45: Cortex Working Group


00:00:00   Timers set. Let's do this thing, shall we?

00:00:03   Alright, let's do this. Timer's running.

00:00:06   We got a ton of time tracking follow up.

00:00:09   Yeah, we did. It seems like from the Reddit and from various other sources of feedback that

00:00:15   time tracking is a topic a lot of people were interested in and a lot of people had a bunch of questions about.

00:00:22   Yeah. It's not surprising because it's an interesting idea

00:00:27   It's one of the things that I think yeah as we were kind of pushing towards that everyone can do

00:00:34   Mm-hmm, and but it's just depending on how you want to do it, right?

00:00:39   And we got a bunch of questions

00:00:41   One of them was students should students track their time and I wonder what you think about this because I have no idea

00:00:47   Because I've never been one. I

00:00:49   Mean you've gone to school at some point Myke. Yeah, but it was not like it was important

00:00:54   You know like I I quit when the school got important

00:00:58   Alright, so you stopped right after they they taught you how to read and how to tie your shoes

00:01:04   I was out of there

00:01:06   Which I think is where the marginal utility of school starts to rapidly decline is after those two points. I

00:01:11   Went to sweep chimneys man. I was I was I was straight out of there down the coal mine

00:01:17   There were a number of students who were actually asking about about this and I would say that if I was

00:01:24   in college or university now with the level of technology that we have now versus when I was actually in

00:01:32   college or university, I would totally do

00:01:36   some kind of time tracking

00:01:39   around, at the bare minimum,

00:01:42   study hours. In the same way that before I started embarking down this

00:01:47   goal of trying to time track all of my waking hours,

00:01:51   I used to just keep track of the most core important things, which was primarily

00:01:56   writing and podcast recording. I think the equivalent to that of being a student is studying, like that is the core

00:02:04   prime activity that you want to record.

00:02:08   And I would suspect for any students who are listening to the podcast,

00:02:13   if they do that,

00:02:16   They would probably have a similar reaction that you did last time

00:02:21   where you were describing on the previous episode, if I can summarize it, like a feeling of

00:02:27   relief at realizing that you are not actually

00:02:31   working all day like every waking moment of your life, that you just have these times that are punctuated and

00:02:39   your brain kind of tricks you into feeling like you've been doing a thing all day.

00:02:44   I definitely know that when I was in university there were days that I almost certainly felt like,

00:02:50   "Oh God, I've been studying all day!"

00:02:52   But what really happened is I was probably in the library all day,

00:02:58   which is a very different thing from studying all day.

00:03:01   And so I think that there would definitely be real value to be gained around

00:03:06   a better understanding of how much time are you really actually studying.

00:03:14   And if I was a student I would totally track at least that.

00:03:17   I mean, what's the utility though?

00:03:20   Like, because I guess with the way that we're doing it, so we can maximize our efficiency for our work,

00:03:26   would you say it's a similar kind of idea, like to maximize your study time?

00:03:30   My view on this is

00:03:33   the time tracking is beneficial

00:03:38   because it increases my awareness of what am I doing with my time.

00:03:45   And I think that is a thing that I find valuable in and of itself.

00:03:50   And it's a thing that seems to me to be much more valuable the more time that I am tracking.

00:03:57   It's just simply an awareness of exactly how am I really spending my time.

00:04:03   And we only have a limited amount of time. You know, grains of sand passing through an hourglass

00:04:09   toward the end. Like it is a non-renewable resource, and I think that this is

00:04:14   really helpful in all directions of

00:04:19   achieving anything.

00:04:22   And so for example, a total non-monetary thing that I'm doing,

00:04:27   but I've been working over the last couple months to try to increase the number of books that I read.

00:04:33   Like I'm not entirely happy looking over my book list for the last couple years of how many books are on there.

00:04:38   And this is a case of like, is that a monetary value?

00:04:41   I mean like it's sort of related to my work, but not really, not in a directly effective way.

00:04:46   And the time tracking is just a case of being mindful of how much time am I actually spending on that.

00:04:54   you know, I can say like, "Oh, here's a bunch of time where I was reading" or "here's a bunch of time

00:04:57   when I wasn't reading" like were there other other activities that were taking up that time that could have been better spent and

00:05:03   particularly if you're being really honest with the time tracking and

00:05:08   putting in like wasted time in some sense, I feel like it's helpful in

00:05:13   constraining

00:05:15   wasted time.

00:05:16   Because it's like, "Well,

00:05:17   if I want all of the days to be as full as they can be of time tracking, like I'm gonna have to put this on

00:05:23   here of like what am I doing or what am I not doing. So I feel like it is a

00:05:28   generally useful mindfulness and like self-direction tool in addition to just

00:05:36   being about like the bottom line and trying to increase efficiency. Here's my

00:05:41   concern with that like with the tracking of everything. If you are very aware of

00:05:47   the worth of your time because of the calculations that you've done, by

00:05:51   tracking everything don't you run the risk of not spending enough time doing

00:05:56   things that aren't working don't you just look at those reports and be like I

00:05:59   spent three hours playing video games because you actually see what it is and

00:06:04   then you're like could that not have been three hours spent trying to write a

00:06:07   script like isn't there a risk in that like I see the number of hours that I

00:06:11   work every day I don't know how many hours I'm awake really so maybe it's

00:06:16   like the rest of the time like sitting and binging on Parks and Recreation

00:06:20   isn't a problem for me because I don't see it in hard numbers.

00:06:26   This sort of gets to the thing that I mentioned last time briefly, which is I have these two categories of

00:06:31   like for recreation a kind of like intentional recreation and like an unintentional recreation.

00:06:38   I'm working on refining a bunch of these categories over time.

00:06:41   And what I feel like those two categories really are is

00:06:45   recreation and entertainment time that I can purely, unadulteratedly feel good about and

00:06:52   recreation time where I feel like maybe there's something else I should be doing and

00:06:57   so

00:06:59   My view on it is like, oh, okay

00:07:01   this is a this is a helpful thing for me to try to move as as much of my non-working time

00:07:09   into like a higher state of enjoyment

00:07:13   versus non enjoyment and like that's that's what this is, but there's

00:07:16   If you're doing calculations of how much is your time

00:07:21   Worth like well, there's there's no way that you can possibly be working all day every day in a sustainable way

00:07:29   And if you if you think that you are mistaken or if you are able to do that

00:07:35   you are a totally lucky genetic freak like you are different from the rest of us and

00:07:41   Like that's that's not what a normal person's life is like. How do you decide how much recreation time you get though?

