Forced To Observe

I always used to turn off the hourly time signal on my digital casio. Frequently, and frustratingly, in the process of setting my morning alarm, I would by mistake turn on the hourly alarm.

Yesterday it went off, notifying me that a new hour had begun. For some reason, this time it struck me differently. A new hour has begun.

What a relief. I can start over. 2pm doesn't have to include the same procrastination, confusion, and pleasure-seeking that had consumed 3pm.

Not only this, I know there will be another beep in an hour. I know there will be several beeps in the day.

Hell, I can spend this entire beep planning what I'll do for the next beep. Which is actually a great idea. A requirement in fact. If an hour is lost, rather than assuming I'll snap out of it, spring back, and make up for those 60 minutes, I spend the next 60 planning:

What led to me wasting that hour? How can I prevent it from happening again? What do I plan to do in the next hour? I should clearly lay out what needs to be done.

Granted, this isn't a fix-all. I anticipate eventually becoming desensitized to the beeps. Nevertheless, it's something to try. Another routine to cycle through until I start getting diminishing returns or until I get comfortable and lax with it.



No one did it alone. Nike wouldn't have been successful if he didn't have his old coach Bowerman, or the banks to loan money, or his old college friend Johnson to be his salesman. The idea of a mad scientist figuring it all out alone in a lab is dead.


I read The One Thing a few years ago but this podcast provided clarifying context on how to use the questions. I'll definitely be revisiting the book.

Agreements vs. Disagreements

“Agreements” are only referenced when there's a disagreement. So it's best to frame it as a “disagreement” and understand you will refer to it if there is a dispute amongst the parties.

The Focusing Question

This is the question to ask oneself to make sure we're appropriately using our time. “What's the one thing I can do at work that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

I was relieved to hear that Gary Keller relied on this question with his mother, who could be difficult at times as every conversation with her would turn into gossip and negative talk about family. He asked “What's the one thing I can do with my mother that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?” The answer for him was to play dominoes with his mom, so there would be much less negative talk. I found this personally helpful.

Before Noon

Get the important things done before noon. Do not risk waiting until later.

#productivity #whatilearned

I've noticed that I tend to be very judgemental of others. For stupid reasons too. Mostly on how people dress or look. 

Older people seem to have different facial expressions than the young. More instances of furrowed brows and pursed lips are on aged faces. As if they’re constantly looking into the sun, scrunching to not let so much light in. I guess this occurs as we get older. 

The young are quite literally wide-eyed. They have yet to impose their opinion on the world and receive it a bit more openly.

I’ve been more aware of my resting facial expression and making sure it’s more open and neutral.

Upon death, your children and your children's children will remember your name. And possibly their children after that. But slowly and certainly, a name fades. Then at some point, in a passing sentence, possibly through a mouth full of rice, it will be uttered one final round.

Forget your name and its reach. Simply be the best name for yourself and those in immediate reach. 

Most whip themselves to get the best performance, like a cattle farmer managing swine. And when mistakes are made, we rely on insult and self-depreciation as a tool. 

Instead, we should approach ourselves with questions: What led to this mistake you made? What led you to willfully do wrong?

Question oneself like a witness to a crime. Like a person recovering from amnesia.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" – Upton Sinclair

This is a great quote. Its true power is recognized when you substitute the word salary for something else we depend on. Could be ego. Could be confidence. Self-esteem, sense of rightness, right to criticize, ect. 

Its power increases when we turn it into a question:

"How does my lack of understanding of this issue benefit me?"

Another version:

"Does my voluntary ignorance in this situation afford me something that I would lose if I faced reality?"

  1. "Being comfortable making up visions of success, before the methods are clear, is a phenomenal trait to strengthen. Being willing to have ideas, good or bad, and to express and capture all of them without judgment is critical for fully accessing creative intelligence." – Getting Things Done, pg. 271

  2. Often times, the reality comes first, then the beliefs follow. Ex. One gains 30 pounds over time. This person then tailors their beliefs in order to make the 30 pounds not as alarming: " I'm getting older and this happens.  I don't care about vanity anyway." Someone grows up poor: "Rich people are unethical and immoral. Money doesn't buy happiness" 

What beliefs of yours are a result of circumstance, and which ones are a result of conscious decision?

One thing I do that is a significant waste of time is something no one can see. It's something I can do while on the bus, while in a job interview, a meeting, or talking to a new acquaintance.

This thing is not paying attention. Not paying attention can comprise of a million things. My most popular are fantasizing, simulating conversations/events/arguments that will never occur, complaining. What are yours?

The time spent not paying attention could be spent paying attention to the external world rather than project what I'd like or fear to happen. It could be spent really listening to others (and being in a better position to help), cultivating curiosity, going over my Spanish vocabulary, ect.

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