Four ways this investor increased his productivity whilst also increasing his joy

When this pandemic started, I was resolved to come out stronger. I sliced my day into 30 minute segments, automated the hell out of fit with and set to work meeting people all over the world from 6am until it was over, often 12+ hours later.

Meetings fragged my day. I had no time to followup properly, or think about how to turn the meetings into something valuable for someone. I started my days even earlier to find time to process.

By the end of 2021, I was broken.

Here’s what I am trying in 2022. We’re a month in and it may yet break like all good intentions, but so far these 4 deliberate changes to my day have greatly increased my productivity, whilst increasing my joy at the same time.

#1: I start when I naturally wake up, then follow my daily flow

I don’t set an alarm. I wake when rested, then start.

The morning routine prescribed in my drops me straight into a pattern. I don’t need to think about what to do. I just start, liberated from my calendar, running a process that I continuously improve to work best with my own mind.

#2: I split my day into two parts, each with a different intention

Mornings are for mental triaging. No meetings.

This gives me time to process yesterday, keep up with my communications and followups and to spend some time thinking, writing and building larger projects. I connect with ideas. It is a time for synthesis.

In the afternoon, I meet people. I re-calibrate my brain to connect with them as deeply as I can, turning off the transactional mode.

#3: I avoid 30 minute meetings

If a meeting is worth having at all, do it properly.

30 minute meetings are too transactional for me. Wham bam, who are you again? I need at least an hour to properly connect with someone and explore a topic. If it ends early, that gives us all time back.

There is even time to go to the toilet in-between meetings this way.

#4: I listen to understand, not to reply

Most of my meetings begin with 90% of the information with the other person or group.

Being less transactional allows me to think about Stephen Covey’s observation that most people listen to reply, not to understand. It takes effort to not do this.

Allow silence.

Deep dive into an idea that had not occurred to me until that moment.

Understand.

How do you do it? Let me know on Twitter.

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Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.