Ep. 245: "Crazy" Productivity

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 245: "Crazy" Productivity".


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Intro (00:00)

My response to all of this is, and I say this with all modesty, I told you so. I've been saying this for years. As one of the few people who is orbiting this world but has never been an active Twitter user, I'm telling you from the outside, this metaphorical dinner party got weird a long time ago. I'm Cal Newport and this is Deep Questions, the show about living and working deeply in an increasingly distracted world. I'm here in my deep work HQ. There's no Jesse today. Quick backstory on that.

An Analysis Of Twitter And Predictions

I Told You So (00:47)

I'm just about to leave for a quick trip to San Francisco. I'm going to be speaking on a panel about generative artificial intelligence. Those who listened to last week's episode or read my recent New Yorker article know that I do have a few thoughts on that subject. Anyways, because my week leading up to this trip was correspondingly crowded to make up for the time, I had this great idea that I would record the podcast in San Francisco itself. This idea seemed good until the trip got closer, and then it seemed less good. And the backstory here, and there's really a teaching moment to extract from this. The backstory is I've been pretty overloaded this spring. I engineer my schedule typically so that the steady state is very reasonable, but it's a bit of a Rube Goldberg machine to keep the steady state reasonable involving carefully calibrated rotations of different types of projects. I'm only working on one at a time typically, so it's not so bad, but it's very complicated to keep things in the wings and interleave them. It's not unusual, as I've talked about on the show, to have a couple of weeks typically in the spring, or maybe a few things overlap, and it's a little bit busier than normal. And also professors tend to be more exhausted with teaching by the end of the academic year than the beginning. This year, the Goldberg machine collapsed and then it accidentally caught on fire. And then the fire let the building on fire, which then collapsed. And then that got hit by lightning. At least that's what it feels like sometimes. Multiple things have just sustainably remained stacked on top of each other. And it's not a two-week period after which you recover, but it's been week after week. And I'm almost in the clear, but it's been pretty exhausting. So as this trip was looming, I started thinking, you know what? I want to just travel. Let me get there. Enjoy the fact I can fly across the country without three young kids with me. That's great. Read, maybe do a little writing. I can't help myself from writing. I got to always be writing. And just do the thing, do the panel, walk around the city. You know, last time I was in San Francisco, I believe this was last year around this time, I had a lot of downtime. I walked all over the city. It's great. It's great. It's great. So anyways, I was like, I don't want to bring my equipment. I don't want to have another thing on my to-do list. I want to treat the trip as a break from the overload that I've accidentally temporarily fell into. So I said, you know what? I have a little window now between I just got home from teaching and I'm about to go to my kid's soccer practice. Like, let's get in there. Let's make it happen. So I didn't have time to arrange for Jesse to be here. So we'll be back to normal, uh, next week, but that's what's going on. So there's a little lesson in there about, I don't know, stepping back, recognizing the unsustainability of overload, recognizing the value of periods of time that aren't trying to be too scheduled, aren't trying to be too overscheduled.

Balance (03:33)

So hopefully this trip will end up being somewhat recharging. So we'll see. All right. So what's the plan for today? I have a deep dive. We'll start with a deep dive. I want to react to a article I read recently that I really enjoyed. I thought it was very perceptive. And we'll do questions and then we'll end with something interesting. But here is the twist for today.

Willie Staley (04:07)

I'm doing something that I may regret with the questions. A approximated and elaborated version of what I used to call question roulette. I used to, in the old version of this show, randomly select a question and just answer it on the fly without preparation. I'm going to do the whole segment that way. I've got my spreadsheet in front of me of questions that you have submitted to SurveyMonkey, to the link that's included on the show notes. Jesse takes those out of SurveyMonkey and puts them into a spreadsheet so I can annotate them, et cetera. I'm just going to scroll through and grab things. And when it gets to the questions, we're going to rock and roll. Who knows where we're going to end up? Who knows what weird cul-de-sacs we're going to go into? I'm doing this all one take. I'm doing things without prep. So we're going to cover some ground. We might get to some weird places. There's a 30% chance I'll end up canceled after this done and a 20% chance that you will unsubscribe from this podcast out of frustration, but that leaves a 50% chance that we'll do something brilliant. So I'm excited about that. All right, well, let's start with a deep dive. I want to talk about an article from the New York Times from April 18th, the day before I'm recording this show. It's an article from the New York Times Magazine written by an editor over there named Willie Staley, and it's titled, What Was Twitter Anyway? I don't typically love Twitter reporting as a self-critical reporting on Twitter. I don't usually love that format. I don't really, I don't always care what sort of in the weed Twitter users have to say about Twitter because I don't know. It's like talking to the alcoholic about the difference between different brown liquors and the buzz they create or something. It's like someone who's so their life is so involved in it. It can be kind of weird. This article was great. It was a Twitter article. I was waiting for a journalist to write because I think it is incisive at getting at.

Reading about the effects of Platform economies (06:06)

Here's how Twitter unfolded. Here is why me, reporter William Staley and everyone I know was using this so much. And here's what's happening now, why that party is coming to an end. So I want to go through this and then react to it a little bit. Now, if Jesse was here, we would load this up on the screen. He's not here. I don't know how to use technology, So I have it printed out. I'm actually just going to be reading things.

Could Twitter be giving itself away by attacking its core function of reliability? (06:25)

You can, however, watch me. Can, however, watch me reading this article at youtube.com slash Cal Newport media. This is episode 245. You can also find this episode at the deep life.com. If you just click on watch and go to episode 245, you'll find the video there as well. I have a couple of quotes I want to read. Let's start with who William Staley is. As he says early in the article, I am an editor at the New York Times Magazine, but I think it should be stated clearly up front that I have something of an acute problem with Twitter. He puts that up there right up front. He gives an interesting anecdote about getting involved in a pile on. So it was a little bit hard for me to follow, but I think what happened here is that La Crusade that makes the enameled cast iron cookware famous for, I don't know, wedding registries everywhere, sort of expensive French cookware, or I don't know, wedding registries everywhere, sort of expensive French cookware, had advertised something about Star Wars themed La Creusette cookware. And he thought that was incongruous. He thinks about that as something that people who are really refined people into cooking care about. And Star Wars, he thinks about maybe comic book geeks. And so he wrote a tweet that said, the Star Wars La Creuset pots implied the existence of a type of guy I find genuinely unimaginable. All right. He sent it, went back to work. Then around lunchtime, he says things started happening and he talks about this huge pile on and people quote tweeting again and again, all of them pointing out problems with this tweet that he sent, such as, I enjoyed that this tweet manages to be sexist on multiple levels. News flash, women cook and like Star Wars. Imagine a woman. Hi, have you met women? Women like Star Wars. Men cook. My husband is a huge Star Wars fan and is the cook in the house. He bakes too. Sorry to blow your mind. And onward and onward and onward for a couple days. You know, he pointed out like this is not like a major thing, right? Sorry to blow your mind. And onward and onward and onward for a couple days. He pointed out this is not a major thing, right? And here's how he describes it. It was low-effort clowning that felt charged only because it was traveling along such high-energy vectors. Sexism, homophobia, Star Wars fandom. The platform can coax this exact sort of response out of its users with an incredibly small amount of effort. It's only on the receiving end where all these messages collect in one place that it feels oppressive. That's actually really good writing, by the way. It was charged only because it was traveling along such high energy vectors. Small amount of effort, but on the receiving end they collect, it feels oppressive. I like that. Very clear writing.

