my name.
I may get a treat, take in a chapter of an audio book, watch a few videos (only things that get me motivated or give me ideas for articles or videos). Basically some me time to get warmed up.
Back when I had a full therapy practice, I switched locations constantly. It was the only way to prevent burn out. I would do a webcam session, then meet someone at a coffee shop for an in person session, then do a phone session. Sitting in once space for four hours burned my productivity candle at both ends. The more diversity and enviornments, the more I switched shit up, the slower the burn.
So I do the same with writing. Coffee shops. Gym. House. Always thinking, always spinning plates. Always moving.
At Blut Bottle, I knock out a couple more hours.
By 10am I’ve already logged in about four hours of writing.
Now I check in with my team. Maybe a team meeting or Skype call. This is when I open the dreaded inbox. Check emails. Hit some to dos. Maybe run some errands. Basically stretch. Both mentally and physically.
Again, a new environment. New mood. Now I feed the feeling of moving and being social. I kill two birds.
I tell people I cut my day in half. I try to get my workout in between 12 -2pm. It gets me off a chair, out of my head, and changes my state. It also gives me a shot of dopamine. If you have a day job, you can also do this by getting your workout in during your lunch break, then eating lunch at your desk. Or a protien shake. It gives you a turbo. You come back re-energized.
If you create content like me, this is an opportunity to do a quick video, an Insta story, Snap.
Also, I ride my motorcycle instead of my car. Always unless it’s raining or freezing balls. But I live in Cali so that’s extremely rare. Although it’s only a ten minute ride, it’s ten minutes out of my head. I use motorcycles as meditation machines. They bring me calm and give me joy — again keeping my state at higher frequencies.
If I’m in a relationship, lots of texts and check ins, maybe finishing a love note or something that makes my heart glow like E.T. This is sprinkled throughout the day and it’s important. Connection is key. It’s easy to drift when you’re trying to build something. Then you will have anxiety from the relationship conflict. You gotta water your lawn. It will give you more fuel because you will want to work harder, knowing that you are sharing your life with someone and building something that will impact both of you guys.
If I’m out and about, I really try to make an effort to smile at people (this is new), eye contact, engage with cashiers, baristas, servers. It’s really easy when you “work from home” which so many people do these days, to live in your own little bubble. After awhile, you will start to feel very alone. That will make you less productive. You have to engage with the world. People give you connection and energy.
If you don’t like people, or you’re a total introvert, I get it. But maybe then this is the stretch for you. Because unless you sell your start up for 50 million and live the Blue Lagoon life, or sell enough best sellers to live like Stephen King in the woods, you’re going to have to engage with people. You might as well lean into it and start to enjoy them instead of see them as distractions.
We’re not meant to do life alone and that includes work.
Usually at home.
Now I put my phone away. Maybe do a life coaching session. Post a video. No writing. On purpose. I let that part of my brain rest. Different environment. Different activity. Or I’ll play with my new favoriate toy, the podcast. Again, a different activity.
Using diversity to keep plates spinning and the ball moving.
Or it can be a time to do some chores or errands. If so, I make them mindful activities. There’s something calming and therapeutic about washing dishes or cleaning. It gets me out of my head and I’m still being productive.
My studies. I call it my studies but it’s actually me time. I catch up on things I want to read or listen to. Currently a lot of Buddhism stuff. I feed my brain. I also try to meditate at this time. I set intentions. I do visualzation exercises. I look out my window and notice trees, practice gratitude, and try to buy the postal worker coffee which he always refuses.
It’s imparative to give yourself some you time to reboot, relax, gather yourself, whatever you need. It’s a pit stop. A breath. A check in with self.
A quick FB LIVE. Maybe online Office Hours for my life coaching community. Then dinner. New enviornment. And I try to make it social. A friend I want to catch up with. I believe it’s important to sprinkle social time in your day. As long as it’s with people who give you energy, not drain it. That’s imperative.
As the day unfolds, be very aware of your state. Know that if it drops, so will your productivity. Most live in subtle fight or flight because they worry. They are in panic mode. In this state, you can’t enjoy what you’re doing and if you don’t enjoy, you can’t hit flow. Everything will feel like a chore, an uphill battle. And nothing will get done.
A walk. With my ear buds. I alway have ear buds in, either taking in information or listening to music to elevate my mood.
If not a walk, a dinner with a friend. Or if I feel like being alone, I’ll be at a counter somewhere eating breakfast for dinner.
If I’m in a relationship, obviously this would be time spent with her. Focus on being present. Mindful. Stay away from phones. Share stories, recap the day, flirt, kiss, explore, cuddle, be romantic, all that good stuff. It’s important. It’s all good energy and recharge. There so much more natural motivation and drive to build something when you are sharing your life with someone. Use that fuel. Soak it in.
I try to get to bed early. For many, this is a worry space. They’re obsessing about bills, what they didn’t get done, their marriage, their job, reviewing their life and why they’re not happy.
I try to focus on all the good that’s happening, all the amazing people in my life, how far I’ve come, everything I’m pumped and excited about. I try to stay away from all the thoughts that will drown me. Maybe a mediation or some chill music. Don’t think about tomrrow. It’s a trap which will lead to shitty sleep and very long day.
If you look at my day design, I’m creating content almost every two hours but it doesn’t feel like it. Because I’m just flowing, and hoping around, and it doesn’t feel like work. Most of the time.
I’m look at creating content as taking a giant life highlighter and highlighting revelations and parts of my day on different media and different platforms. Juggling from writing to videos to writing to sessions makes things interesting and I don’t drown in one activity. Instead, I’m firing on all cylinders
Now most of you don’t write full time and create content. You have “day jobs”. So here’s the quick take aways to design your day for maximum productivity, no matter what you do.
- Work in sprints.
- Change enviornments (using them to fuel good mood and natural motivation).
- Don’t isolate (Even if you’re an introvert. It’s not sustainable)
- Break up your day with physical activity.
- Mediate (don’t negotiate this)
- Wake up early. (If you wake up one hour earlier a day, you can literally write a book this year).
- Watch / read things that motivate and inspire you.
- Have a routine. (nothing is built without one).
Get my book HERE.