If you were to visualize a productive life, it would look something like this.
The new entrepreneurs are expected to be fast. Fast to learn, fast to do, fast to decide. After all, entrepreneurs succeed when they do things faster and better than a large corporation.
That means being uber-productive. This year I experimented with uber-productivity. I made a new year resolutions a year ago. Not so naive about my self-discipline any more, I did not kid myself that I would just do it. I had to “pre-do” to make sure that I actually do it. Let me explain.
"PRE-DOING" YOUR GOALS
When I set a big goal, like change my life, or be more productive, I normally failed. Predictably so. Until I started using a tool, well familiar in the startup world. You can call it beta testing. Or just “pre-doing.” When a startup company launches, they are usually so far from achieving their goal that they have to launch before they are ready. Otherwise they would never launch. Their money would run out, the team’s enthusiasm would drain and the investors would lose interest. That’s why a startup launches a beta, something that looks like their product and almost works, but not quite. Same idea goes for some Kickstarter projects - they pre-sell something that is not quite done yet. So “pre-doing” works for companies with small resources and a lot of enthusiasm. Why couldn’t it work for people with little patience and a lot of optimism about life around New Year? That was me last year. So I wanted to “pre-do” my goal of being uber-productive.
PRODUCTIVITY TEST IN VILLAGE, THEN IN CITY
I started by doing what I do best - visualize what I will do. I visualized a productive live for me in a series of infographics (see above). That was the pre-doing part. Then I followed the graphics like a mind map. I went to an Indian village (Indian, not Native American) with limited internet access, put the graphics on my walls and followed them like a map. I worked. And did nothing else. It worked. So I “pre-did” my goal for 3 months. But village life made it easy to be productive - other than snakes and lizards there weren’t many distractions. So the experiment had to continue in a more mind-grabbing place. A metropolis. There I went for another 7 months. As life distractions piled on, I had to make additional graphics to stay focused. But after life again was minimized to its bare and beautiful necessities, the last 3 months I spent like this. And as I write this, I can say that I have “pre-done” my last New Year resolution, so next year looks promisingly productive.
We Really Have About 9 Years
Is it worth it to go through this just to be productive? After I deducted everything that one has to do in life, like sleeping, commuting, working and eating - I put a number on the time we all have left of our lives to do what we want. 9 years. Even still in my twenties, I am in a hurry to make those 9 years count.