How To Reinvent Your Life In 4 Months (My Full Step-By-Step Process) | Cal Newport

Transcription for the video titled "How To Reinvent Your Life In 4 Months (My Full Step-By-Step Process) | Cal Newport".

1970-01-08T11:32:44.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Introduction

Intro (00:00)

So today's deep question, how can I reinvent my life in four months? Now that four months number is not arbitrary. If it is the beginning of September now, where does four months put us? September, October, November, December, that means this overhaul process we're going to talk about will finish right around New Year's. So right around the time all of your friends are buying copies of James Clear's book and getting gym memberships, you'll already be done with doing a reinvention for the year. And you'll be well into this new life, not just starting. Now not surprisingly for long time listeners of my show and viewers of my videos, I'm going to use the deep life stack framework to structure our discussion of how to reinvent your life this fall. But I'm going to be specific this time. And we're going to have particular timelines.


Personal Growth And Productivity Strategies

Discipline (00:53)

How long to spend at this layer? How long to spend at that layer? Because I want this whole process to fit exactly within four months. All right, so with great trepidation, I'm actually going to do a little bit of drawing while we talk here. So we can actually see the deep life stack that I am discussing. So what I'm going to do here is bring up my drawing screen and we are going to draw ourselves a deep life stack and we're going to annotate it as we go. All right, so at the bottom of the stack is the discipline layer. So I will actually write this on the screen with my almost calligraphy quality handwriting. Why don't you say Jesse? For those who are watching instead of just listening, what you're seeing is a master, a master draftsman. And let me put a nice, let me see here, let me put a nice box around that. Okay, so let's start with discipline as the starting place. So if you're new to the whole concept of the deep life stack, discipline is the place that we start. All right, so what are we going to do here? First thing I want you to do as part of your reinvention is we start down here at the discipline layer of the deep life stack.


To-Do List (02:15)

I'm going to label this set up core. So you want to get set up a place where you keep track of everything that's going to happen in this reinvention that follows. So here are the habits I follow, here are my disciplines, here are the systems I'm using. This is going to grow, but at the very beginning of the reinvention, you set it up. And really the easiest way to do this, if you don't already have digital things in your life that you check regularly, is to print out your current collection of all the things you're committing to, put it in a clear plastic sleeve, a protector like you would put a page in to put inside a binder and just put it on your desk or the drawer next to your desk where you work every day. So you have a physical artifact. And as we add things to this list of commitments, you will just grow this list.


3 Keystone Habits (03:06)

So we want to set up that core location for everything we're about to do. The other thing we're going to do when we're down here in the discipline stack is three keystone habits. It's going to be step, this early step. All right, so a keystone habit is a habit that you do every day. It should not be trivial, right? So it shouldn't be look at my home jam every day, but it also should be tractable. So it shouldn't be do 90 minutes of intense exercise every day, somewhere in between. You have to put a little effort into doing it, but you can almost certainly succeed in doing this every day, even with schedules that vary with unpredictability and difficulty. So to start this reinvention, once you set up your core, I want you to figure out three keystone habits to put in place, I'm going to say divide their subject matter. Have one focus on your professional life, one focus on your health and fitness, and one be purely focused on something personal, optional and high qualities. This could be around reading or nature or meditation, something that has no instrumental value beyond just giving you a sense of quality or awe. Now, what we're going to do here, as we move through the stack, I'm going to at the end, I will show you how long to spend on each of these things. All right, so we're going to do the timing last, but I'm going to go through the steps first.


Values (04:27)

All right, so let's go to the next stage of the reinvention, which is going to be value. So start with discipline. Now we're going to values. So we draw, let's make this blue. All right, so let me draw the box here again. My dressmanship is it's like watching, it's not unlike watching Picasso draw the peasants hands. I think we can all. And also it's clear for people watching, I have expert control over how notability works. I definitely know what I'm doing here. Okay, let's just write all I'm trying to do here for those who are listening, I'm literally just writing the word values and drawing a box around it. All right, I'll get better at this.


Reconnect to Your Moral Intuition (05:14)

All right, values. What do we want to do here? The first thing is the reconnect. I'm going to label this as reconnect. It's going to be reconnect with your moral intuition. So you're sort of reconnecting with what is important to you in your life, but also what defines a life well lived regardless of circumstances, regardless of specific accomplishments. So when I say reconnect with your moral intuition, probably the right way to do this is to go back and reread something that you've read before that really spoke to you. Perhaps a Victor Frankl man search for meaning style book that really at some point you remember ground the Jew and thinking this is what's important in life, this is this resonated with my moral intuition. So try to find something that you have experience with what's influential to you and go back to reread that to reconnect with these moral intuitions. You might want to watch things as well. If there's a particular documentary or movie that really touched you in that deeper way, go rewatch that as well. So you're reconnecting here with what is at the core of your value system. Once you have done that as part of this reinvention, I'm going to write the word code here. You want to write a first draft of your code. You should have a personal code.


Writing Your Personal Code (06:37)

And the code is not just what you stand for and what you don't stand for, but you should think of it as a roadmap for how you approach your life through good and bad. How you approach your life during the hard times in a way that makes you proud. How you approach your life during the good times. This could be harder sometimes in a way that makes you proud as well. So it's a roadmap for living that lays out here's what's important to me, what I think it means to be a good person and live life or live, but also how you were going to apply that. The sense of here is how I go through my life through good and bad. That is your code. And finally, as this step of your reinvention, I want you to put in place some number of rituals that regularly connect you back to your moral intuition that regularly reinvigorate that connection for you in a visceral way, way that you feel.


Rituals (07:22)

This could mean a lot of things depending on what you're set up in life is if if you're religious, these rituals, you'll almost certainly be drawing from long standing religious rituals that are set up to do exactly that. The five time a day Islamic prayer, the daily Torah study in Judaism and so on. If you're not religious, there's any other number of things you can do that once you know what's in your moral intuition and once you have your code written down, that will reconnect you with this. This could be every week you hike to this place that gives you a sense of natural world. It could be meditation. It could be a particular type of volunteering you do on a regular basis to sort of humble yourself and reconnect you to helping other people. All of this can be written down. Your code, your rituals, you can connect this all to what we set up in the first stage, that core document or folder, so you have a place for this to go.


Control (08:23)

Okay. So now we've moved to the value stack as part of our reinvention. Remember, we will get to at the end how long to spend on each of these. Next layer, so I'm drawing another box here beautifully. It definitely looks the same as the other boxes. You get to the control layer of the deep life stack. The control layer is where you begin to organize, make sense of and curtail the various obligations in your professional and personal life so that you have breathing room, so that you have space to think, space to enjoy what's good about your life, freedom from the anxiety of overload and disorganization and freedom to actually experiment with new things or important things you want to add to your life in the final step that's going to follow.


