First off - you both rock! Thanks for doing this AMA, and for everything else you do for the community.
From my vantage point, you've accomplished a lot in a relatively short amount of time at Binomial. Stephanie at least has been vocal about maintaining good work / life balance.
Obviously you have quite a bit of natural talent. Can you share any other insights into how you stay so productive? On a related note, how do you get 'in the zone' and focus around distractions like Twitter, email and news?
Thanks Jeff. I had to change my life radically to stay productive. I focused my knack for optimization to my body and my life. I had to, having fallen extremely ill from a GI illness and almost dying in mid 2015. 2016 was my year of recovery, where I had to basically reboot my life. I moved to Seattle (U District) which was one of the best things I ever did. Living in Seattle was amazingly healing.
This experience changed me in ways I'm still figuring out. I learned that I don't need caffeine to have energy. Things like going to sleep at the same time every night, waking up and immediately going outside to see natural sunlight, eating at consistent times to minimize stress on my body, changing to a Paleo diet, gettng lots of exercise 3-4 times a week, and home made probiotic yogurt all helped massively. I also read a lot of books about things like amino acids, herbal medicine, etc.
Also, it helps to have a "mission" in life. I am completely focused on pushing our product (Basis) forward.
Hey Rich - I wasn’t aware of that, and glad to hear you were able to get things back on track!
That’s interesting especially to hear about Seattle being of such a big help. I have some health issues exasperated by the cold, and finally moved from the Midwest to Texas in part for that reason. So far, it hasn’t yielded as big an improvement as I’d hoped. I have tried periodically over the years to make other changes, and your story gives me a bit of a jolt to get at that again.
Thanks again for the advice!
For me, a lot of it is around staying healthy-- mentally and physically.
Are you eating well and sleeping a lot every night? Are you healthy? Are you getting checkups regularly and not in pain? Paying attention to your health is the first step. You aren't going to be at your best if your body is hurting unnecessarily. Your brain is not disconnected from your body!
Mental health is also important. Only working 4 hours or so a day, and spending the rest of the day with loved ones, resting, being social online, all those other activities-- that's where I'm at my most productive. My brain just doesn't want to focus on something all day, it's healthy for it to relax a bit and then have a burst of focus and thinking of work. I find that I solve a lot of problems while I'm resting. Taking a little nap in a day often results in me waking up and thinking, "Oh, that's the solution I was looking for!"
Especially in owning this business, just churning out busy work isn't helpful. I have to stay positive and creative and focused. Staying healthy and resting a lot, both in brain and body, is so important!
I also find that doing other activities other than our compression work is important for my mental health. I have all kinds of things I want to do and hobbies-- focusing on different things, while making sure to rest a lot, can be really important for productivity.
I write my 10-year life goals down in a little notepad document, and look at them every now and then. Life goals, not career-focused necessarily. I think about how each of my tasks gets me to one of those goals, and it makes me happy and makes me want to work toward it.
Current list, for example:
-- Keep being successful in my business ($$ and freedom)
-- Travel occasionally to beautiful places
-- Cultivate fulfilling hobbies that are just for fun/joy/beauty
-- Try out a few places to live, find one to stay in
-- Be very involved in the community: get involved in local politics, know my neighbors, have good friends locally
-- Get married & start a family
-- Give back in a big way, do organizing work
Obviously that first bullet point has a lot of smaller bullet points needed to achieve it, but that's the high level goal. I then think about specific tasks needed to get there, and actionable plans and timelines.
If something isn't in line with one of my goals at all in any way, and I can't find a way to update the list to make it true, it's probably not worth doing. Thinking like this is motivating to me.
Thanks - this is incredibly helpful! I attempted some of this when I was independent, but it sounds like I should have been a bit more disciplined. The health part is especially important for me.
The challenge for me now is implementing some of these ideas while working as an employee. Four hour days are not on the table, and some of the others are also difficult. I’m starting some place new soon, and will give more thought on how I can set myself up to succeed on more than a personal / career level. I may hit you up for advice, if you don’t mind!
For what it's worth, I know a lot of full time folks who only really work 4 hours/day. The other 4 hours are spent in meetings, talking to coworkers, browsing the web, learning new things, resting the brain but in the office so they "look productive." So I wouldn't feel the need to be productive 8 hours every day.
I wish you the best with taking care of your health! So important indeed.
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