00:07:47   Well, I mean at the moment, I'm still in the early phases of this. I am not making any real

00:07:52   Intentional decisions about how much work versus non working time is occurring

00:07:59   I'm still mostly in the recording and just trying to see what like is naturally

00:08:05   happening over time but

00:08:07   at least

00:08:10   For me, and I would suspect for other people who are

00:08:14   self-employed in

00:08:17   Extreme ways where like you are in control over your own schedule

00:08:20   What I'm more keeping in mind is a diminishing returns on the working time

00:08:25   So if I am working on a thing

00:08:29   Like let's say Myke, let's say you and I we wanted to record like 10 podcasts in a single day

00:08:37   It's like okay, we could do one

00:08:39   we could maybe do two, but probably by the time we get to podcast three, there's a severe diminishing returns in there.

00:08:48   Like you just--

00:08:49   We're done.

00:08:49   Like you just-- you just can't keep going at a certain point.

00:08:53   And I feel like lots of high-intensity work, if you-- if you pay attention to your mind, has a kind of natural point that is a diminishing return.

00:09:06   like in my winter review when I was doing a lot of like

00:09:11   meta work, sort of working on the work and thinking through systems and setting up the time tracking and doing all these other things

00:09:18   It wasn't a question of like how many hours of recreation do I get? It was coming from entirely the opposite perspective of

00:09:26   I'm doing some high-intensity work

00:09:29   When do I feel like I have kind of run out of steam for this and I need to

00:09:36   shift to a different activity. Be that going to the gym, right? Or be that

00:09:41   goofing off and playing video games. Like it's that I feel like it's coming from an opposite question.

00:09:48   Like I would I would like to have the work hours in my life be

00:09:52   maximally effective.

00:09:55   And I feel like that's the thing that I'm trying to pay attention for. Not necessarily aiming for like, "Oh boy,

00:10:02   You know, my billing rate is X dollars per hour.

00:10:05   Let me try to maximize in every possible way the sheer number of hours per day that work is occurring.

00:10:12   And so I think with anybody who's doing the time tracking, like if you're a student tracking your time or anything,

00:10:19   I feel like this is one of the big benefits to get. It's like, it's not just

00:10:24   not just a record of hours, but a sense of the

00:10:30   effectiveness of those hours, and I feel like tracking the time

00:10:33   forces you to pay attention to

00:10:37   what were you really doing.

00:10:40   And that's why I think like the studying is a great place to start

00:10:43   because I think it forces you to be honest if you're running a little timer of like

00:10:47   "Was I really studying for the last 15 minutes, or was I kind of dancing around studying for the last 15 minutes?"

00:10:53   And if the latter then it's like okay, well that doesn't count and

00:10:56   sort of start again and and try to get in like a real

00:10:59   Solid block of actually doing like high quality work on the thing that you're attempting to do

00:11:05   How is it going for you Myke? So I have been recording for about I'm in my fourth week now. Mm-hmm

00:11:13   So my data is becoming more

00:11:16   stable I have logged about 84 hours of work so far into toggle and

00:11:23   I'm feeling pretty good about it a lot of the assumptions that I made last time

00:11:28   Are holding true about where my time is being spent. Mm-hmm. I'm finding

00:11:34   That I could probably have maybe four to five hours of my time taken away

00:11:40   On just the basic things that we would want to give to an assistant

00:11:44   Which I feel like lines up with the kind of around ten hours a week

00:11:48   we wanted to give because that person coming in initially it would take them longer to

00:11:53   do the stuff that I do than me because they would be learning, right? And then over time

00:11:58   you would kind of that would take them less time and then you'd find new tasks for them

00:12:02   to do. So I feel like the goal has been achieved. I feel personally I feel like that I've found

00:12:09   enough of my time to give to somebody. And the statistics of like editing to recording.

00:12:17   So in the last three and a half weeks, it's been about three and a half weeks, I've spent

00:12:21   thirty five and a half hours recording shows, and I've spent twenty one hours editing shows,

00:12:29   and about twelve hours preparing.

00:12:33   Those numbers are not lining up based on my original expectations, but they are lining

00:12:37   up based on what week one taught me.

00:12:41   Right okay, I see, so you did the first week of time tracking, and then that allows you

00:12:46   to project forward with a somewhat reasonable basis

00:12:49   to start, or at least a data point to start with.

00:12:52   - Exactly, and that seems to have rung true.

00:12:55   It's about 2/3 of the recording time in editing,

00:12:58   and what I saw was about 1/3 of the time

00:13:02   recording in preparation.

00:13:04   And again, I remain very happy with the preparation number.

00:13:08   I am less comfortable with the editing number,

00:13:10   and I'm thinking about that now.

00:13:13   What can I do about that?

00:13:15   When I'm editing now, I'm being more conscious

00:13:17   of the time that I'm taking.

00:13:19   And not that I'm rushing it,

00:13:21   but trying to be more efficient with it

00:13:24   and just seeing what sort of things I can do there.

00:13:27   So that has been useful so far.

00:13:31   One thing that I was interested to see

00:13:35   is kind of on a breakdown of shows,

00:13:38   how all that stuff works out.

00:13:40   And again, I'm happy to kind of look at that

00:13:45   and I feel that what I'm seeing from that,

00:13:47   so from the reporting based on like

00:13:49   how long each show is taking me,

00:13:51   I'm not concerned about that at all,

00:13:54   because that is lining up exactly how I expected and wanted.

00:13:58   So the shows that we have the largest audiences for,

00:14:01   the shows that make the most money,

00:14:04   are the shows that I'm spending the most time on,

00:14:06   and then it goes down from there,

00:14:07   and that feels like the right kind of thing

00:14:09   for me to be doing with that.

00:14:11   - Yeah, that feels like the correct way

00:14:13   that it should be ordered,

00:14:14   It's good to see that in the actual data. Yeah, do you want to reveal how many hours it took the last cortex to be?