Multiscale planning (08:59)

So at some point, you do need to get control over everything in your life or a lot of this other work is going to be for not because you'll be so short on time and overwhelmed and anxious that you won't really get to it. So what I have here is three things for our reinvention. Next I'm going to say multi-scale planning. This is for your work. So when it comes to your professional life, put multi-scale planning into work. Get this executed. This is where you have a quarterly or semester plan that you update every quarter or semester or season, whatever, three to four months. You look at that plan every week and use it to create a weekly plan. Your weekly plan, your consulting, your calendar, your scene, what's actually on your plate that week and you're looking then also at your seasonal semester quarterly plan for reminders of the bigger things you're working on and you ride out long hand. Here's my plan for the week ahead. Then you look at that weekly plan every day when you do a daily time block plan for the actual hours of your day. I, of course, recommend my own time block planner second edition, timeblockplanner.com, but you can use whatever you want, but your time block planning your actual day and consultation with your weekly plan. It's your time block plan every day is informed by your weekly plan, which is written every week, which is informed by your seasonal plan, which is updated every three to four months. That's multi-scale planning. There's, you can watch. I have, we'll talk about it later in the show. I think there's a question about it. You can look at the time management video from my YouTube page at youtube.com/calanuportmedia. We won't belabor the details, but it puts you in control of your time and your professional life and gives you really clear feedback on what your current load of work looks like, how long things take, how well things fit, what's really killing you in your schedule, what's not so bad.


Household planning (11:15)

Multi-scale planning gives you all of that. It will give you all of that information. I'm going to say, and I'm going to call this household planning, and I'll put that in quotation marks. Not everyone lives in a house. What I mean by household planning is getting some sort of basic system in place for your work outside of work. I have to, when I use household, in quotation marks, I'm thinking, you know, I've got to clean the gutters. We've got to fix this hole that just got knocked into the drywall. We have a problem with electricity. You've got to mow the yard. Whatever these are, right? And in your own, my car needs to be, the oil needs to be changed. I need to go pick up a new parking pass for my neighborhood, all the stuff that's non-work related, but related to life outside of work. We want some control over that as well. You don't need something as extreme as full multi-scale planning, but you should probably have full capture for your work outside of work. Some place where everything gets written down. I would then suggest reviewing that capture system when you do your weekly plan for work. And the weekly plan can now, you can add to it a section for home. Okay, let me look at the week ahead. Let me look at all the things I've captured for non-professional tasks. What am I going to do this week? And when things need to go on your calendar, put them on your calendar. Okay, I got to take the car to get the admissions inspection. This is the right time to do it. It's going to be Thursday. Let me move this meeting to put that there. I'll put that on my calendar. And let me protect Saturday, put a note. Like I got to mow the yard and do some house work. And let me get a big list of that. So you're building a plan for the week that allows you to make some progress on the household things. And you have this full capture system. So if you jot down household tasks, when you shut down your work at the end of the day, you can put them in that system and trust it. I'm not going to forget the mow the yard. I'm not going to forget that I have to hand in this new medical paperwork to my kids school. So full capture review when you do your weekly plan for work, add a household component to that weekly plan. Now you're in some control of that work as well. It's not Pat Hazard, it's not just organizing. You're learning what's on your plate and how long it's taken.


Start Pursuing Remarkable Re-Invention. (13:20)

The final thing I'm going to suggest here for this control step of our reinv- uh, re-invention, re-invention, re-invention, is using this information you learned about both your professional life and personal life to automate and curtail. So one of the big advantages of having these systems, and this is crucial, one of the big advantage of having these organizational systems is not that your goal is to try to fit more work into your life. This is the common barb made at this type of thinking of the only reason why you'd want to do both a scale plan is so that you can work more and you probably watch a lot of hustle culture YouTube videos. Ah, but that's not why we do this. We do this because we want information about how long things actually take control about how we spend our time and then we can use this information to make our life better, not worse, to make it less busy, not more busy. So this is why I say automate and curtail. As you know, here's what I'm doing each week and I have my fine grain control over it, my work and non work, you can begin to automate. So for work, you say here's something that comes up again and again and it's taking up a lot of cognitive cycles and it's causing a lot of back and forth emails to deal with every week. Let me find a way to quote unquote automate this. I created a Google form. Everyone in my team knows they just fill in this information in that form by Friday. It automatically goes to a Google drive and I have a half hour set aside at the end of the day, every Monday to gather that information. It's already in a useful format. It takes me 15 minutes and I post the thing they need. And now I've automated that work that happens regularly in a way that minimizes its footprint. For your life outside of work, there's also often many ways to automate. Once you see what you're spending your time on, you can say, okay, how do I get this off of my, think of it as my ad hoc scheduling plate? How do I get this work that I have to do all the time around my house off of the list of just ad hoc random things that I have to remember to do? So maybe I set up a bi-annual visit with the gutter cleaning company and I get that all arranged so I don't have to think about it. They just come. They just do it. That's set up. Okay. I'm kidding myself about raking the leaves. I never really have time to do this. I can work with a landscaping company. This is just when they come. Okay, here's something I always have to do with my car. Let me find a mechanic I like that's nearby and I bring it. I put on the calendar when the oil change happens. Now I don't have to think about it.


Automate and Curtail Work Life. (15:51)

When I get there, I execute. The more things you can have automated, by which I mean you do not have to remember and schedule on the fly. The work will just happen either actually automatically or you will get to regular calendar reminders when you know the process and you know exactly what to do. It is off of your plate of things you have to remember and schedule. That's what I mean by automate. Now you're reducing the planning footprint of your life outside of work as well.


Life Reinvention And Personal Development

Curtail Work Life. (16:17)

The other word I wrote down here was curtail and what I mean by curtail is get rid of. When you know what's going on, you have this fine grained control over your time and you're getting this fine grained detailed feedback on your schedule, you see the problems. The work life you realize being on this committee is killing me schedule wise. It's putting all these little meetings that eat up there. It's 10 people being scheduled and it's three meetings a week and they're short but I have very little control over where they fall because we have to find an intersection that works for 10 people and it's just partitioning my days in a terrible way. Let's take that off our plate. Or if you're at home, it's like okay, it's this one thing I'm doing in the house that's taking me hours and hours and stressing me out. You know what, I'm going to quit this thing over here and use that money to pay someone to do this. Or it's this involvement I have, this community group I'm a part of. This is really killing my schedule.


Lash pullback (17:13)

If I just quit that one thing, this is going to open up all the space. This is going to move this sports team to this sports team. Saturdays are completely open now. That's going to be a huge blessing. It's all about once you know how things are landing on your schedule and their impacts, you can be incredibly high impact and strategic about get rid of that, get rid of that and change this and get huge returns back. It's much better than just getting overloaded and stressed out and randomly starting to quit things left and right. This is all what control is about. I control my time so I can automate a curtail until my load is reasonable. Now I have breathing room. Breathing room to reinvent, breathing room to appreciate the results of reinvention. This brings us up now to the final layer of the deep life stack. Finally, figured out by the way how to draw thicker lines. This final layer is vision. This is where you take in the typical deep life process. This is where you take specific aspects of your life and you overhaul them to be more remarkable. Now you have this great foundation of discipline, meaning that you have reinvented your identity as someone who is capable of doing things that have a long term reward even if they're hard in the moment. You're in touch with your value so you have this foundation that can get you through the good and bad. It's a compass that keeps you aiming in the right direction. You have control over your time so now you have the ability to aim yourself and your energies in intentional directions and now you figure out where to aim it. How to take aspects of your life and make those aspects of your life remarkable. So what I'm going to put here, I'm going to label this here, one small plan one large. What I mean by this is during this final step of your four month reinvention, I want you to actually take an area of your life, preferably a non-professional area of your life, where you're going to do a full overhaul of that towards more remarkable. And I'll give you an example about this in a second, but you take some aspect of your life and you do a full overhaul towards remarkable and then you take one larger areas of your life and this could be like what you do for a job, where you live. And you begin the process of an overhaul there. This could be one of these longer term overhauls that could take a year or two to really think through. You get a small overhaul completely done and a big exciting overhaul actually started. All right, so for example, let me give you an example of a small overhaul.


