Habits and compounding

Get 5% Better: The Compounding of Consistent Incremental Progress

Warren Buffett likes to say that The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. Billion-dollar industries have been built on convincing you that it’s easy to make big changes or to get a lot wiser and better. But it honestly isn’t. It’s hard work.

I’ve been experiencing the effects of habits, consistency and compounding frist hand. For the past 4 months I consistently did 50 push-ups a day almost every day. Afther those four months three things have changed:

  • I no longer need to remember to do 50  push-ups.
  • I can see the effects of the training by the size of my arms
  • I can easily do over 25 push-ups in one go and I regularly hit 60 or more pushups.

Your next weekly review

Here are a few things you should include in your weekly review:

Process and organize – anything you’ve collected but haven’t handled yet.

Review your active tasks – are there any to add, delegate, defer, or delete?

Review your active projects – are there any to add, delegate, defer, or delete?

Review your calendar – are there any meetings to add, delegate, defer, or delete?

Someday/Maybe – anything to add or promote to an active project?

Reference Files – anything you need soon? Anything to add or update?

Goals – are you moving in the right direction? Are you making progress? Are any changes necessary?

Getting Things Done – David Allen – Josh Kaufman

Productivity is overrated

Productivity is important for being successful. But its role in this endeavor is often blown out of proportion. Some of the most accomplished people I know are incredibly disorganized. They work at the last minute. They stay up all night. They constantly scramble to find what they’re looking for. But they still get it done. Other accomplished people are incredibly organized. What gives? The truths underlying this reality:
Being productive does not make you accomplished. It does, however, make being accomplished less stressful.


The key to really getting ahead has nothing to do with productivity. From my experience with successful young people (and, as I writer, I have quite a bit of exposure to this crowd) what you need, put simply, is a drive to keep working, with a laser-like intensity, on something even after you’ve lost immediate interest. Tenacity. A grating thirst to get it done. These are the precursors of accomplishment.

Dangerous Ideas: Productivity is Overrated – Study Hacks – Cal Newport

I think these observations are very true. I’ve been following the How I work series on Lifehacker and one of my own observations is that it’s rare for any one to use any elaborated productivity systems. The most popular to-do systems are simple pen and paper, a document on a computer or a default reminders/notes app.

In efffect a productivity system might help you a bit but it’s not critical to delivering results and achieving success.

When success is a failure

From an interview with Ryan Holiday:

see one of the failures in myself and in other people like me is where you do something wrong–you do it the wrong way or you do it for the wrong reasons–but if you don’t experience the failure, it doesn’t change the fact that it was the wrong thing to do. You’re really just deferring that failure and maybe increasing its magnitude.

Interview: How Ryan Holiday Leverages Failures to Catapult His Success

It’s a great observation and a reminder that things are rarely just black and white.
It’s not hard to find examples of this in play. As an example take extreme career success that’s paid with a broken family life. Is it a success or failure?

Looking at the outcomes of choices and decisions from multiple perspective is probably the best way to avoid norrow thinking and chasing something that isn’t a true success.