Ep. 223: Could This Meeting Have Been An Email?

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 223: Could This Meeting Have Been An Email?".

1970-01-01T02:06:35.000Z

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Introduction

Cal's intro (00:00)

uh time block planning for a lot of people just becomes a productivity felix felicitous potion where it's like wouldn't this be great if this only took a half hour and then this 20 minutes between these two meetings i i took this off my plate and then this hour i finished that memo and you look at this plan you're like man that would be awesome and like nine minutes into your day your laptop's on fire the the company just went out of business, your child just gave lice to your pediatrician who's now left the industry altogether, and seven new projects just fell on your plate, and also you forgot you were supposed to be writing a book and it's due on Friday. It takes about nine minutes before this miraculous plan you have, where you're like, this is great. Everything will take 20 minutes and I'll have all this energy. So be realistic. Don't make a wish list. You'll feel better actually being able to get a reasonable plan done with time to spare. In the end, it's going to make you feel much better than that 10 minutes of like, ooh, this would be great. I'm Cal Newport, and this is Deep Questions, episode 223. I'm here in my Deep Work HQ joined by my producer, Jesse, who just got back with me from what I think we can call our first live podcast event. I think that's fair. It's, it wasn't really about us. The event was for author David Sacks and his new book, the future is analog. And it was me moderating a conversation with him, but that's like a podcast interview. So I feel like it was like a live event and we had a lot of our people there in the audience. And so I don't know about you, but I enjoyed that. I liked it a lot. We had to bring a lot of equipment. So it seemed audience. And so I, I don't know about you, but I enjoyed that. I liked it a lot. We had to bring a lot of equipment. So it seemed like it was live. I had like four bags. Yeah. Yeah. Jesse had a lot of, because cameras and mixers and, uh, Mike, one of our fans thought that I was a homeless guy. Walking into the thing. He said that to me when I saw you show up, I thought you were homeless. Homeless or podcast producer. That actually would be a pretty good game show. Homeless or 1990s. I think a lot of podcast producers actually look more like hipsters from the early 2000s. There's a lot of strain of hipsterness. Anyway, the event was good. David was great. My audience loves the type of stuff he writes about. This was a natural fit. So if the name sounds familiar, he wrote in 2016, The Revenge of Analog, which I talked about a lot in Digital Minimalism, my book. And then this new book, The Future is Analog, is a follow-up to a 2016 book. Essentially, his argument is that the pandemic gave us a sneak peek of this easy access push button all digital future that Silicon Valley has been pitching and his argument is we saw that sneak peek and didn't like what we experienced and so he's predicting a future that's going to integrate more authentic higher quality analog experiences across many domains of life from schooling to work to even the nurturing of our souls. It's a very interesting book. He's really the guy for talking about this tension between the analog and the digital. And we had a great conversation. I walked through some questions. The audience had some questions for him. However, I couldn't help think while I was on stage, asking about his book that we need to get him some deep questions, style questions, the type of stuff we talk about on this show. So I don't want to spoil too much about what's coming up in this episode, but I will say this later in the show, David Sachs himself will be joining us in the studio and answering some of your questions, type of questions we get to in deep questions. So stay tuned. Some point later in the show and answering some of your questions, type of questions we get to in deep questions. So stay tuned. Some point later in the show, David will join us here, take Jesse's seat, and we will be able to get some wisdom from him on some of the type of issues we talk about here. Uh, just use the most interesting person you met at the event. Well, I spent the most time with Mike. All right. He reads 10 books a month, but he has a different formula than you. Is this Mike who gave me the Lincoln recommendation with Mike. He reads 10 books a month, but he has a different formula than you. Is this Mike who gave me the Lincoln recommendation? Yes. Oh, excellent. 10 books a month. Mike Kelly. What's Mike's formula? What's his formula? Well, for instance, I didn't see the formula. We didn't talk that much about it, but that's what he talked about initially. I think if a book's 1,200 pages and he reads 400 of it, that might consider more than one book according to his formula. I see, right, so he's normalizing. He's an engineer. Yeah. He's normalizing. Well, he's actually not an engineer, but he deals with missiles and rockets. Excellent. So he's not an engineer by trade, but he's an engineer by heart. So we also met, did you meet the artist? We met an artist who works in sculpture. No, I didn't. That's cool. Yeah. She listens to deep questions while she sculpts and then goes and tries to convince her standard zoom adult knowledge work husband that he too should listen to the show because he's on the computer all day. Some folks drove three hours. Yeah. Yeah. They were great. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I had a good conversation with them. Um, good crowd. There's also a couple C-suite types Yeah, they were great. Yeah, yeah, I had a good conversation with them. Good crowd. There's also a couple C-suite types who had good stories about using world without email type ideas, implementing at their company, including someone shout out to Mike, who's the CTO of a company that he aggressively put in place a lot of my ideas about communication and protocols. The company grew quite large, quite fast in that period, and they just sold it for 250 million. So is he gonna retire now? That's a good question. Go live a deep life? Yeah, now he can. Now he can. Yeah, this is my issue, people would agree, is some of these ideas I have for the workplace, I could be actually out there in the workplace world helping helping people implement them and could also probably retire quite early, but instead I choose to just create new ideas instead of cashing in.


Discussion Topics: Productivity Tips And Reviews

Deep Dive - Could This Meeting Have Been An Email? (05:49)