Example: Becoming a Cinephile (19:52)

Let's say you decide my life outside of work, I need more life affirming interest or hobbies. I want some aspect of my life that's unrelated to my job, but I want it to be take it to a remarkable level, like a real remarkable in the sense that people will eventually remark this about me. This is something that he really does. So let's say just for the case of a case study, you decide I want to become a serious cinephile. I like movies. What if I made movies and appreciation of movies, a serious part of my life? Well what might that type of overhaul look like? Well, it would be a mix of concrete steps that you actually complete plus new habits or systems you put into your life that all leads you towards a vision of that part of your life that's more remarkable. So I jotted down some ideas here. So maybe say, okay, first thing first, I want to, as a concrete step, I'm going to overhaul my basement theater, good TV, good sound system, get a Blu-ray DVD player, blackout curtains for the windows down there, the basement windows, so I can have a really good movie-going experience. I'm going to invest some money in this and I'm signaling to myself I take this seriously. Now I'm going to add a habit or system to my daily routine as part of this overhaul. So maybe I want to get into a twice a week I watch a movie schedule. There's one evening I put aside for doing that and one extended lunch break or maybe it's two extended lunch breaks during the week. Maybe you're working remotely, don't tell your boss 45 minutes an hour and you're able to get through one movie during the week and you have one evening you've set aside and sort of agree. I don't do bedtimes that night and you have one evening a week that you watch a movie. So this is like a new habit. Maybe every week you have this habit of going to the library to return the DVDs or Blu-rays that you rented and you get new ones to watch or you join the old fashioned Netflix which still exists. You can still get DVDs and Blu-ray in the mail through that using the envelopes. So there we go that's the system and then maybe you have this system that says when I do this twice a week movie watching I have to find three articles to read ahead of time and I read all three articles about the movie maybe like two reviews and one longer article so I sort of know what I'm looking at and in that way I am enhancing my knowledge. And then maybe as a concrete a second concrete step you say I'm going to found an online course about film appreciation I'm going to take that. I'm going to take this online course and maybe as a couple books I'm going to read. So what you've done here in this overhaul is you have some concrete things to accomplish and then a new systems that you're sort of getting into place, new regular habits are getting into place. In this example when this is all done you're going to find yourself in a place where you're watching movies on a regular basis and a good home theater you've studied film more than you had before you have a much better foundation and now you can see your appreciation really growing then you might have a longer term goal okay if I keep this up for three months I'm going to join a local film club that meets at this local nonprofit arts theater and I'm going to definitely go and they have monthly meetings and watch movies and I'll have if I do this for three months I'll be ready to join that. That's an example of a small overhaul when you're done with this you have made this thing a much more remarkable part of your life and give this a year or two to unfold from here and people are going to look at you and say yeah this is one of the things we know about you. You're really in the movies it's a big part of your life you get a lot of satisfaction so imagine that on almost any area of your life that's going to be the small overhaul and then you're going to think through a larger overhaul. lifestyle such a career planning style approach what is my ideal lifestyle five ten years from now look like what is a major change I might need to make to get me closer there and you begin scheming what would be involved. And it might be okay I have to build a lot of new skills I'm going to have to get promoted I'm going to have to get the side business up to this certain size of income before I'm comfortable leaving my main job this could be a longer term overhaul but you get that going.


Timeline (23:52)

All right so how do we time all of this how do we time all this because we have now quite a few different things I suggested and we need this all to fit into four months so I'm going to draw on the screen here a timeline. All right so be our four month timeline and I'm going to label this timeline with the relevant months so let's see we got September we'll imagine we're starting this in September and then we get October starts the November starts then December starts that brings us to January all right so for those who are listing I have four months written up on the screen. All right so let's think about how long should we be spending on each of these things. I had actually I dropped the page that had my notes I had to go get that. Okay so let's start with discipline I'll use yellow here on our timeline to mark that so remember in discipline you set up your core and got three keystone habits up and running I'm going to suggest that we just take the first two weeks for this of mark the first two weeks on our calendar just forgetting some keystone habits up and running your core system up and running. All right next comes values I'll use a different color for this so remember you have to reconnect with your moral intuition you have to get a code going you have to get a regular ritual going that reminds you on a regular basis about this moral intuition here we're going to put aside four weeks so on our schedule here we're going from mid September to mid October all right so the next layer here was control I'll use a different color here now we have a multi-scale planning getting going your professional life some sort of household capture and planning system and a stepping back after a little while of doing this and doing some automation and curtailing I think we need four weeks for this as well so I have mid October through mid November marked on here all right because it's going to take a few weeks you might want to spend two weeks on the business one week on the personal life and then give yourself a week after that of learning from the systems and starting to make some decisions and we're left now with the vision piece we're going to do a complete small overhaul of an area of your life and plan out a larger overhaul and I'm going to mark on here the final six weeks so overhauls can take some time so we'll give ourselves six weeks so if we look at this correctly this gets us from September to January moving through all four layers of the deep life stack and doing specific things at every layer by January if you do this it will be a pretty significant reinvention of your life especially if you are starting right now from a place of shallowness by which I mean a life in which you are somewhat unanchored you're being pushed around by digital technology in your life outside of work you're just looking at your phone and are being dragged along emotionally by whatever is being shown on social media is the big thing to be upset about or not or having drool inducing distraction in your professional life it's just email and zoom all day you're generically busy don't even know what it is you're doing there if you're caught in the shallows of the digital the aimless digital you do four months go through the stack once in the way I recommend you're going to feel a lot more freedom you're going to feel more


