Recently I've been spending a bit more time listening to Cal Newport's podcast, Deep Questions with Cal Newport. In recent weeks, I've had the opportunity to begin incorporating some of his ideas more into my life so that I can live that Deep Life. At the same time, I've been taking Khe Hy's course, Supercharge Your Productivity which has reminded me a lot about existential productivity (which I've briefly mentioned in this newsletter).
I think a lot of us believe that the productivity space is about learning 'how to get more done', but actually according to most popular productivity books currently shown on Amazon, it's more about getting 'enough' done without having to do so much work.
I've also found myself trying to reduce my work (not by lowering the volume but by increasing leverage through delegation, automation or new systems). So, in recent months I've been quite pleased with the new team members we've brought on board and how our systems have become more refined.
I imagine this focus on doing less work has a lot to do with burnout culture.
Now, I presume that a lot of the readers of this newsletter are slightly younger than myself. I truly didn't imagine (when I was younger) that this would be an issue for me but now I constantly ask myself now - am I playing the right game? Am I building the life I want for myself or am I trapping myself in the when-then trap?
When I get X, then I'll feel happy.
P.S. If I'm not the only one who feels this way, please reply to this email and let me know your thoughts!
The balance between leverage vs dopamine
I love looking at productivity hacks and apps etc. It's exhilarating and dopamine-infused! However, if we don't know our why, then we have no idea if our apps and systems are helping us achieve our true life goals and this leads to unfulfillment in our work and can also lead to exhaustion/burnout.
I've thought a lot about this recently as I've increasingly been put in positions where I need to manage more team members. An inherent issue with this is that it encourages more ad-hoc instant messaging, meaning it becomes extremely difficult to focus intently on a singular task and get some deep work done. My work is becoming increasingly reactive.
For example, writing up a marketing email, a newsletter, a YouTube script or planning out my growth on social media is ridiculously challenging when I become the bottleneck to other people's tasks and I receive those seemingly innocuous Slack notifications.
The cognitive-switching penalty is deadly.
Recently we've set up more systems on Notion and ClickUp as well as Slack messaging guidelines to ensure we're not always messaging each other demanding a quick response. Thereby, making all of us less stressed and actually more productive. This is because our why is for us to work on the things that we're passionate about and that leave an impact, instead of just being ultra-efficient for the sake of it. The journey must be enjoyable intrinsically.
Moreover, I've also reincorporated this into my personal life, setting expectations with friends and family that I will only check my messages a few times a day and I will respond slowly. This means I can actually look after myself and focus on truly important work. With this, I can look after myself more and feel far less anxious - so I hope to keep this up.
I look forward to reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport very soon but at the moment I'm working through Dopamine Nation by Dr Anna Lembke.
Quote of the Week
“Digital Minimalism - A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.” Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism
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