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My Productivity and Wellness Toolkit

Updated: Dec 15, 2022


Mental Decluttering

1. Ōura Ring

2. Headspace

3. Muse

4. Myndlift

5. Self-Journal

6. One Thing Planner

Digital Decluttering

7. Getting Things Done

8. Deep Work

9. Stage Manager

10. Building a Second Brain

11. Obsidian

12. Things App

Physical Decluttering

13. Keep the Space Clean

14. Hierarchy of Spaces

15. Library

16. Throw away, Donate, Sell

17. Storage

Hello guys. So this is a long overdue video for my productivity tips, tricks and secrets that made me millions over years.

I'm just kidding. Nobody made millions here. But I am absolutely certain that if I was not using the tools I'm using, I would have done much fewer things than I have actually done. Throughout the decades. I have tried every productivity tool you can imagine, from infinite amount of post its to super cool Bluetooth trackers, to pomodoro technique and all sorts of timers. One thing that all those tools have in common is that they're somewhat stressful. So they might increase productivity, but certainly not wellbeing. Why do I say wellness and productivity? I think those two pieces come together with the concept of anxiety. Increasing productivity reduces stress, and that becomes wellness.

So this all started as an email that a friend was asking, what can she do about brain fog? And my answer was, I have so many things, so I will probably make a video for you. Most of people ask me about this ring. This is the ring that helps me track my sleep at night. So you wear it like that and it has sensors and it can see with your heart rate and with how much you move if you're sleeping or not. So one thing that makes this special. It's not the thing that they really advertise that, you know, the color, the shape it looks good and it has lots of features, but this is not the important thing. The important thing is that you forget this one. So I have used other things like for example, the Apple Watch to track my sleep.

But, you know it takes effort. This one really doesn't take effort. So because it has a battery that lasts for days, you just charge it, you have it by your bed, you wear it and you really forget it. One very important thing is that it's waterproof. What I care is that tracks my sleep. That's very important for two main reasons. Number one is that this tells me how long I have slept. When I haven't slept enough, after using this for a year, I realize that I'm really grumpy and I think that it's other people's fault. So now when I see that I have slept for four hours I know that it's not their fault. It's just that I am grumpy and I should be careful. And the second thing is like if for many days I don't get enough sleep, then I seriously have to stop what I'm doing and give myself some good sleep.

And in terms of the quality of the sleep, you need to see that you got enough deep sleep, which might be one and a half hours or so at the beginning of the night. In order to do that, they say that you have to have a wind down routine and also not eat a lot during the night just before. Maybe leave three hours before sleep when you have your last meal. Okay, enough with sleep. Let's get get to meditation. One clever friend of mine says that meditation, there is research that shows that it's a placebo effect and Yeah right If it's a placebo effect, yeah, I love this. And of course there is a research paper that says whatever, but there is tons of research that shows that meditation reduces anxiety and stuff like that. So what I use is Headspace.

And I do this for 2,845 days now in a row. So this means that I push a button and for 10 minutes I pretend to meditate. Do I do it? Well, probably not. Almost certainly not. But who cares? I do it. And that also helps as an anchor for other habits, and that's another story altogether. But having a thing that you do every day for such a long time helps you actually easily develop other habits. And that's what Headspace is for me. Now, many people say that they cannot meditate because they don't know if they're doing it right or not. There's lots of anxiety about meditation, which is a paradox. But this one is called Muse, okay? And it's a headband and it helps with meditation. It tells you when you do it right. So it measures the activity of the brain and it can see through the electric signals that it can sense on the surface of your head if you are active or if you're more calm. So it'll tell you now you're doing it right, and then you will be happy that you know how to meditate effectively. So this is Muse. It's very nice. And there is one even more advanced use that I tend to do, which is called neurofeedback. And

it's actually playing games by using your brain. So how does this work? Look, this, for example when I am distracted right now and I'm not concentrated, you see this pointer here is all over the place and shows that my brain is distracted, but if I focus,

You can see that I can get this guy to the top. So this application is called Myndlift, and I have to tell you, it's tons of fun. I really love doing this and I really love doing more things related to neurofeedback. One more thing that I do, is called journaling, of course. And I have been doing this probably for the past five years. So I have about 20 such journals. This is a journal which is called Best Self and Self Journal. So what this does is that it has a specific structure. So you set goals for the next 13 weeks. So pretty much that's three months. And here you can see tracking your goals, planning and tracking your weeks, and then planning and tracking your each and every day. And so I write notes, lots of them, and I don't use it actually for planning a lot.