Future (27:34)

in control you're going to feel more grounded in what matters to you you're going to feel like not only have you overhauled part of your life but that you have the capabilities to keep going and pile remarkably upon remarkably alright so forget new years fall is the time to reinvent and that is my four month plan for reinventing your life by the time we get to twenty twenty four so for yourself will you you've kind of already done this exercise before but will you tweak some things or well what I do is I start this process typically late June right so I time it to my birthday which is late in June because I figure why not get started when this I'm in the middle of summer and it's pretty slow so I'm usually hitting the ground running by the school year and I'm hoping by October to have my overhauls all in place so I start this a little bit earlier to take advantage of how slow the summer is but the point is it's all aimed towards right around the fall is when I'm going to have some some big changes in place so I have a bunch of changes I'm working on right now a lot are in place a lot we're done over the summer the ones that are not done yet I'm hoping by October November they'll be locked in I mean I don't want to be thinking about this stuff in January I want to be rock and rolling in January that's typically the way I see it for some of your small overhauls do you have do this pile up on each other they come to completion and then you had anyone so the way I have it written now for example so if you're to look in my semester plan what you're going to see is the way I've broken this up for the things I still have to do is I have immediate and soon so it'll be okay immediately that means these are things I want to get done and this is broken up in different areas of my life these are things I want to get done as soon as I can and so when I'm building my weekly plan each week as part of multi-scale planning I'm saying okay let me see if there's some of these I can accomplish this week or make a lot of progress on because I'm trying to get through these as quick as possible for some of these areas I have something labeled soon which is don't work on it right now but when you're done with the immediate things for most of these areas here's a big project to think about getting going next and they tend to be the few things I have labeled as soon or a little bit broader a little bit more ambitious and so I want to get the immediate things done as quickly as possible and then plan some of these more ambitious ones so I do have right now that's the way I'm breaking it up is the final soon things I want to get done and then the more ambitious now actually this summer I did it two phases I had a phase of this I did when I was up in New Hampshire for the summer and then I have another phase I'm doing for the next couple of months so I sort of broke up because some things really were relevant to being back here in DC and so I waited for those part of my annual overhaul reinvention I waited until I was back and some things actually being up in New Hampshire and away from DC that was the right time to do them so for those I worked on them on the summer so right now this is what's left in different areas of my life soon combination of habits and one-time things to accomplish I mean immediate I should say habit some one times things to accomplish and then soon projects to do next once those are done as well so for example overhauling the office to make your lab office in our HQ under one of the areas of my plan is a soon so it's like I'm not doing it right now there's a couple more immediate things I'm doing in that area of my life but that'll be the soon so in theory by like October I'll be pretty serious about okay let's I said my weekly plan now I want to make progress on this let's get someone out let's hang the thing we'll do whatever we're going to do so just to make that kind of more concrete another place that's useful is fitness stuff this will often happen because you know September can be busy so it's sometimes I'll do something like right now here's what I'm going to do for six weeks or eight weeks just to make sure that I'm exercising I'm moving I'm outside I'm lifting things but as I get into the rhythm of the semester maybe six to eight weeks from now and I'm used to this then I'm going to upgrade and do a you know two or three months of something more intense so that's another thing you might just that there's an easing into more intense efforts that can happen as well is like let me get used to doing something new in my life on a regular basis so I think about this as being a key part of my life and then I can upgrade it later to now let me get really intense about what that thing is because often making something a regular part of your life that's the really hard step upgrading that once you're committed to it it tends to be not as hard so that's another thing I'll do as well.


Alright so let me give you the lay of the land for the rest of the show I want to move on now and do some questions all of which will orbit more or less around this general topic of reinventing your life the deep life the deep life stack anything about trying to improve major areas of your life to escape the shallows and get more depth I'm going to be a five questions that orbit that theme and then in the final segment I want to do a cover reveal for my new book and tell you a little bit about why I made such a drastic change in how that book cover actually looks so you want to stay tuned for that. First however I want to talk about one of the sponsors that makes this show possible and that is our friends at Cozy Earth bedding so as I mentioned on the show many times my wife and I are massive fans of Cozy Earth's Breezable Temperature Regulating bed sheets this is a brand that made Oprah's favorite things five times in a row we love them we originally got a pair for free when we were considering having Cozy Earth be a sponsor and we liked it so much we went out and bought more pairs so that we wouldn't have to have time without the sheets while we were washing the main pair I will say this is probably one of the things high up on the list of things I missed when we were up in New Hampshire for the summer was our Cozy Earth sheets they really really are comfortable I really do like them now if you don't agree if you try them and don't think you're sleeping cooler and more comfortably they will refund your purchase price plus shipping no questions ask you have a hundred nights to try them out you're not going to return them however because they are super comfortable sheets I mean they're made out of Vscuse which is a substance removed taken from bamboo that gives them incredible comfort but also is very good for not trapping heat so for a limited time you can save up to 40% on Cozy Earth that's not nothing these aren't cheap sheets so this 40% is critical if you go to Cozy Earth dot com that's C O Z Y Earth dot com and enter my promo code deep questions at checkout definitely enter that promo code deep questions at checkout because 40% that's a pretty significant discount so you'll see with the 40% now if you go to Cozy Earth dot com and use the promo code deep questions try the sheets for a hundred nights if you don't sleep cool or send them back for a full refund that's Cozy Earth dot com promo code deep questions also want to talk about our friends at Shopify the commerce platform that is revolutionizing millions of businesses worldwide whether you're a garage entrepreneur or an IPO ready company Shopify is the only team tool you need to start run and grow your business without the struggle Shopify puts you in control of every sales channel so whether you know you're selling really comfortable sheets or I don't know what we would sell Jesse I think I don't know what would people want to buy from us oh we had a coin idea didn't we like Ryan Holiday did with you can buy the minto moray I actually okay so I have an idea will you Shopify to sell this I found a logo a slogan for our coin we're going to sell so Ryan Holiday the stoic popularizer sells a coin that says memento moray mm-hmm remember death so that you'll hold it and remember to sort of live each life to its fullest I have to remember the Latin I learned this from Susan Casey's new book the underworld about deep sea diving and there's a motto that means in depth knowledge so in the deep knowledge and it's something like in I can't remember the word but it's a Latin phrase something like a B so or something Kaguito right it's not exactly that but I figured that's what should be on our coin in depth like so like in the depth in the deep knowledge that'd be really cool a big good coin yeah and then just me on the me on the coin I guess like thumbs up I'm not sure anyways if we were to sell something like that which I'm sure would be very successful we would you Shopify because this is what Shopify does if you have a business and you want a super professional e-commerce setup that's really easy to do you you Shopify you've probably used it all the time you might not even realize it you just think hey I just a lot of things I've bought from people where it's been a really good e-commerce solution I bet 80% of those have been Shopify Shopify customers it really does make it


Implementation Of Multi-Scale Planning And Overcoming Challenges

Dealing with surgery pain and nausea during your morning skate sessions... (36:55)

easy they have an incredibly professional e-commerce experience with your with your audience I mean look Shopify has the Internet's best converting checkout so not only is it very easy to use it will help you convert customers or potential customers to actual buyers we're gonna need that Jesse if we're gonna convince people to buy our coin mm-hmm but I think people will if we use Shopify so sign up for a one dollar per month trial period at Shopify.com/deep keep in mind that's all lowercase deep lowercase so go to Shopify.com/deep to take your business to the next level today at Shopify.com/deep all right well while we daydream about selling our incredibly lucrative coin we do some questions so who do we got first Jesse?