The low effort, high rewards of Clowning and Wall of shame (09:07)

He says you could in this situation quit or turn off Twitter, but he says in theory, you can just log on, wait for it to end, but no one does that. All right. So I think right up front, we get an interesting and I think incredibly apt description of what is this pile on dynamic that dominates Twitter at the moment. This notion of things get put out there and then they can very quickly, people can take turns and test things out and see if they can gather attention with who can clown or dunk on the person even better. And they have a certain energy to them because they often, in order to gain attention for my dunk to perhaps gain the applause of others, if you can connect it to what he calls a high charge vector, that that is successful. But for me sending that out, I'm just saying like, let me try something here. This guy talking about Star Wars. Let me try something here connected to this or that. Maybe I'll get some applause, very little effort. But for the person on the receiving end, it all adds up. And disproportionately, it feels like your whole world is coming collapsing in on you. So I thought that was a really apt decision of what it's like to be on Twitter right now. So he's like, that's what's, that's what's, that's what Twitter, you know, this is sort of what Twitter has been like recently. And then he says, then we get the Musk's takeover of the platform. And he says, this has strained the sense of conviviality that made Twitter feel like a party in the first place. The site feels a little emptier. They're certainly not dead. More like the part of the dinner party where only the serious drinkers remain. Whiskey is being poured into the wine glasses. He steps back and ends this section with reflection.

The reporting moment is from 2009 (10:39)

What exactly have we been doing here for the last decade and a half? All right. So that's the setup to this piece. He's about now to go into the evolution of Twitter, how it got to this place. I think this is a very accurate sense of the last year. Twitter had become this place where this is one of the primary interactions happening is a sort of often mild, sometimes intense pile on type of dynamic of quote tweeting and trying to dunk on each other, typically trying to dunk on your ideological enemies or dunking on someone in such a way that signals your, the approval might solicit the approval of your, your crowd or signal that you're dunking on a representative of the enemy crowd. And as, as Musk took over and journalists who don't like Musk have been leaving Twitter, then it's been having this sort of empty sense of like it's still going on, but some of the marquee names that really put an energy into what's going on because these big name reporters and personalities are on here as they sort of leave. It's not many people, but it creates an outsized effect. I think all that is true. I think that's a really good description of what Twitter feels like. I think it really is true right now that even just a small amount of sort of these mainstream news organizations and reporters and personalities moving away from Twitter does give it that end of the dinner party feel. You're still there, you're still pouring your drink, but the table's not as full.

Journalists on Twitter became pathways for making collective cultural decisions (11:56)

And it changes the mood a little bit. All right, Staley then goes on to give a history, which I'm going to very briefly just hit on some highlights. So he talks about how it got started. Jack Dorsey wanted to call it status or statuses. And Dorsey was really keen on this idea that the point of Twitter is to report what your status is. I am doing this. I feel like this. That was the original idea of Twitter. He got into an ideological battle with Evan Williams when he got involved with the company as well, where Williams thought people should be tweeting about stuff that's happening. And Dorsey said, no, it should be tweeting about me, what's happening to me. And so the famous example was if there's a fire over at some address is the tweet i am seeing a fire at this address or is the tweet there is a fire at this address according to staley williams was a big fan of the opposite of the latter and dorsey was a big fan of the former williams won that out and the prompt changed from how are you feeling or whatever to what's happening and a big turning point there was actually the miracle on the Hudson. There's someone, you know, the, the tweets around that news event, solely Sullenberger landing that Airbus A380 on or A330 probably landing that on the Hudson and how the tweets were more informative than the formal news was sort of this turning point of, wait a second, this can be a place to actually discuss what's happening, not just what's happening to you. So that was a big change. The next big bullet point comes in 2009. Here's a key quote.

Jacob discovered a post-normal episteme (13:36)

Twitter's takeover of the media class was rapid. In April 2009, Maureen Down interviewed Williams and Stone, telling them that she would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari desert, have honey poured over me, and red ants eat out my eyes, than open a Twitter account. Semi-colon. She signed up three months later to promote her column. Another good sentence. And then it became, and I'm quoting Staley here, absolutely irresistible to journalists. Okay, so this is another big turning point. People were starting to use Twitter to talk about things that were happening and ideas that were interesting, not just what they felt like or what was happening to them. It was no longer the Facebook status. It was a micro blogging type platform. platform. This became very appealing to journalists. And now you get all the journalists on there because information and articles are being passed along and they want to know what is happening. There was around this time, and I'm quoting here, an enormous expansion in web media with BuzzFeed, Vice, and others pouring truckloads of venture capital into the field. And though Twitter never drove much traffic, it was nevertheless important for journalists to be there because everyone else was there. This was where your articles would be read and digested by your peers and betters. It was doubly important because of how precarious these new jobs were. Your Twitter profile was your calling card, potentially a life raft to a new job. The platform was an extremely fraught sort of LinkedIn, one you would use publicly to waste company time. sort of LinkedIn, one you would use publicly to waste company time. So that's the next phase of Twitter is we have all the journalists get on there. They want to know what's going on. They want to promote their own articles. They want to be a part of the conversation. They wanted to build up some sort of new media credibility that they could use if their venture backed web based mobile new startup failed failed that they could point towards I've got these followers and make it easier for them to land at a new publication once all the journalists were on there this again changed the character of Twitter so here's here's a Staley but this journalistic swarming instinct made Twitter an ideal place for activists to get a message out.

Circular pile-ons (15:25)

So once we figured out, wait, the journalists are on here and they're getting story ideas from here and they're quoting tweets in their articles. And they're using, since they're on here trying to promote their things and what other people are writing, trying to see what news is going on they might want to write about. see what news is going on they might want to write about.


