Tim Ferriss on Doing It All

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You’re probably familiar with the Tim Ferriss origin story. He was running a highly successful online business and making large sums of money but he was also working 14-hour days, never taking breaks and always stressed out. It was then that he started rethinking about the meaning of success and reworking his life. He’s since written such best-selling books as The 4-Hour Workweek, Tools of Titans and most recently Tribe of Mentors. He hosts a podcast that gets hundreds of millions of downloads, runs a massively popular blog and speaks at various events. And he’s happier and healthier than ever, so it’s clear he’s found a way to maximize his life the right way. Herewith, his tips for maximum output.

You Want to Be Productive, Not Busy

“Few people choose to (or are able to) measure the results of their actions and thus measure their contribution in time. More time equals more self-worth and more reinforcement from those above and around them … The size of your bank account doesn’t change this, nor does the number of hours you log in handling unimportant email or minutiae.”

Don’t Shy Away From a Challenge

“In the morning, write down the three things-and no more-that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. Then ask yourself: Which of these, if checked off, would leave me satisfied with my day? When in doubt, the most important to-do is typically the one that makes you the most uncomfortable, often including a chance of rejection, pain or failure.”

Ask for Forgiveness, Not Permission

“If the potential damage is moderate or in any way reversible, don’t give people the chance to say no. Most people are fast to stop you before you get started, but hesitant to get in the way if you’re moving. Get good at being a troublemaker and saying sorry when you really screw up.”

Look for New Ways to Solve Problems

“If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are subpar, this is the time to ask, what if I did the opposite? Stop following a model that doesn’t work. After all, if the recipe sucks, it doesn’t matter how good a cook you are.”

Don’t Wait to Follow a Passion

“Conditions will never be perfect. And ‘someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it now. You can correct course along the way.”

Need to Focus? Go Off the Grid

“There are so many distractions and so much of social media is designed just to get you angry and fighting … when I need to focus or just maintain my sanity, I switch my phone to airplane mode. This disables any unwanted interruptions. This is particularly critical post-dinner and during my morning routine.”

Don’t Overestimate the World and Underestimate Yourself

“You’re better than you think. And when-despite your best efforts-you feel like you’re losing at the game of life, remember: Even the best of the best feel this way sometimes. When I’m in the pit of despair, I recall what iconic writer Kurt Vonnegut said about his process: ‘When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.'”