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Planning Your day like Sebastian Marshall

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 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.

Highly Recommended: Take a Screen-Free Day

On WellMentor

In my last blogpost, I declared that Sunday would be a Screen-Free Day: no computer, iPad, iPod, television or texting for 24 hours. My goal was to take a true day off, and to bring awareness to how much distracted time I spend each day doing things like checking email and social media, looking up unimportant information online, watching shows on Netflix and texting people as a way to procrastinate.

I had intended to at least take notes with pen and paper, and I really had a vision in my head of composing this entire blogpost by hand and uploading scanned image files of those pages rather than typing this out. But I never even had time to take notes — I was too busy having the best day off I’ve had in months!

It didn’t hurt that I woke up to the best weather day we’ve had here in the Twin Cities so far this year. I walked my dogs three or four times, went on a 17-mile bike ride with my wife and ate dinner at our bistro table with the windows wide open. In between all that fresh air, I finished my latest issue of the New Yorker and read the local newspaper – theactual newspaper in print! I chatted with neighbors, cooked a great healthy dinner and even did nothing for short stretches of time. It really was a great day, but the challenge was still surprisingly hard!

For the first hour in the morning, I had to constantly remind myself that I was not going to go online at all. Luckily, I had tucked my laptop away in its case and put it on the book shelf, otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have inadvertently grabbed it to look at the weather forecast or some other silly thing.

By mid-morning, I was used to the idea that I was unplugged for the day. A few times, I felt something a little bit like anxiety, wondering what I was going to do to fill all of the hours stretched out before me. Soon, though, I had learned to relax and really try to pay attention to each moment, rather than think about what I was going to do next. By the afternoon, I felt like an old pro. I had no desire to see what was going on in the virtual world, and it was so freeing not to have to check my email to see what tasks might be waiting for me there.

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