Procrastinate on Purpose by Rory Vaden

A super short summary is available as a TEDx Talk.

  1. Priority dilution is the new procrastination; it often effects the overachievers.
  2. Many common catchphrases we hear about time management aren’t shared by true multipliers.
  3. Telling people how busy you are is a self-defeating pattern that erodes your feeling of ownership and control, thwarting your creativity to find solutions to your challenges.
  4. Balance is a myth; instead, imbalance focus and energy in a desired direction for short periods to create a desired result.
  5. Leisure is a deceptively unsatisfying goal.
  6. Results are what matter; if you focus on results without limiting your ideas on how to create those results, you’ll come up with amazing results.
  7. The average person spends 1 hour per day looking for stuff.
  8. The average person over 65 spends 48 hours per week watching television.

There is no such thing as time management, only self-management. Time and urgency gives us the tool of prioritization, what Vaden refers to as two-dimensional thinking. The limit of prioritizing things doesn’t do anything to create more time and does nothing to help you accomplish the other items on the todo list.

Priority dilution: The more the highly efficient gets done, the more things they are tasked with, eventually leading to burnout.

You are not too busy. You have the same amount of time as Martin Luther King Junior, Mahatma Ghandi, and Mother Theresa. Your life is your responsibility.

You are not a victim. You are in charge. You are capable. You are powerful enough to decide what you will and won’t do with your time.

Shift focus toward getting things done rather than worrying about the fact you have to do them.

Season and post-season. Imbalance not balance.

Work double-time part-time for full-time free-time.

The idea with seasons is that balance isn’t effective. Instead, there are seasons in which you are working very hard, however, after the systems are in place and you reach a certain point (post-season) you can go into maintenance mode.

Balance, or lack of it, is often used as an excuse for underperformance. Embrace focused imbalance.

Leisure is not the goal. Have you been on a 10 day cruise? Or bed-ridden for multiple days? Eventually boredom takes hold.

Work is not something to be endured. Work is a fundamental part of life. A source of deep satisfaction.

Being great at anything takes work. Who is there worth emulating who doesn’t work. No one. […]

Vaden goes on to say there is a catchphrase or mindset often found in the productivity community: Efficiency is doing things right and effectiveness is doing the right things. Vaden goes on to say that ultra-performers tend to agree, however, there is nuance missing.

The cliché has given a bad name to efficiency. Vaden uses the following definition: Efficiency is performing or functioning in the best way possible the least waste of time and effort. The conclusion is that efficiency is still a worthwhile pursuit.

The more interesting conversation is around effectiveness. The definition of effectiveness, as presented by the catchphrase, is only part of the story. Multipliers have a relentless focus on results.

Vaden points out that one of the defining characteristics of financially successful people is that they choose to be paid for their results rather than (or in addition to) their time. To a multiplier, Vaden continues, success isn’t about efficiency or effectiveness but efficacy: the quality of being successful at delivering a specified result.

Vaden does point out that there can be debate regarding the synonymous nature of these three words.

The second chapter begins with the parable of the professor with a jar filled with rocks, then pebbles, then sand, then water. Of course, if we start with sand, fitting the pebbles in becomes harder, if not impossible. This, Vaden says, is the epitome of the efficiency argument. If you put the elements into the jar in the proper order, you’ll be amazed at how much space there is. However, the point isn’t to get the most stuff done, it’s to generate (and multiply) the value of results.

Vaden poses a hypothetical day in which the day was 100 percent efficient; all water. Eventually what you’d find is that the jar of your day would eventually overflow. Why? Because there is more to do than you ever could do. This can lead to the idea that if I can move faster, then I can fit this all in; what Vaden calls one-dimensional, linear thinking. Vaden points to the semantics of the phrase “time management” as part of the reason for getting stuck in the one-dimensional, linear way of thinking.

It implies or suggests you should manage your time to fit the most stuff in. But, Caden mentions that time management isn’t possible; only self-management. You can’t start, stop, speed up, or slow down time. You can go faster or slower, but time progresses at the same rate regardless. You can, however, choose what you focus on by managing your self. Once you realize this, you are ready toprioritize your time.