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My New Anti-Routine

Things I DO NOT do to get started with my projects.

2 min read

I am sick and tired of all the productivity hacks, trying to frame our lives into slavelike routines.

It is so easy to add stuff to your daily life. Especially things framed as "productive" and "healthy habits".

Don't get me wrong. I have been trying out lots of "productivity hacks" and tried lots of health advice, but I have always used them to prepare my physical and mental state for something more splendid, not as a goal itself. And I have been lucky to know what works well for me.

My stance today is that it is so easy to get tricked into a narrative that we need to do X, Y, and Z to be successful.

Instead of considering everything successful people do, we are better off studying what they don't do. Or even better: Identify the things YOU don't need to do.

The power of subtraction is a timeless principle. I first read about it in Nassim Taleb's book, Antifragile. Taleb argues that the greatest “and most robust contribution to knowledge consists in removing what we think is wrong—subtractive epistemology.”

Whatever you are serious about, you better do it first in the morning. When you are alert, your ability to focus is sharp.

And whatever you do to get prepared for that highly important project will set you apart from the rest.

This means that the "the time before breakfast"(I don't eat breakfast, but I prepare it for my family) is dedicated to my most important project.

All projects have an end date and my projects are divided into three main categories:

  • Career and business growth - strategy, focused work, learning.
  • Relationship growth - activities identified to provide the best for my family and friends.
  • Personal growth - nurturing my physical, mental, and spiritual practices.

My projects are divided into 6-week cycles (give or take) and whatever category I am working on, I take one step, two step to the bathroom and then I get started with THE WORK.

  • No breakfast - I eat my first meal around noon. Saturday breakfasts with family are exempt.
  • No social media - I don't touch my phone before 8 am.
  • No "religious routine" - I don't HAVE TO run 5k to get started writing.

Even though running 5K each morning is doing me good, that is 30-45 minutes (including getting prepared and taking a shower) taken from my writing and deep-focused work.

It may not sound like much, but 45 minutes daily, seven days a week, is almost a full working day.

Even though I advocate automating tedious and challenging tasks, I have started to realize the risk that automatic consistency is a mental trap and can be our modern-day poison. Resulting in a behavior that we are slaves for something tightly connected to a specific identity. I.e fitness routines: being obsessed with maintaining a six-pack to look good on socials VS. making sure to move your body to maintain essential functions like being able to squat, bend down, and sit up without pain.

There is a thin line there between obsessive behavior connected to identity politics and maintaining a good healthy balance for what is essential for you to progress with your projects.

Yes, everything is a trade-off in life. We are all going through seasons. We need to decide what is our wildly important project and stay focused on that.

It is hard to both to train for a marathon and establish a business simultaneously. Everything has its season which deserves and requires your focus.