It is as if there was a single bar in Manhattan where all of the top editors of the main newspapers 50 years ago were all gathering to drink every night. If that happened, then if you wanted to spread some news, you would go hang out at that bar. Twitter became that bar. And this is where we began to get more of this activist energy. And I'm using activists in the general sense here. Anyone who had some sort of message to spread. And a lot of this was beneficial. A lot of this was actually grassroots message spreading, but also anyone who had an ax to grind or an ideology that they were obsessed about. So then it became a place to try to influence the public sphere. It was still useful for people to be on here. Here's a quote. If you're good at this game, it could be good for you both on Twitter and off. People got commissions and book deals. Not many, but enough. Some people lost their jobs. Not many, but enough. A couple of people got TV shows out of it. Once someone told the story so wild it was turned into a feature film. Hell, one guy even went and got himself elected president. But after a while, this focus, and obviously Trump probably pushed the last bit of the way towards this new configuration, but this focus is what in the last four or five years turned Twitter into the Coliseum, the way I've been describing it in most of my recent talks about this. Now that all the journalists were on there, now this is where the agenda was being set. Now this is where ideas were being tested and the feedback could sway how companies operated and how things were reported. This importance that was concentrated into this one homogenized social internet tool inevitably turned it into a coliseum and it became a battleground you're either one of the one percent of users responsible for 75 of the tweets waging war on here the ultimate ideal ideological and i mean that not just politically, gladiatorial battlefield. And you had to take down and dunk on your enemies. And you also had to be very careful about curtailing your near allies to make sure that the proverbial or conceptual Overton window did not shift even a little bit. So if someone shifted a little bit on the Overton window, you had to get everyone on that person fast because a little shift is how Overton windows make big moves over time. It wasn't the guy saying the crazy thing. It was the professor who's more or less aligned with you. That's like, Hey, maybe you have some questions about this. No, no, no, no. We got to get on that because this is where sense is being made. And William Staley editor from the New York times magazine is on here. And he'saley, editor from the New York Times Magazine, is on here and he's going to see that and it's going to affect what they say or don't say in the magazine.

Twitter comes full-circle (18:48)

And all this was happening from all sides on all sorts of issues, political, non-political, sports, entertainment, whatever it was. Then it became the Coliseum. And for the last three to four years, the primary, I think, addictive quality of Twitter for the average user, which is not one of these reporters, not one of these partisans, but a non-posting observer, is that it's fun to watch important people hit each other with sticks and to say, ooh, this guy ducked under it, spun around and escaped. This guy got nailed in the head and then everyone else swarmed on him. He never got up. This guy was like the final battle against Magwa at the end of Last of the Mohicans, where he swung his hatchet and the older, wiser man with his sword somersaulted under the hatchet, spun backhand sword to the back, right through the spine. You got to watch the final scenes of Last of the Mohicans. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Michael Mann. All right. We're talking DDL, Daniel Day Lewis must watch. You can find it online. And then that's what it became. And that was inevitable. And then Musk took over. And when Musk took over the journalist, especially for the mainstream left, the center or left leaning journalists said, I't, this, this party, we're at this nice dinner party. And it was getting kind of raucous. And then the host said, by the way, I sold my apartment to someone you don't like. And now he's, it's his dinner party. And so they're like, we're going to kind of leave. And that's where we are now. And we find this question, what was Twitter anyway, being the headline. And my response to all of this, beyond just saying this is a well-written, very perceptive article, and I really enjoyed it, the link is in the show notes, and I recommend it. My response to all of this is, and I say this with all modesty, I told you so. I've been saying this for years as one of the few people who is orbiting this world, but has never been an active Twitter user. I'm telling you from the outside, this metaphorical dinner party got weird a long time ago. This metaphorical dinner party became less an Algonquin round table and more shades of eyes wide shut. It's weird. The rich guys are putting on masks. I don't know what's happening here, but it's weird that you're defending this so strong. I mean, it's not the worst thing in the world, but why is everyone using this? Why are so many editors and journalists and academics thing? Of course I have to be on here. I was like, no, you don't. This is weird. What this is, I it's entertaining, but this is weird. This should be much more niche than it is. And I used to say, and I stand by it, Twitter should have been like Game of Thrones, something that a non-trivial group of people were very into, but most people could care less. And it somehow fought above its weight class. So again, this is yet another example that I've from news reporting I've been talking about in recent weeks, where I'm glad to see this sort of retrospective distancing from this platform. I don't think it's evil and I don't think you're bad if you use it. I just do not think it should be ubiquitous. I do not think it should be necessary, a precondition to be part of the conversation. I was so happy to see the Washington Post move their nationals coverage off of live tweets and into really nicely designed websites. I was happy a couple of weeks ago when I talked about, for whatever reason they did it, NPR saying, we're not tweeting news. Come back to NPR. I think this is all healthier. I think we're going to see more and more retrospectives are. I think this is all healthier. I think we're going to see more and more retrospectives like William or Willie Staley's where people look back and say, not my proudest moment, what I was doing on there. Not as essential as I was telling everyone that it was. I think the haze is lifting. I think the fog is dissipating and we're going to gain back hopefully a more diverse, grounded public discourse. So let's knock on wood. But that's a great article. It was a good history. I think seeing Twitter's evolution in those phases, that was interesting. It's not something I'd seen before laid out so clearly. So check that out and hopefully join me in my cautious optimism that Twitter's not going away, but it's no longer being mistaken for the town square. We now see that it's devolved into a Coliseum. I want to see the demolition derby sometimes, but I don't want the demolition derby to be at the core of how the discourse unfolds. All right, enough Twitter stuff. I want to get to some questions. First, let me talk about our good friends at Hinson Shaving. So Hinson makes this very nice razor, precision milled in high quality aluminum. Hinson has all these precision CNC routing machines because they, as their primary business, make high precision parts for the aerospace industry. So they have the ability to mill metal to really precise dimensions. And so this very nice metal razor they made leverages that ability. And at its core is the idea that you can put a standard 10 cent safety blade in it and only 0.0013 inches of the blade will extend past the metal casing. This allows you to get a close shave without the up and down diving board effect that causes nicks, that causes less close shaves, that causes clogs. So they can use their precision to build a really nice razor that gives a really nice shave. So not only is it a beautifully milled piece of equipment, I really enjoy this. They actually sent me an aluminum stand recently to put it in. So my razor, this nice aluminum razor and this nice aluminum stand, it looks very nice. The economics make sense. Yes, you pay more for the razor because it's this beautiful milled piece of metal, but then you have it and you have it for good. And the blades you put in there are just 10 cent safety razors. So it doesn't take long, right? It doesn't take long before you've made back the money you've spent on the expensive razor before you're coming out ahead of using the disposables or using the subscription services, because once you have it, it costs nothing to run. 10 cents a week to run because you can just use a standard blade. You know, it's great technology, great product. So it's time to say no to subscriptions and yes to a razor that will last you a lifetime. Visit hensonshaving.com slash cal to pick the razor for you and use code CAL and you'll get two years worth of blades free with your razor. Just make sure to add them to your cart. That's 100 free blades when you head to H-E-N-S-O-N-S-h-a-v-i-n-g.com slash cal and use that code cal i also want to talk briefly about our friends at huel h-u-e-l i want to talk about their huel black edition a high protein nutritionally complete meal in a convenient shake that means it has everything your body needs in two scoops, including 27 essential vitamins and minerals and 40 grams of protein.

