Timeboxing, Daring Mighty Things, & More
Today at a Glance
- Quote: Dare mighty things.
- Framework: Timeboxing.
- Tweet: Semi-controversial future takes.
- Article: Transcending binary thinking.
- Podcast: A better way to worry.
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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
Always place yourself in the arena.
A few months ago, I shared a framework I call the energy calendar as a tool for improving my efficiency, leverage, and focus.
The idea with the energy calendar is to use color-coding to identify energy-creating (and energy-draining) activities—and then to use this awareness to slowly prioritize the energy-creating items during your weeks.
This is one of two calendar frameworks that have worked wonders for me. The second, which I will share today, is called Timeboxing. I first learned the concept from author Nir Eyal, who calls it the most powerful time management technique you're probably not using.
The concept of Timeboxing is simple: On a calendar, you box out periods of time to work on distinct, specific tasks each day. Rather than manage your life through a to-do list, you manage your life through your calendar.
Timeboxing leverages well-established psychological principles that indicate that setting an intention for your time is critical for driving forward progress. Planning your day in this manner will allow you to focus deeply on the specific task at hand, limit attention residue, and get more done.
A few pointers to get started:
- Start Small: If you're anything like me, you're going to read this piece and then go all in on timeboxing your entire week, down to the very last minute. Don't do it—trust me. Start by timeboxing a single day, or even a half a day, just to get the feel for it. You can build up from there.
- Schedule Breaks: Make sure you are timeboxing breaks and periods of rest into your schedule. This is just as important as the periods of work!
- Use Focus Tools: I've been using Flow (no affiliation) as a focus app on my computer, but there are probably a hundred to choose from. Set it to the time that you're planning to focus on the specific workflow and block out the noise.
To bring this to life, here's what today looked like on my timeboxing schedule.
I don't always stick to it perfectly, but setting the intention keeps me in the 90%+ compliance sweet spot that I look for with just about anything I'm doing.
Give timeboxing a try this coming week and let me know what you think.
This was a really interesting thread with some cool ideas that definitely made me think.
A few of my favorites:
- Slowmadism > Nomadism: Idea here is that the rapid movement lifestyle of the typical digital nomad is lonely and unlikely to persist given our need for human connection. "Slowmads" stay for longer periods of time in locations and build that connectivity and benefit from bonding.
- Migration-as-a-Service: It's rather insane that the process for migration has not really improved since my mother came to America in 1978. The same analog processes and paperwork exist and the friction costs are astounding. There are going to be multiple billion dollar businesses built on solving this problem (I'm betting on Ellis to be one of them!).
- Geographic Arbitrage: Related to the "slowmad" movement is the idea of creating geographic arbitrage by earning in an expensive currency and living in a cheaper one. Tim Ferriss was really the first person to propose this back when he published 4-Hour Workweek, but the trend will only really take off and accelerate now given the market conditions of the post-COVID world.
It's worth giving the whole thread a read and thinking deeply on the ideas that spark your curiousity.
This article opens with a quote that is one of my new favorites:
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Carl Jung coined a concept called "enantiodromia" that says the human mind has a tendency to make everything binary—black or white, night or day. It's probably some evolutionary protection mechanism that developed in an effort to simplify the world around us.
This article highlights the importance of transcending the binary to solve today's most critical issues.
Next time you're presented with two opposing perspectives on an issue, ask yourself:
Is there a viable third alternative?
A Better Way to Worry
Fascinating discussion on Hidden Brain with psychologist Tracy Dennis-Tiwary on harnessing the potential benefits of anxiety.
She proposes a new framework for thinking about emotions that were typically viewed as negative as credible tools for survival and growth.
I found it to be a neat reframe, but am curious to see how the framework is accepted or rejected by the mental health establishment given the novel perspective.