Productivity Masterclass

Sep 22, 2020
Self Improvement
Certificate By
Certificate Received
Certificate Received
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The Productivity Equation

Mental model for productivity


  1. Set the course of the plane
  1. Figure out what direction the plane is heading


  1. Follow the course, not deviate
  1. Take off efficiently, land safely
  • We should be following 80% of the time in Plane mode. Follow the directions of Pilot.
  • We should be 10% in the Pilot mode. Usually, I am like this in the morning. What our vision, what we wanna be doing for the day. Morning Pages. Actively piloting my life.
  • Need not waste time in deciding what I should be doing for the rest of the day.
  • Pilot gives instructions to the plane.


  1. Make sure the plane is efficient.
  1. Fuel efficiency (not using excessive energy)
  1. Keep the system organized (writing to-do list, going through your favorite productivity app, etc.)
  • Job of the engineer feeds into the job of the pilot and job of the plane.
  • Spend 5% - 10% of the time in a day, being an Engineer.
  • Actively implementing and maintaining the organizational systems and the various principal strategies and do what we do is productive.
  • Pilot = Useful
  • Plane = Output
  • Engineer = Time

I Don't Have Time - Myth #1

โณ Time is what we want most but what we use worst. ~ William Penn
"I'm actively choosing not to make the time to go to the gym, even though I have time. Gym is not just on my priority list."
  1. Your time is a lot more in your control.
  1. I can just do whatever I want.
  1. It's that I'm actively choosing not to do things.
It's not that we are limited by time, its that we're limited by the choices we make with our time.

Practical Tips:

  1. Scrub the phrase 'I don't have time'
  1. Do an exercise: Write down exactly what you are doing with your time. For 1 weeks.
Read 'Make Time' book.
Time is kind of like a muscle, the more you squeeze into it and the more you use it well, the more it grows and the more you realize you can actually fit in with your time.

The Myth of Motivation - Myth #2

  • A mental model
  • What is motivation?
  • You'll start with "I should study" < cross into mind < thought
  • Action: actually studying
  • You wanna get from the thought to action without much effort.
  • I really struggle to get started or find the motivation.
  • Motivation comes between thought and action
  • Motivation: "I feel like studying right now"
  • We watch netflix when we feel like it, etc.
  • Thought > Motivation > Action
  • That was procrastinator's view of Motivation
  • To get to the output bit, we need to get started.
  • We struggle to take off, actually get the plane off of the ground.
  • Motivation is a myth.
  • Thought > Action, regardless of how we're feeling.
  • Relying on feelings for long-term goals is a recipe for disaster.
  • When you have discipline, you go from thought to action directly, regardless of how you're feeling.
  • This is the secret for being more productive.
  • All we need to do is go from thought to action.
  • Motivation relies on the erroneous assumption feel like doing the thing that we're doing before we actually doing.
  • A 3 year old will do what they feel like to do, an adult does what they need to do, regardless of how they're feeling.
  • We need motivation usually for things which are short term painful and long term useful.
  • Two aspects:
    • Action
    • Outcome
  • Outcome is long time in the future
  • We need motivation for things where feedback loop is significantly longer
  • Action:
      1. Make the action more pleasuarable makes us more likely to do the thing
      1. Make consequences of inaction more painful.
        1. Bet with money is a good strategy, for example, bet with 'S' that you'll give him, say, 5000rs. if I don't lose 5 kilos by the end of the month.
        2. Website: beeminder.com. Put money where your mouth is. gofuckingdoit.com
  • Outcome:
      1. Shorten the outcome of feedback loop
          • Playing sport
          • Turn things into games
      1. Making the outcome more salient.
          • Making outcome more clear in our minds


  • Read 'The Motivation Myth' book by Jeff Haden

The Myth of Multi-Tasking - Myth #3

  • Focusing on one thing rather than multiple things.
  • Don't switch between tasks.
  • Flow state - deeply focused on single thing.
  • Mihaly, psychologist, an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform best.
  • Productivity without enjoyment is pointless.
  • Very bored or frustrating if we repeat things mindlessly.
  • Get into your stretch zone.
  • Actionable steps:
    • If exam is tomorrow, which topic you're most unhappy with?
    • Then do that thing.
    • What's the highest leverage thing you can do to improve your blog?
    • Switch off all notifications on all devices.
    • Don't disturb your flow state.

