How To Be Productive, Win the Day and Beat Overwhelm
How To Be Productive, Win the Day and Beat Overwhelm

Read time: 3 min

How do we identify “what’s worth doing?”

If overwhelmed, I often use the framework “Hell Yeah! or no.” by Derek Sivers 

This helps me cut through the noise of what I actually want to do.

If someone asks me to do something and I'm not like, "hell yeah!" 

Then my default position is to say, "Nope, I'm not gonna do this".

It's okay to say “no.” 

And I think we forget that is an option. 

We often fail to put ourselves first in the pursuit of pleasing others. 

This simple framework can be used anytime you feel over-committed or too scattered.

If you do not like that as a mental model.

You can try Greg McKeown’s framework “90-100” from his book Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. 

Go ahead and pick something you are considering doing.

Now grade it..

If you have given a score less than 90. 

It’s a “no.”

If it is 90-100, it’s a “hell yes!”

You can do this when deciding on where to go to dinner, which new company you would like to work for or plans for the weekend. 

Using a “0-100 scale” or the “hell yes, or no” can help you make better decisions in 2024

But how do you know what works for you and what does not?

One of my favourite quotes is from Steve Jobs 

“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”

To make better decisions moving forward, we can use the past to help us. 

Since I first started journaling at the age of 17, I have a whole shelf of journals at my home. 

Keeping this compendium of ramblings has helped me identify what has worked for me and, more importantly, what hasn't. 

To help sieve through this noise. 

On the top corner of each journal page, I give my day a score 

  • 2 is a great day 
  • 1 is a good day 
  • 0 is a so-so day 
  • -1 is a bad day 
  • -2 is a really bad day 

At the end of each year, I can quickly identify the rituals and routines that served me and, more importantly, the ones that didn't and why.

  • Was it the poor night's sleep?
  • Was it the excess consumption of drinking one too many caffeine-infused cappuccinoes from the local coffee shop?
  • Was it because I forgot to work out and chose an unhealthy meal instead?

If you do not journal, you can go through your calendar. 

Here is a great exercise..

  1. Grab a piece of paper or your journal and draw out two columns: HELL YES! And “NO!”
  2. Now go through your calendar from last year, looking at every week.
  3. Start jotting down the people, activities, and commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions. The more data points, the better. 
  4. Once you’ve added your entries into their respective columns ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?” Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for activities/events/commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar. 
  5. That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders and create a “NOT-TO-DO LIST” put this somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2024. These are the people and things you know make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense. 

By doing this, you also leave space and time in your life to throw yourself completely into the few things that matter most

A busy mind accelerates the perceived passage of time. 

Buy more time by cultivating peace of mind in 2024.

I hope this helps, here’s to an epic 2024