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I grew up with a lot of disadvantages – health wise, financially and educationally.  I also wouldn’t say I’m a natural born genius,  a super hard worker, or naturally very motivated.   Most of my life, I also had OCD and cognitive problems.

These disadvantages forced me to seek out tools that helped me become more productive.   However, after a while, I learnt that almost all of the tools in books were complete shit.

Books like “Getting Things Done” only increased my neuroticism and never actually helped me.  I believe that most of these books are either irrelevant or detrimental to people.

These books are meant to fulfill people’s hope that they will become more productive with silly tweaks, rather than serious change.

The self-help movement is mostly one big hope machine that is trying to convince you that you have control over your destiny and you can do anything. Don’t waste your time with any of this nonsense.

Whenever I hear someone give productivity tips, I can’t help but think how naive they are.  These people are usually trying to analyze their own life and see what it is they do that makes them productive.

What they don’t realize is that they’re doing something that works for them and is natural for them.

I spoke about the importance of your life flowing effortlessly and of conserving your inner life force. When we introduce these concepts that aren’t natural to us, we take away from our life force and our life becomes more erratic.    It’s not natural and it’s not you.

Make it your goal to walk in a certain way and you’ll see how your gait becomes awkward.

As Bruce Lee says, water can flow or it can crash.  

The self-help industry as a whole introduces concepts that make your life less ‘flowy’.   That’s why I can’t stand it.

This post is not about specifics, because everyone has different specifics.  Our lives are all constructed differently and any tip that I or anyone else gives you likely doesn’t apply to you.

Trying to learn productivity specifics from someone else will either be useless, harmful or obvious (or at least it should be).

I’m here to show you the outline.  There’s nothing you have to do after reading this post.  Just sit back and continue your life.  If it resonates with you, you’ll implement it whether you try to or not.

Our society isn’t missing more tricks for productivity.  We are missing something more fundamental.

The tips I mention here are all simple, but not easy.  If they were simple and easy, we’d all be naturally extremely productive.

This post isn’t about silly tweaks or specifics like stop frenetically checking your email or setting limits on your meetings.

Hopefully, you have common sense and a minimum level of self-awareness to know that if you’re spending too much time doing something ‘unproductive’ then maybe you should stop or reduce it.

If you are spending too much time on email, you should stop – if you want to get more work done.  No one has to tell you this and I sure won’t.

The problem isn’t knowing what to do, but having the motivation to do it.  Perhaps listening to someone say we shouldn’t do something reinforces our motivation, but this is only temporary.

Some people have wondered how I’ve been able to get to where I am today with all of my disadvantages.   Well, I don’t see my accomplishments as significant at all, but I’ll nevertheless tell you what’s helped me.

1) Change Your Biology and Health Status

There’s no ‘hack’ that’s ever worked to improve my mood besides changing my biology.

Lectin avoidance, exercise, pregnenolonePQQ, various herbs and other biological tweaks certainly did and do help me.

People often neglect their biology and think we can control our happiness and productivity through our mind.

If you aren’t happy or healthy, you need to change your biology.

Your productivity will be in the toilet if you have chronic inflammation.

Some people don’t need any biological tweaks, but this is becoming rare in the modern environment.

Bottom line: You need to fix your biology if it’s not working right.

2) Simplify, Simplify, Simplify….

What does it mean to simplify?  It means to hack away at the inessentials in your life.  Depending where you are in your life and your personality, it can mean different things.

To simplify means to cut out things that you think you need or want.   You should realize that you don’t need anything to be happy (except basic food and shelter).

I tend to take this to the extreme because I am happiest, least anxious and most productive the more simply I live. But you only have to simplify as you see fit.  Just realize the more the better.

If there’s one thing Steve Jobs learnt from his Buddhist foray, it’s that we must simplify.  All Apple products have this idea in mind.

This concept is a guiding principal for my writing and how I problem solve.  What’s the simplest explanation?  How can I cut this post down and make it shorter? (As you can see from this post, I’m a work in progress.)

Simplifying has been the single best tool in my arsenal – better than everything else combined.  It has improved my health, mood and productivity greatly.  There is no close second to this tool.

There was no one that hit this point home more than Matthieu Ricard, a PhD graduate in molecular genetics from the Pasteur Institute who became a Buddhist monk. (See Happiness: A Guide To Developing Life’s Most Important Skill).

He has been called the “happiest person in the world” by popular media. (R) Matthieu Ricard was a volunteer subject in a study performed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on happiness, scoring significantly above the average of hundreds of volunteers. (R)

I’ve been on a long journey of simplification for the past 5 years and I can tell you that it works.  Your life will improve immeasurably.

We humans have a knack for complexifying.   Our natural tendency is to get caught up in thinking that more is better.

