⛅9️⃣ What do Everest and Earth’s Oceans have in common?

Also, dead-simple productivity, Easter tweets, and a man with 10,000 lives

Dear reader and subscriber,

Happy Easter! Enjoy your weekly dose of thrills, snuggles, and happiness.

Let’s do it, yo.

1. Dead Simple Productivity. I have a love/hate relationship with productivity. On one hand, I value getting things done and moving toward my goals. On the other, the “hustle porn” world obsesses over productivity in a way that makes me want to vomit. I work a full-time job, write and exercise every day, co-manage a coffee shop, and still have time to enjoy life, so I don’t think I’m doing too bad.

Beyond all the hacks and gimmicks, I’ve learned that being productive boils down to having a good system to manage your focus and keep things organized. If you’re spinning your wheels and struggling to stay on top of your work, here are the 4 principles upon which my productivity system operates.

  • Know your swim lanes. Sounds dumb, but I often forget the things I’m working on. Having my active projects written on my whiteboard helps to reign in my focus when I start thinking about working on other things. Maybe you don’t need a big-ass whiteboard like I have, but it definitely helps to write your major swim lanes down.

  • Utilize a second brain. You’ll notice pretty quickly that my productivity system is designed around my recognized stupidity. I don’t have the mental capacity to manage everything I do in my head. Tasks get forgotten, deadlines get missed, and great ideas go the way of Old Yeller. The less I have to remember, the more mental capacity I have for actual work, which is why I use Evernote for all my notes and ideas (categorized into “folders” like newsletter, coffee, articles, and ideas) and Google Drive to store all of my actual work. My Drive is grouped according to all of my active projects, which makes navigating my work a breeze.

  • Maintain a Calendar. I use a calendar to keep track of events, appointments, meetings, and key deadlines. When I’m really on top of things, I color code the events based on projects. I try not to schedule all of my tasks into my calendar anymore for sanity’s sake. Instead, I just look at the gaps I have and plan my work accordingly. Very rarely, I’ll schedule a super urgent task on my calendar.

  • Follow a to-do list. I prefer using simple 3x5 index cards to write down my tasks and carry them with me. Every day, I’ll take a few minutes to prioritize the items I want to get done, then write them down and get to work. As a rule, things like appointments and meetings go on the calendar and important tasks that can be done any time go on the notecards. 

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to use all or none of my principles when considering your own productivity system. The important takeaways here are to 1. create a system and 2. make it work for you.

2. Everest and the Oceans. At first glance, you might not think Mount Everest and the Earth’s oceans have anything in common, other than of course being cold as hell. But that’s where you’d be dead wrong. In recent years, as Everest has become less of a life-threatening expedition and more of a trust-fund baby’s bucket list item, humanity has been adamant in leaving its mark. Routes leading up to the summit have been littered with plastic bottles, cans, food wrappers, oxygen tanks, and more. You see where I’m going with this? Everest and the oceans have become humankind’s dumpster.

But just as light needs darkness and hot needs cold, when there’s evil, there will always be good to counter it. These Nepalese climbers spent 47 days cleaning up 2.2 tons of trash from Everest, and they’re just getting started. Before they’re done, they plan to clean up the filth around eight of Nepal’s highest mountains.

3. Easter Tweets. You win, David.

4. On cleaning Everest. "When we take away garbage from the mountains, it must feel to the gods like taking a thorn out of their finger," - One of the Nepalese climbers

5. Weekly Book Recommendation. Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore is a wildly creative book that follows the many lives of a man named Milo, who is reborn again and again while trying to achieve a "perfect" life. Like any human, he’s highly fallible and gets easily swept up in his emotions. He’s only got 10,000 lives to do it, and he's quickly running out of chances. Will he succeed?

That’s all for this week’s newsletter. Hope you enjoyed it!

Best,

Jason Gutierrez