00:14:18   Made yeah, I do information up. Yep. I'm gonna bring it up the last cortex

00:14:22   took eight hours and 12 minutes and 44 seconds in total

00:14:28   from recording editing

00:14:31   Preparation and posting. Mm-hmm. It's a bunch of time. It's a lot of time, but I think it's worth it Myke

00:14:37   I think it's worth it. I do too

00:14:39   I mean and again like it that might change when it comes to working out like what my time is worth

00:14:45   Mm-hmm, but based upon what I expect

00:14:49   That is that makes perfect sense to me, but just that shows you

00:14:54   Ladies and gentlemen that it takes eight and a quarter hours to get you 90 minutes

00:14:59   That's why we do it every two weeks

00:15:02   This is all the editing time Myke requires to make me sound like a normal coherent person

00:15:07   That's what's occurring.

00:15:08   A hundred percent what that is.

00:15:10   It was only one hour of recording and then seven hours of editing.

00:15:14   Yeah, I'm real incoherent when I record.

00:15:17   Myke is piecing together individual words to make sentences.

00:15:21   Rearranging words in sentences.

00:15:24   I just have a bank of words and I just put them all together.

00:15:26   It's brilliant.

00:15:27   Yeah, I'm just pulling up my report for the last 30 days.

00:15:35   Yeah, again, it's-- it is very interesting to me to attempt to do this thing of

00:15:41   recording all of the time and

00:15:44   I would be interested to hear in the comments if anybody else is attempting to do a similar thing because I

00:15:50   am endlessly fascinated by how

00:15:53   surprisingly hard it actually is to record a full day. Like in-- in theory,

00:16:02   Right? There should be something like 16 hours tracked a day because that's about as long as I'm going to be awake.

00:16:08   It is so hard to actually get to that because

00:16:14   there are so many kinds of projects that I'm working on where it feels like, "What is this thing that I'm doing right now?

00:16:20   Like how would this get categorized?" Or

00:16:22   things that I'm aware of that are like

00:16:27   transition times where you're switching from one thing to another and you're sort of in between two tasks and

00:16:32   it's interesting just trying to find the balance of

00:16:36   recording things without being a crazy person and recording lots of little categories that don't matter

00:16:43   Yeah, one of these for me was listener feedback

00:16:45   I started to track that but it's impossible for me to track that because that would be like tracking two seconds

00:16:51   Right to like or you know

00:16:53   like in the time it takes for me to send a tweet or to you know to favor tweet or

00:16:58   to reply to an email like it's it's that would be way too many entries of really

00:17:02   short time that I figure it's not worth it's not worth doing because plus as

00:17:06   well when it's like Twitter well I'm also slacking off at the exact same time

00:17:12   that these tweets will come through so it that was just too difficult for me to

00:17:16   track going forward yeah and I had a I had a moment like this just the other

00:17:20   where I was really aware of...

00:17:22   So here's the thing that I'm doing.

00:17:24   I'm sitting on the couch with my wife.

00:17:26   We're sort of half watching a TV show,

00:17:28   but I'm also replying to a bunch of comments in my subreddit

00:17:32   and talking to some people on Slack.

00:17:36   How is this activity to be categorized?

00:17:38   There is no meaningful, useful way to describe this period of time.

00:17:42   It's supposed to be watching a TV show.

00:17:44   And then you can get from that everything you need to know.

00:17:48   from that everything you need to know.

00:17:52   Yeah, and it's like that is a perfect case of like, well, okay, here was an hour or two

00:17:59   of time that was useful in a bunch of ways, but is impossible to consistently and meaningfully

00:18:06   categorize. And so that's time that I felt like, okay, well, I'm just letting that go.

00:18:11   But it's a perfect example of like a mixed kind of thing. I have, for anyone else trying this

00:18:17   I have come up with two useful rules of thumb for difficult to categorize time, though.

00:18:24   And one of these is, okay, I'm thinking of things like sort of my equivalent of a commute.

00:18:30   Now, many things that I do are within walking distance of where I live, but I was like,

00:18:34   "Okay, how am I going to track exercise time?"

00:18:38   Because there's many different categories here.

00:18:40   It's like, well, am I tracking the literal minutes in the gym that I'm exercising?

00:18:45   Am I tracking the entire time that I'm in the gym?

00:18:49   Or am I tracking like the time that it also takes me to get ready to go to the gym?

00:18:54   Right, like it's it's not an immediately clear answer and

00:18:58   my rule of thumb for this kind of stuff is as soon as the transition starts, start recording.

00:19:05   I have finished activity A, I am now deciding like I am going to the gym,

00:19:11   Timer starts now until I'm finished and if that means that it includes like packing up the gym clothes and

00:19:17   Walking down the street to the gym. Like that's fine because what I'm trying to capture is

00:19:22   Not really the literal minutes that I'm exercising. I'm trying to capture

00:19:27   The total amount of time out of my life that exercise takes. Do you track?

00:19:35   The time in which you're trying to convince yourself to go to the gym

00:19:40   But instead you're coloring

00:19:42   Do you track that time?

00:19:45   Because that's that's time that is included in my gym time

00:19:48   See, that's that. Okay. I was gonna say this sounds like a very specific question

00:19:53   Not a general question for a person in particular. Um

00:19:57   So I do have a category that's like

00:20:01   Essentially a version of wasted time

00:20:05   which always gets filled in retrospect, which is I intended to do a thing and failed and then I recognize okay

00:20:12   well look back in the clock and see what like when was the point of the last timer stopped and

00:20:16   Then fill like from that moment until now you failed time, right? That's essentially what that is

00:20:22   So no coloring in your coloring book and not going to the gym

00:20:27   But thinking about going to the gym at least the way I track things

00:20:30   I would not actually put as gym time in my system. I wouldn't recommend that

00:20:34   FYI, I'm back on the coloring train.

00:20:37   I didn't know you ever left.

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00:22:28   [BEEP]

00:22:29   The other just quick rule of thumb that I have found useful is

00:22:31   if there is a situation where I'm recording some time that could possibly be two different things,

00:22:38   so it's not a multifaceted ambiguous thing like the thing I was saying before,

00:22:44   but let's say I'm having a meeting with someone and there's a question about

00:22:50   is like this meeting that I'm having with the person.

00:22:54   It's like half a social meeting

00:22:56   and it's half a business meeting,

00:22:58   like which one is the thing?