Acquiring more things than we need is a part of human nature, which evolved in a period of scarcity.   This results in us having too much stuff (George Carlin skit).

Conventional Self-Help

What irks me about many self-help books is that they’re often advocating adding things to be more productive.  You must add lists, apps, etc…

I’m here to proclaim that if anyone tells you to add something, ignore them.  To be productive you must subtract, not add.

You should ignore any advice that complexifies your life.

The Great Conflagration: Burn Your Resolutions, Plans, To-Do Lists and Goals

I used to dream of reading a whole bunch of books and I’d collect them so that I can read them one day.  I see other people have goals in what they want to read or accomplish in general.

Forget all of this nonsense.  Your only goal should be to enjoy life and to do that you need to live simply.

Get rid of those to-read,  to-do or to-watch lists.  Get rid of all of your goals and plans for the future. Out!  Burn them in your mental bon fire and dance around this imaginary blaze.  Laugh and scoff at them.

While your at it, throw in all of your possessions, trophies and everything you think you need to be happy in that great conflagration (you don’t actually have to throw them out).  This is part of what it means to simplify.

The more goals you have, whether it’s personal or other, the more you are complexifying your life.  You don’t have to do or read anything.  You only need to live your life and enjoy it.

To enjoy your life, you’ll need to let go and live your life as spontaneously as possible.  Don’t be afraid to let go.  I used to be afraid, but every time I’ve let go, I haven’t looked back.

Long-term goals are the ultimate life-flow killers.

When you make a goal, you are implying that life will be better when it’s accomplished.  You are also implying that without some topdown control, the true you doesn’t know what it needs to do.  In essence, you are not trusting yourself.

You must realize that life doesn’t get better by accomplishing or acquiring.  You have all you need right now to be perfectly happy.

Your life will flow if you just let it.  You don’t need topdown control.

Doesn’t it really astonish you that you are this fantastically complex thing and you’re doing all this without any education in how to do it? (Alan Watts)

When you begin to stop making goals, you’ll notice how hard and uncomfortable this is.   I used to be a serious goalaholic, so I know.

No one said it’s easy to simplify.

Not needing to accomplish anything doesn’t mean that you won’t. The less I desire to accomplish, the more productive I am.   This is because I don’t expend energy planning, dreaming or agonizing.  I only expend energy being or ‘flowing’, which is effortless.

If you just let yourself be, your internal life force will want to get things done. And if it doesn’t then you need to change your biology.

We’re so afraid of letting go of control.  We are afraid that if we let go, we may be a failure!  You won’t be – not in the long term.  Trust in your true self.

There’s No Where to Go, Nothing to Learn

I’m also here to tell you that you don’t need to trek to the Himalayas, study under Buddhist monks or meditate for 10 years (or spend thousands on 40 bullshit years of Zen).  I’ve made my life changes with relatively little meditation.

Actually, meditation is another popular item that has been added to people’s list of things we need to accomplish. Forget meditation.  There are lower hanging fruit.  And if you do meditate, don’t make it into an accomplishment. Don’t make a goal out of it.

What if Your House Burnt Down?

The most important thing to realize is not how much you have, but how much you are willing to let go of in an instant.

If your house burnt down right now, with everything inside of it, would you feel terrible?  I used to shudder at such a possibility.  All of the stuff I accumulated would go down the drain.  The trophies, the collectibles, the terabytes of data, pictures, cloths, etc…

When I think about what would happen if my apartment burnt down now, I think it would be annoying and I’d have to repurchase various items, but it wouldn’t be so bad.   There’s nothing I’m so attached to here that I can’t be without.

The Weekend With Nothing

Two weeks ago, I was at a circumcision ritual for my new born nephew (I have 17 neices and nephews) and my brother invited me for the weekend to his house.

I had absolutely nothing with me.  No supplements, no tooth brush, no change of underwear or socks or anything else.  None of this bothered me and I accepted his invitation.

I ate regular food and didn’t pine for any of my belongings.  I was perfectly content.  The point is that you should be free and not be attached to anything.

Although, I have a particular frankinsteinish diet most of the time, I was fine eating normal food.  (I stuck mostly to fruits, veggies, meat, chicken fish, etc…)

It may seem like I have all of these devices and supplements and I have this particular way of life or diet.  Mentally, I separate myself from these attachments and I don’t actually care too much about anything.

It may seem like I care so much about my cognitive function – and I do – but I’m also willing let go  a large degree (see LSD experiment).

It may seem like I am obsessed with my health, but I’m willing to smoke a cigarette once in a while (although I stopped).

Mental attachments are even worse than physical attachments.

People spend endless amounts of time tending to their mental attachments.

Bottom Line: In order to simplify, you must detach and stop clinging to your thoughts, ideology or possesions…

That Person is SO RUDE

Simplification includes hacking away at all inessential thoughts.