I could be a high-price consultant. Yeah, you could, but then you have to travel around a lot. You want to be right. My soul would die. Yeah, but anyways, that was fun. One other announcement before we get into the show today. We forgot in last week's episode was when we would have normally done my summary of the books I had read in the previous month. So the books are in October. We forgot to do it. So Jesse and I recorded a books I read in October segment and posted it on the YouTube channel. So for October, you can you can see the book segment on the YouTube channel. So for October, you can see the book segment on the YouTube channel, calnewport.com slash, no, no, that's not right, youtube.com slash calnewportmedia. All right, so later we have David Sachs joining us in the studio to answer some questions, but first, I wanted to do a deep dive on an interesting study that a tech company did about meeting, so we haven't talked about meetings recently, so let's do a deep dive on an interesting study that a tech company did about meetings. So we haven't talked about meetings recently, so let's do a deep dive on the question, could this meeting have been an email? Is this article, I have this up on the screen for those who are watching on YouTube, the title of this article is, we intentionally canceled every meeting for a week. Here's what happened. And it is a recent article. It's from the 6th of November. The company in question here is Zapier. So I think hardcore sort of world without email fans will know that name. Zapier is used for digital workflow automation. One of these cool nerd productivity companies. All right. so let me point out a few things from this company. First of all, I enjoyed the opening sentence of this article. It reads as follows. I do my best work when I'm interrupted every 30 minutes for a meeting, said no one ever. Now that's just writing. That's a funny way to open an article. All right. So the author of this article goes on to talk about the types of meetings. So the, the ontology of meetings that pulls at her attention. This list includes project kickoffs, sinks, retrospectives, recurring team meetings, and one-on-ones. I don't even know what most of those terms mean, but it gives you some sense on the proliferation of meetings, especially within these type of high-tech knowledge work firms. So what they decided to try at this company, Zapier, was something they called Get Stuff Done Week, GSD for short. The quote here says, The idea was that by moving from live calls to asynchronous communication, people could spend more time on deep work. You gotta love, I love the references, the commonplace references to deep work because that means it's pervaded the cultural lexicon. And yes, get stuff done. All right, so this was the idea. They're going to just say, let's try this one week, basically no meetings. What are the logistics? They just encourage everyone. The leadership says everyone should cancel their internal meetings. So yeah, if you have client meetings, you'll have to do those and move to conversations async instead. It's engineer talk for asynchronous. So instead of live back and forth, documents, email, task systems, etc. Right. They did this for one week. Here is some examples of what this particular person did to replace these meetings. So let's get specific. So she said instead of her weekly one on one, which by the way, I don't even know what that is. Again, I've never had a real job. So a lot of this is sometimes new to me, but instead of her weekly one-on-one, she consolidated questions for my manager and sent them to her in a direct message on Slack. Okay, so I'm assuming a one-on-one is where you get together with your manager and say, what are we doing this week? Jesse's nodding his head. So I have that right? Yep, okay. Instead of a project check-in, all team members shared their updates in the relevant Asana tasks. All right, Asana is a task board. I talk about task boards a lot in a world without email. A centralized, transparent place where all ongoing tasks can be seen, organized, and have relevant information attached to them. So Asana is just a one of these task board systems that's liked by computer programmer types. Instead of a one-off strategy call, stakeholders shared their thoughts in a Coda doc. All right, I don't know what a Coda doc is, but I get what they're saying here is instead of like, let's just get on the call and talk about this particular new thing we need a strategy for, they instead wrote down their thoughts in some sort of shared document situation. And finally, instead of a project kickoff call, our project manager sent a Slack message that shared the project charter timeline and next steps. That's probably the most relevant information from those kickoff meetings anyway. So let's just get that information posted. Why do we have to spend 30 minutes talking about it? All right, so what was interesting here is this particular employee, who is not a manager, said, hey, this went well. I normally spend between six and 10 hours in meetings. So that's six or 10 hours she got back. But look at this. She says, from what I can tell, it was even more impactful for managers at Zapier who sometimes spend half their week or more in meetings. So for the technical employees, this is 10 hours back, which you can get a lot done in, especially when you think about the way that the meetings, it's not the total time, that's not the only toll, it's also the fragmentation of time. So these meetings might be short, 10 hours might be 20 half hour meetings, and those are sprinkled throughout your week, breaking up long stretches of time, so they could eliminate almost any long stretches of time. So the damage of 10 hours worth of meetings is bigger than just 10 hours of work. But look at this managers at Zapier could spend 50% or more, 20 plus hours in meetings. So this particular employee talked to her manager and got some quotes. So her manager, Caitlin, said things such as, Zoom calls tend to rule my calendar, especially doing check-ins. The manager said the most surprising part of not having these weekly check-ins was that I actually didn't feel disconnected from my team at all. You're still working and communicating just differently. The manager also said, instead of cramming tasks into my short stints between calls like usual, I was able to focus on my responsibilities that require deeper thinking, like long-term strategy, team planning, and cross-functional processes. Also, the manager said, a week without meetings gave us space for more curiosity and experimentation, encouraging us to look at the problems we were trying to solve from a different angle. For us, a meeting-less week was far from a meaningless week. I feel like the manager maybe practiced that line before talking to her subordinate for this article. I think that's just think about this though for a second. I mean, I think this is really important. These managers, if you're spending more than half of your hours on Zoom, this is not consolidated. This is not, man, every day I have to do meetings from one to five. No, no, no. These hours are sprinkled throughout the days so that you probably have never more than about 30 minutes free. Maybe occasionally you'll have an hour free without another meeting showing up somewhere on your schedule. So basically these managers were in a state of constant context shifting from one meeting to another with these small areas in between to try to do tasks. But let's be honest, tasks means slack. Tasks means trying to keep up with the deluge in the inbox. So you're wrenching your cognitive context away from this meeting, which probably generated lots of open loops that you don't have time to get to because you have to answer 15 urgent slack messages before the next meeting puts you into a different context. From a psychological perspective, that's an almost impossible demand. The exhaustion that would engender is going to be pronounced and from a productivity perspective it's got to be a terrible way to take these high-power highly trained minds and say help us organize all of these brains that are organization and create new original things. What a terrible way to actually try to harness that energy. So I think this is a fantastic insight of the impact meetings had been having. All right, so Zapier didn't want to just rely on anecdotes. They did an internal survey. Here's some statistics. 80% of respondents want to do this again. 80% of respondents achieved their goals for the week. 89% respondents found communication to be as effective during that week as during a typical week. There's some goals this writer gives. Okay, if you want to succeed with something like this, there are four goals or four pieces of advice we should say. One, set goals. So having specific goals for what you'll achieve during these weeks, these meeting-free weeks, makes it much more likely that you'll use those hours productively. By the way, that's super telling. I think we're so used to this react to incoming in between meetings, absurd structure of work that actually being given open time is something we don't necessarily know what to do with. Like I have meetings and I'm doing emails. So what am I supposed to do when I have two hours free? I think that's interesting that one of the of the, the number one goal was plan what you're going to do with that time. By the way, we have some advice here on this podcast for you, uh, right about how to plan your time. All right. A piece of advice. Number two, go async. So the big, I'm using asynchronous channels. So that's, you know, where you write something that someone else can come read it later. Future proof your work is the third tip. So she used extra hours to help put in place systems that in the future will make it easier to not have to use meetings. More on that in a second. And her fourth piece of advice is figure out which meetings matter. So actually do reflection. If you do one of these weeks, look back and say, what was really a problem that we missed? And what did I not miss at all? And so when you come out of it, if you're still going to have meetings in your schedule, you have some insight on which of those meetings to prioritize. Alright, so I think that's an interesting insight into the reality of life in sort of a modern high-tech knowledge work firm. I think it's an interesting insight into what happens when you step away from meetings. 90% of the employees at this company said nothing bad happened and yet I am sure Zapier is back to what how things were before. And this gets to the broader issue with the type of advice I talk about with the type of advice like a meeting-free GSD week. Why, if these ways of operating are universally beloved, way more effective, way less psychologically draining, why don't we do this more often? Why aren't these the standards? And I think the answer is because it's hard. Just rock and rolling with email, Slack, and being able to throw a zoom invitation to anyone at any point is, in the space of possible productivity configurations, a low energy state. It is very easy, it does not take much energy, it's very flexible, the overhead of implementing that is very small because it's just on-the-fly let's go. Organizations will collapse towards this low energy state unless there is a huge amount of external energy continually pumped into the organization to try to maintain an alternative configuration. The GSD week at Zapier was complicated. They used many more asynchronous tools, more structures were needed, they were talking about in this one one person's example they were talking about, in this one person's example, they were talking about annotating a sonnet task. They were talking about these CODA documents. They're talking about an alternative kickoff procedure for new projects. None of this is easy, and it would require buy-in from the top down, as well as from the bottom up, and a lot of consistent energy being put into, this is how we do it now. We don't do these type of meetings so it is easier to just be ad hoc and I think we we underestimate the power of easy. Easy is often bad, easy is often inefficient, easy often exhaust people, easy is often a terrible way to make the most of the assets that a knowledge work company has but it's also very very difficult to dislodge. So to conclude this discussion, I want to throw in three random pieces of advice about meetings. We haven't talked about meetings a lot, so let me throw in three random pieces of Cal Newport meeting advice. I'll sort of throw this into the mix along with the advice given in this article we just reviewed. Number one, to me, the overarching message of what they experienced at Zapier is that all regular collaboration needs a structured process that everyone understands and all relevant stakeholders had a hand in crafting. Structured process that says, here's how the collaboration happens. Here's the information, here's how the information moves, here's how decisions are made. These can be a pain to construct, but once constructed, it can be way more effective than just saying we'll throw in a Zoom meeting and email or Slack in between. So we saw some structured processes arise in this Zapier example. For example, the annotation of Asana tasks that are reviewed every day, as opposed to having check-in meetings. The construction of a kickoff document with the project charter and goals, et cetera, that is uploaded to a particular tool called Coda, instead of having a kickoff meeting. So these are structured collaboration processes. All regular collaboration, you should try to put in place a process like this, that's very clear about here's how the interaction happens. And to the extent possible, the answer to that question should move away from unscheduled communication that requires you to check an inbox as much as possible. This should move away from having large blanks of unstructured meeting time. We'll just figure it out when we all get on Zoom. You want more structure than that. My second piece of advice, to make any of this type of structure collaboration philosophies work, you need a catch-all. This is the biggest thing I saw missing from the discussion in the Zapier article and probably the biggest source of friction that would bring an end to this GSD experiment if they try to just extend it week after week, is that there will be small things that pop up that require back-and-forth interaction that will will be small things that pop up that require back and forth interaction that will probably be best dispatched if we could just talk. And if we're in a remote environment, we need to set up a meeting. And because it's hard to set up meetings that are less than 30 minutes, it's probably going to eat up 30 minutes of our time. So you need catch-alls for the ad hoc discussion requiring issues that will inevitably arise outside of your structures. And I think the best catch all is office hours. Every day, every person has a clearly posted time. My door is open, my phone is on, I have a Zoom room activated and I'm in it. Short discussions get deferred to office hours. If someone tries to email you or hit you up on Slack with something that's going to require more than just one message back and forth, you say, great, come to my office hours, we'll talk about it. And if that doesn't work, I'll come to your next office hours to talk about it. If someone throws a Zoom meeting invite at you, you say, why don't we just grab me at a nearby office hours, let's really see what we're dealing with here. And then if we need a longer meeting, we can set it. So you need these catchalls. The effect of these is significant. And finally, reverse meetings, say a term I coined in an earlier episode, reverse meetings often generate better insight than standard meetings. So in a standard meeting, I gather all of the people that are relevant to something that I'm working on into one place and we talk about it. I want to know what you guys think about it. Let's make a plan. In a reverse meeting, me as the initiator, instead of summoning five people to come meet with me, I go and talk to each of those five people one-on-one. And in an environment with catch-alls like office hours, that means I'm going to go to each of your office hours one by one and talk to you about this issue. Much greater insight is extracted from reverse meetings because you get rid of the the crowd social dynamics of having a lot of people in the same room. You're able to fully extract the thoughts, the feelings, and the expertise of each individual person. You have more time to synthesize this information. You'll probably come to a better decision having done a reverse meeting, and your overall impact on people's schedule is greatly minimized. If I go through five people's existing office hours, I have added nothing to their calendar that wasn't already there. If I instead make the five of them get together in a half hour meeting or an hour long meeting outside of that, that's five worker hours I've now sucked out of the system. So it's not only more efficient, but I also think they gain more insight. So those are three random pieces of advice. All regular collaboration has to be structured, have a catch all like office hours for what doesn't fit in those structures, depend more on reverse meetings than standard meetings for complicated decisions where expertise is needed or nuanced political emotional issues are at play. You're going to get much better results with the aggregate of one-on-ones instead of getting a lot of people into one room. Thoughts on meetings. So with office hours, so say you're waiting around and nobody's there, is that just a good time to do like an admin block? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Just be like, okay, I'm going to go through email or do something lightweight and waiting to see who actually shows up. Yeah. I'm hearing from more people who are doing these, by the way. I've heard from more entrepreneurs who are working on these. It used to be the big example was Jason Freed and Basecamp. Like they were big on the office hours. And, and, you know, when I did a kickoff event for a world without email, it was me and Jason and conversation and we got into that, but I've heard from other readers since then. It really is effective. Mm-hmm. You know, it really is effective. Every day set time, it can, it can consume so many things that otherwise would have been an email or a meeting. Mm-hmm. Uh, and it And it's an intermediate between this email meeting, synchronous, asynchronous dichotomy that we often see. So the phrase is often this meeting could have been an email. People really don't like I have to spend 30 minutes or an hour in a meeting for something that could have been dealt with an email.