00:23:01   Under those circumstances, my rule of thumb

00:23:03   is just to put it in the less frequently tracked category

00:23:07   of whatever it could be if I'm trying to choose

00:23:09   between two different activities.

00:23:10   - What do you mean by less frequently tracked?

00:23:12   - So it's like if I have a category which is say,

00:23:15   like social time and I have another category

00:23:18   which is business planning time, and I'm having a meeting with someone that could be both of those things

00:23:24   Whichever of those categories I have less time tracked for in the system

00:23:29   I will count that towards the one that is less.

00:23:33   It's gonna be social time, right?

00:23:34   Oh, yeah.

00:23:35   Yeah, just checking.

00:23:37   I have those two rules of thumb

00:23:39   Not because they're the correct way to do it

00:23:41   But they exist to cut down on the thinking and the ambiguousness in any situation as far as time tracking goes

00:23:49   Yeah

00:23:49   The rules are good because like do you end up with 25 seconds of thinking about time tracking before you track any action?

00:23:56   And then at that point it's like it's starting to work against itself

00:23:59   Exactly like what one of the key things here and one of the very reasons why I'm using toggle is

00:24:06   This is all about

00:24:10   speed and ease of entry. Like it has to be a

00:24:13   really fast

00:24:16   no-brainer to start a timer for a particular activity and

00:24:19   like if you're gonna spend any brainpower at all filing away the thing that you're doing like this becomes

00:24:24   I think totally self-defeating. So that's why I eventually settled on those two rules as when situations came up that were a little bit unclear

00:24:32   either of these rules most of the time resolves whatever it is that I'm attempting to do and

00:24:38   And again, particularly with the exercise thing, it's like, I'm concerned about how much time does this take out of my life?

00:24:45   Like if I wasn't exercising, if I wasn't going to the gym,

00:24:47   I wouldn't be getting ready to go to the gym and walking to the- so it's like I would be getting all that time back.

00:24:53   So I think it's a fair thing to represent in that way. So those are the- those are my rules of thumb so far.

00:25:00   [PING]

00:25:01   I want to give a shout out to...

00:25:03   [Laughter]

00:25:03   ...someone in the Reddit.

00:25:05   Why is this so funny, Myke?

00:25:08   Is that what you do now? She gives shoutouts to people?

00:25:11   I don't know. Isn't that the words?

00:25:14   No, that's it. Yeah.

00:25:15   Yeah, it's a shoutout referencing someone? I don't know.

00:25:18   Shoutout to Reddit user @egoready

00:25:24   @egoready in the Reddit left a comment that I am really grateful for.

00:25:30   He proposed an alternate name for my year of new

00:25:35   as "Year of Redirection" and I thought this was fantastic because listening back to the previous show

00:25:44   I was just so aware of I am doing a terrible job of attempting to explain like what am I going for here

00:25:51   and just like I mentioned with the quarterly reviews and trying to change that word into "season"

00:25:57   I think a large part of it was like "new" was just not quite the right word

00:26:02   and that ends up like coloring the way that I'm thinking about things.

00:26:05   But I feel like Year of Redirection is the label that I was not able to come up with on my own.

00:26:11   But someone else listening to me ramble about my ideas of what's going to happen is like,

00:26:16   "Oh, you nailed it better than I did." Year of Redirection feels

00:26:20   exactly right. I'm not-- I wasn't aiming for a whole ton of new things.

00:26:26   It's-- it's more like a

00:26:29   refinement of a bunch of things and exactly how I'm going to be spending my

00:26:33   energy and where am I putting my efforts and like this this just feels like the perfect label so I'm crossing out year of new and

00:26:41   writing over it year of

00:26:44   Redirection so thank you ego ready for coming up with that

00:26:47   This makes way more sense as to why year of new didn't mean new projects, but that's exactly what it's about

00:26:53   It's about doing the same stuff, but doing it differently like different

00:26:59   Levels of time going to each of them like if you imagine them in in a bar chart

00:27:04   And I'm only thinking of this because I was just looking at a report

00:27:07   It's because it's emblazoned in my brain now to see all those little bars going up and down

00:27:12   It's that basically if you had all of your little tasks in a bar chart and just moving them around

00:27:17   Right, so like the same amount of time is there but it's just being moved into different silos

00:27:22   Yeah, exactly

00:27:23   Exactly, and it's also why, like why does the attempt at several months of time tracking

00:27:30   everything, why does that fall under the year of new?

00:27:32   That makes no sense, that doesn't fit at all.

00:27:34   But year of redirection, oh it's perfect, it's a perfectly sensible project to take

00:27:37   on during that time.

00:27:38   Exactly, because that's how you find out where to redirect.

00:27:41   Exactly, you're measuring things, and it also lines up with my own personal feelings that

00:27:47   that led me towards this, which was a lot, a lot of

00:27:51   monkeying around with schedules for my business

00:27:54   over the next year and thinking about how I'm working.

00:27:57   It's like, yes, all of this lines up much, much, much better

00:28:00   with Year of Redirection.

00:28:01   So I am ridiculously pleased about this

00:28:04   because I really was not entirely satisfied

00:28:06   with Year of New and I was even more grumpy

00:28:08   listening to myself talk about Year of New

00:28:10   on the previous episode.

00:28:11   So I'm a much happier man right now.

00:28:14   - This is, you know, this is why you have a podcast

00:28:16   talk about your work so people can make it better.

00:28:21   I have to say, it is a great little moment of feedback.

00:28:25   Let me talk about some things in an incoherent way.

00:28:28   Maybe one of you can summarize this in a better way.

00:28:30   And somebody did.

00:28:31   On that train, I mean, whilst it is not really practical for all of our listeners to have

00:28:40   their own versions of Cortex where they talk to someone about their productivity, I would

00:28:46   recommend that people in their lives try and find someone they can have these types of

00:28:50   conversations with. Because I know that I have become better at working since me and

00:28:56   you started explaining things to each other. Because I feel like I have to justify how

00:29:02   I think about things. And when I do that, it enables me to make things clearer. And

00:29:09   also, as I, you know, the more I talk about the fact that I'm switching to Todoist but

00:29:14   haven't done it, the more I've realized that I need to actually do it because otherwise

00:29:19   I just keep saying that I'm gonna do it. If you can find someone in your life that you

00:29:24   can talk to about these things, that's good. Or just spend time in the Cortex subreddit.