Such thoughts include how rude some person was, what someone will think of you or any other irrelevant thought. And just so you know, 99% of your thoughts are irrelevant.

I’ll think irrelevant thoughts, but I know they’re irrelevant.  It’s just me passing time and enjoying the journey of life. They’re just things that I enjoy thinking about, without any absolute value.

However, most of my thoughts these days relate to figuring things out.

I try to let go of thinking about the past, the future and what others will think.  As time goes on, I get better at this and with that comes a burst of creativity and an increase in life force.

When someone is rude to me, I look at them and think that I’d probably be no different if I lived their life.  They probably work 10 hours at a job they don’t like and come home to a bad relationship and constantly worry about everything under the sun.  They probably have a shitty diet and all of kinds of physological imbalances.  How could I blame them for being rude? Poor soul.

Planting The Seed

I have a client who had a lifetime of clinging and he didn’t even know it.   He spent countless hours thinking about stuff that only caused anxiety and weren’t productive.

He was telling me how he was attached to this piece of artwork he bought.  I told him that he should mentally detach himself from it. He was resistant to my advice.  But little did he know, the seed was planted.

Nine months later, he calls me and he’s a completely different person.  He stopped caring about everything and is much happier and more relaxed.   He lives a much more simplified life and there’s no turning back for him.    He can’t even understand why he cared about all of the things that he used to care about.

While he always made money, he seems to be in a much better state financially as well.  He completely simplified his business and his life.

What’s most fascinating about his case was that he didn’t expend any effort in trying to implement anything.  He completely brushed it off.  When I ask him now, he realizes that his life changed dramatically, but he never even realized that he was implementing anything.

He was ready to change but didn’t know it.   This is what I call effortless change.

All I did was plant the seed and it struck some deep chord with him that resonated.

If you’re ready to wake up, you’re going to wake up, as Alan Watts says.

If this material doesn’t resonate with you then forget it and move on.   It’s not for everyone.

Examples of How I Simplified My Life

Just a bit of a warning here – I’ve taken this idea further than anyone I’ve met.

This is not a list of suggestions. You have to do what suits you. 

The point is I found ways to simplify my life and cut things out.

I cut out 95% of the thoughts I used to have – the past (regrets, guilt, etc…), the future (plans, goals, ambitions, etc…) and what others think of me or my image.

I cut out feeling the need to do anything extraneous.  More than that, I cut out the need to do anything at all.

I cut out people who are energy draining.

I cut out reading books.  I stopped thinking of books as trophies or accomplishments.

I stopped reading the news – I used to be a news junkie.  Now I look at it every once in a while.

I cut out women from my life – I am willing to date someone if we flow, effortlessly.  Read on.

I simplified my friend list.  I’d rather one great friend than 30 mediocres.

I simplified my thoughts. I cut out all happiness hacks or other things to ‘improve’ my life.   That includes a gratitude journal (not necessarily ‘bad’) or anything that requires any time in my day -you know, ‘just’ 5 minutes.   I don’t try to think in any way like books advise.  I just try to be me, which is essentially an absence of all the nonsense that we are bombarded with from books, media, etc…

I got rid of my clothes, books, car and most recently my cell phone.

I stopped going to bars and clubs.  I stopped vacations (although I’d like to do some traveling to interesting places).

I gave away my plants.  I used to have a lot of plants, but I realized they were a burden on me.

I stopped playing sports.  I tended to get injuries.

I stopped watching bad quality TV shows (I’m selective).

For a year, I slept on the floor – on a mat that’s about as thick as a duvet.  I was too lazy to get a bed.

Examples of small things I got rid of: I stopped washing my towel, showering daily ( however, I’m extremely careful about not smelling), etc…

And that’s right, I don’t have a cell phone.   I haven’t had a cell phone for 6 months.  I have a tablet with 4g that allows me to use maps and navigate and make outgoing calls with a VOIP app called Viber.  There’s no one that I have to speak to that can’t wait.   The app sucks, but I generally don’t need to use my cell phone.  There’s a good chance I will get a cell phone in the future, but I don’t need one now.

I generally get rid of anything that I don’t or won’t use in the future.

Most importantly, I’ve mentally got rid of all my possessions.

If you have pets, think about giving them away if you can find someone who will be humane to them.  If not, then just don’t get any more.  Pets were a burden on me, even though I love animals.

Adding in Order to Subtract

Sometimes, we must add in order to simplify.  If you’re getting lost while driving, then getting a smart phone will certainly simplify your life.

I call these “additions in order to subtract.”  It’s like jumping on a trampoline, where you must first go down in order to go up.

I spent 200$ on a good router because the cheaper routers were all shit and giving me problems.  Buying the Apple router simplified my life by allowing me to focus on life more.