Cal talks about Eightsleep and Blinkist (23:59)

But if everything goes to email, you get the hyperactive hive mind. There really is an efficiency to real time back and forth. You and I can figure something out in five minutes that would otherwise take five to 15 messages, each of which generates five inbox checks. And there we have 50 to 75 context shifts created by this conversation. Or we could talk for five minutes. Office hours mediates between those two. So you get all the advantage of real time interaction, all that efficiency without the schedule devouring overhead of having every conversation have to have its own meeting that that holds time on your calendar. So it's like one of the number one strategies for an organizational environment that I think, uh, one of the most effective single pieces of advice I have for organizations is put office hours in place. All right, well, we have a special guest host waiting right in the wings. But first, let me briefly talk about one of the sponsors that makes this show possible. That is our friends at 8 Sleep, who produce the 8 Sleep Pod, the ultimate sleep machine. It's the 8SleepPod, the ultimate sleep machine. It allows you to control the temperature of your mattress. You can have a separate temperature for both sides of your mattress. You control it right from an app. You can keep your bed as cool as 55 degrees or as hot as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. As listeners know, I am an 8Sleep addict. It has ruined me to hotels. It has ruined me to visiting other people because I am so used to having the eight sleep on my bed at home. Now, let me be clear. I'm a negative one guy. So eight sleepers know what I'm talking about. There's a scale of negative to positive for your temperature setting. I flirted with negative two, negative three before. Too cold. No, no, no, too cold. Negative one. I am a negative one guy. And let me tell you, now that it's winter, negative one is a beautiful place to be with your eight sleep because you can put on all of those comforters and blankets that you want when you first get into bed during the winter. And you can wake up five hours later, you're not hot. Because the eight sleep takes all that heat you're generating and whisks it away so that that feeling you get when you first get into a bed, a warm bed on a cold night, you can maintain that all night. No overheating. No joke. I love my eight sleep and I have a hard time now sleeping other places. So it says here the pot is not magic, but it feels like it. I would say the pod will change what you think the comfort of sleeping can be. But again, as my warning, you will be ruined to sleeping on other beds if you get one. So go to 8sleep.com slash deep and save $150 on the pod. 8sleep currently ships within the USA, Canada, the UK, select countries in the EU and Australia. That's eightsleep.com slash deep. Remember to do the slash deep to get that $150 off. Let's also talk about our good friends at Blinkist. As I always say, ideas are power in our current culture and books are the absolute best source of high quality ideas. The hard part is figuring out which books to read and which books not to. That's where Blinkist enters the picture. There's a subscription service that gives you 15 minute text and audio explainers called Blinks of over 5,000 nonfiction titles spread over 27 categories. So in 15 minutes, just listening while you do the dishes or reading quickly in between meetings, you can get all the main ideas of over 5,000 nonfiction books. What this means is that if you're interested in a book, but you're not sure if you should buy it, you can get an answer to that question. This is how I use it. 15 minute blink, what are the main ideas? 80% of the time I come away with, that's all I need to know. Like I know enough about this book to understand how it enters the conversation of ideas. 20% of the time I say, this is, I gotta read this. And so my hit rate with books goes way up because I use Blinkist. They've also added now something called Shortcast, which gives you short summaries of podcasts. As podcasts gets longer, it's nice to get these short summaries to figure out, is it worth loading up to listen to? So Blinkist has been a long-time sponsor of the show, and I think it is not surprising why. Right now, Blinkist has a special offer just for our audience. Go to Blinkist.com slash deep to start your free 7-day trial and get 25% off a Blinkist Premium Membership. That's Blinkist spelled B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T. Blinkist.com slash deep to get 25% off and a 7-day free trial.


Is the Light Phone worth the money? (28:37)

Blinkist.com slash deep. All right. Now replacing producer Jesse in the producers chair is our special guest host. Who's going to help me answer the next batch of listener questions. That is friend of the show, David Sachs. Cal, audience. Good to see ya. All right. Well, David, I've got a collection of questions from our listeners that I thought you would have some particular insight to shed As the listeners might remember from prior appearances of David on this show You might know him from his books the revenge of analog and the future is analog He is going to help us understand this uneasy tension. We have between the digital and between the real we have between the digital and between the real. All right, David, our first question comes from Ara, a 30 year old PhD student from London. Ara says, hey Cal, have you heard of the Light Phone? Is it worth the money or is dumbing down a regular smartphone a better option in your opinion? So let's start first, David, with the meta question here. What is the role of dumbed-down digital in this digital analog divide? I think dumbed-down is kind of a good segue tool to help wean people off digital addiction or digital overuse, or maybe even sometimes just, uh, being stuck with digital being the standard sort of modernized digital being too effective. Right? Like some people like to work on an older version of software cause it gives them fewer options. Um, uh, you know, I, I reluctantly accept the MS word. It's every three. I use word star and I don't know. Wow. There's a deep hole for you folks. WordPerfect for all you Canadians out there. Like. I read WordPerfect too. Corral, WordPerfect. WordPerfect, I remember. Ended in scandal that company. The guy had a golden house. The WordPerfect guy had a golden house. This is a five. Michael Corral. It's. A five-part podcast investigative series. I think it actually was one, but in the early days of podcast, when no one was listening. Yeah. So, so I think, you know, these, these phones are, are purpose built, right? Phones like the light phone or the punk phone or other sort of stripped down basic phones. They're purpose built for that reason or the ones that National Geographic sells to advanced age seniors. Jitterbug. Exactly. It's like, it's a press help button. Yeah. And that's it. I have one of these by the way. Someone sent me, I have in my supply closet behind you one of these. I think it was a sponsor at some point early on in the early on in the podcast and it wasn't a jitterbug. I love the jitterbug with the, like I've fallen and I can't get up or I don't know where I am like there's these sort of simple buttons. I think you shake it to call your grandkids. I'm like, my question, how it works. We could all use that. Yeah. Um, but I think for, for ASA's, um, purposes, uh, you know, uh, the, the problem with a stripped down smartphone, like you get your Apple iPhone and you know, you, you don't install the programs on it's, it's still very tempting. It's it's design is built to engage you more and more and more. So you're talking about like an iPhone, but you've stripped it down. It's an older model iPhone, but it've stripped it down. It's an older model iPhone, but it still has a browser. Yeah, you can still get apps on it. You're you're wary of just having the phone be older being effective in terms of changing behavior. I think I think so from what I've observed anecdotally from members of my own family. You know, my wife is like my sister-in-law is like, you know, scrolling with her fingers bleeding because the glass is broken. Like Sabrina, just get a new phone. This is, this is, this is getting dangerous. Show and tell time. All right, here we go, David Sachs. Would you consider this to be a, this is a, this is an old, this is an old phone, right? Old, small, cracked screen. Does that, but you think. But it's, you know, like, I think the days of getting the new iPhone and it being so amazing that that's done. Like it's, each one is just like, it's like another Subaru Outback I buy. It's just like, it's another level of like the same functionality in middle-aged dad mediocrity. David owns four Subaru Outbacks. I have. FYI, at the same time. Yeah, he has a Monday. That's how I'm rolling. With all of his public affairs, publishing money. You roll a speed. This one's for driving the kids to Hebrew school and this one's for swimming. Yeah. Um, but I think it also depends on your own level of, of self-control, right? And, uh, we are talking about is, you know, digital addiction and distraction and how much self-control do you have. If you need that extra tool to really bring you out of it and shift your mindset and rewire your neural pathway so that you're not entirely dependent on this thing for so much time and effort and thought and activity, then yeah, trying something out. Yeah. Is going to be more effective than the sort of dumbed down version of it. So you're on board, you know, go all the way for the light phone. If you're having this issue, you want to shake things up. Don't just get an old iPhone, but, but yeah, like the jitterbug. Yeah. I get something like the light phone. I like the light phone. I've talked to those guys, the founders of that, you know, interestingly, it. The original model of the light phone. I like the light phone. I've talked to those guys, the founders of that, you know, interestingly, it, the original model of the light phone, light phone one was a tether model. So it was, you have your, uh, regular smartphone and you could leave it at home, but the light phone was somehow tethering through that account. So it was actually the calls coming to your normal phone was coming to the light phone. And, uh, you could call from the light phone and it was actually going as far as people were concerned because they thought at first, like people are going to want that. Um, and then they shifted because people said, no, like if I'm going to get something that's different than my phone, I want to go all in. Well, and I think this is what you and I were talking about earlier today was that once you're off these things, you don't really miss them. Yeah. No one's like, oh man, I really miss that iPhone. I really miss being on Insta. If only I could just like click a like on some surfing longboard video. I think Donald Trump might miss Twitter. Yeah, well, I don't think that's the metric for how we should measure ourselves in this world. What would WWDGT...DG, DJTD. That's my motto. I just saw that here driving up onto your house. Yeah. And by the way, my life is in shambles. Um, no, but I think that's, that, that is a good point. We talked about it's, it's almost an issue. If you were the light phone guys. Is it works too well. And if I used a light phone for six months of our uses the light phone for six months. They could just go back to their iPhone after that probably have no problems which is different we were you know it's different than cigarettes is different than alcohol like if you had trouble with alcohol and you kicked it, don't go back to Friday beers. If you know, you had the meth problem, don't go back to just whatever. Casual meth. Social meth usage or whatever. Social meth, you'll end up in the gas station parking lot. Exactly, missing the teeth. But, but with with digital, you're right. Like people, it's a, like a matrix type thing. They take whatever pill, we were talking about this the other day, we couldn't get it straight, which pills work. Once you leave the metaphor of either politics or literally being in a robot simulation, the red pill, blue pill metaphor is kind of hard to apply, but it's a evolution. People get off these things, they don't get as tempted. So it's bad news, I guess, for Light Phone, very bad news for the social media companies. Because as people get older and say, what am I doing on this thing? Why am I watching this? Well, you know what it's analogous to? It's analogous to TVs in the bedroom, right? TVs in the bedroom or, you know, anyone who's a sleep consultant or doctor is like, don't have TVs in the bedroom. Anyone who's a sex consultant or sex expert, I guess, those other podcasts that people listen to is like, yeah, worst thing you can do, TVs in the bedroom. Anyone with, you know, childhood rearing, um, expertise or just is like, yeah, you do not, you know, not a good thing to have. Um, and so I know a lot of kids who grew up with TVs in the bedroom and it was just on constantly and. And they're all in the gas station parking lot now. Exactly. Okay. They're all in LA trying to be stars. That's how it works. Yeah. But okay. Well, we'll follow this through. So TV in the bedroom, your friends are math addicts because they grow TVs in the bathroom and the, in the bedroom. How does this, how does this lead now to, uh, let's, let's, let's close the, the analogy loop here, the leaving social media. Is, is, um, and it's not just social media. It's, it's all the things that we do. You leave social media, you look at more news online, you read more articles in the New York times or, or, you know, whatever you get rid of that, or you cut that down and you're just texting more. You're like, I find myself sometimes just like Googling random things. Cause I'm like, Oh, I have this device in my hand. So it's, it's separating you from the thing that's tempting you, you know, whatever that is. Right. Um, and it's like, okay, I'm not gonna have sweets in the house cause I'm on a diet. Uh, you know, if there's sweets in the house, I'm going to go sneak in those sweets. It's, it's, it's regaining that sense of self-control and then judging whether you're able to sort of readmit, you know, the tempting technology back into your life in some way with limits. Yeah. And that's the good news about technology addiction is that I've used that sweets analogy and I think it's a good one. It's like if the donuts are out in the break room at the office, if you have the Halloween candy at home while you're working from home, it is very hard not to eat it. But if you take it out of the home, you're not going to sneak out in the middle of the night to go buy donuts at an all-night bakery. You're not going to sneak out like I'm going to go buy candy. So it's a moderate behavioral addiction was the term I ended up using in digital minimalism. It's the closest accurate term I could get to. But that was the cornerstone of it was if it is around, you will use or partake in the activity more than you know is healthy.