00:29:28   Honest, like I'm being serious, because there are people in there who are talking about

00:29:34   this stuff of each other and I think that that's valuable.

00:29:36   Yeah, I really have to agree with that and it's like it is a thing that is mutually beneficial

00:29:44   to have somebody else that you talk to this stuff about.

00:29:47   Because there really is a process by which, when you have to articulate out loud

00:29:52   your own reasons for doing a thing,

00:29:55   you often find that you have been doing a thing without really thinking about it.

00:30:02   You are so much nicer than me. I was gonna finish a sentence by saying "stupidly".

00:30:07   No, but here's the thing. I really...

00:30:11   there is a real distinction between doing something stupidly and doing something unintentionally.

00:30:19   And it's very, very easy to do lots of things in an unintentional manner.

00:30:26   And to just not think through the process of "Why am I doing this thing this way?"

00:30:31   "Am I doing it this way because this is the way I did it the first time?"

00:30:36   and I've just repeated that activity all over again, or like,

00:30:39   "Am I doing this thing because this is the way other people do it?"

00:30:43   It's like, okay, well if that's the reason,

00:30:44   do other people have a good reason for doing it this way,

00:30:47   or are they doing it just because they see other people doing it, right?

00:30:50   It's--

00:30:51   It is a--

00:30:53   It is hugely valuable

00:30:55   to

00:30:56   repeatedly and consistently reassess your reasons for why you do something,

00:31:01   and

00:31:02   when you talk to somebody else about it,

00:31:05   there's an accountability that happens when you

00:31:09   externalize these thought processes and

00:31:12   It's I mean, it's funny

00:31:14   I actually saw someone somewhere and on the reddit described this show as like it has turned into like a

00:31:21   Working journal between the two of us. Oh, wow that we're coming together every two weeks and we're talking about our work

00:31:28   together and then that like the the listener is

00:31:32   participating in this like working journal of hearing two people just talk about what they're up to and I thought like

00:31:38   That's an interesting. That's an interesting way to look at the way this has developed over time and I think it's it's pretty accurate

00:31:46   yeah, and and does have this effect like I am really aware that

00:31:50   You know, there's there's a few things in my own working world that I have

00:31:56   Changed or work to change because I realize when I talk about it on the show

00:32:01   It's like, oh, it makes me think about it more. Like I've sort of mentioned a number of times like growing frustrations

00:32:06   with like getting things done and not necessarily working for me the way that it used to. It's like,

00:32:10   and you know, and I make, and I'll say this on the show and then that causes me to think about it more, right?

00:32:15   Which has like a little bit of a feedback loop.

00:32:18   But yeah, I really do think that's the case and if you can find someone in

00:32:24   real life to do this with, it's even better. You know, form a little

00:32:29   Cortex working group with some people to get together and talk about what you're up to. I

00:32:33   really do think it is hugely beneficial.

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00:35:14   I have a question for you.

00:35:16   Maybe this will uh, will be a good entry in the journal.

00:35:22   Why has it been so long since there's been a video?

00:35:26   Like this is not, I don't think this has been the longest amount of time, but you were

00:35:33   on a real tear for a while with a bunch of videos.

00:35:39   Some would call it an out of character amount of videos for you.

00:35:44   I would call it an out of character number of videos.

00:35:46   But we're about, what are we, just over two months?

00:35:51   Which usually, looking at your page here, I guess at the last year, you've had a video

00:35:58   every month or two months and then when it's been two months there is like a couple of

00:36:03   videos or something like that.

00:36:05   And again, just from me knowing a little bit about what you do, I don't get a sense that

00:36:12   you're knee deep on a video right now.

00:36:16   So I'm just wondering what's going on?

00:36:19   Is it like, are you still going to hangover from CortexMus?

00:36:24   Like what's happening over there?

00:36:26   I was just looking through my in-depth, private video analysis spreadsheet upon which I record

00:36:33   all of the data about all of the things.

00:36:36   It is not the longest gap between real videos, but it is rapidly gaining on the longest gap

00:36:42   between what I consider to be real videos.

00:36:45   Do you think it's going to surpass it?

00:36:47   Yes.

00:36:48   Okay.

00:36:49   At this point, if I had to put money on it, and I of course have insider knowledge in

00:36:53   this betting pool.

00:36:54   Yeah, I don't think you could.

00:36:55   I think you definitely could not make this bet.

00:36:58   But see Myke, bets where you have insider information are the best bets to make.

00:37:02   They're the best bets, yeah.

00:37:03   I really want there to be like a betting pool about the day that my next video would come

00:37:07   out because it's like, man, I would just, I would clean house with that.

00:37:11   You really would.

00:37:13   But unfortunately that's not a thing that exists.

00:37:15   It would be super upsetting if you didn't.

00:37:17   [Laughs]

00:37:18   Yeah, it would be upsetting to me as well to be missing out on all of that.

00:37:21   But yeah, it has been a very long time.

00:37:25   I mean, this is one of these things that I'm not even really sure how to talk about this,

00:37:31   or even how much I want to talk about it.

00:37:35   Because it comes very close along this fine edge of,

00:37:41   What is my personal life and this thing about being a person who does work in public?

00:37:52   Back in November, my wife had a very serious, repeated number of hospitalizations

00:38:03   that were as serious as these things can possibly be.

00:38:08   She's fine now. She's fine. Just so people know.

00:38:11   It ended up taking up a large portion of my mental energy managing this situation.

00:38:20   When you're self-employed, it's great on one hand that you can drop everything

00:38:27   and focus on what is the most important thing at the moment,

00:38:31   But it does also mean that there's nobody else to pick up the slack when you yourself are not working.

00:38:40   And so this has definitely been a thing which caused some delays.

00:38:45   There is no such thing as compassionately when you have no employer.

00:38:49   Yeah, that is true.

00:38:51   This is something where, at this moment had I been just a regular employee,

00:38:56   many things would have been much easier in a way.

00:38:59   You sort of get time off, you know, you know everything's running when you're not there,

00:39:04   and you, you know, you come back at some later point.

00:39:06   But it is definitely a case of

00:39:09   everything kind of stops if you are the one person who is running your own business.

00:39:17   And so I spent a large amount of energy on the situation and then,

00:39:22   not surprisingly,

00:39:25   I myself became pretty horrifically sick after this for a while.

