Hi guys! This is Max, the author of this Productivity newsletter.
I write this email to help you get better at managing your time and achieve more.
In this issue, I’ve picked & wrapped some ideas that I find interesting for you. So, let’s dive in!
⚡Framework: Never miss twice (and never beat yourself)
- Every decent goal needs constant repetition of actions and hard work.
- Constant repetition requires doing the similar kind of actions regularly, day by day
- It is extremely hard to maintain in the long term because there is no instant result that could motivate us:
- At some point in time, we can easily miss a day, gaining no progress toward our goal
- When we miss a time we should perform our habit, it breaks our streak
- This makes us feel bad + calls blaming ourselves for not being consistent
- It may lead to further demotivation and lower confidence that we can achieve our end goal in the long term, harming our habit even more
To keep your habit active, I suggest following the 3 simple principles:
1) “Little better than nothing”:
- It’s much better to do 10% or even 5% of your plan than to do nothing at all and miss a day.
- For example: if you planned to learn 30 new words, but you don’t have the willpower to do this – learn 1 or 2.
- It sounds too small to even get bothered, but that’s simply not true.
- Remember: making even 1 step towards your goal brings you closer than making none at all.
2) “Never miss twice”:
- If you’ve missed doing your habit the first time for some reason – do your best to not miss the second time
- For example: if you missed your words learning routine for a day – make sure to do it in first/higher priority tomorrow, to avoid missing it twice
- Just remember: it happens that we miss showing up sometimes. It’s normal. Just make sure to get back on track as soon as possible
3) “Never beat yourself”:
- When we miss our habit (even once), the feeling of guilt may come
- Blaming yourself for not showing up is the easiest thing that comes to mind
- It’s the most dangerous one as well. Blame is not a productive feeling in this case – rather a destructive one.
- Make sure to calm your internal policeman down and say: “Missing one day is normal. I’ll just fix this by showing up tomorrow”.
- That’s it
🧪 Experiment: How quickly we forget things?
The basic idea:
- A group of scientists created a set of cards with meaningless three-letter combinations (eg, AHS, TGH, or CLS)
- The cards were shown to participants one at a time
- After some period of time (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 seconds) – the participants were asked to recall combinations they’d seen
- After 3 seconds, 80% of combinations were recalled correctly
- After 5 seconds, this result fell down to 50%
- After 18 seconds, participants managed to recall correctly only 10% of the combinations
- These scientists were Lloyd and Margaret Peterson. This experiment helped them prove that human short-term memory is pretty limited.
- It is good because it helps our brain to avoid wasting storage for unnecessary information
- However, it means we should use extra tools for storing important information
You can read more about this experiment here.
⚒️ Tools: How to memorize information easily?
- Backing the takeaways of the experiment with three-letter cards, I can confirm that our short-term memory is relatively weak
- In my day job, I work as a product manager. It means I deal with different people (development teams, executives, clients) on a daily basis.
- Some of these people can share ideas, concerns, or suggestions on various subjects.
- I noticed that I can’t work effectively without having the ability to store these ideas and organize them in some scalable way.
- For collecting all information from different stakeholders, as well as storing my own ideas, I use Google Keep
- It’s a free note-taking app from Google, which allows you to have quick cloud-based notes with tags and coloring feature
- I use it both on mobile (Android) and in a Chrome browser on my laptops.
- All the random ideas, comments, or suggestions for the day I note into Google Keep
- I mark it as ‘work’ or ‘blog’ tags, depending on what area it is coming from for easier sorting
- This helps me empty my short-term memory immediately, allowing me to focus on the next thing (and be certain that I will not forget anything)
- At the end of the day, I go over the notes I have and decide, whether I need this information or not
- If this note may be helpful, I put it into my Notion – a long-term memory alternative. Here I wrote how I use it in more details
- After this, I clear my Keep to keep it clean & empty for more ideas
I don’t use Notion directly, because:
- it would become quickly cluttered with lots of irrelevant notes
- it loads slower than Google Keep (which is a big deal if you want to write something literally on-the-go)
I advise you to try Google Keep as well. It’s a good tool for listing ‘quick thoughts’ or some other ‘instant information’ that you are not sure how to organize properly at the moment.
📖 Worthy reads: Useless advices we love
- Want some business advice?
- Find 10 people who are willing to pay you $1,000 every month
- Congratulations, you are earning $10,000 per month – a pretty decent income to start with. /s
- Sounds a bit stupid, right?
- That’s exactly what Jakob Greenfeld points out in his post on Reddit. He refers to the idea that people get inspired too easily from advice like this.
- Besides, they praise such advice givers and buy their books, and courses, provide positive reviews, etc.
- All this leads to a lack of confidence among those who actually try following this advice and realize why they don’t work so straightforwardly.
✍️ End note
Thank you for reading this letter, I hope you enjoyed it.
Before you close it, I have a little ask for help for you. Could you do me a favor and reply to this email? It can be a simple ‘hi’, a quick introduction, or even your feedback about this newsletter.
This means a ton to me 🙏
I started this blog as an attempt to improve my writing skills and to establish a proper writing routine. I share notes and tips about productivity, products and routines. I believe that this blog will keep me accountable and (hopefully) will help someone else too.