I use it more for tracking. But in the morning, I fill in, indeed, I try in the morning to fill in this part. And this is indeed what I want to do in the day, if I manage to do those things I am happy and here is what I actually did. And here is the timeline of my day. You know, this is messy. Many times I go back and I fill previous days with what I did because I didn't have time to do it in the day. But this type of journaling really gives some structure and makes the day being a unit instead of just something that you don't realize but goes by completely unconsciously. And every now and then, actually once a month, I do this thing, which is called One Thing Planner.

This planner is based on the One Thing book by Gary Keller. This is a very easy to read book, very compact. And especially cool is this question here. What's the one thing I can do such by doing it, everything else will become easier or unnecessary. The reason why this question is particularly good is that it doesn't focus in the output you're producing. It focuses on your growth. It's a brilliant question. Mostly what I do I again, don't use this for planning, I just take things from here and go right back here what I did every day. So it's a summary, high level summary of what I did every day based on those journals. Now, this turns out to be extremely useful because I'm not doing actual reflection, but the fact that I sit down there and I write it makes me realize that things take much longer to do. And this helps me become a little bit more self-compassionate as well as budgeting my time a bit better. So right now, I will probably not start something because I think this will take three months. This will take five months. In my mind, I thought everything takes one day, I will sit down and finish it in the day. And the saying is that we overestimate what we can do in a day and we underestimate what we can do in a decade or in a year. And that journal really drove this home for me.

Okay, let's get digital now. And I have only three books to suggest on the topic of productivity.

The first one is of course, getting things done, the Art of stress-free productivity by David Allen. And basically it's all about this diagram I show you right here. It's a workflow with an inbox and then some system of archiving, some calendar and sometime that you use to process the inbox. I have been using that for probably 15 years now in various forms. The thing is that this diagram translates to pretty much everything you do. To emails, your to-dos, your everything can be seen by the lens of this diagram. So go read this book, it's absolutely amazing.

The second book is Deep Work, which pretty much says get rid of distractions. So for example, my mobile, I have notifications turned off and I don't turn them on no matter how many people tell me, Hey, you know, I talk to you to the messenger. And why do you reply very slowly? I reply slowly because I want my brain to be my brain and not full of distractions. So Deep Work is a book that talks all about that, how to focus and, you know, for prolonged periods of time do one thing and do it well. I try to keep my brain very clear as much as possible. Even if you see right now on the Mac, I use this new thing, which is called Stage Manager. And it pretty much clears the entire desktop and gives you in the screen just one thing.

But I want to close this book presentation with this last quite recent book. It's called Building a Second Brain. And this really helped me declutter my desktop, my digital world a lot. I have heard about Inbox zero and I am pretty close to zero. Often I am at zero. You can see how it looks like. My inbox is pretty empty. And in the last half an hour those mails arrived. I can very quickly, you know, archive them. Thank you so much. Okay I love this. Probably it has a good quote here, but today's too long. Okay, Scott. Scott says something, probably read it a little bit later. And that's it. So that's how I process my email inbox. And I have similar processes for processing tabs. So in my mobile phone right now I have 43 tabs open and if I disable the stage manager, you will see that I have as many tabs open as anyone, like hundreds of them.

But what I do periodically is I process those tabs and what happens to all those tabs, they come to this second brain software that I use, which is called Obsidian. And I use the PARA method that again, is explained on this book, PARA - Projects, Areas, Resources and Archive. It's not really very important, but it helps me take tons of tabs and organize them and write a few things, things that are very important about them and the rest, you know, just discard them. It's a very cool technology and it allowed me to remove all the stress from having so many tabs open. Now I know exactly what to do. And one thing I often do when I want to end up with zero inbox is I move things from the inbox to my to-do app. My todo app is an endless list of things that probably will never happen.