How do I get started seeking higher quality leisure? (38:46)

But if it's not around, you're largely okay. Which is, which is different than other addictions. I think that's the good news about, about digital. So are we're on board light phone works, uh, for people who don't want to do a light phone, but want to follow David's advice. I always talk about the phone for your method. So you, you have the charger by your front door. That's where the phone gets plugged in. When you get the charger by your front door. That's where the phone gets plugged in when you get home. If you need to look something up, you go to the front door and look it up while it's plugged in. If someone's going to be calling you, you put the ringer on. This is 1980 style. The phone is ringing and I have to go to where the phone is and I have to hold it and talk to them there. If you're waiting for a text, you have to go check it, get the proverbial TV out of the bedroom. And the phone out of the bedroom. Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah go check it, get the, the proverbial TV out of the bedroom and the phone out of the bedroom. Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, if the TV is bad in the bedroom, the phone's gotta be all right. We got Gabriel here. Gabriel says, I am convinced by your argument in digital minimalism to significantly reduce my phone use. All right. Relevant. But I'm worried about being able to identify enough high quality leisure to make up for it. How do I get started? So as you may or may not know David and that part of digital minimalism Where I argue that people need to have high quality substitutes for what they were doing on the phone Don't just white knuckle it. I talked a lot about examples from your book the revenge of analog you spent time touring the the continent going to different pockets of analog, be it record manufacturing, the board games, snakes and ladders, which I talk about in the book, these different resurgence of analog activity. So what is your game plan for Gabriel? He's been digitized for so long. He wants more analog. He doesn't know where to start. Gabriel, there is a wonderful world out there full of interesting things to do that are going to be a hell of a lot more exciting than whatever your phone can deliver. So that's good. And I think it's just a question of identifying what that is, trying those things out. Um, I think the easiest way to start is thinking about the thing that you love or that occupies your time on a phone. And then looking for the analog, non-digital, real-world equivalent. So let's say you love watching sports clips on your phone, right, of football. All right, so like go find a football team to watch and even you know I'm not saying like sit in front of a big screen TV on a giant couch and that's that's a replacement for it's a pretty bad thing like is there a local league or like a high school team or a high school thing that you can go and and watch you know them play once a week or something like that if you're into video games, are there activities that you can do, that's going to get you, you know, give you that same thing, but actually give you so much more of the camaraderie, the, the socialization, the competition, the structured. So it's like, okay, you like playing, playing call of duty. Like there's gotta be somewhere near you that does paintball. You like playing, you know, set, um, strategy game world of warcraft. Well, why don't you get together with some friends or go find a place where people are doing settlers of Catan? Yeah. Um, you know, if you like words with friends, you're going to love this game called Scrabble. Um, uh, you know, if you love listening to music on Spotify and streaming, you know, go check out a record store. Right. Right. Uh, so like, if you know, go check out a record store. Right. Right. Uh, do these things. If you love Twitter. Yeah. Stand on a street corner and just berate passerbys. Is that, if we're looking for analogs? No, go to a bar with your friends and actually like talk about things in the world. But that's not Twitter. Twitter would be going into the bar and immediately looking at someone and be like, Hey, you know what I think about you? Your shirt is stupid. Do better. Go to a bar and get beat up. Yeah. I think that's if you like Twitter, go to a bar and get beat up. If you like Facebook, go to a family reunion and annoy everyone. Exactly. If you like Instagram, go to a forever 21 and just kind of preen in front of the mirrors. Yeah. Yeah. And then go to a bakery and like, you know, take film photos of a croissant. Yeah. And if you'd like TikTok, I really don't know what you do. Take a bunch of speed. Do a bunch of speed. Look at me, look at me, look at me. Go to a, go to a, go to a like a random kids bar mitzvah. Like it's just like loud music, lots of dancing, lots of tweens. You don't really know what's going on. Try to get people to look at me, look at me, look at me. Go to a. Go to a, like a random kids bar mitzvah. Like it's just like loud music, lots of dancing, lots of tweens. You don't really know what's going on. Try to get people to look at you. It's kind of confusing, but they can't look away. Yeah. Like why is this re this reporter whose book I read at the Dershowitz bar mitzvah doing a weird dance. I don't know him. I can't look away. You know what I got to say? They still play house of pains, jump around at bar mitzvahs. So what could be better than that? Show me the digital. It's funny. I mean, you joke about being beat up at the bar, but, you know, a friend of mine who's been on the show before the comedian, Jamie Kilstein, who he's on the show off and on, we talk about his ups and downs with social media. And when he was going through a really hard time with Twitter, he said it was the exact same physiological response when he would walk out on the street. He had the physiological response of I am about to be attacked because the brain is a hard time. It's so artificial. It's people that are being very aggressive and almost violent towards you in this textual medium. The brain doesn't know about pseudo anonymity and large scale distributed networks. That's how he described it is like he would walk on the streets and feel the physiology of the punches coming. And I think, you know, when we say we're joking, obviously, Gabriel, like if you're engaged with Twitter, you're not engaged in it. I mean, unless you're a real troll. And if you're a real troll, you're not going to be coming writing to Cal and saying, how do I get off this? You're like, this is the greatest thing in the world. Yeah. Starting to fight. You get some pretty good troll questions to me. Yeah. Starting to fight, right? You get some, some pretty good troll questions to me about like, yeah. True. Yeah. Um, but I think, I think it's people who go into Twitter, they want to go, cause they want to find out about something or engage in the quote unquote conversation. Yeah. So you got to seek out what those conversations are. If it's politics, there's going to be a group of people or a way to get involved in it. Actually maybe getting involved in politics, politics, politics, by definition, there's politics near where you are. And, and it is because we have it in this show, David, the small town where I live today, small town politics are really local. Yeah. It's not Twitter. It's not, this is Voldemort. And, you know, uh, I don't know who the good guy is. This is Harry Potter. Well, no, no. I was thinking of like the, yeah. Okay. Dumbledore. There we go. It's not Dumbledore and Voldemort, right? It's like, well, you know, this person knows these people and these people, eh, they're, I don't really like their positions on development, but like, I also know them from the market. It's like a very interesting thing. It's like, I disagree with people, but it's, you know, the people it's social, you're, you're, you learn about yourself, you're challenging yourself, you're building relationships. Um, so yeah, what is the real world equivalent? Because all these things are doing is kind of, you know, simplifying and simulating and condensing activities that are in the real world. And, um, it's by definition, if they're appealing, there's gotta be some underlying long adapted human desire that they're pulling on. It's not creating new human desires from scratch. It's gotta be playing with the piano. It's given. Exactly. Yeah. Um, and you know, listen, there's certain things there's no equivalent for, like my kids just got into, you know, my brother has, and, um, whatever it know, listen, there's certain things there's no equivalent for like my kids just got into, you know, my brother has and, um, whatever it is, uh, not switch, Nintendo switch. Yeah. They were like, we were spent a good hour a week ago, you know, crushing some Mario cart, like there's no real world equivalent of Mario cart. We're taking my oldest to a go-kart. Right. There is. You can go. And you're like, and you're like, and here's eight turtle shells. Yeah. We're, we're arming them. Yeah. But you know, that's what he's used to. Yeah. Go-karting or biking. Like, because here's the thing when you're doing anything outside of the house, outside of the screen, that's an enjoyable pursuit. If you're reading a great book, if you're going to a concert, if you're eating at a restaurant, if you're, you know, having a good conversation with a friend, even in their podcast studio, you're not missing. I'm not like, oh man, but I wonder what's going on Twitter right now. Like this is, this is fun being in Cal studio. Yeah. It's freezing cold. It got, so I tried to cool it down folks, but I set that too cold and Tangent time but quick tangent we were a The reporter the reporter you met the other night There's a reporter who was here while we just in our recording and she was observing blah blah blah and it was actually cold So I was like, oh, let me go Turn off the or as I was turning off the HVAC just so the sound would be off. It was already cold. Um, and I accidentally went too far and turned it to cold and it got so cold, but we were doing live calls. And so like, I couldn't stop what I was doing and I just watched her getting colder and colder and I felt bad about it. You're like, Oh, do you miss the office? Yeah, exactly. Do you miss exactly what it's like being a woman in the office? I run so hot. I don't care. It could be, we could, we could be outside in 40 degree weather and rain. I'd be happy. And Caliente, Caliente Newport. You know, the brain puts off a lot of heat. That's your next book, heat. Yeah. Um, all right, well, this is great because this is actually a different take on this than I've ever had before. So I like it. Consider, I'm just paraphrasing, consider starting with what you're actually doing digitally already. Find a high quality analog alternative. So something that gets out the same underlying pleasure, uh, but as analog and, and as high quality, let that be a starting point. Yeah. Like, you know, the final thing is like, if you're like, oh, I really want to get into this VR metaverse, like just take a whole bunch of mushrooms. Uh, that's how you do it. All right. Uh, honestly though, if that was, if my first mushroom experience was similar to a Mark Zuckerberg promotional video for the Metaverse, I would never touch them again. I mean, I think it would be terrifying. You're like, oh, there's some nerd with that Lex in here. I know I wrote about this in the New Yorker and I kind of feel bad about it. I was being a little bit, I don't like being catty, but I feel like towards Mark, it's OK. And I don't think he's as much of the antichrist as other people. I may have described in this article as it was something like his delivery was like an android where there are still some bugs in the code because he has kind of a weird stilted, like they programmed him to be human, but haven't quite cracked the code but like an episode of of star trek next generation where like like data data but is like is kind of taken over by the was and I, the whole humor and the piece was literally just describing without exaggeration or embellishment or commentary, what was going on in the scene of this promotional video.