00:39:31   And it's not something I really wanted to discuss at the time.

00:39:34   It was something that a few people who are used to the way my voice normally sounds

00:39:38   definitely picked up on a couple of those podcasts that were going out in December.

00:39:41   I did see people saying like, "It doesn't sound so great."

00:39:45   And yeah, the answer was I was not in great shape.

00:39:50   I think we had to stop one of the Cortex podcasts halfway through.

00:39:53   I don't even actually really remember.

00:39:54   It was a whole thing. There was just a whole. It was just a big, big old thing.

00:40:00   But yeah, so that's a-- people ask, that's one of these things that's been happening.

00:40:05   I don't necessarily really like to talk about this stuff.

00:40:07   Again, because there's this weird line between being like a public person and a private person.

00:40:13   Yeah, so people don't need to know.

00:40:15   Yeah, exactly.

00:40:16   But you feel-- sometimes, not always-- you feel an obligation to be open.

00:40:24   Because people care about you, right?

00:40:28   Well, no, no, no. You gotta back up there, Myke. I'm gonna disagree with you there.

00:40:32   I actually think that it's...

00:40:36   Part of the hesitation is understand... I think it's very important for

00:40:40   anybody who does any work in the public space to understand that the audience

00:40:44   actually doesn't care about you. There's this big difference between, like,

00:40:48   you, the person who lives your life, and

00:40:52   the you that exists in the audience's mind through the media that you create.

00:40:59   That was the you I meant though. It is CGP Grey that they care about. That's what I mean.

00:41:04   It is the version of yourself that they interact with, which is not the whole person.

00:41:10   Right, it's not the whole person and it's a thing that's like,

00:41:13   I've had some conversations with some people where I try to convince them very hard about this where it's like,

00:41:17   you have to understand as a public person, it's like,

00:41:20   Like, I am very aware that when people listen to the podcasts,

00:41:24   they're not listening to the podcasts because it's me.

00:41:28   People listen to podcasts because they get some kind of enjoyment or some sort of entertainment out of it or some value out of it.

00:41:36   Right? That's the reason that people listen to podcasts.

00:41:39   And...

00:41:40   It's the same thing with the videos.

00:41:44   Like, why do people subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch my videos?

00:41:48   is because they derive some sort of enjoyment and entertainment out of the videos that I produce.

00:41:54   Like, and that's where what the audience cares about comes from.

00:42:00   And I feel like sometimes talking about personal stuff is like blurring a line

00:42:07   that often the audience doesn't even necessarily want to have blurred.

00:42:11   Yeah, yeah. And so that's why it's like

00:42:15   while all of this stuff was going on

00:42:18   I just I didn't really want to talk about it at all because it's like I'm much more comfortable just like

00:42:24   mentioning that like a thing has occurred and

00:42:26   then I'm on the other side of it and it's over and this is why there was a delay as

00:42:31   opposed to saying oh

00:42:33   I'm in the middle of a terrible thing right now. All right, because you know what?

00:42:36   It's not fun to listen to on a podcast if I don't need to know yeah, and people don't need to know

00:42:41   There's nothing they can do. It's cool. No. Yeah, that's why I didn't feel like I really wanted to talk about these things

00:42:45   But we are mentioning it now like normally

00:42:49   I'm very happy just having there be like a big gap between the videos like I have I have intentionally

00:42:54   Set up my career in such a way so that big gaps between videos are a normal thing like nobody's super surprised

00:43:01   When there's a big gap between CGP great videos the expectation is there will be a gap exactly

00:43:06   Which is the inverse to most people

00:43:09   Exactly. Yeah, I'm always playing with fire with that YouTube algorithm with these big gaps

00:43:14   Which I think one day will come to bite me in the ass

00:43:16   But hopefully not today. I do just want to mention it on on this show because I feel like there have been some times

00:43:23   Because we are having this like meeting and discussing our work

00:43:29   Where I've been sort of talking around a thing in a way that doesn't make it

00:43:36   helpful or clear to the listener.

00:43:39   And so, I think that was one of the things that was also happening on the last show about like,

00:43:43   why was I doing a bad job of explaining Year of New?

00:43:46   It's because I felt like I was talking around a thing that I didn't really want to directly talk about.

00:43:51   And so, I think that's why we're just mentioning it now.

00:43:55   To generalize out to the listener though, I do think that there's something to

00:44:02   be aware of and to just really like learn from something like this, which is...

00:44:08   Like I had this really rough time

00:44:11   but as far as these things go, I could not have been better prepared for it

00:44:18   because this is the kind of thing

00:44:20   that if you're self-employed you sort of have to set up the business to be like this and

00:44:26   to be ready for

00:44:30   the possibility of you having to step away from stuff for a while. And so this is part of the reason

00:44:37   why like my YouTube channel is run in this particular way where the videos come up somewhat randomly,

00:44:42   because I am aware that the process of creating them is not building widgets and

00:44:49   sometimes there are delays and

00:44:53   that's just built into the system, and I've said before one of by far and away

00:45:00   the best decisions, and probably costliest decisions, I have ever made

00:45:04   was to switch the patronage on my YouTube channel from billing monthly to

00:45:12   billing when a video goes out. And even then, not every video, only the videos

00:45:18   that I select. I cannot tell you what a huge mental relief that was, like

00:45:24   especially during this time, as like that is a decision that has paid

00:45:29   if not actual monetary dividends, like working life dividends, because then I feel like I am not,

00:45:36   I am not taxing the people upon which my living depends needlessly.

00:45:43   Yep.

00:45:43   Right?

00:45:44   Because there would have been what, like two or three payments come out?

00:45:47   Right, exactly. There would have been something like three payments for what should have been

00:45:51   three videos and nothing. And, you know, my, my patron was, was briefly set up like that in

00:45:59   in the very beginning, and I loathed it. I hated it. Like it made my life unhappy.

00:46:03   I hated the feeling of a billing going out and people getting nothing in return.

00:46:09   I just, I loathed it.

00:46:12   And...

00:46:13   But here's the thing. One of the things that occurred when I was doing those changes

00:46:18   is I realized, okay, if I'm going to do this,

00:46:21   what I need to have in place is a bigger emergency fund

00:46:27   so I can get through potentially longer periods of time.