Is it hard to implement Multi-Scale Planning all at once? (37:31)

Hi first question from multi-scale planning amateur is it hard to implement multi-scale planning all at once is there a step-by-step plan similar to the deep life stack for gradually implementing this system? Well a timely question since we talked about multi-scale planning in the deep dive earlier in this episode as I often do because my systems are way too complicated I have to start by critiquing our terminology here multi-scale planning is not a separate entity from the deep life or the deep life stack it's actually something that you are likely to implement as part of the control layer of the deep life stack so it's actually a little bit recursive so we can't say use a deep life stack approach to implement multi-scale planning because actually the deep life stack approach might include implementing multi-scale planning this is all to say my systems are too complicated but let's get to the meat of this so multi-scale planning we talked about earlier quick reminder you have three different time scales at which you plan season week day you update the season every season you update the week every week looking at the season when you do so you update the day every day looking at the week when you do so so everything gets connected back. Use there a way to break this up to ease your way into this type of planning one way to do this I suppose is start with daily time block planning that's the hardest discipline of all this is because it's not only you do it every day but it is how you run your work day so it's the biggest change you're going to see in your day to day experience of your work from the whole multi-scale planning philosophy is going to be doing that daily time block planning there's no way to break that up you just need to do it now if you want to help convince yourself I'm a daily time block planner I'm really even this I try that's why you know I do sell that planner because it really helps people signal to themselves I'm doing this I spent twenty something dollars on this at least I'm going to try this for a while so if you need a kick you can look at time block planning dot com and find that planner time block planner dot com probably or do it in a notebook or however you want to do it but just get going with daily time


What is Multi-Scale Planning? (39:47)

block planning after you've done that for a week or two and you've sort of get the feel of it you're seeing the benefits then you can add in the weekly seasonal planning and I'm going to tell you though that's going to be easy because the time footprint of weekly seasonal planning is small it's not that hard to do weekly planning takes 30 minutes seasonal planning you're doing what three times a year so it's not going to be hard to add that the hard part is the daily time block planning so you can either just jump right in and do all three or daily time block plan for a week or two before adding in the other two elements but don't be don't be intimidated by multi-scale planning it's not something that's going to require you to spend hours fiddling with systems it's streamlined and you are going to as an addictive quality to it it's very hard to go back from time block planning once you're used to it because a non-time block day then feels chaotic and stressful so it has this chemical self reinforcement and then once you're doing time block planning it feels good to have the weekly plan and once you're weekly planning it


Occasional unstructured work sessions (41:15)

has good to look at the the seasonal plan so I would say just get started start with time block planning add the other elements soon all right what do we got next james all right i just about to call you jamey it's all good who do i have in mind jamey that's rogan's producer that's right just that his name yeah oh okay yeah uh next questions from philip i find that occasional unstructured work sessions create a sense of play that help drive my creativity in my case one night a week i'll typically go through my code and make small tweaks like code formatting or do experimental work such as trying to color schemes the result is that i end up more focused on my deep work sessions because i know that i have separate time when my mind wandering is allowed is this something that fits into your deep life framework i think it's a really good idea does it fit into the deep life framework well everything kind of does right so again i guess i would place this as something you might experiment with in the control layer of your deep life stack because that's where you really put in place the systems that help you take control over what's on your plate and keep things reasonable but let's really look at this strategy because i like it i like this idea of having non deep or non-intense sessions for your deep work style of work that complement the more intense deep work sessions so philip is a programmer so he talks about he has programming time where he's not really writing code but just doing all the other stuff that a programmer might fiddle with when working on code so formatting things and changing configurations and their editors and then he has completely separate sessions where i'm actually trying to do the intense cognitive thing of writing code so i don't know if i would use the terminology unstructured or structured maybe i would do preparatory and focused that's maybe a better way of thinking about it but i think it's a really good idea because as we know there is a cost to cognitive context shifts and even within a given activity just that shift from wandering fiddling mode to i'm serious about what i'm doing mode can be really significant and we see this with a lot of work if you're a writer this is really easy you can fall into internet research mode and it's very hard to get back into crafting sentences mode you can get into trying to get a formatting thing proper for the article you're writing like why is this block quote not quite right and it's hard to get back into the uh that's crafting mode certainly we see this in brainstorming let's say your brainstorming a product or business strategy as soon as you're looking at the features on the fancy smart whiteboard that you're using you lose that threat of momentum of trying to think big thoughts that's because really hard-focused thinking gets your entire mind oriented around this one thing you're doing and you're holding the relevant variables and information and you're working memory and using those to try to move forward down the the path of critical intense cognition as soon as you start messing with that context and putting other stuff into those working memory working memory variables once you start loading up other context in your brain you lose that thread the proverbial man falls off of the high wire so i think this is a really cool idea and so we're going to make this suggestion systematic what is philip actually suggesting here for intense deep work have unrelated sessions not touching the deep work session for preparation and fiddly so if you're a programmer have a session where you're looking at your code and formatting things and reminding yourself of like where you're going to write and where you need to write the new section of code uh if you're a writer you have everything set up it's like a good time to get your research in order you could have a session where you find okay what are all the articles i'm going to need the site for these next few paragraphs i'm going to write for this


Following ones passion (45:01)

magazine article let me go get those and put them nicely into the system and pull out the quotes and then you're done with that and you're done with that and then later you sit down the right code and that's all you do later you sit down to write the paragraphs of that magazine article and everything's there and that's all you do i think that's a really good strategy when it comes to particularly intense deep work so i like that unstructured preparatory deep life all right cool so now we got a question from james maybe that's what i saw Jesse when i called you jamey yeah called james on the next page all right next questions from james when i started college i had a clear major in mind but quickly changed to another subject that i find more interesting but but i'm constantly thinking about what else i could do more recently i'm thinking about getting into a completely different field i did dream about it frequently and often find the possibility very exciting i'm worried i'm going to fall in a pattern of forever quitting well james i can say there's all sorts of alarm bells that are going off right now as i read your question you my friend are deeply tangled into what we call the passion mindset all right this terminology is from my 2012 book so good they can't ignore you which was basically a book all about this issue that you're facing right now in fact the motivation for that book was dealing with college students switching their majors all the time so we're really in the territory that i spent a lot of time thinking about so what is this passion mindset it's the mindset that says you should focus a lot on what the current thing you're doing whether it is an academic major as a student or a job as a non-student you should focus on what the current thing you're doing offers you and you should be really worried is it offering me enough or something else going to offer me even more so am i loving this major or with that major i'm going to that's them really going to enjoy that more is this job really letting me it's a giving me the things i really love the work on or what another job have a different setup where i would get even more excitement out of it or even more fulfillment out of it so it's constantly thinking me me me what's being offered what could offer me more this is a very dangerous mindset especially when it comes to your professional life so beginning with the majors you choose and then with the jobs you choose after that and it's dangerous for exactly the reason that you are experiencing in your own life because the answer to what is this offering me is always less than something else could be and so if you're a student you're going to start changing your major why did you why are you changing your major because what happens is as you move through your major the courses get harder harder courses are less fun and then your mind says this must not be my passion let's switch and guess what the new major is going to get hard too and you say well this is not really my passion but maybe this one is same thing will happen in your job i don't really love this and i'm showing a lot of time doing this which is not my favorite i really want to have more autonomy i'm going to quit let me try this one well this is not quite it yet either but that job that job is going to be the key it's constant anxiety that you are not doing the right thing which leads to constant quitting and shifting which has all sorts of negative consequences what you need to do instead james is lifestyle centric career planning we talk about this all the time but you fix a clear vision of what you want your life to be like five or ten years from now this is a vision that captures all aspects of your life and it is visceral what does it feel like where are you what do you see what do you hear what's the rhythm of your day to day life it's not just work but what's happening in your life outside of work what when you see in a magazine or a documentary or a book has resonated with you oh i want that in my life i want that in my life you want this really clear vision of the aspects of your ideal lifestyle five to ten years from now and then you work backwards from that and say how do i move my life in that direction when you're doing lifestyle centric career planning you're freed from the pressure of all that matters is what i choose to do professionally that is the sole arbiter of how happy i feel how fulfilled i feel in my life your work instead becomes instrumental it's one of the levers you have to pull to move yourself closer to your ideal lifestyle and once you start seeing your major and in the work that your major enables through this lens you become less worried about is this the right thing for me because what is the right thing for you now it is something i can leverage to get closer to my ideal lifestyle not is it perfect not is it my passion so now you can apply the alternative to the passion mindset to your work which is what in my book i call the craftsman mindset so if the passion mindset says what is this job offer me the craftsman mindset says instead what can i offer this job and it turns your focus towards how do i get better how do i get more invaluable how do i make myself indispensable how do i build up what i call in my book career capital the metaphorical substance you acquire is you become better and better at things that are rare and valuable because that is your leverage to shape your life that is your leverage to shape your work towards the things that resonate in a way from things that don't that's the thing that allows you to shape your work towards what's going to get you closer to your ideal lifestyle what can i offer my job what can i offer my professors in my classes how can i stand out how can i be the best in this class that is the route to building a fulfilling life now it's really hard right because you have to put your head down