Tools For Success

AD BREAK (25:44)

So since each scoop has 200 calories, you do two scoops and you're replacing essentially an average meal. You're doing it easily and getting all of that good stuff. A couple benefits of Huel Black Edition. Vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, no artificial sweeteners, naturally flavored, low GI, omega-3, omega-6, GMO-free, palm oil-free, contains vegan vitamin D2 and V3, available in nine flavors. It works out to only about $2.50 per 400-calorie meal.

Huel Black Edition (26:22)

The way I like to use Huel is my fitness health philosophy is breakfast, lunch, automate. Something that you know is healthy, that's not going to set you back on any goals you have in your health and is easy. And then put all of your attention into enjoying food and experimenting and cooking. Do that all at dinner. So Huel allows me when I'm in, don't want to think at all about food. I get to eat some breakfast before I go to class. I've been writing scoop, scoop, shake, boom, 400 calories, barely cost anything. All these other vitamins, other nice things in it. That's how I use it. But you can use it however you want. Right. So here's the good news. You'll get a free T-shirt and a shaker for shaking up the shake with your first order by going to Hel.com slash questions. That's huel.com slash questions. All right, let's do some. Speaking of questions, let's do some questions with no preparation. I'm sure this will go well. I'm loading up my laptop here. All right. I got my spreadsheet. I am not going to overthink this. Let's just jump in. All right. Question number one. Haven't even read this yet. From Chandler, 44 years old from North Carolina, an executive director. All right. Here's a question. I don't disagree with your critique of follow your passion. Thank you. And that's the question. Good question, Chandler. Let's move on. No, I'm joking. He goes on. I don't disagree with your critique of follow your passion, but I wonder what you'd say to people considering or working in jobs where passion or a sense of calling to the profession is important, like nonprofits or mission-driven professions. I run a faith-based summer camp and retreat center and work with many pastors, and I know how important a sense of calling is to make it through many of the difficult parts of these jobs. It's a good question, Chandler. Calling is different than passion. And I know that sounds like it's a semantic game, but there is actually a substantial difference there that's important. Calling comes out of the religious context. In particular, calling is used in the Judeo-Christian context for being called into the pastor or to be a priest and called into the clergy. Traditionally, from a religious perspective, to be called into doing let's say to be a clergyman or something like this is a very different experience than the modern notion of following your passion. Following your passion says this thing is really interesting and exciting to you so by matching that thing to your work you will have all these positive attributes in your job and you'll be interested and excited in your work and that will be beneficial callings can be burdens in the religious context callings can be hardship read the lives of the saints they're not high fiving everybody it's often felt as okay i i feel as if god wants me to do this and they get great meaning out of it but it's not enjoyable you're called to be an ascetic a coptic ascetic living in the desert the year 300 you weren't high-fiving everyone every day you weren't like man i'm gonna instagram out a you know motivation porn picture of like every day you can crush it by living in the sand and never bathing.

Calling vs. Passion (29:13)

So there's a difference. So I think it's a very, in other words, what I'm trying to say is it's a very important potential component to building a deep and meaningful career that you feel that there is something very important about what you're doing. This is, I am bringing myself to a challenge and I'm acting useful in the challenge. We know this from self-determination theory, the sense of impact on other people or improvement of the world can be very motivating. I think all of that, if it's present in one of your job options, can be very powerful. You just don't want to expect that it's going to make every day exciting. You just don't want to expect that it means you'll be whistling on the way to work each day. Callings can be difficult. My critique of follow your passion is twofold. One, this notion that you shouldn't rely on the fact that you have a clear pre-existing passion to follow. That's true for Collings too. Most people don't. So it's not a big deal if you don't have that. My second critique doesn't apply to Collings. And that's this idea that you're mistaken to believe that matching the content of your job to a pre-existing interest will mean you have a sense of excitement and interest for your work every day. And that's just not the way it works. Fulfillment in work is more complicated and multifaceted. A sense of social contribution, a sense of theological call, like this type of stuff can be an important part of meaning, but it's a different thing than the follow your passion advice typically advises. I'll give you one more very extreme example. You have a relative, family member. It's very sick. You can get great meaning out of, I am taking care of this person, but it also sucks. It's not what follow your passion proponents would say, like, yeah, follow your passion. You'll never work a day in your life. No, it's really, it sucks. But where's the meaning come from? This is important. And I feel that this is important and I'm willing to get through the hardship because of, because it's important. So like raising kids, it's a calling. A lot of times it ain't so great, but deep down is very good. So I don't know if that makes sense, Chandler, but I think of callings as different than passion. So good on you. In other words, for what you're doing, I'm glad you're using calling as part of a sense of depth and meaning in your life. And hopefully you're comfortable with that, even if not every day is exciting.

AWS (31:55)

All right, let's just do, let's see what we got here. That's not a real question. All I'm skimming here is to make sure that it's an actual question. I'm otherwise not trying to edit this.

Help Implementing Cal Newports Ideas (32:10)

All right, let's see here. Hi. Let me give the name. Mary, 40-year-old from New York City. Hi, I work in leadership development in a large healthcare institution. I think your ideas on work processes, minimizing the footprint of a given workflow, are potentially game-changing for many of the leaders I work with, but I am struggling with how to share it with them and or how to support them in hacking or improving workflows they are responsible for. In the places where I've heard you write or talk about this is referenced with one or two examples. Where can I learn more about how and not just why reimagining a workflow for efficiency and deep work? Well, Mary, if only someone had written a book that explains the whole history of how we got to our current structure of knowledge work and the principles. Yes, it would be great if there was principles. I don't know, maybe four. If I had to choose a number. Four principles for how you could then go about reimagining work, just to pick a word out of many, reimagining work to be free of the structure of constant distractions. What would those principles be? What are the strategies for successfully implementing those principles? What are examples of people and companies and organizations doing this? If only someone wrote that book and it was called A World Without Email and it came out in March of 2021, if only that existed. Obviously, I'm being facetious, but I really would say, Mary, read that book. Read that book. I really do try to get into a strong case for what is wrong with how we work and the four principles for how we'd want to rebuild it with lots of examples and thoughts. The issue is, and I think this is part of the problem with this whole potential movement that I was trying to spark with that book, it's not easily summarizable on an index card. And when you do try to summarize on an index card, people insert their own understanding of what you're trying to say, which is wrong. They're like, oh, yeah, turn off your notifications on your email and send an email if the meeting doesn't need to exist. And we need to reset our norms so that you don't expect a response to your email too soon. Everyone just has these hacks about their own interaction with emails. They think this is the key. And the book is trying to get something much more fundamental, completely reinventing these processes around avoiding the productivity poison that is constant context shift. This means you have to put in place collaboration and information spreading processes that minimize the number of unscheduled messages that must be seen and replied to. None of that fits well on an index card. It really does take some depth. So that book is a good place to start. My interview about A World Without Email from March of 2021 with Ezra Klein, I think that was a pretty good, we got pretty in the weeds in the book.