Buying a MacBook pro also makes me more efficient and simplifies my life by having a great trackpad, etc…

The point is that I’m not against all additions.  If the addition causes you to worry or it occupies your mind, then  it’s complexifying your life.  If the addition allows you to let go more, then it’s simplifying your life.

You need to use your brains and try to be aware if something makes your life simpler or more complex.

When you add something for your health you are subtracting future health problems or you’re getting rid of physiological imbalances that are making your life harder and more annoying.  So in a sense, they’re simplifying your life.

Having many supplements actually goes against my simplification philosophy.  Simplifying means taking the ones that work best and sticking with them.  It means to eventually automate it by preparing a large batch.  The most important thing is that you don’t want to have it on your mind.

However, even if your additions are there to simplify, you should still be mentally prepared to let go of these as well.

Perfectly Imperfect

What you should be looking at is the content of your mind.

When you sit and do nothing, what thoughts enter your mind?  What thoughts are you attached to?

At the highest level, it is said that your mind should be empty.

Well, my mind certainly isn’t empty, but it doesn’t need to be.

I’m not perfect or at the highest level, nor do I care to be.  I only desire to be at the level that suits my life.

Almost all of my thoughts these days are related to my passion and work.  These are rather enjoyable and productive at the same time.

What’s most important is that I’ve cut out almost all thinking about my past, future or my image.

You have to get to a place that suits your own life.  You have to find what’s perfect for you, even if it’s imperfect in the absolute sense.

3) Change Your Environment

I can’t say how many hours I’ve spent trying to hack my mind, without any success.  Actually, it was to my detriment.

What does work, however, is changing your environment.  Who you speak to, where you live and what your environment is like has a massive impact on you.

I found myself being heavily influenced by the people I’m around.

If you want to work harder (not always a good idea), surround yourself with hard-working people.  If you want to become smarter, surround yourself with smart people.  If you want to be more optimistic, then surround yourself with optimistic people.

I have a roommate that I like, but we’re just very different personalities and we were constantly rubbing our personality off to the other.  It was uncomfortable for both of us, but we were addicted to talking to each other.  It created bad tension even though we liked each other.  I also felt like I was wasting too much time talking about nonsense.

I was doing something that I knew I shouldn’t do, but I couldn’t help it.  I saw my patterns and I realized something had to change.

We decided that we’d only speak one day a week (Sunday) and if we needed to communicate it would be via email.

After we stopped talking, we both had a noticeable and significant drift back to our true selves.   I started becoming much more productive and there was a slight uptick in my happiness.  I became more optimistic.  Our environment was temporarily holding us back from being who we’re most comfortable being.

If this didn’t work, I would’ve eventually asked him to leave because I realized the importance of the environment. But it worked out very nicely and we are on great terms, speaking in person once a week.

When I temporarily lived at home 3 years ago, it was horrible.   I was still having many health problems then.  I thought that living at home would save me money because I wasn’t in a position to work and be in school.  Not only that, but I didn’t have much money to move.

Me and my mother are like day and night even though she’s an amazing person (I’m more like my father and my mother’s parents). I was being influenced by her ideology and I knew it wasn’t me or what I wanted, but it still influenced me and caused internal strain.

I knew I had to move if I was to express my true self- and I did.  I figured that the money was negligible to what I’d accomplish in a different environment.  So I took the risk and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Growing up, my environment was always very different than my genetic predispositions and I always felt this held me back from being the true me.  The older I got the more I shifted my environment to one that is more consonant with me and I feel like a bird that’s been let out of my cage.

Being exposed to different cultures and types of people can give you a more broad perspective of the world.  But this exposure should be temporary.  It should last only as long as your perspective is being expanded.

The bottom line is your environment matters – a lot.  If you want to achieve your true potential and be happiest, change your environment to one that is consonant with your true self.

4) Pursue Your Passion

I can’t know if you’ll make more money pursuing your passion or not.  It depends what your passion is.

But generally, if your passionate about something, you will become an expert at it.  If you’re smart (orJewish), you’ll think of some way to monetize it.

My own learning is accelerated by 5-10X when I am passionate about a subject.  I remember everything better and the information enters my mind so much more easily.  That’s why I can’t stand formal schooling – it’s stifling for me.

5) Don’t Date Haphazardly

I’m a big proponent of making your life flow effortlessly.  The biggest disturbance to such flow is a mismatch of personalities between couples.

We humans are built to value beauty, status and a variety of factors that have nothing to do with how well you jive with someone or how similar you are.

Men will often toss personality aside and chase the hottest girl that they can get and women will often chase the richest or highest status males that they can get.   This is somewhat natural.

Often, the person you are dating is someone who has been in your proximity and you fell in love with them (or not) due to sheer time spent together.

‘Propinquity’ is a social psychological phenomenon in which you become attracted to someone merely by being exposed to them more.  Proximity is the best predictor of who someone will date.

