I bought Sebastian Marshall's book, Ikigai, when it first came out. His is one of very few blogs that I read regularly, so I had high expectations for the book. And, hey... even if it's not great, I like supporting people I respect.
As soon as I bought the book, I read the first chapter. It was the blog post that I mentioned in the isolation post. Oh, I thought, I guess this book is just a bunch of blog posts that I've already read. I stopped reading.
That was six months ago. These days I read about 2-3 books per week, which means that I have a really tough time keeping my reading list full. Last week I was searching through my Kindle to see if I had any half-finished books I'd forgotten about, and I decided to give Sebastian's book another shot.
Man, am I glad I did. I'm not sure I've ever read a book with lessons that can be applied so quickly for such immediate results. Ikigai is one of the top few books I've read in 2012.
The focus of the book is rational and efficient productivity. Or at least that's what I got most out of it. If you're into that sort of thing, definitely read it.
I now plan my day every morning. Sebastian shares his daily planning routine, which I used as a rough template for my own. Every morning I record the time I went to bed the night before, the time I woke up, the time I brushed my teeth, the time I finish planning, and the time I finished writing a blog post (I'm writing one every single day, but not posting them all).
Recording the time you finish these things is a bit of subtle genius from Sebastian. When you record the time you finish something, you tend to do it earlier. Today I woke up and had two immediate phone calls that had to be made, which pushed my whole schedule back. As soon as I saw the time, I started doing my few morning things, including writing this post. Morning used to be my least productive time of day, but now I jump right in and start producing.
The rest of day planning consists of making a todo list for yourself. You're supposed to create a list that you believe can be completed to 70%, but I've completed 90-100% every day, despite trying to make the list harder each time. It's amazing how much you can get done when you have a plan and start early.
I use the tasks feature of Google Calendar for my todo list. It's not amazing, but it's good enough and keeps me looking at my calendar, which makes me more likely to schedule things and see when they're happening.
At the end of the day, I do a quick five minute summary, as prescribed by Sebastian. I record whether or not I flossed, reflected on the possibility of death, and played my violin. I write down my key accomplishments for the day, my top life goals, a quick analysis of the day, and my top priority for the following day. Last, I record how many minutes I wasted, how many minutes I worked on SETT, and how many minutes I spent writing. RescueTime helps me come up with a rough estimate of these things.
There's a lot more than planning your day in Ikigai, but that was the big value that I got from it. He also spends a lot of time covering the same sort of strategy and philosophies that I'm a big fan of and write about here.
The great Alaska trip starts next Saturday. A few friends and I will be riding our motorcycles to Alaska for no real reason at all.
I was with you until "the time I brushed my teeth"
I've done something similar to this for 30 years, no lie. I used to travel for business, try to keep up with office work when in town and maintain a normal married life. So, to assure myself that I won't be surprised on any given day with appointments and other obligations, I plan tomorrow first thing today. Today was planned yesterday, and so on. The reason for this is that some things on the "TTD" (things to do) list require prep. Easier to bake a cake tonight for tomorrow's party--you don't want to wake up and see that on your TTD for today. There are a couple of parts to the planning process, but basically..look at tomorrow today so you have a clue about what's coming.
Hey, how was your Alaska trip? Next time you're coming out this way, please let me know. Would love to get the chance to meet you. :)
speaking of book suggestions, Tynan, do you have any book suggestions on social dynamics or social intelligence?
Tynan, dude, take some serious rain gear. And insulation! I lived in Alaska (Anchorage) for a year. The weather in May and June was fabulous, but by mid-July it started raining, constantly, and didn't stop until I moved back to the lower 48 in September. Fairbanks, farther north and inland, may be sunnier this time of year. Alaska is amazing, incredible, vast, but often cold and wet. Your RV is perfect. A motorcycle is not. Hotels are expensive. For a better time, drive your RV to Seattle, take the ferry up the inside passage to Haines (near Skagway), then drive up to Anchorage, Denali National Park, Fairbanks ... and if you dare .. the Dalton highway up to Prudhoe Bay.
Great post in Zen Habits, thank you.
I`m curious . . . . where on earth do you find all wool everything and what exactly do you mean by `everything`. (I`m writing from a French keyboard so please excuse the absence of question marks which I just can`t figure out how to get onto the page.)
Shane Bradley from Montreal
After reading "Make her chase you" i found this blog. Great motivating posts, i appreciate your work. Now after reading this entry i have bought Ikigai, im sure i will enjoy it. Are there any other books in the realm of self improvement you wholeheartedly recommend?
Yeah a bunch. Check out Ancient Art of Stoic Joy and Difficult Conversations. Those are two of my very favorites. Steven Pressfield's stuff is really good, too (just skip the last third of War of Art).
Alaska is great, I'm currently bicycling around up north for the summer. If your bikes can handle gravel, consider going to Dawson City and over the Top of the World Hwy to Chicken. Also the Denali Hwy, both great rides. If you see a guy on a bike with huge tires and a packraft strapped to the front, stop and say hi.
Ha. I actually grew up in Alaska. Do you have any plans once you're up there? It's amazing this time of year!
Bravo on your post today "
I'm sitting by a crackling fire at my aunt and uncle's house in New Jersey and we're just a couple hours into the new year, which means that it's a perfect time to review the year and look forward.
If I were to title my year, I'd call it the year I got serious. Something interesting happened near the end of 2011-- I realized that I wasn't actually on track for a lot of my goals, that I was going to have to actually get serious about stuff, and that this seriousness had to come in the form of action, not talk. I ended 2011 with a few months of solid productivity under my belt, and a year-end post that optimistically predicted a productive year.
I'm happy to say that the productive year materialized, and that my focus on getting serious has intensified.
When I was young, maybe third grade or so, a psychologist did a study at my middle school. We answered some questions and were offered two choices: a small prize now or a large prize later. I took the small prize now. I think knew it was the wrong move at the time, but the pack of stickers on the table looked like a lot of fun. Later on the big prizes were given to the waiters in such a way that I was able to see what they got. Sure enough, their prizes were a lot better and my stickers were long gone.
Because of the recommendations by Tynan and Sebastian Marshall, I picked up Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa.
It was well worth the time it took to finish nine hundred pages of well-written, gripping samurai action, love, and life lessons.
The following is a list of symptoms:
I use the word symptoms in jest, but if this list applies to you, then I'm positive that there are fiction books out there in every genre that have appealed to you immensely at some point. A few of mine are Ender's Game, any Forgotten Realms books, the Inheritance Saga (Eragon, and sequels), and many more.