A World Without Email (34:54)

So if you want to listen or read the transcript instead of reading the whole book, I think that can do pretty well as well. I mean, that book is doing pretty well, but not, it didn't jump out the gates like digital minimalism did. And I think part of it is timing. There's a pandemic and there's so much bad going on and people's work lives were not great, but there was so many reasons why it was not great that they weren't in the mood to overhaul collaboration systems. If you live in a blue state, you still probably had your kids at home doing Zoom while you were working. Those who are watching will see my giant scare quotes. And the last thing you had time to worry about is let's revamp, you know, how we spread the information to minimize message shifts. I think there was a timing issue in the pandemic itself. So I'm trying to respread the word about it now. Also, the book was, I think it was received as a little more organization focused and individual focused. I think books do better for obvious reasons. If any reader who picks it up feels like they can change their life right away. Now, the reality is a world without email is very individual focused. I get into great detail about these ideas you can put into place right now, even if your boss doesn't know it. But it feels like it is something that is more organizational focused. So, you know, that might have suppressed it as well. I mean, not that this book hasn't been selling copies. It has, but my standards are high.

Practical Ideas

Watching Movies Is Not Shallow Entertainment (36:24)

All right, let's roll. I'm trying to go faster here. I'm just scrolling here randomly. Here's Steve, 38 year old from New Jersey. I hope this is not too personal. Oh, that was an interesting, a trepidatious. I proceed with trepidation after the start to the question. I hope this is not too personal. How does watching movies fit with Cal's deep life? It seems that movies have many of the same problems that shallow life tech platforms in the world today. And in general, movies seem to open your mind up to values that may not be consistent with your deep life principles. I don't agree with this, Steve. As an aspiring cinephile there is incredible craft and art and legacy and cultural impact and uh artistic brilliance embedded into this medium so if you really appreciate movies it's like appreciating music or appreciating art i would not compare that to a tweet dunk-a-thon on Twitter or a high view, you know, Mr. Beast video on YouTube. I mean, let's just, even things you think, what's the point? This is not great. There's greatness often embedded in movies that people don't even see. I was just re-listening to recently Quentin Tarantino join Bill Simmons's Rewatchables podcast to talk about what he thinks is one of his best 10 movies of the last decade, which was Tony Scott's Unstoppable, Denzel Washington, 777, Train, Out of Control. Watch movie and the the artifice that goes into this the constantly moving camera the as simmons calls it downhill movement that starts five minutes in and doesn't stop till the end the propulsive energy of the film what's happening with the color palette and the rust i mean it's a a brilliant guy who spent two years putting all of his energy into constructing this thing that works and hits you at an interesting level and works with your mind and calves your intention. I don't know. It's a beautiful art form. I love movies. I reject your premise. I don't have a lot of time to watch them. It takes me days to finish a movie. Like often, especially if I'm busy, if we alternate bedtimes often, if I'm not doing bedtime, I can get 45 minutes in. So maybe in one week I can get a movie done when I'm not as busy. I like to put in like twice a month, a movie watching lunch where I go and get a sandwich and watch a movie midday when I'm at home. I do enjoy doing that. I just saw air. Julie and I went and saw air in the theater. I've got thoughts. I'm going to say six out of 10 right now, but I do see a lot of movies. I really like movies. So you're not, you have no, you have little chance of getting me to agree that movies are shallow and we shouldn't spend time watching them. All right, let's go here. I'm just rolling. Alex, no information. I really like the idea of fixed schedule productivity.

Updating fixed schedule productivity (39:19)

However, my schedule really fluctuates between weeks, which makes it difficult for me to implement a fixed in time for my work. Some weeks are lighter, while some weeks are more stressful, and I have to push into evenings and weekends. Additionally, I want to have some weeks where I work longer and some weeks where I work shorter days because there are some weeks where my family needs more of my time than others. This makes a fixed deadline, which is the same every day, very difficult to implement. All right, that's an interesting case, Alex. You're asking, and by the way, I just realized I haven't been marking these questions as read. If I don't mark them as read, I don't know later that I've already done it. So now I've started marking them as read. So if you hear any of those first questions show up again in a later episode, it's my fault. Alex, I think this is a good idea. So fixed schedule productivity, for those who don't remember is the idea that you fix your work schedule in advance. And I'm just talking about the raw hours you'll be working. This is it. And you work backwards from that goal to figure out how in the world do I make my work fit? It's a meta productivity strategy because to accommodate this one goal, you're going to have to innovate and implement many different concrete productivity systems and ideas and rules to finish it. You're going to have to cut back on your workload. You're going to have to use time block planning to be more efficient about your time. You're going to have to start moving things around farther and back and into the future. You're going to have to start cutting out time wasting. I mean, it just changes. It induces so many concrete changes, small changes in order for you to hit this big goal. Alex is saying, does it have to be the same fixed scheduled every week? I say, no. I think it's interesting. You have A weeks and B weeks. And you kind of choose what week is this? It's an A week or a B week. There's a different schedule for each, whatever. This is the week I'm doing this week. This is the schedule. Make it work. This week is different. Make it work. I think that's fine. I think it's a good idea, Alex. Good innovation. Multi-scaled, multi-valued fixed schedule productivity. MVSSP. I like it. Let's get on a t-shirt. All right. Jumping around here.