So people aren’t matched up based on similarities, which is what produces a good relationship.

People waste an inordinate amount of time in bad relationships and it can take a tremendous amount energy out of you.

Bottom line: If you want to be productive, then choose your partner wisely- particularly, someone who is similar to you.

Figure Out What You’re Looking For in a Partner for the Relationship to Flow

I would love to date someone where there’s a synergy and we both help the other grow and be happy. Companionship can be great.

However, I’ve committed to finding a girl with whom my life just flows effortlessly.  This could mean different things for different people.

You have to decide for yourself what that is.  I have absolutes that I’m not willing to settle on.  I’d rather stay single than have an unfulfilling relationship.

Bottom line: Who you date or marry will significantly impact your productivity and life.  Don’t take it lightly or f*ck it up by dating someone who isn’t suited for you.  If you are in a relationship that causes too much friction, then end it.

6) Pay Attention to Your Patterns

Instead of trying to change, I found it’s more natural and effective to work within my limits.

If I see that my pattern is to take on more than I can handle, I know I have to reduce what I take on, rather than  try to motivate myself to get more done.

If I see my pattern is to consume a whole cake when it’s in front of me, I don’t work on hacks to increase my willpower.  I stay away from the cake or take other steps that keep my limitations in mind.  I’ll often tweak situational events, but I will never try to just increase my willpower.

I’ve found that when I go away with the mindset that I will strictly keep my diet, I fail.  But when I go with the mindset that I should stay away from the worst culprits, I succeed.

When writing, I noticed a pattern that when I attempt to write a comprehensive post, I quit very easily.  When I attempt to write a small blurb, it keeps flowing and I don’t stop.

I also realize that when I write a large post, I lack the motivation to do the editing.  If I leave it in my drafts folder, it will never get published.  But I found when I publish it, I come back to it and edit it.

I look for patterns and respect them by working within my limits.  I don’t try to use your willpower to break out of it. I don’t have a limitless mindset. I used to do that and it almost never worked.  If it did it just took too much out of me.

When I used to be in school I remember I wasn’t productive when I stayed at home vs when I went to the library.  I kept thinking maybe it will be different this time if I just try harder.  It never was.  I didn’t accept my patterns fully.

There are thousands of small patterns in your life.  Recognize and embrace them.

Don’t be angry at yourself for not living up to some ideal. Don’t assume that next time will be different if you just try harder.

Bottom line:  Recognize and respect your patterns.

7) Experiment

While I pay attention to my patterns, I also experiment with a bunch of different approaches.

If you think a certain approach will make you more efficient then go for it.  Try it out.  If it’s natural and it works, then great.

I’m not against this at all.  Since you figured it out, it’s more likely to be natural for you and work.

However, be very wary of reading someone else’s hacks, because life is too complex for their hacks to work for you and it brings with it the danger of complexifying.

It’s like trying to teach someone to socialize from a textbook.  There’re too many small details and calibrations that the person will just become more awkward.

If you enjoy reading this type of material for its own sake, then great.  But don’t actively try to implement it for the sake of becoming more productive.

8) Stop Reading Books

My dirty little secret is that I have only read one book – and only half of it- in the past 5 years (however, I occasionally listen to audiobooks).  I seek out information that I need to know or am curious about on the internet.

There’s too much fluff and nonsense in books.  For most books, you can learn all you need to know about it from the title or a paragraph.

9) Get Good at Doing Nothing

Here’s one productivity tip that will seem paradoxical to you.  Be more productive by getting good at doing nothing. Huh? I’ll explain.

What is Doing Nothing?

I consider doing nothing as simply letting go and watching your thoughts and seeing where they flow.

Doing nothing means to step back from the chaos of daily life and just watch/listen.

Watching and listening is not an active process.  It will come somewhat naturally when you just stop trying to distract yourself.

What this means is you shouldn’t feel guilty by sitting in a chair and doing nothing but watching your thoughts.

Some will call this meditation, but I don’t like this characterization, because it assumes you need to set aside a certain time in the day, sit in a certain way, etc…

You don’t need to set aside any time.  You just have to be comfortable with doing nothing.

Doing Nothing Isn’t:

When I say get good at doing nothing, I’m not talking about day dreaming or thinking about the past or future.

Doing nothing isn’t gloating to yourself about how your the best thing since sliced rye bread or how you’re no good. It’s not worrying what others will think or what you’re having for dinner.  But being aware of these thoughts can be helpful.

It isn’t hanging out with friends, partying or thinking about a potential mate.

It certainly isn’t watching TV or playing video games. These activities occupy and distract your mind.

Being Busy is “SO” Cool

Some people try so hard to be busy to feel accomplished.  Being busy has become cool.  We’re all trying to be busy all of the time. We brag how little sleep we’re getting because this makes us appear more busy.

