Category: Productivity

Bullets, Pages

Though you don’t hear about it much from new-fangled growth hackers, the old-school ad-men I know often discuss the concept of ‘effective frequency’: the number of times a person needs to be exposed to a marketing message before they respond. The idea is a long-standing one, dating back at least to 1885, in Thomas Smith’s

Continue Reading…

Pausing Gmail

Don’t check email in the morning. Only check email twice a day. Turn off all of email notifications. That’s increasingly standard productivity advice these days, and for good reason. We’re at our most productive when we proactively choose the things on which to focus. But email is entirely reactive – it hands control of our

Continue Reading…

Never Miss Twice

As I’ve written about previously, much of fitness (and of life as a whole) comes down to building good habits. But building new habits is tough. So I spend a lot of time thinking about and experimenting with hacks and techniques that might more reliably make new habits stick. One technique that gets a lot

Continue Reading…


Here’s something I’ve been playing with lately: blocking my days into three big chunks. I have a Focus chunk from 6am to 12pm, a Buffer chunk from 12pm to 6pm, and then a Free chunk from 6pm to 11pm. When I wake up, often while I’m still in bed, I immediately start working on my

Continue Reading…


There may be nothing new under the sun (which is, itself, an observation from Ecclesiastes 1:9), but I’m still sometimes surprised by how modern a lot of ancient wisdom reads. Consider this bit, from Epectitus’ The Art of Living, which could have been pulled from any of today’s bestselling self-help tomes: “It’s time to stop

Continue Reading…

Keep Principles Principal

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


For years, I’ve been a fan of British productivity guru Mark Forster, sort of the UK equivalent of David Allen. Unlike Allen, who’s pedantically determined to prove that his Getting Things Done system is The One True Way, Forster instead tends to play around with a variety of systems, tools and approaches, always searching out

Continue Reading…

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

As I mentioned in a prior post, I’ve been thinking a lot of late about Cal Newport’s excellent new book, Deep Work.  In it, Cal argues for the power of being able to focus hard on a single difficult task for an extended period of time. Cal proposes a slew of ideas to help push towards that

Continue Reading…

Entrepreneurial Time Management, Redux

About six months ago, I wrote about Dan Sullivan’s Entrepreneurial Time Management System. Since then, I’ve drifted away from the approach a handful of times. And, each time, like noticing attention drifting away from the breath while meditating and then refocusing on it, I’ve noted a drop in my work output, switched back to Sullivan’s

Continue Reading…


For as long as I can remember, and across pretty much all of my thinking and writing tasks, I’ve been torn between using computers and using pen & paper. By now, I keep my to-do list online (still in ToDoist), though I print it out each morning (from my trusty, highly-recommendable and cheap Brother HL-L2340DW),

Continue Reading…