Effective altruism (41:21)

How does, this is Kevin, how does the philosophy like effective altruism fit into the vfl ccp model you discussed on episode 18 kevin bonus points for good acronyming that is value i don't know vb fl ccp is what i'm used to value-based lifestyle center career planning so i don't know fl value focused lifestyle planning. I'll assume that's what you mean. How does effective altruism fit into it? So I don't understand the direction of the question. So it's the question, how would something, an interest like an interest in effective altruism fit into this? Or specifically, are you asking what does effective altruism say about approaching lifestyle-centered career planning? I think you mean the latter. So you're asking what specifically does effective altruist would, I guess, orient their bucket design around maximal good. And so I guess what I'm trying to say here is if you're a big believer in effective altruism, if that's an important part of your life, you could certainly influence your value-centric lifestyle career planning that way. I know certainly some of those practitioners really do. Every aspect of their life is geared towards this John Stewart million utilitarianism. And so, yeah. But I think why this is important is not that that's what everyone should do, but that there are different flavors to this. What are other flavors that could significantly influence how your lifestyle such as career planning is shaped. I think there are certainly theological flavors to VFLCCP. So you can imagine someone coming at this from a strong faith-based tradition is going to affect all of those buckets. They'll be oriented around revelation from the relevant scripture. I could imagine an artistic creativity type focus that all the buckets that some people just very strongly build their whole life around artistic. I could imagine a sort of justice themed, a justice flavored approach to VFLCCP. The point being is you create these buckets and then you understand what in these different parts of my life, how am I crafting those parts of my life? What matters? How have I crafted my life to emphasize that? How you answer that question is influenced by so many things that are internal to your experience and your values. And those values can be super influenced or super dependent on very specific philosophies, be it altruism or your religion or justice. So I think you're going to have different flavors there. I'm trying to remember the name of a particular effective altruist. William, one of the main guys at Oxford, there's the New Yorker profile of him. All I know is William is involved. I don't know if that's his last name or his first name. I'm pretty sure I've met him too. All right, let's roll here.

David Graebers bullshit jobs theory (44:22)

Victoria, what do you think about David Graeber's bullshit jobs theory and relationship idea as work as a means to an end? It's actually Ezra Klein who convinced me to finally read that book. People really like David Graeber's bullshit jobs book. I read it. I think I need to read it again. I don't think it hit me as strongly as it hit other people, because to me, there was there's a very British sort of British civil service, British sentiment to the book that mismatched to some degree with the much more sort of high integer entrepreneurial approach to work that we have here in the States. And so the gears weren't grinding clearly for me. My memory of Graeber's book is he's talking about these bureaucracies would literally have fake jobs. It was like office space. What would you say you do here? Well, I'd give the memo from this person to that person. Oh, so you walk it over to the person? Well, no, I have someone else come do that for me you know like actual fake jobs where nothing happens and how soul-deadening that is and I'm sure it is it's just the American experience is that's not our problem as much yeah often you know our jobs are really they're doing things like we we're very energized we don't have this bureaucracy sense of nothing I do here matters. I'm just buying out the time. It's like I'm incredibly busy. I can't keep up with all I have to do. And I'm actually distressed because I'm letting people down that I'm not getting back to them their emails. There's almost like an opposite problem here. It's like an overly energized job issue. And I think the issue that a lot of people have here is not the job is ultimately meaningless, but the approach to the work itself is ultimately unsustainable. This hyperactive hive mind, let's constantly switch back and forth to asynchronously and ongoing conversations about all this different work, coupled with this autonomy mindset of there's no centralized control or agreement on reasonable workloads. You can just get piled deeper and deeper and deeper until you get so stressed, you just call out uncle. And that's what stops people from pushing more back onto your plate. It's incredibly stressful. You feel like you're spending most of your time managing work instead of actually executing work. You're always behind. It's hitting all these triggers inside your brain, the way we're wired that makes us unusually miserable. This is the problem, I think. The bigger problem here, especially in the States, is not that our jobs mean nothing and we're boring ourselves to death this is not the pale king david foster wallace it is that we're working in such an incoherent manner that meaning or not our jobs are slowly and for some of us quickly completely burning us out so the first read that then it didn't click with me as strongly as people thought it might, but I should read that again.

IR: Can you damage your own cognitive abilities, even if you recover after exposure? (47:04)

All right, let's, uh, let's do a couple other right now. I'm just, I'm just looking for, um, quick things. All right. Raphael, I'm a teacher of young students from 15 to 19 years old. I've noticed that the capacity to focus is increasing each year. Is there any possibility that the ability to focus could be irreversibly damaged? It's not great. If you spend your adolescent and young adult years constantly on your phone, your brain is going to get very used to that. It's going to have a hard time not having that distraction. And it's not that this is preventing your brain from being able to focus entirely, but it's keeping you away from the type of training you need to build up that muscle. And that's reading and being alone with your own thoughts and trying to integrate data and understand hard things and rewind that scene from Tony Scott's Unstoppable to understand what he was trying to do with that glass reflection shot and why that's poetically appropriate for the scene. When you don't do this type of work with your mind, you don't build up those cognitive muscles. And this highly salient distraction keeps that away from you. And it also builds up this addiction to that type of information. So I think it's an issue. My big advice to young people is you don't have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun the person you're with when the bear starts charging. And so if you are even a little bit treating your phone with wariness, treating your brain with respect, it's like the old proverb, the one-eyed man is king in the world of blind people.

Question From An Irish Coder Has Three Kids And Serious Health Issues. How Do You Manage? (48:41)