00:46:30   And it was also then thinking about some kind of income diversification,

00:46:36   which ended up being podcasts, like the very podcast that I'm talking on right now.

00:46:40   And what is one of the big advantages of doing a podcast?

00:46:44   One of the huge advantages, especially if you're working with Myke,

00:46:47   is it's a hell of a lot less work than producing a YouTube video.

00:46:51   - This is not a recommendation, by the way. - [laughs]

00:46:56   And this is the thing, it's like, okay, even during a rough time, I can still make some podcasts.

00:47:05   Because doing podcasts is much easier.

00:47:08   And so this is the kind of thing of like, structuring a business to be okay even if you're not doing great.

00:47:18   And so it's like, okay, CGP Grey hasn't made a video in a long time, but there's still content coming out,

00:47:24   like there's still podcasts coming out and

00:47:26   for the nature of my business

00:47:29   I think that that is an important thing to not just drop off the face of the earth for six months and then, you know,

00:47:36   then pop back up later and

00:47:38   I

00:47:40   mentioned this and I think it's important to mention because

00:47:42   this is the hard part about

00:47:46   being self-employed is

00:47:51   really being able to prepare yourself for these kinds of things and

00:47:55   being able to structure your business in such a way so that it's ready to absorb these sorts of problems and

00:48:02   I think sometimes there are people who

00:48:05   want to become self-employed and they're only ever thinking of all of the upsides

00:48:10   but you really have to be aware of

00:48:13   how much

00:48:16   Your life is in your own hands when you're self-employed and then like that is in the best of all possible ways

00:48:23   And that is also in the worst of all possible ways. So it is like it is a is a big

00:48:28   Big scary decision that you really have to be prepared for I am lucky in that I have a co-founder

00:48:35   Mm-hmm, and my co-founder has me

00:48:38   So our business has two people if one person cannot do something

00:48:46   by and large the other person is able to

00:48:48   to pick that up and

00:48:51   Part of the thinking for me in us getting an assistant to help with

00:49:00   arranging and dealing with with sponsors is

00:49:04   another part of that because that's one of the things that I have the majority of visibility over and

00:49:12   It would be great to have the companies that we work with

00:49:15   Familiar with another person in the process that if they can't get a hold of me. There's someone that they can talk to

00:49:22   So like this is another step in that and it's some I mean, you know, we could just have Steven do this

00:49:29   But that's not the way that we want to do it. We want to kind of

00:49:32   broaden it out and make some of this not the stuff that we do but

00:49:37   Another thing that comes as a benefit of that is having this other person visit who has visibility on the process to help

00:49:44   deal with things when we can't

00:49:47   mm-hmm, so there is a

00:49:49   Benefit there and also, you know of all of my shows having co-hosts. There is another person who can help

00:49:55   There is another person that can put more time in

00:49:58   And or in many cases there is another person who can host a show with somebody else thinking they can get I can get someone

00:50:05   To fill in for me and it can just carry on as normal

00:50:07   So there are, you know, my business is structured a little better than your video part of the business in that way.

00:50:14   So you say with the podcast part, you can lean on me if you need to and I'll pick up the reins and do more if you need it.

00:50:22   But with the videos, so much of it comes from you. I mean, and you have your animator now who helps, but there's nobody at the start process.

00:50:32   There's nobody in the script writing process. It is just you and that is a huge bottleneck.

00:50:39   You know, you discussed the way Relay is set up. I've been a listener long enough that you can definitely be aware like,

00:50:45   "Oh, there's times when you or Steven are there more or less."

00:50:49   That's how these things work and the machine of Relay is vast beyond just you, Myke, now.

00:50:58   now and that is definitely an advantage. But yeah, if you're like a freelancer and it's

00:51:03   just you, that is an occasionally precarious situation. And yeah, the YouTube videos are

00:51:11   like being a freelancer. I don't need to be on the air for the company

00:51:15   to be making money anymore and that wasn't how it was when it started.

00:51:19   Right right. And that is a good thing.

00:51:21   Oh yeah, it totally is. It totally is a good thing. But yeah, without a doubt, for my YouTube

00:51:27   channel, the script writing process is the biggest bottleneck. Like it has always been

00:51:34   the biggest bottleneck and until I bring on some apprentices, right, it's always going

00:51:41   to be the biggest bottleneck.

00:51:43   Please do not send any submissions in for this job application. Thank you very much.

00:51:47   This was always fun to mess around in the Reddit.

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00:53:38   We have identified that the script writing is maybe the biggest issue here, in that it

00:53:47   is currently something that you don't have any help with in your whole pantheon of work.

00:53:53   Ooh, a pantheon.

00:53:54   I know, it's the best thing I could think of at the time.

00:53:56   I like that.

00:53:57   Every other area is, there is somebody else involved.

00:54:01   Podcast editing, podcast production, animation, posting, everything else has another person

00:54:07   nail which touches it, affects it, and can pick up slack from you.

00:54:13   There is one big issue with script writing that I don't think we've ever touched on before,

00:54:19   which is writer's block. Are you, CGP Grey, currently suffering from writer's block?

00:54:24   No, I wouldn't say that. Are you writing any scripts?

00:54:27   Okay so... I don't believe in the existence of writer's

00:54:31   block, however I'm currently struggling to write.

00:54:33   No, okay, so that's a different thing. Look at you, Myke, you're trying to frame

00:54:37   this in a particular way that I disagree with already.

00:54:39   Five. I don't know what you're talking about.

00:54:41   When I said before, like, "Oh, you have big disasters,

00:54:43   like, made of multiple things."

00:54:46   All of this stuff happened right around the time that I was experienced,

00:54:51   much more like what I would describe as a kind of burnout.

00:54:53   There was a running joke in the Reddit where people were like,

00:54:56   "Oh, wow, look at this new piece of content."

00:54:58   And I would say, "Don't get used to it."

00:55:00   And they're like, "Ah, no, the content will keep coming forever."

00:55:03   I was like, "No, people, it won't."

00:55:05   Because I was really aware...

00:55:08   Like, 2016 was a very interesting year in my working life.

00:55:14   It was the most successful year in my working life thus far.

00:55:18   And it was also, in terms of years where I have been self-employed,

00:55:23   it was the year that had by far and away the most deadlines in it of some kind.