Most of the time, this is a fake busyness and people accomplish little.

Being Busy Kills Self-Awareness

In order to set the stage for change, you need to develop self-awareness.

When you are constantly busy, you are occupying and creating static for your mind and that kills self-awareness.

When you’re too busy, you have no clue about what’s going on in your body or mind.  You have a million different thoughts and you’re not paying attention to any of them.  Your body could be in pain, but you’d barely notice it.

To be self-aware, you need to be able to step back at various points in the day and just watch and listen.  You need to be comfortable with doing nothing.

A Knotty Situation

Being to busy is like having too much rope/wire in an area.  At first it might be fine, but eventually things will get tangled in your mind and you will start to feel uneasy and you won’t know why. You will feel like something is missing, but you’re not sure what.

Full Speed Ahead! But to Where?

I see people barreling down a path at full speed without understanding themselves or knowing if it’s the right path for them.

Then they have a midlife crisis when they start to think about their life and ask what’s the point of it all?  Where am I going?  Where do I want to go? How does my life fit into this universe?  What makes me happy?

Maybe -just maybe – you should ask these questions before you choose your life path.

Imagine if these people took the time to learn themselves first before they started charging full speed ahead.

Valuing Idleness

Learning to value idleness has been eye-opening for me.

You’ll learn very quickly, however, that there’s nothing more boring than idling.

You’re going to want to do things, including work, without deadlines or pressure.

You have to trust yourself that when you let go and stop trying so hard, you will be the best you that you can be.

Preventing Burnout

If you are always in the mindset that doing nothing is ok and healthy, you will never burn out.

I used to burnout all of the time, but ever since I’ve internalized this message, I’ve never burnt out.

Breaking Down Thoughts

The first thing you’ll notice when you stop feeling the need to be so busy is that your mind is constantly thinking.

Whatever thought you have, ask yourself if it’s an important thought to think.  What would happen if you didn’t think it?  Would life be any different?

I went through a long period of making it my business to not be busy.  I watched my thoughts and questioned if these thoughts were important.  I eventually realized that none of them were.

It took me years to break them down, one by one.

My mind is still filled with thoughts, but they are of a different nature and I realize that none of them are important or cause happiness.  I am not attached to them.

For me, the thoughts themselves are just a source of entertainment.  They are part of the flow of life.

When Busyness is Good

If you are capable of being busy, happy and relatively relaxed at the same time, then you know you’re on the right path.

Every project you add, you should be paying attention to your state and make sure it’s sustainable and not leading to burnout or depression.

How Will This Make You More Productive?

Understanding yourself is a pillar of a productive life.

Steve Jobs didn’t become Steve Jobs overnight.  He went through a large stretch of idleness and meditated often.

If you stop being so busy, you will be more self-aware, which will allow you to analyze your patterns and understand yourself better.

It will allow you to choose the right path for you, which could save you a ton of time in the long run.

You won’t burn out or wear yourself down from chronic anxiety or unhappiness.  As a result of less anxiety and depression, your brain will function better as well.

You won’t be as impulsive and therefore you’ll be more focused and procrastinate less.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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67 COMMENTS

  • Luke Voigt

    Dude this just gave me a HUGE shift in my thinking. Thank You.

  • k

    could you please be a bit more specific as to what books can be read, Dude, that’s a manual, not the books I’m talking about, so what is allowed then could you change your paragraph on books because your now saying you can read certain types but not others?

  • k

    Its just your opinion about books. And I can have my own, But id say the majority of people would disagree with you.

  • maria

    What do you mean by being productive, Are all of these things your opinion, Lets say a man wants to build a motorbike on his own, he doesn’t want to go to a teacher, and does not own a computer, he has no knowledge what so ever, all he has is a garage and lots of tools and a book on how to build a motor bike, he has trouble building the bike using his imagination its taking him a very long time, he then picks up his book on how to build a motor bike and is then able to build one in a short period of time, the book indirectly/directly increased his productivity because without it he did not have a clue, the book gave him more knowledge to apply in the real world helping his efficiency greatly and correctly speeding up and increasing his productivity at building his bike . That’s just my opinion.

    Pease

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Dude, that’s a manual, not the books I’m talking about.

      1. K

        in that one book that you ever read which was only half of it, so did you just read the title or a paragraph for that book, you said for most books, so that means that their are at least some books which need to be read then!

