Wednesday November 16, 2022: Greetings from Woodbridge, Ontario.
I am writing this article right after my lunch break where I had leftover steak with earl gray tea because that is all we have in our office. I had several large project deliverables that needed to be closed out today, and I wanted to take the energy from that and put it to use.
This week, I have started to re-read one of my favorite books -Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss. Re-read is a little misleading since I am actually listening to the audio book during my commute to work.
Album of choice this week has been DAMN by Kendrick Lamar.
I have actually stayed away from Podcasts this week, too many are talking about the FTX incident. Which is serious, and I am very lucky that I did not have any capital on the exchange at the time. But I have consumed as much as I needed to on Twitter and did not need more confirmation on the same story.
Building A Daily Writing Habit.
I have recently started implementing golden time blocks to have a few hours each day that is reserved for building skills without distractions.
Just me and my work for ideally two hours. If you are cringing at this idea, here is a way I reframed the problem: when you are taking a shower, are you checking your phone? When you have shampoo in your hair are you reachable by an Instagram notification?
If your answer is no, and I truly hope it is. Just begin to pretend that your time blocks is the time you spend in the shower. These blocks should be planned in advance, blocked on your calendar and ruthlessly defended from anyone or anything that attempts to interfere with them. They should be established as an un-cancellable meeting with yourself. EVERY DAY. Consider them to be more important than every single deadline you have stressed over for your career.
Once you begin to emphasize the importance of these hours, the compounded results will begin to shock you.
Set your own constraints, if you fail to do so, the world will set them for you.
How to establish Golden time blocks for writing?
I ask myself a few questions:
What time of day am I most productive and focused?
What time of day can I be least responsive without concern?
Please note, there is no correct or incorrect answer here. Every individual will have different preferences, schedules and responsibilities.
To help you get started with golden time blocking here is a list of the most common golden time blocks:
• [Early Birds] 5:00am - 7:00am
• [Pre-Workers] 7:00am - 8:30am
• [Lunch Maximalists] 11:30am - 1:00pm
• [Mid-Day Workers] 3:00pm-5:00pm
• [Evening Maximalists] 7:00pm - 9:00pm
• [Night Owls] 9:30pm - 11:30pm
I have been writing everyday, while not fully shared on this website. I consider myself to be a Lunch Maximalist because it's a time usually reserved for myself and others tend to also be on their lunch breaks so my distractions are heavily limited.
Look for an optimal intersection, choose a two hour chunk and block it out of your calendar. Just do it!
How to go about changing your golden time block.
Several people asked me if I change my time blocks and if it is okay for them to do the same. The short answer is: Absolutely!
You are the master and designer of your life.
It is alright to experiment, but eventually you are going to want to find a golden time block and stick to it. Consistency will help you stick to your goals and you will need to make less of a conscious decision to write or focus during that time.
This is where your efficiency starts to get compounded, and you will notice your results start to accelerate.
How to get the most out of your Golden Time Blocks.
First and formost, you need to defend and protect these time blocks. Do your best to use this time to get into a deep state of flow and focus.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of your golden time blocks:
• Focus on limiting "reactive" actions like checking emails and texts.
• Figure out and document what you would like to focus on the night before.
• Use tools to block out sounds like noise cancelling headphones.
• Utilize tools like airplane mode and Do not Disturb to block out distractions.
• Use website blockers or just disconnect from the Wi-Fi.
• Ensure your workspace is as clean as possible.
Imagine you are in an airplane. During those few hours, you are 35,000 FT in the air, with no one able to reach you and you can't be reactive to your notifications because you are also in a bubble. Treat your golden time blocks as a bubble.
That's the easy part done, we have found the time but now we need to put in the work.
Putting in the work.
Finding the time to work is not where most people struggle, that's left for putting in the work.
When you are sitting in silence and you have a realization that you have free time. You realize that you can't use not having enough time as an excuse, so you decide you have to put one foot in front of the other, which can be terrifying.
My advice? Focus on your future and imagine the library of work you will create.
You should not be using golden time blocks to do shallow work, if you can do your task in front of the TV or while watching an YouTube video, you need to reassess the depth of the work you are doing during your time blocks. This time should be used for creative, high-leverage, deep work that makes progress in your life's goals.
I have been using these time blocks for writing. Not for content, but for clarity and I am finding so many benefits which I will save for my next update.
Have you ever tried time blocking and has it helped?
Thank you for reading.