13-hour-work-session

The best way to get work done is with long, uninterrupted sessions. Cal Newport wrote a book about long sessions. I call it grinding. He calls it Deep work.

There’s a problem with technology. It’s so damn distracting. Twenty years ago there were fewer economic opportunities available but there was also less distraction.

Computing gives us access to great tools to produce beautiful art we couldn’t dream of making ten years ago. But with the creative potential–the Ying–comes the Yang.

Entertainment.

It’s too good now.

Your phone can play games consoles played in the 2000s. You can download new games on your phone while you watching The Irishman on Netflix. or The Witcher. They’re both good and their both long.

Video games look almost as good as real life. Soon, game worlds will be even better than the real world. At that point we’ll all be living in The Matrix, or Wall-E.

It’s hard to get anything done with access to unlimited entertainment. You’re always behind on shows, movies, and podcasts.

Clouds, Virtual Reality, Game, Ar, Augmented Reality

Even while studying, most of us can’t go an hour without checking our phones. You may rationalize that you have to check your phone, but most of us don’t need to look at it more than once or twice an hour.

The worst part of living distracted is your lost potential. Most of your brilliance occurs in long working sessions. Dedicated, deep grind-sessions where you dance with mastery. At an arms-length distance. Like a middle-school ball.

But you get to feel her.

I’m more productive in long working sessions than I am in a distracted setting with multiple interruptions. I got the idea from the late author of Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton, who would finish books in around two months using dedicated, daily grind sessions.

Image result for michael crichton writing"
An Artist at work | Image source

He would write, every day, for as long as he could. Usually around sixteen hours a day. Before writing, he was a medical student at Harvard. Achievement is a way of life.

My first attempt at a twelve-hour day with zero distractions sucked. I wanted my phone more than I wanted a Nintendo 64 at Christmas of 1996.

After about a month of grinding twelve hours a day every Saturday, I found a flow. I got more done in one month of my life than in the past three. I felt like I entered a hyperbolic time chamber made for training. Let me know if you get the reference.

Image result for hyperbolic time chamber"
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Now, Deep Work is my favorite way to work. It’s a competition against everyone reading this and everyone who isn’t. I want to do more than you.

I call my sessions Island days. Because I want my friends, family, and girlfriend to imagine me on an island far, far away. Without them. Without cell signal.

Below are  tested-tips for having a successful 13-hour work session.

13 Tips for Having a 13-hour Work Session


 

1. Turn Notifications Off

The first step to a long work session is notification defense. You need a moat protecting you from every buzz, brrp, and beep in your workspace. That means turning off your phone and putting it in a different room.

You need to remove all notifications from devices in front of you and devices that could demand getting out of your chair.

If you need to be in contact with others, use a service to send text messages through a browser tab. Android phones do this with Google Messages.

2. Have Tangible Objectives from Different Paths

If you aren’t familiar with paths yet, the About Page will help. My island days nurture each of my paths: Body, Spirit, and Mind.

I’ll have writing goals, like writing 5,000 words in a day. I’ll have Mind goals, like making a profitable day trade or forecasting for my next options contract. And I’ll nurture my body with shadowboxing, reflex training with a tennis ball, or straight up calisthenics.

Have pivots. If you hit a wall in one path you can pivot down another. Then come back once you’re ready.

In my sessions, I’ve found changing what I’m doing makes me overcome problems easier. I find inspiration from each path I walk to continue forward.

3. Eat

Eat before, after, or during your session. Experiment and find out what works for you. My mind clouds when I eat so I like to start on an empty stomach and eat around 3 pm.

I keep my carbs low. If you aren’t doing something physical, you don’t need a lot of carbs. My meal-break is high protein and high fat. Steak, bacon and eggs are a staple.

Salami, Sausage, Smoked, Meat, Food, Gourmet, Meal

Stay away from sugar when you break. Don’t let a meal period turn into a movie day. Use your island day to eat for performance.

I have protein bars in my desk for snacks. And other bars. I’ll throw the wrapper on the ground next to me like an animal. I don’t want to stop until I’m finished.

4. Take 10-minute activity breaks

Take 10-minute breaks for physical activity. If you’re already on the path to mastering a body discipline, think about how you can incorporate training into your grind sessions.

I love fighting and martial arts even though I’ll never make a career out of it. I take breaks and use a reflex ball, swing a kettlebell, or shadowbox. Sometimes I’ll work out with TRX bands.

You can take activity breaks on a schedule or when you need it. Don’t take a break when you’re flowing. Wait until you get stuck. You’ll bring a fresh perspective back to the workshop.

5. Proper Micronutrients

Eating will give you the caloric energy to work. You also need a glowing–like your pee–nutrient profile to demand a high caliber of work. Most people can’t do long working sessions. They aren’t healthy.

Vitamin D3 is a cheap supplement that everyone should use. It’s sunshine in a pill. Vitamin D3 isn’t even a vitamin. It’s a misclassified hormone.

Pill, Yellow, Isolated, Herbal Medicine, Isolated White

A multivitamin is a good health base. So is a green-supplement like Athletic Greens. I don’t like vegetables so it’s a must for me.