The choosing process. (50:24)

and do really good work and build up career capital then have the courage to leverage that capital and not just follow the expected path that that career path has you have to have clarity and vision about what you want your life to be like but it frees you from the high stakes decision of one choice what i do for my major why do for my work it frees you from that one choice somehow being all important once you have a vision for your ideal lifestyle there are any number any number of different professional paths you could use as the foundation for building yourself closer to that goal the choice doesn't matter that much what happens is what you do once you actually have that work now one thing i might suggest if this is troublesome to you right because you're young when you're young you haven't lived that long as adult yet so every year feels like a big portion of your life if you're having a hard time with this idea of i just took this major this major is going to lead to this job it's going to take me a couple years to build up some career capital here if that feels stultifying to you you can be focusing during this period of heads down craftsman mindset in your job you can be putting a lot of attention to the other parts of your life as well and turning those towards the remarkable you know maybe you're you're hiking all of the high peaks in the white mountains or you're training for some sort of athletic event or you get really into movies or building up some sort of community center you can find other aspects of your life that you can push towards the remarkable much quicker while going through that slow i'm 23 and just building up my reputation and skills phase of your professional life but the key here is to be working backwards from a vision and applying a craftsman mindset to get yourself forward towards that goal and you got to escape this passion mindset the grass will always seem greener but the thing is if you keep hopping fences to the next field you never have time to actually enjoy the ground that's right there under your feet i actually did some events Jesse up at a Dartmouth this summer on so good they can't ignore you there's been a while since i really got


Are Five year plans working? (52:30)

into that career mode but there's a couple events i did where that's what they wanted to talk about there's a lot of people and one grad student there had this great old copy of so good they can ignore you where the cover had faded so much that you could barely see the words on it that's great i signed it i was like yeah that's it and he still was like look i've been using this for the last decade to shape my life did you have to read the book again to remember all the key ideas i remember it i even didn't event on one of my student books those are getting pretty old now now we're talking 2005 2006 yeah i remembered though i was going to say that would count for one of your uh four five books a month yeah yeah how to win at college yeah it's going to count one of my five books oh i can't go back reread my own books all right let's um let's see a couple more what else we got here next question is from agent three zero i graduated with an ma about five years ago but despite some good interviews i haven't been able to land a job in my field and i've therefore spent the last five years consistently under employed since discovering the ideas associated with a deep life i've been trying to pursue my goals in a more disciplined way focusing on methodically progress progressing and skill building however i feel like my mind doesn't fully trust the approach based on slow productivity because in the back of my mind i feel like it's going to come too little too late well okay i'm worried here as well because i'm seeing hints of the same passion mindset that we were talking about with the last question so i looked at the extended version of your question what i learned from it is this last five years where you've been trying to methodically progress and skill build you have been pursuing those five years what you've been methodically building towards is this idea of some sort of ideal job that matches your academic training and you have this vague idea that i have this arts degree i should be you know in some sort of arts job because that's why i got this degree and i don't want to go to waste what i'm going to say is that's not working there isn't a easily accessible ideal job for you you spend five years trying to do it so the slow productivity approach here is not be slow in terms of trying to find work the slow productivity approach that's a mindset that says when you're working on specific accomplishments be okay with that taking time make steady progress on it work at a natural pace try to make it really good but when it comes to finding a job you need a job now i think lifestyle such a career plan is going to help you here remove the concern about just finding a job that works because what you really need here is something that is going to reward career capital if and when you build it with autonomy and opportunities there are many different jobs you have a master's degree so you're just generally an educated person there's many different jobs you can likely find that will offer you those attributes they might not have any connection to the specific art topic you studied but there's something that you can use as a foundation towards building towards your ideal lifestyle so i would say right away blank slate five-year lifestyle what are all the aspects nail that down next figure out okay of jobs that are actually accessible to me now which is going to be the best foundation on which to build towards this ideal lifestyle keep in mind it might have nothing to do with your degree and then you need to get into that job it's going to take you one or two years probably of heads down craftsman mindset career capital acquisition skill building this is where you put in this energy not trying to find a job not trying to make yourself generally useful to the job market it's once you have a job once you actually have a job that is going to reward you becoming so good you can ignore you with more autonomy and opportunities that's where you put your head down because you can very specifically be building the exact skills that that job will specifically you have evidence for reward so we got to leave the passion mindset of like if i just keep working on my skills and trying i'll find this perfect job and get a job and then kill that job and when i say kill it i mean kill it at that job do really well and use that as leverage to get towards an ideal lifestyle so you really should have a five-year plan here with the next two years in your professional life are becoming undeniably great at something that you do not sweating what that thing is and again like i talked to you with the last person in the last question you can outlet some of this deep life energy towards other aspects of your life relevant to your vision of the ideal lifestyle parts of your life have nothing to do with your work focus on those as well so you don't feel like you're just confining your world to just be being very reliable and good and learning the specific skills that a particular company needs you can work on these other aspects of your life as well but you need a job you need a job before slow productivity matters you need a job before becoming so good you can ignore you make sense because there's got to be someone who's paying attention there's got to be someone that is looking at and cares about how well you're actually doing so find a good enough job and start


