Imagine spending most of your life taking long walks in Japan.
This is what Craig Mod did as a writer. I studied his approach recently and found his version of productivity to be really weird.
The most interesting thing I learned from Craig is that walking is how he changes his condition. He usually does his work (writing) at night. Walking most of the day before starting to work, this is how he discovers higher states of consciousness. A long walk becomes like a platform from which he builds each day of rest.
Obviously, we can’t all walk 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then come home and work for four hours. But Craig’s bizarre productivity philosophy contains useful ways to rethink the way you cope with time.
This one slapped me in the face. Instead of doing the work that makes you productive, it’s easier to become the meta-version of yourself. If your goal is to write a book and all you do is write how to write a book, you’ve become a meta yourself.
You feel productive because you are producing something. But what you produce doesn’t scratch your curiosity or tick off goals that make sense of you.
Meta-productivity is just an illusion. It’s a weird form of self-help which means it will draw people to you and stroke your ego. The feeling you get becomes addicting. You go from the job you’ve wanted to do all your life to a distraction from the meta-productivity that is slowly eating away at parts of your life like cancer.
I see it with writers online all the time. They spend so much time writing about how to make money writing online that they don’t write anything worth reading. They simply become meta-imitators who run on a hamster wheel to nowhere. Instead, they could write about what interests them.
Don’t fall for meta-productivity. Do productive work that gives you meaning and fulfills your curiosity’s desires.
Embrace rules-based productivity
With each walk, Craig sets different rules. One rule he has on walks is the lack of social media or podcasts.
He experimented with another rule that said he could only use technology to record the sounds of his walk. Even if his walk ended late and he was tired, the rule meant he had to download his recordings before he could fall asleep. Like magic, his dream of an entire podcast full of nature sounds came to life because he had rules in place to shave his excuses.
Rules create limits. Limits produce different results and gamify the tasks you are trying to accomplish. When productivity is a game, it’s easier to enjoy the process. The predictability that bothers you and postpone go out the window.
Write a list of rules you can try. Apply rules on different days to see which ones improve your performance or the quality of your work.
Ban a task for months on end like a badass
During a planned walk, Craig cut out two whole months of phone calls. Most of you reading this don’t have the luxury of hiding in a cave for two months and doing whatever you want.
But could you ban a task for a month to see what it does to you?
One task that I have already banned is podcasts. I find that they add no value to my life and I regret that I did. So, for years on end, I just ban them from my life. Without the distraction of random podcasts in my calendar stressing me out, I can focus on the work that matters.
Ban a task for 30 days to focus on something else. You may find yourself banning the task for life if the results are impressive.
Using the “today’s view”
Craig says he primarily uses today’s view in his productivity apps and calendar. I found it interesting. I recently changed my life for Roam Research. Most of my time is spent looking at the current day view. Anxiety comes from the future. Depression comes from looking at the past. How about spending more time on “today’s view?” “
Think of a newsletter as a sketchbook
Sub stack Has them, Twitter has them, ConvertKit has them, Facebook has them. Newsletters are popular because people love to make money online.
Craig, however, does not view his three newsletters as a source of income. These are his sketchbooks. He writes a newsletter to reflect. Once his thinking is clarified, he becomes more productive with his other work.
How about launching a newsletter as a productivity hack?
Choose an inexpensive form of therapy to be productive
Productive work is exhausting. Craig enjoys having some form of inexpensive therapy. Its is to write code. Mine is to collect thoughts in Roam Research.
A crazy task that most people don’t understand, which may not serve your goals, is helping you warm up after the marathon of productive work. Find a task that interests you and has no other value than distracting you from work. Distractions help conquer procrastination and burnout.
To take with
Craig Mod taught me that the interspersed walks of productivity complement each other perfectly. A walk is the precursor to a state of flux that produces some of the best work of your life.
Think of it like this: walks are part of “work”. That’s Craig’s bizarre philosophy on productivity.
This item is Medium.