You're going to have a huge competitive advantage. So that's the only silver lining here. All right, I'm running out of time here. Let me do one more. One more question. Nick, 35-year-old programmer from Ireland. Let me mark this as red. Hi, Cal. I'm curious on your thoughts on the crossover between parenting and professional improvement. Crossover, you don't mean direct negative correlation. I kid. I have a three-year-old daughter and a chronically ill wife. With just one kid, we've been pushed to the breaking point at times, but managed to survive with lots of time off work to help at home. With my daughter recently starting school, I thought I could get back to a bit of my productive life, and it seems that it may have been a little ambitious. With three kids, did you purposely scale back things professionally, whether that was writing or research in order to be more available for family, ride more difficult waves at home to speak? Sort of goes on and on like that. Oh, wait, let me get to the final part. Do you have seasons that are unbalanced and you find a way sometimes sacrificing important things in the short term? All right, it's a good question. Now, kids make it harder to do professional stuff. It just makes it harder. And you have to rethink things. And I think for me, that difficulty is part of what went into the development of slow productivity as a philosophy. Realizing that a philosophy of productivity that is based on the maximizing the rate of production or maximize what a lot of people don't even measure production, maximizing the hours spent producing. This is actually the heuristic that most people fall back onto because it's too difficult or maybe too disillusioning to measure what did I actually produce and how much do people care? So they say, I'll adopt what I call in my new book, pseudo productivity. And I will try to measure instead just activity with the idea that activity generates results. So more activity will generate more results than less. The conversion function between that time and results, I don't even want to know. It's a monotonically increasing function, so more is better. That mindset of productivity does not mix well with kids because kids take away time, and they take away energy, and they take away sleep. And yes, I can imagine all the emails now, and it hits everyone very differently. And some people have this much worse than other people. And some people's kids are incredibly well-behaved and slip through the night. And other people's kids have real serious issues that take up a lot more time. And there's the gender dynamics and there's the et cetera, et cetera. But it's also bad for everyone just in all different ways, but it's bad for everyone. Let's put it that way. Like a wildfire sweeping through your town is bad for everyone. Let's put it that way. Like a wildfire sweeping through your town is bad for everyone. And we can agree on that. Even if some people's houses burn to completely down to a crisp and other people's houses, they only lose some trees. We'll just, the baseline here is as bad for everyone. So if your definition of productivity is amount of work per day, or if you're a little bit more careful rate of production of things in the short term. Kids can be psychically dislocated. On the other hand, if you have a slow productivity mindset, what matters is production on the larger scale. I mean, I want to obviously keep the lights on and be responsible in the short term, and I'm not going to just disappear or leave a business partner into lurch, but I'm also no longer of the mindset that it's the 10 hours a day that I'm 20 and I'm eager and ambitious and don't even know what to do. It's an inchoate energy that I'm just spraying wildly. That mindset doesn't work. It's instead, over the next few years, I want to produce a book I'm really proud of. And yeah, I have these kids at home and this one kid is having hyperactivity issues or real bad allergies and we have to go through all these doctors. So I'm slowing the hell down on the rate of work in the near term. It's okay though. What's the impact? Maybe it takes three years instead of two and a half or three years instead of two. I don't care. 20 years from now, I'm just going to look back and say, hey, remember that period of life when you had young kids, you produced this cool book. We don't notice those differences, those epsilons of 20, 30, 40% when we look back through time. We don't look at Newton and say, man, it took you a while to really work through all of the implications of the inverse square law and produce the Principia Mathematica. We just say Newton produced this great book. Most people don't know it took him 25 years to do and that he could have done it in five. make gold out of lead and was kind of a weirdo. No, he produced the book and it was cool. I could stop working today on any type of writing. And 20 years from now, people would probably still say the same thing. Oh yeah, I read deep work. That was cool. We changed something at our office about it. So slow productivity, which I think is a necessity if you have kids. Slow productivity is much more comparable. You give yourself permission to slow down. You give yourself like right now, I do not like that I accidentally fell into a really busy semester because I've become so used to slow productivity. I'm going to react hard to this. I'm going to slow down for a while. And that's a slow productivity mindset says, yes, great. Don't do anything this summer. Recharge. Life is long. Days are short. You're okay. It's okay if this season is slow and this season is more. So I'm a believer in it. And I don't want people to delude themselves that you can somehow avoid kids being an impact professionally. And I don't want people to delude themselves that other people aren't feeling any impact and somehow it's unusual what's happening to them. I don't want people to allude themselves that other people aren't feeling any impact and somehow it's unusual what's happening to them. I don't want people to feel that frustration or isolation. Everyone feels it to different degrees. Everyone's life is messed up to some degree when the wildfire moves through. I hope my kids don't listen to this podcast. I don't mean to describe them as a wildfire destroying people's houses. It's maybe not the right metaphor. But you get what I'm trying to say. So anyways, Nick, I guess my off the cuff response here is life is long. Days are short. All sorts of triumphs and tragedies will happen. There's a lot of beauty in what's happening in your life right now. There's a lot of hardship in what's happening in your life right now and work. You know, you're doing what you you can you're being responsible to your employer you're envisioning things you might do in the future and that's a perfectly appropriate season just like there might be another season in your life where you're locked in and you're you know on a work project that's really important and maybe just things come together much more slowly for you i always think about uh who am i thinking about? Hilary Mantel. Mandel? Mantel. Wolf Hall. Historical novelist. She died recently, I believe.

Supplements And Devices

Historical Novelist (55:28)

She was chronically ill and had a lot of issues, health-wise. So she wrote those books slow. And I really hope I'm not mixing up Hilary Mantel with someone else. I might be mixing her up with... Does Laura Hildebrand also have a chronic illness? I may be incorrectly ascribing chronic illnesses to people who don't have them, but there is an author I have in mind. I do think it was her. And I might, you know what? I'm looking it up. All right. There's no more compelling radio than hearing someone type into something. I believe. All right. Let's see. I do think it was Hillary Mantel who did die last year. And I am scrolling. Yeah. During her 20s, Mant tell how to debilitating and painful illness. Right. And so, uh, she wasn't Stephen King in 1986, coked up to his eyeballs writing 600 pages a week. She couldn't do that, but you know what? I had to look it up to say, was this the person I was thinking about who had that illness? Because what do I, like most people know about her? She won two Booker prizes and her books were fantastic. So anyways, what I'm trying to say is a slow productivity mindset where the idea is do fewer things, work at a natural pace with ups and downs and all different timescales, but obsess over the quality of the things you do. Not how fast, but the quality. It can be the recipe for a very fulfilling professional life that is adjustable and adaptable to all sorts of different situations. So anyways, this is all a long commercial for when my book comes out next year on slow productivity, you got to buy it. I think you're going to like it.

All right, look, we're short on time here. I want to do a quick, something interesting before we get there. Let me mention a sponsor of ours, our friends at Roan, R-H-O-N-E. For years, I actually, and continue to this day, wear Roan workout style t-shirts as my main DC summer wear. I think they look nice. They wick the moisture. They're a higher quality than like a cheaper t-shirt. They feel really sturdy, which is why I was excited to find out about their new commuter collection. This is Roan style clothes with their comfort, their breathability and flexibility, but in a more of a business casual style, something you could wear to the office. In my case, something I can teach in. While having clothes that's very light and very flexible, something I'm not going to overheat into. Roan helps you get ready for any occasion with the commuter collection, which offers the world's most comfortable pants, dress shirts, fourth zips, and polos. You never have to worry about what to wear when you have the Roan commuter collection. Four-way stretch fabric is breathable, it's flexible, leaves you free to enjoy what life throws your way i think jesse has mentioned he's worn some of this playing golf i like it teaching i'm moving around i'm working up ahead of steam i don't want some thick stiff start shirt on that's going to completely overheat me it uh it looks good wrinkle-free technology gold fusion anti-odor technology, 100% machine washable. It's just a good set of good looking clothes for men that you can use in active situations. So the commuter collection can get you through any workday and straight into whatever comes next. Head to roane.com slash cal and use the promo code cal to save 20% off your entire order. That's 20% off your entire order. When you head to rhone.com slash Cal and use that code Cal, it's time to find your corner office comfort.