Dealing with depression (57:33)

moving today towards your five-year vision of a more ideal lifestyle all right let's do one more question Jesse i think we have time yep next questions from a new what advice would you give to people with depression so they can realistically reach their goals for a deep life well i knew it's a good question i've talked to multiple people about this not on the show but but over email the first caveat of course is this is not my area of expertise so whatever advice i give here's not going to apply to everyone so take that take everything i'm saying with a grain of salt all right first thing first before you get into any specifics about the deep life or how you want to go through a reinvention of your life if you're dealing with depression symptoms you want professional help for it depressive symptoms are often the result of disordered thinking disordered thinking about yourself and your life ruminations that happen with an intensity and anxious ferocity that they're not easily tamed ruminations that have become so draining and anxiety producing that they ultimately begin to short circuit the the circuits of your brain that give you excitement or hope or energy so they put in their place they sort of severe a hedonic stupor this is really a difficult thing to deal with just on your own therapy helps you fix this let's start reordering your thinking let's start moving the ruminative pathways out of their deep grooves so that we can begin to rebuild some of these other circuits that allow for other types of um more hedonic subjective experience so you need professional help with that and you want to get that help as the foundation for anything else all right so let's put that let's assume that you're doing that what i've heard from other people who deal with various uh mental health issues of this type is that the deep life the way we talk about it here on this show um is actually pretty useful it's actually pretty useful because the way we talk about the deep life on the show is very structured and process-based and what's difficult if you're coming from a place of depression or just from a hard time is if you have a definition of success if your definition of what you're trying to do is based on either a really positive subjective feeling like i just want to feel great or very concrete accomplishments you know like i just want to be the best and win and get the best job and have all the money and and i'm just going to feel good every time i have that accomplishment that's a really bad yardstick especially if you're dealing with something like depression because you're not going to feel good or you will sometimes was often out of your control and if that's the goal you're looking for then it's just going to create more rumination well why don't i feel good and if you need very particular types of really intense professional accomplishments well that's really hard too because those are hard to get and actually if you're depressed they can be even harder to get because it's you know the the amount of just i'm willing to just do 15 hours a day becomes really difficult when you have anything else difficult going on in your mind so then you're going to be self-accriminating and that'll make it worse the deep life structure by contest is not not about a specific feeling or a particular accomplishment it's about intention let's build up some regular discipline in our life in a tractable way once we have this regular discipline our life let's get in touch with what really matters to us and have a code by which we live through good times and bad so even just at that layer of the deep life stack this already is a big deal for a lot of people who are adrift in the shallows and also dealing with mental health issues is having a code that you believe in that is grounded in your moral intuitions that says this is what we do even when times are bad and we can have pride in that it's incredibly powerful as opposed to why don't i just feel good all right then as we move up the stack well you get to something like control i just have control over what's on my plate so i don't feel disorganized and anxious that's useful more importantly the automation and curtailing aspects of control allows you to say you know what this is a hard time coming and people i know uh who are dealing with depression often talk about waves that you feel it coming on and then there could be an extended period that you didn't leave from if you have the control stack in place when you feel a wave coming on this is going to be a hard winter you have the levers to pull to pull back from things in a way that's going to make things more tractable okay i need to catheter may wintering mode here let me pull back pull best back stop doing this you have that control allows you to pull back in a systematic way very useful when you have up and down mental states and then finally get to that plan for the remarkable just building things in your life that are remarkable regardless of how you feel it gives you a sense of efficacy gives you a sense of autonomy and adds really interesting uh self-initiated persistent sources of value into your life that themselves are like a beacon that shines bright admits the dark fog which is a depressive syndrome so i think all aspects of the deep life stack can be really useful to work through even if depression is an issue it'll take longer maybe than someone that's you know all at or all then focused and high energy and whatever sure who cares takes the time it takes and you have to take breaks from it and come back to it fine do that i don't care but you're slowly building these stacks and then working


MBT (01:03:15)

your way through them again and again i actually think it's quite compatible it's quite compatible with a systematic response to these all too common types of mental mental health issues so new keep with it take your time but keep with it i think you are going to find it beneficial in combination with professional health all right so what i want to do next that's a good uh good place to end it on the questions in the final segment today i want to do a cover reveal for my new book slow productivity before we get to that though i want to talk about another sponsor that makes this show possible it's our friends at my body tutor i've known adam gilbert my body tutors founder for many years he used to be the fitness advice guy for the study hacks blog and he's had this company for a long time it has been very successful for the obvious reason that it makes a lot of sense my body tutor is a 100% online coaching program that solves the biggest problem in health and fitness which is lack of consistency so when you sign up with my body tutor you're assigned a coach this coach is going to help you build a custom plan here's the exercises you're going to do like what equipment you have what's your schedule like great here's how you're here's the exercise you're going to do what you're trying to do with uh with your food and that type of health well here's what we're going to suggest this type of eating avoid this do this don't snack here eat here a customized plan and then you check in with this coach every single day now what makes this affordable is that you're doing this online you don't have to have a trainer come to the house you don't have to have a nutritionist come to the house so you get all of the consistency benefits that a you know hollywood star would get when they bring in a whole team to help them get prepared for a role you can do this with the online coach that's assigned to you through my body tutor it solves the problem of consistency because you have someone you're checking in with daily who cares about what you are doing and how it's going and helping you make sure that what you're doing is going to be successful adam and his coaches at my body tutor are the best in the world at delivering highly personal accountability and coaching so if you're serious about getting fit adam is giving deep question listeners fifty dollars off the first month all you have to do is mention the deep questions podcast when you join just go to my body tutor dot com t-u-t-o-r mention deep questions when you sign up to get that fifty dollars off speaking about what's important to you in your life i also want to mention our good friends at policy genius so


Policy Genius (01:05:23)

if there's people in your life who depend on you love wants who depend on you you know you need a sufficient amount of life insurance so the question is why don't you have that life insurance if you know you need it and the answer almost certainly is because you don't know how to do it it's sitting there on your task list as this big ambiguous time bomb of complexity that you don't want to spring so let me make that much simpler for you use policy genius policy genius knows how valuable your time is that's why their technology makes it easy to compare life insurance quotes from america's top insurers in just a few clicks with policy genius you can find life insurance policies that start at just 25 dollars per month for a million dollars of coverage some options offer you coverage in as little as a week and avoid unnecessary medical exams they simplify the process of getting life insurance so you can protect the people you love so you have that on your list somewhere get more life insurance i will tell you how to do it policy genius calm minutes few clicks you're good so your loved ones deserve a financial safety net you


