Cut out Distractions like your Life Depends on It

Just like focused money is the way to grow it, focused attention is how you grow yourself.

When I learned how to code, I had very little fun for the months I set aside to learn it. But I was okay with that because I felt weird having fun (and spending money) when I knew I had work to do.

If you’re running a startup, you will work more than 40 hours if you want it to succeed.

That’s not wrong.

You can have it all, but not every day.

Randi Zuckerberg, Mark’s sister, says it like this in her book: You can have it all, just not every day. For her, you pick 3/5 among:

  • Sleep
  • Work
  • Fitness
  • Family
  • Friends

You can’t do them all (even though we need them all) requiring you to rotate out which ones get focused on each day.

If you’re creative, you may figure out ways to overlap a few of these (e.g. fitness + friends) but it ultimately comes down to prioritizing each one at different times and in different amounts.

It’s okay to be “imbalanced.”

You can have it all, but not all at once.

My take is slightly different: if you plan it out, you really can do it all.

However, the way you scale is with personal systems.

In practice, this means you’ll take on only one thing at a time until you can automate your routine with it.

E.g. if you’re starting a new fitness habit, you’re spending a lot of willpower. Willpower is a finite, replenishable resource. So don’t try to also start learning a new language, and don’t start your fitness habit the week you’re launching your new startup’s website for the first time.

Once you’ve got one routine down, you can experiment with adding another.

Eventually, your system will exhaust all your available hours in your day, or a short-term emergency (like getting sick, preventing you from adequately managing all your systems) will demand you either reduce or outsource some of your commitments.

Focus takes more than a tight Daily Routine

Productivity gurus love to obsess about daily routines, but we are more complicated than that. We don’t just need a daily routine, but a weekly, month, and yearly routine.

If your daily routine is absolutely rigid, that’s great, but it will probably change if you are trying to change. And if you’re reading this blog, odds are you’re trying to grow and change (at least your money).

Focus Lasts Years

Scott Galloway, AKA Professor Cold Takes, ironically nails it in his video The Algebra of Happiness. You don’t need to watch the whole thing, just this 28-second clip.

The summary: balance is a myth. You will strongly over-index your time in your career if you want your career to be exceptional.

IMO, this works the other way too. There will be years where you take your foot off the gas, maybe training other people to run the show for you, while you focus on other things (like kids).

That’s okay too.

Just know which season you’re in and double down on it.

What you focus on is what you grow.

Repeat: what you focus on is what you grow.

It’s that simple.

Write down the one thing you want to grow and ask yourself: does your daily/weekly/yearly routine reflect your focus?

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