People always ask me, how do you get so much stuff done? While I never accomplish as much as I'd like to, I do have a strategy that keeps me productive.
By nature, we humans are lazy. I'm the first to admit I’m a lazy person. The moment I’m not doing something, I often fall into this big hole. Once I sit on the couch watching TV, I will stay on the couch — and that's why I try to simply avoid the couch.
My strategy is to stay busy, at all times. Keep the momentum up.
It’s a common disease of our generation that whenever someone asks us “How are you?” we often reply with our default answer, “Oh man, so busy, so busy." It’s important to understand that I'm talking about being REAL busy, not fake busy. One will lead to happiness, the other one will lead to depression. Faking it will always backfire.
Being busy is not about pointing out our busyness to other people around us. It’s not about impressing others, even though it’s easy to fall into that trap.
There is nothing wrong with being bored, but for some reason that’s what we think. And thus we call ourselves busy, even if we’re not. This principle is about getting shit done. It’s about being busy in a good way.
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” - Lao Tzu
I always like to give the following metaphor as an example:
Imagine you’re sitting on the couch, and you’re thinking about running.
Getting up from that couch and going straight into running will take a lot of energy. It seems almost impossible. But if you’re already walking, it will be much easier, as you are already in motion. My goal is to be walking at all times.
When working on side projects, or any projects for that matter, I always keep myself busy with lots of them. If I’m stuck on one project, I can continue on the next one. Constant momentum makes it easier to start new tasks and ship faster.
If you haven’t shipped anything for one year, you will have a hard time doing it the second year. If you ship something (even something small) every four weeks or less, you have the momentum. You’re already in the mood, mindset and motion of shipping.
I apply the same principle when reading a book. I start 3–5 books at the same time. If I’m stuck on one, I continue on the next. With that strategy, I have no excuse to not finish at least one book a month.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
- Marcus Aurelius
I briefly talked about this in the 3rd episode of the NTMY show (a podcast I used to run) with Katie Rodgers. Katie mentioned that when she wants to paint a new picture, but doesn’t know how to start, she sits down and puts one stroke on a piece of paper. After that, another one, and another. She doesn't know what to draw but she just begins anyway, gains momentum and then magically, she's drawing.
For me, being in constant motion also helps me with writing. I oftentimes don’t know what to write about, but I still sit down and write whatever is on my mind. Soon enough, I have a little article right in front of me.