How do I become a successful freelance writer? (49:00)

And this is where there's no legs. They had no legs. Um, someone was floating upside down for some reason, and there was a bear and they were playing cards. Uh, I would be done with, if that was my trip straight as an arrow for the rest of my life, this was terrifying. I had nothing to do with the legless guy, the upside down guy in the bear. Um, all right. So I got a question from me as long as I have you, uh, in the studio from me on behalf of my listeners. Uh, so you've spent most of your career as a journalist and freelance journalist, writer of books. You're on, this is four or five, five, five, okay. Five books. Um, you've got cool stories, right? I mean, you're on, this is four or five, five, five. Okay. Five books. Um, you've got cool stories, right? I mean, you reported from talk about earlier, you were stationed in Argentina earlier in your career. You did a book about Jewish delis where you were traveling the seaboard, trying out different delis for revenge of analog. You went to all these cool places. It was first person journalistic. A lot of the article. This is, I think, romantic to a certain subset of my listeners. The idea, the autonomy and the adventure of being a writer, traveling, going to interesting places, being able to write books about it, then to be able to like travel and like you're seeing me now because you're traveling, talking about the book, right? This is romantic. Um, and we know that this is romantic. It's well, yeah, we've been talking about the sex spurts and now we're going to talk about the romance of David and I being in the same room. Um, so what I'm wondering here is like, let's, uh, let's say two answers. What's the reality checks? Like what's the elements that, okay, it's not as romantic as you think, but so that we're not too dour, maybe give us a taste of what actually is as cool as you might think about this sort of full-time autonomous writer's lifestyle yeah so that the the negative side because you know i get this a lot i'm i'm a mentor at my old university so i have all these students and they don't have a writing program or journalism so they send them to me right the wayward souls They don't have a writing program or journalism, so they send them to me, right? The wayward souls. Look, it's a difficult way to make a consistent living, financially speaking. You know, the financial rewards are not steady and consistent, and I'm someone who's successful at it, relatively speaking, but, you know, it took me a while to get where I am, and that happened as the sort of industry, especially the magazine and newspaper industry, at it, relatively speaking. But, you know, it took me a while to get where I am. And that happened as the sort of industry, especially the magazine and newspaper industry, has imploded as the sort of ad sales. JS It's the reality now, you really need, is books and speaking what's going to be the primary income source? Is the freelance writing fee small enough now? If you're going to make a go at this, you can't imagine it's just going to be from the magazine piece of what's the. No. Okay. That, that, those days are done. Yeah. Um, I think there are people who, who still managed to eat that out, but they're doing other things. Um, books are relatively consistent and steady. Yeah. Um, and the speaking, you know, relates to the success of the books or, or the topics of them. And that's always, that's always sort of good. Um, so that's, that's the downside. And then there's of course, all the downsides of being a writer, um, the roller coaster of emotions and, you know, self hatred. And, you know, my book came out today and last night was amazing. We did a great event. You, you, the, the, the, the, the sun God of Cal Newportness just brought all these wonderful people from DC who were friends of yours, fans of yours, listeners of yours, um. Hometown, hometown crowd. Hometown crowd. sun god of Cal Newportness just brought all these wonderful people from DC who were friends of yours, fans of yours, listeners of yours. Hometown, hometown crowd. Hometown crowd. Yeah. You, you brought it, you brought it. And, uh, and it was a wonderful way to kick off this book tour. And then it was today, it was like, oh, someone isn't responding to my email about an op-ed and when like, you know, I'm like, well, maybe I'll just click on the Amazon. It's like, you don't click on the Amazon ranking on your first day. I'm like, well, maybe I'll just click on the Amazon. It's like, you don't click on the Amazon ranking on your first day. I'm like, well, my book's 124,000. So that's, oh no, forget it. Um, but it was 126,000. So I think that's what's important. It's on the up and up. Yeah. It's a mover. On the up. It's a mover and shaker. So that's, you can get infinitely discerning by the way, with your Amazon, like, well, it moving in shakers in this category on Tuesdays was actually in the top 1000. Yeah, there you go. There's always a one. Yeah. A number one thing. Right. But up and down, up and down. Yeah. But I think, you know, the, the, the thing that I always tell people is like, when you, if you're able to do it in a way that you're able to support yourself and like, I'm not advocating that, like you should do it and lose all your money. That's ridiculous. But like you gain the ultimate freedom and access. You've never had a normal job. Is that right? I've never had a normal job. You've never gone into an office building on a regular basis. I had one job when I was in my first summer of university. Um, that was a regular job. I got a job at a office that made newsletters for dentists in Toronto. So you've had two different dream careers. Yeah. Is what you're saying. My job, I went the first day. I'm like, okay, like I want to be a journalist. I'm going to write these stories about dentists. You're like, no, you're going to go in this room. Here's a stack of the newsletters. Here's a printout of like, um, the addresses. You're going to tape the address onto the newsletter here where it says, or the name of the dentist, Dr. Calvin Newport, you know, 606, whatever way. You're going to place this on this Canon image runner copier, and you're going to make 200 copies of that one, and you're going to make 300 copies of that one. And you can do this all day, eight hours a day, seven days a week in this windowless room, until the day when you notice smoke coming from the Camden Gin Runner. Cause you've been running it so hot and so much, you've been slamming those copies that it catches on fire. And the guy from Canon comes in and he's like, I have never seen anything like it. And then you're moved to data entry. Uh, by the way, I love your dream denied in this story is writing articles about dentist. I would probably still be at that company. This is what was taken from you. So anyway, that was, yes. So I've never had that, right? So what have I gotten out of, out of my career when, you know, other friends of mine have had more steady jobs or even steadier careers in journalism. Like my friend Mike came out to the bar last night. He works for Reuters. He's like a beat reporter on Defense, right? And he's like, he was like, you know, I loved, I would love to do what you do. It's I have the freedom to go anywhere and do what I want. And as long as someone is willing to let me go there and say, yeah, you can come to my restaurant and interview me. Yeah, you can come to the record pressing plant in Nashville and walk around with us. Yeah, you know, you can come to the, the record pressing plant in Nashville and walk around with us. Yeah. You know, you can, you can come to Jack White's recording studio and, and talk to his people and, and see how he does all that stuff. Um, then I'm good to go and no one's telling me what to do. I can ask whatever questions I want. I get to have conversations with anyone I want anywhere in the world, um, uh, without limitations on them. So, so what's the game plan then if let's say. Game plan. Undergraduate. Yeah, I'm invite, I do advice here. We get specific. Let's say you're an, a college student and the goal is I want to write nonfiction books that'll allow me to go to interesting places and report an interesting thing. So, so like the books you write, um, how do you maximize the chance that you're like, okay, I want to give you a game plan, no guarantees, but let me build from pull from David, my David Sacks wisdom. And like, this is what you should, this is the steps. Here's what you should focus on. What do you, what are you telling that student? This is what I tell, um, the students that I mentor. So the same thing, right, is, uh, there's many different paths to it. So there's no one way. Um, don't go to journalism school, uh, because there's many different paths to it. So there's no one way. Don't go to journalism school because you're just going to spend a lot of money sort of doing stuff that you could learn as a trade. Write wherever and however you can. So if you can get an internship or you can sell stories to your local hometown paper or website or, you know, some other thing do it right the more you write start a blog start a sub stack thing right right right because first you're going to just have to learn how to do that and learn how to pitch your ideas to people which is the most important part and then you're going to have to figure out what you're actually interested in writing about and what you're good at it. Like you're going to have to develop some sort of niche or expertise. And that doesn't mean you have to spend like 20 years studying, you know, Etruscan ruins. Um, but you're going to have to develop a knowledge around a certain area so that you see an idea that's big enough for a book when it comes to it. Right. So when you're, when you're selling that book, if you can point to your journalism profile, and even if it's a lot of small things, maybe a bigger thing here and there, if there's a, a clear thread through it, you know, I'm writing about outdoor adventure sports a lot, like I'm, I'm in these places. Then when you pitch the book on that, like, okay, this makes sense. This tracks, it makes sense that this person is, but you, you have to give them that thread. Why does it make sense that this person is writing this book? Exactly. Yeah. And sometimes, you know, you have to convince them, right? Like I, my first book was about, um, it's called Save the Deli and it was about, you know, why were Jewish delis disappearing and why, why did that matter? And what were the cultural forces? I mean, I came up with the idea when I was in university and it was a paper I wrote for a class. And when I pitched it, I was, I don't know, 25, 26 years old. And it was like, well, why is this guy doing it? Well, I'm like, look, I'm interested in food. Here's a few things I've written. But it was like, okay, well, he understands this idea enough. We can see in his writing that he knows how to write this or we're going to take a chance on it. It actually gets harder as you get more successful because you have a track record and they're like, oh, Cal Newport, you're the digital minimalism, digital work guy. What do you mean you want to write a book about like 19th century ballet? Look man, like that's, yeah, we'll give you a flyer or whatever, but, um, you know, this is the goods, like you're, you're, this is the industry, right? Yeah. No, it's hard. I mean, I remember when Ryan holiday years ago, I first heard that he was going to write a book on stoicism. I was like, come on, why are you writing a book on stoicism? Your last book was about marketing. You're in the marketing world. You do this growth hacking ebook, like that is your world. This is a crazy idea. And this is why I'm terrible at giving advice to people, but he had a hard time. I asked him about that on the show. Exactly what you're talking about. His publisher was like, I guess we'll publish this. We're not going to pay you much for it. Right. Kind of annoyed about it because we want to get back to what you're known quantity for. But I think, and that's the thing about the freelance writer, like just as soon as you get that sort of success around it people like oh good. You're the analog guy I'm like, yeah But I'm gonna throw you a curveball now because like I don't want to be put in some sort of hole where I'm writing The same book over and over and over and over and over again. Yeah And and you see that and there's people who are successful at kind of weaving through that like, you know, Rich Cohen And you see that and there's people who are successful at kind of weaving through that. Like, you know, Rich Cohen? Name sounds familiar. Rich Cohen's written many books. He's also written for Vanity Fair whenever. And he's always just like something that interests him and something different. And he's like, some stuff sells more and some stuff sells less. He's like, but I'm following the thing that I wanna write about. And that has to be the definition of success because the commercial success is so out of your control. It's very hard. It's very hard. And then try to like consistently have high commercial. So that's like a whole different that's a whole different type of career. I'm like half in that world and it's a it's a lot of baby. It's a lot of hard work, but I mean, it's a lot of managing. It reminds me of film film directing. Yeah, it's like a kind of a complicated thing for the film directors. So, you know, like this movie was very successful and having to navigate the projects. And if this movie doesn't do well, I have one more I can do to try to prove it. It's a complicated and it's not a straight linear thing, right? And I think the expectation that it should be that success is this straight linear thing of like this thing is going gonna do this, and then the next one's gonna do better, and the next one's gonna do better. It doesn't work like that. And so, there is an element of like artistry to it, and I don't mean we're artists, but it is this type of thing where it's like, at the end of the day, the goal, the goal is not to lose money, you still wanna make enough money to like afford the Subaru and its gas. The goal is not to lose money. You still wanna make enough money to like afford the Subaru and its gas. But you don't wanna give up that independence because that's the thing that got you into it in the first place. And so- It's like the nonfiction axiom. I say nonfiction, like selling seven figure copies of a book is like hitting a major league fastball. It's like one of the most difficult things to do and no one can do it all the time. Yeah, there is a handful of writers out there, you know, nonfiction like Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis, but you know, they're not moving seven figures. Okay, then no. Yeah, how about it's hard. But then some people do it's this what's so hard like it's it's very feast or family like a James Clear will move 4 million copies. See, I don't even know who that is. Atomic Habits. Okay. Yeah, right. Mark Manson. Yeah, 80 million copies. The business book. Yeah, but like no one can consistently. Celebrities don't count. Yeah, that's right. But celebrities don't consistently write books. So like that it's very in fiction. You can do it. You can be Grisham in the 90s and you're going to move a lot, but he wasn't. Yeah, I guess he was moving seven figures pretty consistently, uh, units, units, units. Skews. Skews. Skews of skews. Skews of Southern lawyers. Yeah. So you can go crazy. You can go crazy chasing that. Like. But it's out of your control, right? I don't think Stephen King's like, thinks like that. Yeah. And I'm sure his books are up and down. I mean, they also a lot of copies, but like, I think some kill it and some. Sedaris. So there's probably the same way. No, I think Sedaris just gets out there. Tell some crazy stories about his family and then goes on tour and you know, charges like 50 bucks a ticket to go see him. And that's why he doesn't care about like. The books have to do well and they do well, but like he loves touring and he makes a lot of money and was he have to spend his money on, but like a new stick to pick up garbage with in England? Like it's. I mean, don't they have, doesn't him and Hugh have like a French countryside house and an English house. We could geek out on Sedaris all day here. Yeah. I've been trying to get them on the show. I can't imagine what, no I'm joking. It's like, huh, productivity, digital culture, this is right in my wheelhouse. I'm sure he, he does write about how he works. And, uh, he has a very specific way about it. Yeah. Yeah. Be great. Yeah. But you wouldn't get him. All right. So that's good advice. So, um, the summarize then I always paraphrase. So you're, so you're saying, uh, the book writing, it's hard, financially hard, but you can make a living at it. It has its pluses and minuses. If you want to get into it, write journalistically, write articles anywhere you can develop a niche, then that's super tight. But. I will say the other thing, there's the other path to it too. Yes. Go live your life, go have another career and then write on the side, right. For, you know, a magazine for a hobby you have or a blog or something like that. And then later on, when you feel like you have an experience or something to tell, you're going to have that lived experience. That's that is it. So it's not just writers who get to do that.


