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  • One habit doubled my productivity over the last few years, allowing me to complete my

  • degree in mechanical engineering, reach a million subscribers on YouTube, learn animation,

  • and improve my writing.

  • And it's a surprisingly simple habit, one that's easy to overlook and underestimate:

  • the power hour.

  • After I get up in the morning, for the first hour, before I do anything else, I find a

  • nice quiet place, without my phone and without anyone else around, and I work on the most

  • difficult and most impactful project in my life.

  • In a world of shiny new apps andscientifically-backedhacks, the power hour looks quite plain, but

  • this very plainness, in my mind, is a virtue.

  • In the Tao Te Ching, a classic book of wisdom, Lao Tzu writes, “Trifles and dainties attract

  • the passing people, while the Tao goes unnoticed.

  • When looked at, it is not much to see.”

  • And he also said, “The great Way is very plain, so the proud prefer the bypaths.”

  • The power hour is not much to look at, but out of all the apps, tips, and tricks I've

  • tried over the last few years, as a student, a working professional, and an entrepreneur,

  • nothing has been more effective for me than the power hour.

  • I slice an hour out of each day and make actual progress towards my goals.

  • And everyone has goals, but how many people actually act on them?

  • Everyone wants to make a great journeythey want to make money, get their dream job, graduate

  • with honours, invent something, create something, be someone.

  • Everyone wants to arrive at a great destination, but how many people actually want to take

  • a step towards that destination?

  • How many people spend most of their time preparing to make a journey that they never embark on?

  • How many of them look for the right clothes, the right bag, the right level of motivation,

  • the right video, the right song, the right words, the right tools, or the right time?

  • Instead of looking for the right time to be productive, the power hour forces me to be

  • productive at the right time.

  • Do I have a lot of things to think about?

  • Well I'll think about them after my hour is over.

  • Do I have lots of relationships to maintain?

  • I'll deal with them after.

  • Do I have multiple projects to work on?

  • I'll get started on the most important one during my hour.

  • Do I procrastinate?

  • One hour is easy enough to do each day, and I can relax after.

  • Do I get tired in the evenings?

  • I'll schedule my power hour first thing in the morning, when I have the most energy.

  • The power hour solves the greatest obstacle to productivity: inaction.

  • The mind finds clever ways to not take action, and the mind's most clever secret is productive

  • procrastination.

  • It doesn't tell itself that it's being inactive.

  • Rather, it finds things that are pseudo-productive to do and takes pleasure in doing them.

  • The mind wants to clean the house before working.

  • Or it wants to manage its to-do list.

  • Or it wants to organize its computer or Notion folders.

  • It wants to make templates and spreadsheets.

  • It wants to answer e-mails.

  • It wants to set up a new app or calendar.

  • It wants to do a little reading before working.

  • It wants to find the right music.

  • It wants get the desk set up properly with all the right tools.

  • It wants to find a productivity video to watch first.

  • But the mind can create an infinite number of tasks and problems for itself.

  • How many folders should there be on my desktop?

  • How should those folders be named?

  • How should I organize them within each other?

  • What should each folder contain?

  • How should I tag each folder?

  • And this can go on forever, with anything.

  • The mind loves to productively procrastinate.

  • It gets the pleasure of working without having to actually do any.

  • The mind loves to sit around sharpening its axe, but it never wants to hack at the tree.

  • The power hour is a commitment to take the axe as it is and start chopping.

  • The sharpening of the axe, the gathering of other tools, working on other things around

  • the house, can all take place after.

  • But for this first hour, I'll do nothing but chop at the tree.

  • I'll go directly to the most pressing problem in my life, and I'll find the most difficult,

  • most impactful action that might solve it, and I'll do that.

  • Steve Jobs famously said thatfocusing [was] about saying no.”

  • The first hour of my day is sacred, solitary, reverent, unadorned, and above all, it's

  • about saying no.

  • There are no incense, or special teas, or meditations, or cold showers, or quick body

  • workouts.

  • No millionaire or billionaire morning routines that never actually amount to anything.

  • No productive distractions.

  • No productive procrastination.

  • Just me, my axe, and the tree.

One habit doubled my productivity over the last few years, allowing me to complete my

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This One Habit Doubled My Productivity

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    Summer posted on 2021/05/27
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