I have everything I could possibly need. I have a really cool house-on-wheels, enough good food to keep me healthy and full, great friends and family, enough money to travel around a bit, computer, etc. By any reasonable definition, I have enough.
Yet I want more. The background of my computer is a Piper Malibu, a really cool six-seater airplane that has a pressurized cabin and a pretty decent range for a small plane. I'm a little bit sick of looking at it, but I told myself I was leaving it as my wallpaper until I owned one. I want it.
I get emails about this, once in a while. Aren't we supposed to be content with what we have and not desire anything? Aren't we supposed to go go go and conquer the worldd and become fabulously wealthy? Which one is it?
I want to produce at a superhuman level. Looking back over a year, I'd like to wonder just how I got so much done in such a short period of time. At my best I can execute to that standard, but I'm not always at my best. It's possible to have this level of productivity by killing yourself and burning the candle at both ends, but that's not sustainable. I want high productivity to be my regular speed, not the absolute maximum I can sprint.
One big trick to improving productivity is minimizing the number of routine decisions you have to make in a day. These decisions are taxing to willpower and focus, so by eliminating them you can keep your reserves for the work that matters.I wear the same clothes every day. I never have to think about what to wear, and I never think about buying new clothes. I eat the same food every day, so I don't have to think about meals, cooking, or grocery shopping. I have fixed schedules for Sett (every day), writing (every day), gym (MWF), dinner with friends (Sunday), meditation (every day), language tapes (every day), and almost everything else I do regularly.
That means that every day I know exactly what I'm going to do, and I don't have to think about it or negotiate with myself. If I didn't have a schedule for all of those things, I would either not do them consistently, or I would drain my willpower every day just getting myself to start them. The power of eliminating all of those willpower-based decisions can't be overstated.
On a broader scale, I put long-term restrictions on myself to eliminate temptation, a precursor to draining decisions. I've restricted myself from making any effort towards meeting girls until 2015. I don't allow myself to consider big projects other than Sett. I specify external conditions to trigger actions, like deciding that I'll buy an airplane when it costs X% of my liquid net worth.