      2. K

        Well you should be more specific as you may well know some of us take what you say seriously lol, Did you graduate, did you not need Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Biology to be a nutritionist, did you get a degree form a university , I bet you used lots of manuals to get your grade, a book is a book, a Manuel still comes in book format,

        1. Joseph M. Cohen

          Dude, you got a book a consult for OCD. Let it go. You’re reading into this shit too much. How about this…be selective with which books you read…

          1. k

            If am studying science will reading the science text book for the course help me to be more productive at passing the course thanks

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  • [email protected]

    Well What If you wanted to be productive at becoming smarter, reading works the mind and can make you smarter so you would be being productive by reading. Its one factor

    1. k

      So Would reading a maths book help me be more productive at trying to pass a maths exam? Thanks

      1. Joseph M. Cohen

        Yes…

  • K

    What about a booklet on how to work as a security guard at super market, a specific one just for that particular super market, that’s only on a writing word on paper format, you would be less productive for not reading how to do your job and rules things like that, and if you read it then you’ll be more productive because you’ll have more knowledge to put into use with your body and mind. no online reading what so ever done! True story

  • k

    What about the study about kindle vs paper about losing are ability to deep read

  • K

    surly mediation is a good way of doing nothing and if it increases your iq like you said that should show in what ever you do work wise, and many articles on the internet also state benefits to the brain and body, to reduce the stress by meditating surly your better able to meet the demands of life and be more productive, steve jobs did alright for himself and he meditated. so is it ok to meditate?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Meditation is good

  • K

    well surly you need to read as part of getting educated? and your being productive towards your goal of whatever subject such as English?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I’m not saying not to read – I think you should read, but your time is better spent reading articles rather than books. You can read summaries of books or blogs. You don’t need to read the book.

      1. K

        Ok well take a book called solitary fitness for example not until near the end of the end of the book not at a summary page or at the front it talks about how to increase penis size now if I didn’t flick though I would not of found out that info, so are you telling me that their could not be some sort of gem of wisdom or info deep inside a book? what about evidence that people remember more from pages rather than screens , I read about that online lol. And if reading novels could reduce stress and maybe EQ and imagination, surly that’s a life advantage? Ok so I will go to a course and research at home online but read study text books as well how about that the middle way? Pease.

        1. Joseph M. Cohen

          LOL, dude you are a comedian without knowing it. Can I share your humor as my FB status? (No one knows what “K” is).

          1. K

            Yes go right ahead, What do you think of dr Wilson

            he says that Roy masters mediation is the best but then again that’s just his opinion, but they do use it in the us army.

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      2. K

        Ok and then if you just do that and spent reading articles online rather than books, Tell me this what is your emotional intelligence going to be like? Id say that of a robot and EQ may be more important than IQ think about that, But if you read some small amount of a book and keep that trait and read articles, then surly that’s the best from both worlds, Again Einstein in his quote said too much so nothing wrong with a little, and he didn’t read internet articles I think, so any reading he did was on paper most likely.

  • K

    what does this post mean, does it mean That you can aim and do what ever it is you want or need to and this post can help you be more productive in what ever it is you are doing is that right am I free to do what ever I want within the law? And as it said in the bible not to have idols I will always remember that its just your opinion a human just like me.

  • K man

    How did you get qualified as a nutritionist are you telling me you didn’t read any books for that?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Internet – pubmed, wiki, etc…

      1. K

        what about going to the library instead of school did you not read books there, u say not to follow others hacks so just do what feals right for u then?

        1. Joseph M. Cohen

          Read if you like it

          1. K

            What if I want to get educated, I don’t have a high level at the moment, How can I do that and still be productive this post really got to my head, Its annoyed me for months its like you shouldn’t do anything but am lacking basic education is it ok to pursue a good education at collage? its my life were talking about here.

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          2. Joseph M. Cohen

            Education is needed for many people to get decent jobs.

            reply icon
  • K man

    What about people who became successful by being inspired from reading books

  • k

    Number 8, Well if reading can increase your intelligence/mental health then that benefits your life does it not, also Einstein’s quote doesn’t mean to not read at all just not to much, So if you release your book are you going to put it all into one page then?

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

    Paper vs screen.

    1. K

      What about being successful At A college course, are you saying that reading the course material wont improve your chances for success?

  • Steve

    Is swallowing one’s sperm as effective as injaculation?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      please comment in relevant sections. Post will be released soon.

      1. k

        Ok sorry about that

  • Kieron

    Would this be a problem?

    The potential problems are UTI, incontinence and infertility (due to undesired retrogrades occurring due to the weakened muscles.)

  • K

    if the semen goes to the bladder during injaculation the tao say that’s the wrong area and its then a waste, do you use the lion?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      The lion?

      1. K

        http://www.nine3.com/Magic.html

        Jen-Mo point was nicknamed “the Lion

  • Ahmad Awadallah

    I needed to read this. Thank you!

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      🙂

  • K

    So how did you Simplify with all the supplements you use, you truly are the king of kings.