ZMA is Zinc Magnesium Aspartate. Shown to increase testosterone and improve sleep, ZMA will give you more energy and make you more rested. take this every night.

The last recommendation is DIM. DIM metabolizes estrogen so you can eat more beef jerky.

6. Light therapy

I like to work late at night. Unfortunately, there isn’t any sunlight exposure.

I bought a Light Therapy lamp to combat the darkness.

A light Therapy Lamp isn’t just a lamp. The light it produces mimics sunlight. I’m writing this now next to the lamp. My skin is warm and so is my face. I get the benefit of being alone and I feel like I’m outside.

It’s 2 am.

The right technology helps you do better work.

7. The right music

Don’t listen to songs with words while you’re working. People forget music is entertainment. It’s distracting.

I don’t want to focus on the music, I want to focus on the work. If you change songs even once; you’re focusing on the music.

Instead of music, listen to mixes, loops, or songs without words. Classical music is good too.

After years of experimenting, I found I work best listening to ambient video game soundtracks. Below are a few mixes and sounds I recommend.

Zora’s Domain from The Legend of Zelda

Cowboy Bebop Lofi

Mass Effect Ambient Space Deck

Animal Crossing 8D 

8. Create a working environment you actually ENJOY

Your workspace needs to be an inspirational place you enjoy being in.

A boring desk with no personality is a detention hall. Might as well carve a dick into the surface.

Add some personality to your space. Add your achievements and your history. I hang a Samurai Sword over my desk with a copy of A Book of Five Rings within reach.

Get a comfortable chair for your workspace. Working on an uncomfortable chair is like sleeping on a four dollar mattress.

man writing on white paper

Gaming chairs may look dorky, but they’re like sitting on a cushion made by the Sandman. Or Jordan Belfort. You need a comfortable chair for long working sessions at a desk.

Having two monitors is a big advantage. I spend most days trading or writing. With two screens I can research and execute trades simultaneously.

I have a few bobbles on my desk. A statue of a Neko Cat, A bamboo plant, an hourglass, and an Astrolabe.

9. Meditate before

Find the voices in your mind, hear what they need, then handle it. Going into a grind session with other concerns is like going into a movie while playing trivia games on your phone. You won’t get it.

man looking on mountain sitting on rock

So clear your mind before you start. Do your chores first. Or roll them into your working session as a break for later.

Put your affairs in order before you go to the island.

10. Be alone

You need to be alone on the island. Sometimes that isn’t possible which is why Noise Cancelling Headphones exist. These block out everything. I’ll sometimes get to a coffee shop at 5 am and leave at 5 pm. The noise-canceling headphones turn a public place into my personal oasis in the desert.

person looking out through window

You want to be alone so other people aren’t getting in your mind. That’s why we turn notifications off too. We don’t want to think about anyone we want to think about the work.

One call from your mother will ruin all of your momenta. Never answer the phone during sex, never answer the phone while on the island.

11. Plants

Plants make you happier, make you feel like you’re outside, and they clean your air. You don’t need to get some fresh air outside if your home contains plants. Plants make your air fresh naturally.

area covered with green leafed plants

I have a bamboo plant on my desk that I got from a Korean market. My house is filled with plants. The air in my home is better than the California air outside. I made an environment better than anything out there.

I like my workshop.

If smoking plants helps you grind, do it.

12. A visual reminder why you’re doing it

Why are you doing what you are doing? A visual reminder of a goal, a mission, or a philosophy can be a nice reminder to keep going.

A lot of my inspiration comes from the Samurai Miyamoto Musashi. I have his book on my desk. I’ll read a few pages if I need to. The other book on my desk is The War of Art. Then I have the sword above my head. These items serve me as reminders to stay on the path. To keep going.

shallow focus photo of black SLR camera on white wooden shelf

Musashi believed in The Way of The Sword. It’s not outdated wisdom because he held a sword instead of a mouse. It’s brilliant. The sword was his path. Everything he was and did came from the sword.

You can have a path and gain identity from it too. Don’t forget who you are while working.

13. Have Fun or Seek Meaning

Everyone says have fun. I don’t think that’s always good advice.

You shouldn’t do things you don’t want to do. But you need to do things you need to do and those things are often not what you want to do.

It isn’t usually fun doing what needs getting done. It’s meaningful.

Meaning is more important than fun. But that’s been forgotten for a long time.

time lapse photography of man jumping

Look for meaning first. Meaning is a deeper experience than fun. Fun doesn’t last long because it doesn’t take long to get. Finding meaning in a skill is one of the hardest things a man can do.

Most men don’t find meaning because having fun is seductive like a prostitute who robs her clients after service. You’re left with nothing afterward.

Sometimes you have to do things you emotionally don’t want to. These moments need your mind to disconnect. Don’t have any thought about it other than doing it. You don’t have to be there to experience it.

Try working from 9 am to 9 pm next Saturday. Use the tips listed to make the experience as fruitful as possible.

Delegating your work to one day gives you freedom for other days.

Try one of these bad boys:

 

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