I signed up for this 1-unit class having only read the course title, thinking I just wanted to get an interesting 1-unit course out of the way. However, the universe has a funny way of giving you solutions when you need it the most.
At the beginning of class, I had just, three months prior, decided against going down a lucrative Investment Banking and Venture Capital path I was set to go on, and instead return to entrepreneurship where I left my heart. I proceeded to spend the following three months meditating, reading, and struggling to figure out exactly what endeavor I would pursue next. After all, opportunity isn’t to be chased but rather it is to be acted upon when it presents itself.
5 days before our first class, exogenous forces culminated in focusing my attention on a little side passion project I had been working on for two years but never viewed with any business potentiality; my OneHaas podcast.
I share this for context as to why this class, your teachings, and the proceeding two months of practice was necessary to lead to what I now consider, looking back, substantial progress (to be exact, what I feel like should’ve been 6 months of progress in 2).
For additional context, I have always been a self-improvement buff and productivity hacker; having read all of 99U’s books and god knows how many self-help, neuroscience books. I had already implemented most of the digital cleansing techniques prior to class. However, even having done all that, and then taken two meditation courses with Art of Living, and Inner Engineering, to maintain perpetual centeredness with consistent meditation, I was never able to translate that stoicism into my work life nor improve my productivity.
In hindsight, I don’t know why I expected it to. It’s like I expected everything to be a nail to my hammer (meditation). For my mindset to truly change the past 7 weeks, I had to learn about, fail, and relearn the following experiences:
Dr. Yousef effectively told me it’s ok to be PM-shifted (as I edit this final draft at 1:00 AM). This was a huge paradigm shift because I went from always reading and believing only morning risers can be successful to... I can just be me and still be successful.
This acceptance plus the understanding of ultradian cycles and daily energy tracking for 6 weeks helped ingrain that my productivity, motivation, and general effectiveness is a function of properly riding the waves, and not a function of my day as a whole. My previous paradigm on productivity and motivation was measured on a daily scale, meaning I would make inaccurate statements such as, “I’m not motivated/productive TODAY.” The confluence of ideas taught in the first class helped me realize I’ve been measuring my productivity on the wrong scale. I needed to be measuring on an hourly/ultradian cycle scale. This shifted my negative self-talk to, “I am not motivated/productive this HOUR,” which makes a huge difference. This allowed for other hours in the day to be motivated and productive.
Understanding my PM-shifted chronotype gave me the grace to embrace my evening productivity hours and understanding ultradian cycles gave me the grace to compartmentalize my day. To take Dale Carnegie’s famous words a level deeper, instead of living in “day-tight compartments,” maybe in this technology age, I need to learn to live in “hour-tight compartments,” because the world is changing at a different pace.
It took me the full 7 weeks when I started on this journey to push myself to burnout. One day I passed out and slept for 14 hours straight. I woke up the next day feeling human. A feeling I hadn’t felt in weeks because I was consistently pulling 16 hour days. I had written down Lucas’ #1 productivity hack: sleep, and paid zero attention to it.
The past week, I’ve had to take a step back to remind myself to take everything in stride. Becoming superhuman and increasing performance and productivity isn’t a means to an end, but tools to help achieve fulfillment.
Having Exogenous Accountability:
I implemented accountability partners after getting advice from Dr. Yousef and Lucas, especially as a WFH entrepreneur. Since week one, I now have a consistent accountability partner that I do weekly check-ins with. We call it our “board meetings” for one another’s companies. We set out 90-, 30-, and 7-day goals and hold each other accountable by clearly and explicitly documenting what the other person says they will do, and checking in. I will also continue to have virtual focus sprints.
Break Down Procrastination:
In addition, after learning about the procrastination killer technique, we added a meeting tool to challenge one another if we felt like the other person did not break down a task enough and might procrastinate on it. This challenge helped us chop our projects into bite-sized, actionable pieces.
Additionally, when I find myself procrastinating, I now give myself more grace to acknowledge that I have not broken down the task enough and that if I find myself having a hard time breaking it down, maybe I haven’t figured out how yet, and more time is needed. The timing of this realization coincided with a concept I learned from reading another book at the time (A Mind for Numbers) on the differences between focused and diffused modes of learning. I was able to translate this concept into leveraging ultradian “trough” cycles or PM-shifted mornings for creative thinking time on how to break down tasks. I had accidentally learned that task breaking isn’t always a methodical exercise but sometimes a creative one.
However, I still struggle with not always being able to set clear goals, or having to deal with constantly changing goals. Entrepreneurship has so many uncertainties, good and bad, that develop on a day-to-day basis, like a warzone. The goal is to win the war, but I still haven’t fully figured out how to quickly shift my focus on the new battle of the day. I think I need to get better at taking more time to review and reflect on my prior day accomplishments to better gauge my progress directionally. I’m wide-open to your thoughts and advice.