  • Kieron

    Iam trying to learn math is that ok, I realy enjoy learning it

  • K

    Your websites that good that I’ve been looking at it off and on for about two years its where I first came across llt, maybe you could go to a library and spend hours, or just one click and your you got what you needed in a simple way. How does this apply to education?

  • Kieron

    So what if I want to improve at math, and increase English skills, so if I sit and do nothing how is that going to help, math and English are required for many jobs, writing is a skill how could you improve that without effort, so by flow is that just like enjoyment and fun. that’s the best way to learn, Also how did you learn about supplements are you saying you didn’t read anything about them? well if you did then that turned out alright didn’t it.

  • William

    “There are many things about which we should worry, and there are many things we should strive as hard as possible to accomplish.”

    I tried to relax for about ten minutes, and I discerned these two beliefs pushing back against me. I am intensely ethically committed to trying really hard to do certain things, and I think there are many things I should strongly insanely mindful of and/or anxious about all the time. I had never though to evaluate goal-orientedness and moralism consequentially in terms of its mpact on the psyche. Tension, tension, tension. Worry, worry, worry. Goals are awesome, but GOALS can kill you.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      They are certainly a burden.

  • Steve

    Humans weren’t meant to be happy, but to chase happiness and evolve in process. People living according to your suggestions are unfair to evolution. Wrong.

  • William

    The logic of abandoning hope is something worth exploring more, that’s an extremely counter-cultural idea. All fantasy is sensorily dissociative, be it pleasurable or not.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Will do.

  • Jen

    I’ve had the urge to re-read this post and the post on letting life flow quite a few times. I had a teacher/friend share a very similar message to what you wrote above with my a couple of years ago, but it’s taken a while for this kind of thinking to become habitual.

    I spent the last five days trying to do absolutely nothing. I watch my thoughts, noticed my patterns, not trying to change anything but just witness. Detaching from the need to do anything and just follow what I felt pulled towards. This isn’t easy, but it’s great practice to develop.

    Everything your writing is really resonating with me. Thanks Joe. Keep it up.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks for your input Jen. I’m proud to count sophisticated people such as yourself as readers 🙂 You are certainly ahead of the curve 😉

  • Alex

    Joe, you are honestly one of most inteligent people I have encountered – whether on the internet or in life. I love your insights. 🙂 Just thought I would mention it. I bet I’m not the only one, who is always going “Damn, that is so true” when reading your posts. I guess the minimalism is the way to go – trying to incorporate it to my life as well. But I guess the biggest obstacles for most people are not clutters, or environment but (as you actually mentined) thoughts. We spend so mucch time focusing or irrelevant things, we cannot change, which are completely useless, and makes us trully unhappy.
    Also, that is so true, that people get attached to ideas, ideologies, and are unable to adjust at many points because of that (at least I am). As you just said allowing yourself to flow effortlessly is the best “advice” I can imagine.
    Thanks for that!

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks for your kind words and input…I’m glad these ideas resonate with you and I hope you find your path 🙂

  • Phil

    Wow, fantastic post, so much of that resonates with me! Psychology books and such just messed me up more…I’m glad to finally understand the need to give them up. I knew this intuitively for a while I guess. Thanks again Joe 🙂

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      🙂

  • William

    Joseph,

    I wonder if being too content would destroy my personality as I know it, insofar as my personality is a mode of adaptation. I have some faith in my anxieties and stressors, on an ideological level I believe they must good for something, that they protect me and insulate me from future pains and losses. What do you think?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I used to think anxiety could be helpful, but I haven’t experienced any negatives without it.

      1. William

        Whatever I did before got me here, so I might falsely attribute the emotionally defensive/retentive behaviors with my survival, but I’m too engaged in the needed self-experimentation to change, but there’s power in this new awareness. Here we go.

  • forgotmypreviousnick

    http://www.theminimalists.com/
    I am reading this bloog from a few years. I can move together with all I need (though it isn’t comfortable). As you told, not every advice in this site is usefull in my case.

  • Jameson

    Does anyone know how long you should be on pqq and coq10?

  • catiepops88

    This is the most refreshing/alarming post I’ve ever read. I still have a white-knuckle grip on my safety rail – of planning and controlling and junk…I’m alarmed because I know you’re right! Resistance phase. But can feel the seed cracking open. Thanks Joe. The transparency is therapeutic.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      lol. I’m not worried about you at all. You have one of the highest levels of self-awareness that I’ve ever seen. Just listen to your internal compass and you will see your life flow effortlessly. Everything will come together seamlessly. And then I will be seeking your guidance 😉

  • William

    I love you, man!

    Just felt like writing that, going with the flow.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Will, I have confidence that everything will fall into place for you 🙂

  • John

    You are wise beyond your years. I adopted your pricipals noted here for a simplified and uncluttered life a few years ago and it made a huge difference in my outlook and happiness. I hope you find the woman of your dreams.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks 🙂

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