Cal talks about Zocdoc and My Body Tutor (01:04:18)

Yeah, that's true. Yeah. Or and if you want to write pragmatic nonfiction, then do something that's useful and then you can write about it. That's easier. Yeah. If I want to give advice on something, uh, go do that thing. Well, it's like a much easier formula than if you want to report on Jewish delis, like, well, can this person write and does, you know, as it makes sense, it'll be right on that. Right. Yeah, yeah, exactly. All right. Well, David, this is a, this has been great. This has been useful. Thanks for stopping by the studio and help me tackle some of these questions. And, um, I think we have to go find the deli. I think we do. It's a deli. I think we do. It's a pleasure. Great to be here. I'm freezing. Turn the heat up. The brain puts off 80% of the body's heat. My brain is like a heater. November, 2024 heat by Cal New. All right. Thanks David. All right. Well, that was great. Uh, while we get Jesse back in his producer's chair so that we can do, uh, the next segment, which is where I will one-on-one answer That was great. While we get Jesse back in his producer's chair so that we can do the next segment, which is where I will one-on-one answer more of your questions let me just briefly take this transition moment to mention another sponsor that makes this show possible. And that is ZocDoc. ZocDoc is a free app that shows you doctors who are patient reviewed, take your insurance and are available when you need them. You can find every specialist under the sun, whether you're trying to straighten those teeth, fix an achy back, get that mole checked out or anything else, ZocDoc has you covered. So just like you would use an app on your phone to figure out what restaurant do I want to eat at? What are the reviews? Can I make a reservation? ZocDoc lets you do that for all of your medical needs. I now have two different doctors who use ZocDoc. My dentist and my primary care physician. So not only that helped me find them, but it makes it easy to do things like the paperwork before your appointment. They send you a link. You can do it online. It's much quicker when you get there. It sends you reminders. So ZocDoc not only helps you find the doctors you're looking for, it also makes it easier to be those doctors' patients. Every month, millions of people use ZocDoc and I am one of them, mainly because of its convenience, but partially because I like saying Zocdoc.com. So go to Zocdoc.com slash deep and download the Zocdoc app for free. Then start your search for a top rated doctor today, many who would be available within 24 hours. That's Z-O-C-D-O-C.com slash deep, Zocdoc.com slash deep. Speaking of health, I also wanna mention our good friends at MyBodyTutor. I've known Adam Gilbert, MyBody's tutor founders for many years. He used to be the fitness health fitness advice guru on my blog back in the early days. His new company, I say new, his longstanding company, MyBodyTutor, is a 100% online coaching program that solves the biggest problem in health and fitness, lack of consistency. It's not hard to figure out what you should be eating. It's not hard to figure out what exercise would be good for you. What is hard is actually eating that food and doing that exercise. We know that coaching helps. This is why when celebrities need to get ready for a Marvel movie, they bring a coach and a chef to their house. They say, we will give you the food you need to eat. We'll tell you what workout to do every day. My Body Tutor makes that type of one-on-one help and consistency available to everyone else by using the power of the internet. So if you use My Body Tutor, you're assigned a coach. You will talk to them online. This is why it becomes affordable. They will help you figure out a meal plan. They'll help you figure out a workout plan that makes sense for you and your goals. And then, and this is the key part, you check in with them every day. There's an easy to use app or website. You quickly check in, here's what I ate, here's what I did, here's my questions.


How I make my technical writing compelling? (01:08:03)

They send you feedback the next day, going well. Oh, ate, here's what I did, here's my questions. They send you feedback the next day, going well, oh, do you have a question about this? Here's my answer. You build a relationship with this online coach and that leads to the consistency that actually gives you results. So if you wanna get in better shape, you wanna get healthier, MyBodyTutor is the way to do it. So go to mybodytutor.com and if you mention deep questions when you sign up, they will give you $50 off your first month. That's my body tutor dot com. Mention deep questions and get $50 off. All right. Well, I enjoyed having David here for the last segment. I want to get in a few more questions, just me and Jesse here before we end the show. So, Jesse, what do we have here on the question docket to kick things off? All right, first question is from Aaron, a 21 year old software developer. I've started writing a technical blog where it's about programming concepts. However, I found writing about technical stuff is completely different than writing a normal blog. I want my blog structured like a lesson, but can't figure out how to make it work. How would you approach writing a technical blog? Well, so Aaron, what you're seeing here is a writer challenge. You have a particular topic and audience and you don't know how to make it work. You're not sure of what format is actually gonna work. You have this idea, which I think is interesting. That there's some way to make the technical writing you want to do compelling. Now, in the elaboration to this question, Aaron gives some more ideas about thinking about introducing common errors and walking them through, but that wasn't quite working. He's trying to figure out, how do I make this interesting? My answer is, I don't know, but I want you to work really hard at finding the, finding what works. This is a challenge. It's a big challenge to figure out a new style of writing, to figure out a new voice that hasn't been done before. But the fact that this is a challenge that's not obvious to you is the good news. That means there is a a large first mover obstacle that if you can get over, you're gonna have a few advantage. You're gonna have a big advantage. If you put in the effort, the experimentation, the thinking, the reading lots of stuff, what's working, what's not, does this voice work? Not quite, what if I do it this way? If you put in that effort and if it's hard and if it takes you six months to really figure out a new style, a technical blog in your space that seems to really sing, you will have this giant gap of a competitive advantage. You did all that work that most people aren't willing to do. So I would say take this obstacle and say, what a great opportunity. I have no idea how to do this, but I believe it's possible. So I'm going to work on this really hard. I'm going to experiment until I find a really cool voice that actually works here. That happens all the time in writing. People put in the effort to do something new, to find a new way of doing something that really sings, and they are greatly rewarded for being the first person into that new space. So how do you actually figure out if you found the right format? Partially experiment, put stuff out there, see what works. But I think mostly what this is going to come down to is trusting your gut. When you write something and you're reading it, you have to think, is this interesting to me? Is this catching my attention? Or is it just writing for the sake of writing? It's just, yeah, technically all the information is here. Is it conversational in some sort of faux way? Is there rhetorical questions and filler? You know, your gut will tell you, is this really interesting to me? Or is it just I completed the assignment? This is technically an article on this topic and has information. Trust that gut and let that help guide you. Get to a place where your visceral reaction to the essay is like, ooh, this is interesting. I like this here. And that's probably gonna be your best way of knowing that you're onto something new. So do that work. Can you take a step further and elaborate how, how that goes about like finding people to like professionally critique the work, because if you're just writing for the blog and nobody, yeah, well, this is why, I mean, it's a good question. So it's why I think, uh, Aaron, in this case is going to need to rely heavily on his gut because it's a chicken and the egg problem. If you, if you put out writing onto a blog that no one's reading, you're not going to get the feedback needed to make it better. So you're going to have to rely pretty heavily on your gut. And when you really think something is working, then commit to it and give it the 30, 40 posts that it might take before you actually begin to find, begin to find some traction. And I went through this with my own blog back in the days, like finding,. You know like one of the big things I figured out the early days of Study Hacks was I had to have a movement like whatever the main topic I was talking about I had to have a movement that had clearly defined elements to it that was somewhat contrarian and then I had to be proselytizing for that movement. This is kind of what I figured out. So even in my early student advice days, I had this movement based on my early books. It was all about, we don't take seriously enough the mechanics of how you actually translate information from textbooks and lectures into problem sets, papers, and tests that do really well. And we need to be more technical about this and see this like a business advice writer would think about the right systems for marketing or tracking HR. And so I had this philosophy, a very clear philosophy that was aspirational because it sold this promise of like, hey, if you get more thoughtful about how you approach your schoolwork, you could do better and spend a lot less time. Like your student life could be transformed. So there's a philosophy that made sense, and then everything I was writing was pushing this philosophy. And then what happens is, if I'm a reader, what do I want? Well, I bought into this philosophy, and I want you to juice this every week. I know I'm on board with you, and now I want to just hear you preaching. That's how you build a community off with this type of writing. And as the topics of my blog and then eventually as it transformed into a newsletter. As they evolved over time, so at first it was technical student advice, then it was more about student stress and engineering a student career that was meaningful and not overwhelmed, get away from grind culture and overwhelming stress. engineering a student career that was meaningful and not overwhelmed, get away from grind culture and overwhelming stress. And then it was about careers and how to build a career that was meaningful and the trap of follow your passion as a too simplistic piece of advice. And then from there is where I moved into the world of technology and all the different ways that technology impacts our stretch to try to live more meaningful lives and social media and distraction in the workplace and our smartphones all along the way. What I learned was develop a philosophy that's clear and aspirational, and then preach that philosophy every week, because that is what an audience wants is I'm a convert and now I want to hear the sermon. And I think it's probably the biggest issue with people in the blogging space is that if there's not a point, a philosophy that you're preaching that people can be on board with, if you're just delivering information, it's very hard to build an audience, you know, because I don't care. Unless it's very specific information. But anyways, Aaron, that's one thing I discovered in the technical blogging space, it might be a different thing. But the point is that is a I discovered that through experimentation, that type of writing hit me viscerally.