Announcing Steve HOsnew Book (01:06:52)

deserve a smarter way to find and buy it head to policy genius dot com or click the link in the description to get your free life insurance quotes and see how much you could save that's policy genius dot com all right jesse i want to talk briefly about my upcoming book the title is slow productivity the subtitle is the lost art of accomplishment without burnout it comes out in march i wanted to talk about the cover i put this in my email newsletter but we haven't talked about it yet on the show so i'm going to load up on the screen for those who are watching and again if you're listening go to the deep life dot com slash listen this is episode 263 you'll link to the video below all right so i've loaded on the screen here the cover of my new book so what you'll see if you're listening is this is not like the covers of my past books if you think about deep work if you think about a world without email that the two other books i've written about the world of work it's big fonts on a sort of solid color background because those are books aimed at the world of business like we're going to look at ways that technology has uh broken the world of business and what you should how you rethink business to get around these shortcomings this book what we see is a mountain range and a wooded a pine forest with a path going through it leading this way up to a cliffside cabin overlooking a scenic mountain range so a very different look have i showed you this yet Jesse had you seen this one yeah i saw because you mentioned it and then i went and checked it out yeah so what's going on here why why why this is a um it's more aspirational a more human cover i thought i'd talk a little bit about it um i see this book slow productivity as being a part of a more general movement in the book world right now to reimagine productivity reimagine productivity and move it towards what i call humanistic productivity so there's a genre of uh thinking and books that have emerged on what i call humanistic productivity now what does humanistic productivity mean well first of all it says what do we what's the definition the general definition of productivity it's the the general arrangement of effort the general arrangement of your efforts with some intention in mind so productivity in as most general senses i do stuff all day let me have some way of organizing these efforts towards some sort of intentional goal now humanistic productivity believes uh if you don't do any such thinking you don't end up someplace good you don't end up relaxed you're going to be uh you're going to be prone to two major sources of negative well-being the first is in the professionals in the professional sphere reactive busyness so if you say i just say man i don't do productivity you are going to get uh swallowed into a whirlpool of reactive busyness oh my god everyone is email me all the time and the faster i answer the more they come out and there's all these zoom meetings in my god everything is crazy you're not relaxed you get supercharged busyness and in your life outside of work again if you're like i just man i'm just chill you're very prone to get swallowed in a whirlpool of supercharged distraction and next thing you know uh you know you're up to 3 a.m yelling at white supremacist on twitter while building your underground bunker because of catastrophe seven through eleven that's going to hit and destroy the earth in the next three weeks so just saying i don't think about this stuff man it's going to make you vulnerable to so many negative things so you need some sort of notion of productivity here's how i arrange my efforts with some intention in mind but what humanistic productivity recognizes is that we can't leave this decision to the 2005 version of merlin man right we can't leave this decision to the people online who spend all day trying to build their hyper optimized system so that you can have algorithmic support for generating your you know taskless optimization synced zettle caston whatever complexity because that's just exhausting and it's turning humans into widget grinders so the sweet spot in productivity thinking is saying how do i intentionally organize my efforts in a way that the entire goal is to support my humanity to support a richer fuller human life that's humanistic productivity grounding productivity thinking in the pursuit of a richer sustainable fuller human life so there's a lot of books in the genre i think we could go back i'll list a couple that i think all belong to this humanistic productivity genre i think tim ferris is the for our work week as an early example of the genre perhaps he was coming in and said let's completely rethink work let's completely rethink work as this huge uh means to an end the in-bean all these other things that make a good life good and if we can be very clever about how you set up your work and how you automate it let's just reduce the footprint and just make it this this uh money engine that produces just enough proverbial horsepower that you can study tango in bueno seras i think gregory mccuen's essentialism is another book in this category it's about how do you sort of intentionally and aggressively take stuff off your plate so it understands that at the core of any humanistic productivity philosophy is avoiding overload you have ginio del's how to do nothing and celeste handlies do nothing i think both those books are also really in this space they're they're um you know jenny is embracing a notion of uh productivity in which you are moving away from activity that you are purposely resisting a push towards activity as a way of reconnecting with values that aren't based off of action do nothing i think is a little bit more celeste books a little bit more approachable a little bit less academic but again about reorienting a productive life away from quantity of activity quantity of accomplishments i think all of reberghman's book four thousand weeks is another great example of the chonra it's a definition of productivity that's based on being completely fine with the fact that you can't do most things so why squeeze in you know a few more things most things you can't do anyway so what's the point of overloading yourself you're still not doing most things so why not just accept that and and be happy with the things you are doing and the opportunities you do have slow productivity my new book is sort of in that same genre those are more humanistic approach to productivity so it's slow productivity i don't want to get the details now we've got plenty of time for that as we get closer to the book and also i talk about it all the time on the show but the cover looks like the way it looks because this is a book about


Why This Book? (01:13:27)

refinding your humanity in a world where the definitions of productivity that dominate in the world of work in particular are based on this inhuman unstoppered busyness this more is better than less it's up to you to decide how much work you do but more is better than less you go make these decisions every day and it's this exhausted self-recriminating sort of terrible way to organize work this is a more humanistic alternative that's why i say the lost art of accomplishment without burnout how do we do things we're proud of without having to be completely burnt out and overloaded so anyways to indicate this is not just a business book here's what's another way that tech is uh um corrupting the world of work and and how to sidestep that to avoid the negative impacts it's also a book about refining your humanity and it's within that tradition and so i think this cover i think captures more of that feel that's what i'm trying to capture here not to say there's no technology in this book look i'm a cs professor at a famously liberal arts humanistic university so most of my work one way or the other is about ways tech is having these impacts and how we refine our humanity and yes at the core of this book there's the story early on is the way that technology subverted these creaky definitions of productivity we had in office work and technology blew them up and that's why everyone's burning out so there's technologies at the core of the problem here but the solution is very human and it's a book about refining what matters to you in your life and so i think that cover you know captures that more so than just slow productivity huge text on a a clean background so there you go i'm excited about this one


Conclusion

Could We Have Put Steve On Yet Hes Too Attractive (01:15:20)

you'll obviously hear more about it in the spring as we get closer but the cover's out there now it's on amazon it's pre-orderable so i figured we would have a quick discussion just in my when i was deciding on what this book cover was either this cover which is uh you know the scenic view and the nice fonts the the other cover i i had in mind was i wonder where uh kind of like a fun vest you know like a 1980 stand-up comedian like a paul of pound stone vest and it would be me on the cover so my arms crossed like leaning back and kind of giving a giving a coy look giving a coy look at the uh at the camera or maybe like uh saying like it's holding my chin just looking at the camera maybe like a quirky hat yeah the other thing i was thinking like a a bowler hat yeah the the pipe from your uh french accent guy character type i was definitely thinking like loud vest fun hat pipe in a sort of silly or like you know maybe you have my arms on my hips and sort of cocky my hips a little bit like mmm so those are the choices so i thought it was that uh the third choice was me in a turtle costume just slow you know so it's like let's be on the nose here so it's gonna be me in a turtle costume on all fours um holding a day planner so that was like the more the on the nose option so it's me in a turtle outfit holding a day planner option three option two me in a loud vest and a funny hat and a pipe in a sort of a quirky position and then option one which we went within the end was this sort of um aspirational humanistic natural uh natural softer color color so you know it's a hard choice but hopefully we made the right one yeah hopefully all right well enough of that enough of that nonsense um thanks for listening hey i should say if this is your first time listening please subscribe so you can get the episode every week it also helps us out if you're not a first-time listener leave a review because you'll help convince other people to become first-time listeners so we do appreciate that back next week in the studio me and jesse yay enough of this remote stuff we'll be back of the studio yet again next week for another episode of the podcast and until then as always stay deep so if you like today's discussion of reinventing your life with the deep life stack then i recommend this episode episode 256 where i do a deep dive on why discipline is the first thing we look at when doing such a reinvention why does cultivating the deep life start with


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