But again, it's a way to prioritize things and feel okay with them. Now, this "Things" is not necessarily the best todo app out there, you know, there's so many, but one thing that it has is that it's very fast. So if I put here fast as a new to do, you will see that it appears within seconds on my Mac, okay. It synchronizes nicely through iPhone and Mac. And so I can trust it. I can trust that all the things that are very important for me at a given moment, they're going to be at the top of this list. But my most important to-do list is not digital, it's actually the space I live in. So if you notice my room, I mean, right now I'm shooting a video, so it's super empty, but you can see how empty it is. Everything I have here is a tool for something. And I created this neon over there that reminds me how important it is to keep the space clean, both the physical space and of course the space in your brain. Don't get me wrong, when I am on a task, the place becomes a real mess, but then I tidy up and it all becomes clean again. But what you can see right there is actually the do list. It's a do list in the form of items and books. And one important detail is that,

So I can totally get things out of sight if I want. And whatever is over here on my desktop is super important, is the thing that defines my day pretty much. So here, the meditation stuff, one little project that I'm working with right now, my calendars and my journals, okay, this is the idea that I would be exercising and this is also the idea that I would DJ. You can see there the to-do of wanting to make a video about Meta Quest Pro. And so this is the top of my to-do list, but then we get to point number two, which is actually what you see here.

So one project there, one related to neurofeedback here, it's something that I want to try. This is a very nice dolly for better cinema takes, some camera stuff. Look at this. You might have thought it's very weird because you didn't see any wires in my room. And that's because all the wires are here and they're pretty a lot. And some electronic projects there that are left idle for a long time. So you see the lower something is the more immediate it is and the higher the more long term it is. And as a matter of fact, I spent quite a bit of time of tidying up this one. Because this is my physical to-do list. Many times I have things here that I need to rearrange or get rid of because they're frankly lower priority, and this has to be reflected in the space. So if something is not in my number one to-do list and not in my number two to do list, where do you think it goes? So that's right. This is actually the number three to-do list. My little storage here. Those are books that I'm trying to sell eventually when I have the time. And as you can see here, there are many boxes with electronics and project stuff. And again, you might notice that it's all tidy and nice, and this of course takes time.

But you know, that's what it takes to have productivity and wellness. You have to tidy up a lot. Over here you see my library, and this is one of the most important places for me. You know, I haven't really read all those books cover to cover, but they're important bookmarks for me. They're like, Hey, you were interested in that one, you were interested in that thing. You were interested in that one. So many times I spend time over here, I just pick a random book and read five or ten pages. It kind of stimulates different parts of my brain that otherwise, you know, I have, I would have completely forgotten I'm interested in those things. So I really love this library and you know, I had to give away many, many books. And that's another process which is very complicated. I ended up wanting to sell actually the books because this is the best thing I can do.

So throwing away stuff in the culture I live around here is not a good thing. People don't like you throwing away stuff. They think you should be donating it. But the best thing you can do is actually sell a thing you don't need anymore. Because then it goes to somebody who is super motivated, motivated enough to pay money for something and in order to get it. This takes tons of effort of my side. So I have to list it. I have to wait for somebody to buy and then go to the post office and post it.

And this is why I have the fourth level, which is of course storage, deep storage, where I store stuff I don't regularly use. And this is more or less, as you can see, it's the same principle repeating again and again. And of course in computer science we have lots of it. Hierarchies of things. You have a stack, you throw things there. Whatever is in the bottom of the stack means that you don't use it, you put it somewhere more far away and you clean up space. And this, this is not minimalist at all. I'm not minimalist. I have a huge flow of things that are coming and I do something with them and then I move them somewhere else or, or I manage all the time things, information. And then the same time, with all those tricks and techniques that I shared with you, I manage to stay reasonably not overwhelmed and reasonably not anxious and not depressed. And yeah, I hope you find all those things useful. And let me know in the comments what are the things you like, what do you use yourself. And as always, thanks for watching.

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