How do I kick my podcast habit while trying to work? (01:15:05)

It was what I like to read. The first decade of the 2000s was this Web 2.0 blogging boom. And I was thinking about the blogs I like to read and they were all hitting me in that deep aspirational place like they were. They had a philosophy. It's like the early minimalism blogs had a philosophy and it was aspirational and it was good just to hear it flogged week after week. So that is an example of my advice being put into action. Again, it might look different in technical blogging. What hits you viscerally might not be what I'm talking about here, aspirational philosophy that you're preaching to, but this general method is what I want you to think about. Do the hard work of figuring out what works. It's worth doing that work upfront because that's how you're going to get the biggest return on your efforts down the line. All right, let's keep rolling here. What do we have next, Jesse? All right. Next question is from Eleanor, a 35 year old professor. I've developed a habit of listening to podcasts in the background as I work. I'm aware that this is a distraction. I would like to break the habit. However, if I go without it, I've noticed that I take much longer to get started with the real research work and tend to get more easily and quickly distracted. So the issue here is that Eleanor is used to now podcast playing and she has a hard time starting work without them. But then of course, having a podcast playing while you work makes it hard to do your work at a sufficient level of depth. So, Eleanor, you've accidentally created a deep work ritual. As I talk about in the book, Deep Work, getting into a mode of concentration, so you're going to do symbolic reasoning on a cognitively demanding task is unnatural. Our brain doesn't like it. It burns a lot of energy, and there's not an obvious reward that it's going to generate in the moment. I'll burn energy if we're chasing down this impala that we're trying to hunt and kill. I have a harder time burning energy if you are writing a related work section in a academic anthropology paper. Your brain doesn't understand that as being connected to your survival. So deep work is hard to initiate. A lot of people who do this regularly, therefore build rituals. If you have a ritual where you do the same type of thing before you start deep work every time, your brain eventually begins to connect that ritual with the state of concentration, and you can bypass a lot of that resistance and slip more easily into the that mode of concentration. So Eleanor you've accidentally created a ritual around the podcast listening and the point I want to make to you is that the fact that it's podcast doesn't really matter. It's arbitrary. It's just the hook. This is the hook that your brain has learned to associate with concentration. This is why when you remove this ritual you have a harder time getting in the concentration. So if you don't like this particular hook, you have two options. One, you can just modify this existing ritual to minimize its impact. So maybe you modify this ritual, so it's like put on a podcast as I load up all my tools and I get my notes for my last session and I write a quick outline of what I want to do first and then at that point I turn off the podcast and go. Right? So that's modification of the existing ritual. So you still let the podcast get you into the work mode and get you over the threshold. And then once you have a little momentum, you turn it off or you could spend three weeks and build a new ritual. I mean the reason why podcast is working here is just it is a clearly defined hook. It's a audio hook, audio visual taste, all of these are great things to build deep ritual hooks around but you could have just as easily built this around going for a long walk or brewing a particular type of coffee that you then bring back to your desk.


Do Weekly Plans have to cover exactly one week? (01:18:44)

You could honestly could have just like a certain song you play. You know, I play the song, it could be the adjustment of your location, could be the adjustment of your lights, I clear my desk, I turn off all the lights except for one bright desk lamp. Anything that has some sort of pronounced visual, audio, or even smell-based, olfactory-based elements can be a great hook for building a deep work ritual. You just have to do it for two or three weeks so that your brain gets the idea. So I think it's a great example of deep work rituals in action. Either make this existing ritual a little less negatively impactful, or take three weeks and build up a new one. All right. What do we got next? negatively impactful or take three weeks and build up a new one. All right. What do we got next? Next question is from marathon sprinter. My company does a two week sprint starting in the middle of the week. Thursday. Should I switch my weekly plan to a two week long sprint lead plan? Probably. Yes. So in my multi-play multi-scale planning philosophy where you do quarterly semester plans, weekly plans, and then daily plans, the weekly has a little bit of give. You know, it is important to have a scale of planning where you can see multiple days in a row. That's what allows you to figure out how to move these bigger chess pieces around. That's what gives you the insight to move things, to open up bigger time. That's what allows you to see, oh, early in the week, I need to really push on this because later in the week is worse. You need some sort of planning scale that looks at multiple days at a time. If you go all the way to just say, what do I wanna do today? You're missing some of this bigger structure to your available time and your available opportunities to get things done. Exactly one week isn't so critical. So if your company has a two week cycle, I think two weeks would be fine. Build it around the sprints. In fact, you should probably put some specific structure into your weekly plans that take into account. This is sprint work. And then this is the non sprint administrative work. And I keep track of Okay, you know, these days, I do the administrative work, and then here's the sprint, and you can even have like a special format built around it. If you went much longer than two weeks, you're gonna start to get into trouble. I do know people who do monthly plans, monthly plans aren't that useful. It's not enough time to do the big picture quarterly semester planning. It's too much time to meaningfully like move around appointments or think about when you're going to work as it's too many days, two weeks, fine. Three weeks, iffy one month, too much one week, fine, if you're doing just a couple of days at a time, not enough. So let's give like a one to two ish week window that window of scales, I think. I think that would all be fine. But Jesse, you were telling me before the show, you had a recent breakthrough in your weekly plans. Yeah. So I think everything is iterative and the more, you know, you're just talking about, you know, once you're a convert, then you just hear the preaches. So I hear you talk about weekly plans a lot. And I was looking at mine and it was getting jumbled. And there was a lot of stuff in there that should have been over in Trello, for instance, just because there were stuff that I wasn't actually gonna get to that particular week. So then when I went to the plant, I see all this stuff and I like for whatever. You're talking like tasks related or objectives related to a bigger project. Yeah, for like a certain job that I have. Were you carrying these over? Yeah. So you put a, you know, here's the six things this project needs done onto your weekly plan. Yeah. And maybe just one of those gets done. You just carry over and rewrite or copy and paste. As opposed to just sticking it over and Trello and then pulling it and then be like, all right, this week I'm just going to do this. And then, because then that kind of gets along with the slow productivity stuff that you're doing. And then you're actually making some progress on like a certain job or a task or whatever it is that you have in that plan. Do you focus now each week on the, I'm going to do one project or two projects. Like you hone in on exactly which projects you're going to make progress on? Yeah, well, I have it divided into different jobs. So then for like those, whatever specific job, then it would be this one thing, yeah, that I wanted to like make progress on. As opposed to like, for instance, to say job A, I didn't want to like, I would have three things in there and then wouldn't necessarily make great progress. But now like with one thing in there, doing a few things, it's like the slow productivity mindset and like getting some stuff done. And do you pull one thing in there, doing a few things, it's like the slow productivity mindset and like getting some stuff done. And do you pull over, so you've identified a particular job you're working on this week. Do you pull in from Trello, this is the one or two tasks I wanna get done, or is it you're identifying this is a job I wanna do as you work on it in the week, keep pulling stuff from Trello. So what do you move? I pulled in one at the beginning of the week. And then if that gets done early, you might update the weekly plan. Yeah. Um, usually it's something that's going to take, it hasn't gotten done early yet. So usually it will take the whole week based on my other schedule. So like a common experience people have, let's see if you had the same experience, a common experience people have is let's say they have three or four major projects going on. They're really worried about the idea of just working on one per week because they think, I can't, look I'm not going to get to this other project for another three weeks, like it's impossible, I need to make progress. But what they realize if they do that, they end up getting things done just as quickly as if they instead tried to sort of quixotically do a little bit of every project every week, that when you slow down and do one thing at a time, it doesn't when you slow down and do one thing at a time, it doesn't actually necessarily slow down completion times for each of these projects on average, and it tends to raise quality. So was it, was it stressful at first or a little anxiety producing to say, let me just choose one thing. Cause when you're making that plan, like I'm only putting one project on this and it feels, was that anxiety producing at first? project on this and it feels was that anxiety producing at first? Um, it was, it reduced like anxiety actually after a while I looked at the weekly plan and had less stuff on there. I was like, oh, this is very doable. Interesting. Yeah. So, and you've had no problem getting these things done. Um, it's not like, it's not like you were actually getting all these things done each week. you were just writing them down. Yeah. And it was carrying over and it was like making my weekly plan jumbled. Yeah. So that's good. I like that. It's clear and concise and better. Be realistic in your weekly plan. Yeah. Don't use your weekly plan to store things. It's actually. Exactly. Store things. Store things elsewhere. Weekly plans is what you actually want to get done. Um, and don't use it as a wishlist. Because there is that little burst you get. This is like the, such a devilish little burst of pleasure you get when you're making a weekly plan, if you put a bunch of stuff on it for 10 minutes, you get the little pleasure that comes from imagining, man, if I got all of these things done this week, wouldn't that be great? Yeah. And then you trade that like 10 minutes of like enjoying this fantasy you created for five days of stressfully coming nowhere near close to actually getting it done. Yeah. It's so well said. So much planning. Don't make it a wishlist. Don't make it a wishlist. Yeah. The same with time block planning, early time block planners do this when they're planning their day. They, they first, they plan the day, you know, the perfect day. It's, it plan the day, you know, the perfect day. It's, if you'll excuse a nerdy reference, it's Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when he takes the Felix Felicius potion. Jesse's looking at me like, what the hell are you talking about? It's a potion that it gives you good luck. Like everything goes just the best way possible when you take this potion. So if you take this potion and I think time block planning for a lot of people, and this is the type of like really cool gritty analogy that gets us like a really cool fan base, uh, time block planning for a lot of people just becomes a productivity Felix Felicity is potion where it's like, wouldn't this be great if this only took a half hour and then this 20 minutes between these two meetings, I took this off my plate and then this hour I finished that memo and you look at this plan, you're like, man, that would be awesome.


