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A Guide to Real Productivity

Posted on:February 23, 2024

Find the thing to get hooked on.

Get hooked on the thing so hard, that you would rather work on that thing than scroll social media.

I’ve read so many books on productivity, habits, and every topic related.

Productivity Books

I’ve watched most of the videos from Ali Abdaal, Thomas Frank, Matt D’Avella, Better Ideas, and Better Than Yesterday. (All great YouTube channels and highly recommend.)

Yet after all this reading and listening and trying to learn how to be productive, I still caught myself not being happy with my productivity. This could be some weird complex I have because by outside metrics I was still getting a lot of things done every day and meeting most of my goals.

But I didn’t pass the vibe check on myself. I didn’t feel like I hit the bar for the expectations I set for myself. I don’t want to go through life just “getting a lot of things done”. I wanted something deeper, something that meant something.

During all this learning about productivity, I hit a turning point where the definition of productivity was redefined. It’s not about the number of things you get done, it’s about spending most of your time intentionally doing things that bring fulfillment. In the same sense, not doing things that don’t. This could be family, hobbies, startups, reading, whatever. Each person has their fulfillment.

And that’s the key: finding the thing that brings fulfillment. There are of course many things that bring fulfillment, but this has to be the thing that you can’t stop thinking about. The thing that makes you not care about unintentionally passing time. It’s probably one of the hardest things to do in life. But once you find it you don’t need to worry about any of these “productivity techniques” or schedules or habits. The productivity part mostly just solves itself.

I believe all those hacks and techniques are there to take you an extra 10%. If you are at 80% productive, it might help you get to 90%. These things should not be the focus until you find the thing to get hooked on.

How do you find it? There’s a simple four step process.

  1. Try something new for an extended period.
  2. Reflect on if that’s the thing. (If it’s the thing, you’re done.)
  3. Take insights from what you just tried and try another thing.
  4. Repeat until you find it.

This will probably take years, so enjoy the process along the way. And keep trying new things because the thing might change and evolve over the years and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be the thing for the rest of your life.