And there's a good tagline, corner office comfort. I also want to mention our friends, a newish sponsor, Fields of Greens, Field of Greens. I talked about earlier in the show, how I like to automate my health before dinner. I don't want to think about what I eat or what I drink. I just want it to be healthy and energized. So I don't waste any brain cells on it. And then I can care about food and enjoy food when I get to dinner. So one of the things, as long as I'm automating my food morning through morning through afternoon, I want to make sure I'm getting, as long as I'm automating my food morning through afternoon, I want to make sure I'm getting, as long as I'm automating it, let me make sure I get the stuff I need. Doctors say that should include six cups of fruits and veggies a day, but you're probably not going to have time to sit there and actually eat six cups worth of vegetables. This is where Field of Greens enters the pictures. It is a supplement that gets you that needed nutrition easily unlike other fruit and vegetable supplements each specific fruit and vegetable and field of greens was medically selected to support specific functions like heart health liver and kidney health immune system and metabolisms i take field of greens to help me stay healthy make sure i'm getting what i need it works works fast. You'll feel healthier. You'll have more energy. Your skin and hair will look better. Here's a cool thing they're doing. The Better Health Promise. Take Field of Greens and at your next doctor's visit, if your doctor doesn't say something like, whatever you're doing, it's working, keep it up. Return it for a refund. And to help you get started, I got you 15% off your first order. Plus you'll get another 10% off when you subscribe to recurring orders, visit field of dreams.com and use the promo code deep that field that's field of dreams.com promo code deep. All right, let's do something interesting to end the show. So again, I would normally have this up on the screen, but I don't know how to do that without Jesse.

Rob Deecksrvices (01:01:05)

I'm helpless without Jesse. So I'm just going to read it to you. This is a productivity thing that I have a little bit of a meta commentary on. There's a link in the show notes. So there's a thread someone posted about, there's someone out there called Rob Drydeck, who has launched 18 brands and exited six of those brands for over $550 million. So this guy's out here, very successful businessman. Someone else did a Twitter thread about his productivity system. I want to read a little bit about how this person is describing Rob Drydeck's productivity system because there's an observation I want to make. All right, so here's the description that this Twitter commenter had on Drydeck's system. He says, how does he do all this? By tracking every hour of his life. Here's a breakdown of his system. Rob's goal is to be optimized towards life mastery. He has an 80-page operating manual for his life managed by four people, and he has systems and automation in place that makes everything effortless. What exactly does he do? Every day he gets up at 5 a.m., brain trains, meditates, works out, maintains a clean diet, doesn't drink, takes supplements. He calls these the core seven and realized that every time he completed the seven, he felt happier. So that's his base now. He tracks every hour of his day. Last year, I don't know if this is average or not, he spent seven hours sleeping, seven hours working, two hours on a physical body, seven hours with family and friends. Perfectly balanced, he said. But he tracks more than just time. Every day he tracks on a zero to ten scale how he feels about his life, work, and health, how motivated he is, how well he slept, his full body composition, how his wife feels about his relationship. Then he analyzes it. If it's below five, you look at the world half empty. Anything above five, you're half full. It doesn't matter what hits you. You keep going. You look at the world half empty. Anything above 5, you're half full. It doesn't matter what hits you. You keep going. By doing this, he becomes what he calls qualitatively aware, which helps him identify what brings him down and eliminate it. He designed his ideal life in 2015. It was a 10-20 year plan. He's already 75% there. It's not hard. It's not even discipline. It's just how he lives. He gamified the process and automated as much as he can, so everything is effortless. I am pretty obsessed with optimization, but this is the craziest level I have ever seen. Here's what caught me about this description.

Automation Something (01:03:13)

The tone of it doesn't really match the reality. Now I didn't listen to the source interview on which all these observations was pulled out, but if you take away that tone and the way that this Twitter commenter is talking about Rob Drydeck's productivity system, what you actually see is something that is probably not the craziest, most obsessed optimized thing you've ever seen. There's actually just some common sense here.

Robb Dietz (01:03:37)

Let's break this down briefly. So when he talks about having an 80 page operating manual managed by four people and systems and automation in place that makes everything effortless, I am guessing that's a red herring. I'm guessing that is referring to Rob Drydeck's business, that his business that handles these brands is systems-oriented, which is smart. And I'm assuming this 80-page operating manual for people and automation, I'm guessing I could be wrong. A lot of that is his business. Let's put that aside and talk about his personal productivity. When you look at this, nothing here, and maybe I'm immune, but nothing here hits me as that crazy. He gets up early and meditates and exercises. He doesn't drink. He eats healthily. He takes supplements. That's like a very standard doctor-recommended lifestyle. Get some sleep. You should exercise. Like, don't put crap in your body. So far, not the craziest system I've ever seen. He tracks every hour of his day. Well, he time blocks plans. Seven hours sleeping, seven hours working, two hours physical body, seven hours with friends. So he works a normal schedule. I guess he tracks it. That's not crazy. How much did I sleep last night? How much did I work today? That's not crazy like how much did i sleep last night how much did i work today that's not a crazy thing like it's my like if i was doing this now i could go back and say i feel overloaded recently how much am i really working uh how much work makes you feel overloaded that's sort of like a diary again i don't think that's that crazy um and then he does this thing where he he keeps metrics on how he different parts of his life are going. I mean, that might be a little bit more fiddly than most people would do, but again, it's a nice bit of feedback. Okay, this is getting out of whack. I need to make some changes. And that's it. Oh, and he has a life plan, but okay. VBL CCP, you should have a life plan.

Notable Contacts

explanatory notes (01:05:20)

I'm okay with that. So anyways, what I'm trying to say here is this mismatch is important because this mismatch in tone versus this actual system reveals two things.

Twitter followers (01:05:32)

One, you know, a lot of people who maybe are very successful like this Rob Drydeck, they're not actually implementing the craziest optimization scene you ever lived. And they're also not working all the time. They're actually, it's pretty common sense. There's just some discipline there, but try to keep work constrained to the workday, eat well and exercise, maybe keep track in your diary of how things are going. So you have some record of things are out of whack and then figure out how to fix it. Notice his system doesn't automatically fix it. He's not trying to optimize these numbers. He's just using these numbers as qualitative feedback. So he can say, you know what? I'm not seeing my friends a lot. I'm putting a low number here. You know, I'm going to cut back on this, or this is going to remind me to go reach out and talk to a friend. I don't know. It all seems pretty common sense. So it tells us that not everyone who is in this sort of, is very successful in an entrepreneurial sense is necessarily working all the time or using a crazy system. But the fact that this particular Twitter follower is in do in booing and booing injecting this tone of crazy optimization, I think also emphasizes how there's this whole subculture online that just like I was involved in, in 2007 with the early productivity prawn movement holds out this idea that with the right systems and the right discipline following the systems all these other good things will happen in your life and so so it shows there's the fury of this subculture now me fear i mean furious energy the furious energy of this hustle subculture that's like systems and optimized and if you get all the numbers just right the there'll be an epiphenomenon of this activity is going to be success and happiness.


Red herring (01:06:26)

And then you see the reality of like, actually, are people really doing that? Well, this guy's not. And I thought that mismatch was really telling. So I don't know. I'm just seeing that on the fly, but I thought that was something interesting. All right. Well, this is all the time we have for today. So thank you for listening for this Jesse free episode. Thank you for listening to me make my way through questions for which I had no preparation. Hopefully that went okay. I'll be back next week with Jesse for a normal episode, unless something unexpected happens. So until then, as always, stay deep.

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