Interaction With Discord Community

Should I join the Overemployed Underground? (01:26:33)

And like nine minutes into your day, your laptop's on fire. The company just went out of business. You know, your child just gave lice to your pediatrician who's now left the industry altogether, and seven new projects just fell on your plate, and also you forgot you were supposed to be writing a book and it's due on Friday. It takes about nine minutes before this miraculous plan you have, where you're like, this is great, everything will take 20 minutes, and I'll have all this energy. So be realistic, don't make a wishlist. You'll feel better actually being able to get a reasonable plan done with time to spare. In the end, it's gonna make you feel much better than that 10 minutes of like, ooh, this would be great. All right, I think we have time for one more question. What do we got here, Jesse? All right, sweet. So one more question from Anonymous. My wife and I recently had our first child and this has really lit a fire under me. I currently work at a large corporation as a senior data engineer. When I actually have work to do, it's trivial at best. I have so much free time, I thought to create my own side business or taking on a second fully remote data related role in the model of the over-employed community? Do you think this is foolhardy? So I'll be honest, I had to look up over-employed. So this engineer is saying like a lot of jobs at big old corporations. He doesn't have a lot of work to do. And he's like, I don't know, should I start another, should I start a company on the side? Should I follow the over-employed community and get another job? Or maybe should I just spend more time at home? So he gave me a link, this, the person anonymous who sent me this question gave me a link to a Reddit for the over-employed community. I don't know anything about this, so I figured we should find out more before I answer this question. So I've loaded up here on the tablet, for those who are watching this on the YouTube channel, this episode 223. I've loaded up here now the Reddit over-employed, one word. I'm just actually looking at this. This is I'm learning about this. I'm learning about this as along with you. So let's just see. Here's the opening message comes from Isaac. Let's just see, hello from Isaac, founder of OverEmployed. Hello, OverEmployed Nation. This is details. We invite you to go on a Discord. We invite you to go to the subreddit. Oh, but there's an FAQ. So here we go. We're leaving Reddit to go to the OverEmployed FAQ at overemployed.com. All right, here's the type of questions are on here. Job hunting, what do I put on my resume? Is working multiple jobs even legal? What about non-compete clauses? Do I work for look for a larger or smaller company? Can I look for a second job in another country? What counts as potential conflicts of interest? So all right, I'm getting the impression here that the over-employed movement is about getting a second job without maybe letting your primary employer know that you have. Let's look at a couple of posts on here just to get a feel of the atmosphere of this movement. So here's a post back on the Reddit from Alex, a software engineer at Google, who said, whether it's Amazon, Meta, or Twitter, in 2022 we learned, you don't keep your job by working late nights, leading a team, staying loyal to a company, going above and beyond, dot dot dot. It seems like the most important factor is working on a critical business need. It's depressing to remember that companies will always put business first. This means you should never put the company first. All right. So we're seeing some, uh, anti company rhetoric here. This is interesting. They're saying, look, they'll, these companies can just fire you whenever you don't worry about being loyal to them. Another post here says, y'all need to keep your mouth shut. As the title says, I'm starting to see more and more videos and posts on social media about people boasting they are overemployed, followed by some trending news sites picking it up and blasting it all over the front page for boomers to see. I get it. I really do. Living this lifestyle, making the most out of it is an incredible thing, but you really have to keep your mouth shut about it elsewhere. Boomer employers will catch on and either start investigating those who are practicing over employment or even worse, stop allowing remote work in general. Oh, Jesse, we're helping the boomers find out about this. This is by the way, is a bugaboo of mine. We have precise demographic terms for different generations. I'm tired of like millennial meaning young people and boomers meaning middle-aged people. Boomers is a very specific thing. The older boomers now are close to 80 years old. Okay, the youngest millennials are well into their 30s. 25 year olds are not millennials. That's Gen Z. We got to get this all straight, but that's a side issue. Let's see what else we have here. Some more anti work stuff. The hypocrisy of the modern CEO. That's one post here. There's some dissections of employee handbooks. Can I legally work another job? Here's an interesting one, Jesse sees it on here. Expletive deleted, explet deleted. Once a list of my daily tasks. So, OK. Oh, J, wants a list of my daily tasks. So, okay. Oh, J1 wants a list of my daily tasks. I guess that means job one. Anyways, success with OE when you have an in-office role. So, here's what I'm getting by looking at this. Overemployment and, okay, here's a summary of it on the side. Work two remote jobs, earn extra income, reach financial freedom. All right, so it seems like the over employment movement says, take advantage of remote work. And the fact that you have a job that doesn't really have that much for you to do to get a second remote job, don't tell each other about it. Now you're getting twice the income for the standard workday. And if you leverage this, right, I guess you can get the financial independence quicker. All right. Interesting deep dive, Jesse. I didn't know much about that. So let's get back to this question. His job is trivial. He wants to know if he should start another company or if he should get another job. Well, I would say anonymous. Second jobs, starting a company, or let's say just spending a hell of a lot more time with your family because you're remote and you have a new kid and your job is trivial and so you could spend four or five hours a day going on trips with your family and just doing a couple of emails from your phone. All of these are tools in a toolbox you can use to build your professional life. The key is getting the blueprint for what you want to build. And that's where you need something like everyone's favorite your professional life. The key is getting the blueprint for what you want to build. And that's where you need something like everyone's favorite roll-off-the-tongue acronym, VBLCCP. Values-Based Lifestyle-Centered Career Planning. Jesse, there's at least one person at our live event who came up and said VBLCCP forever. I think I heard that. Yeah, we're spreading. It's spreading. But just to expand on this briefly, Anonymous, figure out your values, which probably have shifted a little bit recently. You just had a kid. Figure out an ideal vision for your lifestyle. What are the things that are important to you? The role of work and impact, community, activity, nature, family, character, leadership. Just you build this image of like, what lifestyle do I want in the near future? Where do I want to be in 10 years from now? Like say when my kid's about to go to middle school, get this clear image that resonates. You can feel it in your bones. This is, this is the, what I want, the general character of my life. And then look at this whole tool of professional options you have and say, which ones do I want to pull out? What's going to most effectively get me towards this lifestyle. The thing I want you to avoid and I want people in general to avoid is haphazard deployment of these sort of mega shifts or changes in their career. This idea of I vaguely know I'm not happy with this so let me just do something demonstrative. Something radical, and then maybe I'll be happier. It's a sort of scattershot, random deployment of things. Let me start a company. Let me just get another job. I was reading this Reddit and it felt kind of cool, and I do this. This sort of random, haphazard, radical shifts to your lifestyle situation are very unlikely to lead you to a configuration that maximizes your personal definition of depth. You need to be more structured in this pursuit. So if you do this visioning and what you really end up thinking about is you're with your family and maybe you're like homeschooling this kid and you have land and you're reading by the lake and you're there there's like a local community that you take your, you go into where you're really plugged into the church and it's, you know, in Vermont somewhere. Like if this is, this image strikes you as like really resonant, then you would think here, like, this is great. Let me make sure my job is permanently remote. Let's move to like one of these locations. It's a cheaper location. Let me be very careful about corralling my work and leverage all of this free time I have to pursue these other parts of my lifestyle that are important. Maybe you have another image where you've built something big, it's more vibrant, energetic, you have a team that's with you and you're building up something large and you sell it for a lot of money and you're able to take care of your family for generations to follow, maybe that's what you're missing. In your trivial job, you're missing the energy of actually putting your skills in some sort of more aggressive use. That's going to be a completely different plan. And then maybe you are going to start something on the side once your kid gets to this age and you're going to systematically try to build that and shift to that position once it gets to this type of growth. There's all sorts of options. The over-employed, you know, maybe you're doing a financial independence calculation and you realize if you can make this much money at this spend rate for this many years, you could maybe move to Vermont and actually not work at all or something like this. And that might be a situation where the over-employment makes sense. All right, this job cuts to years and a half. We can do this in four years instead of seven. But in this scenario, you're deploying it for a reason. And that's what I'm coming back to now. There is a lot of tools out there, especially in this current moment of disruption, this current moment of remoteness, this current moment where we are more accepting of more radical work reconfigurations. There are a lot of options out here for those who are looking to adjust, craft, or re-aim their working life. But you got to know what you're aiming for. And that's where you need values-based lifestyle-centered career planning. So now it's the time to do that anonymous, rethink what resonates. You might be surprised by what actually hits you. Post-first kid, what resonates might be very different than it was three years ago. Do that exercise, make a plan and then say, what tools do I have to best implement, best implement this plan? I hope for employment. Well, there's a Reddit for everything, Jesse. Uh, though I guess this is over now. You and I boomer Jesse and boomomer Cal have revealed to the world the over-employment underground is no longer secret and we are going to quickly put an end to this. Us and our Boomer friends are going to quickly put an end to this because we don't understand you kids but we know like and we, you have to what what we do. So there we go. Another movement ruined. All right, I see. Well, I think we've had a pretty good show here. I think we should wrap it up. Thank you everyone who sent in your questions. Thank you, David Sachs for coming in to sit in and help me answer some of those queries. Remember to read his book. The future is analog available everywhere. We'll be back next week with a new episode of the podcast and until then, as always, stay deep


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