Parkinson's Law - Law #1

Parkinson's Law states that work expands to fill the time that we allocate to it.
  • Cyril Parkinson, in 1950s.
  • If we have some work due 3 months, we procrastinate till last day.
  • Peter Thiel - Zero to One
  • The idea of a 10 year plan:
    • What's your 10 year goal?
    • Think about your 10 year plan and ask yourself how are you going to achieve it within the next 6 months?
    • A thought experiment.
  • Actionable steps:
    • Give artificial deadlines to your tasks.
    • I need to finish Productivity class by the end of the day.
  • If you are really careful about getting the work done, then you challenge yourself on gofuckingdoit.com
  • If you don't, then do you really care about doing this task?

Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule - Law #2

80 Percent of the results will come from 20% of the effort.
  • Applied to italian landowners a few 100 years ago. 80% of the land owned by 20% of the people. Now a days, it is more skewed.
  • Firstly, if we're studying for an exam, 80% of the available marks will probably come from 20% of the syllabus.
  • Hack the things we're doing by focusing on 20% of the things which are giving us 80% of the results.
  • Recognizing the broad brushes and filling in the picture rather than getting into details.

Newton's First Law of Motion - Law #3

  • An object is at rest or travelling at a constant velocity unless its acted upon by an external imbalanced force.
  • If we're not doing anything, it requires an external force to push us.
  • If we're moving anyway, we don't need any external force to keep moving.
  • It's so much harder to start something than to continue doing something.
  • Getting started is really difficult.
  • Two-Minute Rule - Getting things Done.
    • If something only takes 2 minutes then you should just get it done instead of putting it on to-do list.
  • 5-Minute Rule
    • If we are struggling to get started, we should convince our brains to just start and do it for only 5 minutes. Then, it will be easier for us to continue doing it.
  • Just go through the motion of doing something like, put on gym wear before 6pm meeting starts, then you'll eventually just start doing exercises right after the meeting. You also fool yourself into thinking that I need not do gym immediately after wearing the dress.
  • Keystone habits - Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The one habit that if you can do that thing, then everything else follows and falls in place. Just like the above.
  • Just get started.

The Power of Habits - Power #1

  • Power of consistency.
  • These small fundamental units of self-development.
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  • Einstein said, the biggest failure of humanity is that understanding the exponential function.
  • The compounding effect of habits are huge in the long run.
If something becomes a habit, we no longer require willpower to do the thing.
  • Example: Brushing teeth.
  • Make a public announcement that you'll be writing/posting articles/newsletters every week.
  • One of the things we struggle with productivity is that we don't have these productive habits in place.
  • Forming habits is not about reaching a goal. Like, I want to form healthy habits until I lose 10 kilos and then I'll stop.
  • It's about identity change. Sort of person that we believe ourselves to be.
  • Reinforce the idea that you're a fit person and you'll end up being a fit person by inculcating those habits into your life.
  • Stop re-inforcing things which you cannot do.

The Power of Productive Downtime - Power #2

  • Every single day, we have absolutely tons of down time that we don't do anything with.
  • So for example, right after the meeting, I don't get straight into work but rather I take my own sweet time in preparing myself to get into that mood. I eventually start work at 12 or 1PM in the afternoon. So, I have at least 3 hours after the morning standup to do something "productive" with my time.
  • So, what I can do is, I can start using this time to work on my ideas for blogging, I can also give some time to post on FIO's linkedin page.
  • Make Time - Book
  • Highlight - One thing I wanna get done that day.
  • Use your downtime appropriately - dont just scroll through instagram.

The Power of Productive Procrastination - Power #3

It is procrastination that is productive in some way and fun.
  • So, if I have to prepare for some exam, my productive procrastination would be to learn web design or listen to productivity class and gather some tips that might work for me. Or listen to SEO Videos to optimize website which ultimately improves my website.
  • Reading articles which I saved on Resonance calendar.

Fun Factor

  • If you're not enjoying what you've signed up to do, you're actively screwing yourself.
  • What is the point of being productive if you're not having fun?
  • How can I make things more fun?
Seth Godin - Marketing blogger on internet
  • Have to vs. Get to
  • Instead of saying 'I have to do this today', say 'I get to do this today'. It's a mindset shift that you can work on to get things done. It's a privilege.
  • So, instead of dreading the tasks which office management gives to you, instead of thinking them of 'having to do', you can think of them as 'getting to do' because it is a privilege to be trusted by someone in getting things done.
  • That's actually a pretty life changing thought.
  • You can also think of blog writing as, 'I get to write this post because I can then somehow help someone out there to share some knowledge on Data Science or AI or Productivity tips'.
  • Design the environment to have that 'getting started'. Little things to make it more pleasant.
  • The Happiness Advantage - Book
  • Happiness led to success.
  • The act of smiling makes us happy.

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