Best habit that has helped you accomplish stuff?

Joel Wilson ‏ @joeltimothy best habit that has helped you accomplish stuff?

ANSWER:

I needed to start being productive in 2002. It was a year after my VC fund had been closed down. I had nothing going on. I was trading every day to save my life else I would go broke but trading is not real productivity. It’s not creating equity value for yourself or your family. And there’s fear, anxiety, etc associated with trading.

So I needed to be productive.

Here’s what I did:

I woke up every day around 5am. I would take a walk. Perhaps see the Hudson River. I was the first one up in the entire city (I felt like) so I felt that gave me an advantage.

Then I would sit down for a coffee, pull out my waiter’s pad (and to this day, ten years later, I carry a waiter’s pad with me everywhere and have about 200 blank ones in my closet) and I would start writing ideas.

What would I write? I would write book ideas. Then business ideas. Then ideas for people to network with. I would not write a business idea unless it looked like this:

. So for instance, when I wrote down the idea for Stockpickr.com, which I built in 2006 and sold in 2007, I wrote down:

And then I did it. Within a week I had the first sketches of the site and all the sub-pages. Within three weeks I had the first draft of the site done. Within four weeks we launched. Within 4 months the business was profitable. Within seven months the business was sold.

That idea worked out but many don’t. That’s why a key to productivity is quantity of ideas. If you have 20, 6 might be worth pursuing, 3 you might take the next step, one will work out.

The rest of my day was geared around making sure I could come up with quality ideas the next day. I would read a lot. I would sleep a lot. I stopped drinking. I would walk or exercise. And I was grateful for everything around me. And, most important, I would only associate with people who would help me to feel good about myself.

This sounds wimpy. Can’t I feel good about myself without other people? Sure. But why be around people who actively make you feel bad about yourself. Consequently I had to eliminate about 90% of the people in my life. Every few years this happens again.

Note that this is not a to-do list. It’s an ideas list.

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