00:55:31   Anytime there's like sponsorships, there's some kind of deadlines,

00:55:35   There are other deadlines behind the scenes that people don't see.

00:55:38   These two things, I think, are very much related.

00:55:42   Like, deadlines and the financial success of the business.

00:55:47   Between videos, podcasts every other week, some other things behind the scenes.

00:55:53   2015 Gray signed 2016 Gray up for too many things.

00:56:00   God, that's a joke.

00:56:01   this is just it, right? Like, 2015 Gray's like, "Ah, 2016 Gray, he'll be fine handling all of these things."

00:56:07   And by the end of the year, sort of after the rules for rulers video, I was really feeling like,

00:56:14   "Whew, man, it has been just, like, too much, too constantly."

00:56:20   And that's where I said, like, starting in the summer, when I was doing a little summer review,

00:56:25   I was already making plans and scheming for a 2017 that would have fewer deadlines in a whole bunch of different ways.

00:56:35   Because I was like, "This year is great for the business, but it is not a sustainable thing for me over the long term."

00:56:44   Like, this can't go on forever because I will just be totally burned out.

00:56:50   And so I like almost made it to the end of the year, but around November time

00:56:56   I was beginning to feel like I am just a little burned out from this schedule that I have set for myself.

00:57:04   This is too much. And then the things I mentioned before happened.

00:57:09   And so the combination of those two things have essentially meant that like I have done

00:57:17   almost no productive writing work.

00:57:22   That's the situation that I was in, really just up until just a few days ago, sort of, is like,

00:57:29   also dealing with the fallout from like a kind of burnout from over-scheduling.

00:57:36   But what, I mean, were the ideas there?

00:57:38   Were you burnt out from a creation perspective or just burnt out from a production perspective?

00:57:44   I don't really understand what the difference is between those things.

00:57:48   Well, I mean if you're burnt out from an ideas perspective you're sitting down

00:57:52   to do something and you can't do anything. But if you're just burnt out from a production

00:57:58   perspective you're having ideas but you just don't have the desire to sit down and actualize them.

00:58:03   It seems like a distinction without a difference.

00:58:07   I think it's a clear difference.

00:58:11   Well, the thing is, I have a long list of prioritized and ordered ideas for the videos that I want to make.

00:58:19   And there's like, okay, I have a top five list of like, here's the next videos that I want to do,

00:58:24   tons of notes on them, and stuff to work on them.

00:58:27   But the difference is, what I think is an interesting phenomenon is,

00:58:33   what I have come to call over my working life, a bounce rate.

00:58:39   And so this is the way I think about going into work in the mornings, is get up, going in, like I'm going to go write something,

00:58:48   this is the first thing that I try to do in the day, and some mornings, I just, I kind of bounce off the work.

00:58:56   This is the best word I have come up with to describe this phenomenon.

00:59:01   People always talk about something like procrastination. This word holds no real value for me.

00:59:06   I don't think the things that people are talking about when they talk about procrastination are the thing that I'm doing.

00:59:10   I'm in the office, and I want to write, but I just sort of don't.

00:59:15   And...

00:59:17   But I'm there, like I'm all, like I'm all set, like the routine has gone, and...

00:59:21   Just nothing happens. And for the entirety of my writing life,

00:59:27   this has always been a thing that occurs sometimes. And so I think of it as like a

00:59:33   a bounce rate. That if you are doing any kind of creative work, there is going to be some

00:59:41   portion of bouncing off of that work. Like, "Oh, you went in to do the thing, but nothing

00:59:45   happened." It's like, why? Because creativity is mysterious.

00:59:49   I see what's going on here. Oh yeah? What's going on here?

00:59:52   It's like you're applying your logic to these situations. Your logic is accurate in what

01:00:01   you're saying I agree with it but what you are calling bounce rate people call

01:00:08   writer's block like you are sitting to produce a script and on that day maybe

01:00:15   that week nothing is coming and you're just chalking it down to this is fine

01:00:21   this is normal this is how it goes people categorize it as writer's block I

01:00:28   I think when they feel like the situation is dire and or out of their hands, but you

01:00:35   consider it as something which is part of the creation process and you're fine with

01:00:40   it. That's how I'm reading this situation.

01:00:43   Yeah, I guess. I guess because I think it's out of my hands, but not dire at all. Like

01:00:48   it's just part of the thing. Like it's just part of the process.

01:00:50   is just maybe the way that you are good at detaching emotion from situations. Like that

01:00:59   is a good skill that you have and that you're able to just be like, "This is fine." Where

01:01:05   other people would maybe worry about it more.

01:01:08   Maybe you're right. Maybe you're right about that. I guess it's also a thing that I am

01:01:12   aware of always like comes and goes in various waves.

01:01:16   Yeah, but a lot of people worry that at one point it's never gonna go, right? That the

01:01:25   block comes and that's it, right? I think that is a fear that people have about their

01:01:32   work.

01:01:33   Yeah, but that's why they should diversify their business into podcasting.

01:01:36   Right, but this is what I mean though. It's like you see things the way that you see things

01:01:44   and the exact same thing that somebody else sees, but they react to it differently.

01:01:49   Mmm. Right?

01:01:51   I feel like my way of thinking about this is correct and superior.

01:01:54   Your way is rational, and not everybody is as rational as you.

01:02:00   I mean, I would be very curious to hear from other people who do any kind of creative work.

01:02:07   Like, what they're... like, how they internalize it?

01:02:11   This is very interesting. Like I happen to be like because of because of my line of work

01:02:14   I happen to be in a position where I can have conversations with other

01:02:19   successful people who do creative work in various fields. Again, I do find it interesting that

01:02:24   almost everybody who does this kind of thing has their own way of describing

01:02:30   what is it that they're doing that's like specific to them and I feel like oh even even that must be part of the process

01:02:38   Like it's such a strange thing to try to produce any kind of creative output that is going to be consumed by a large number of people.

01:02:51   That I think it ends up becoming a very internalized process for anybody who's doing it.

01:02:58   And then like everybody has their own like weird language or description of how they do these things.

01:03:04   things and I feel like this using this word bounce like this is this just feels

01:03:11   like oh it's the word in my brain that feels like the right thing that is like

01:03:15   go into the office but you're sort of like bounce out of the office and like

01:03:19   oh nothing occurred okay well it's it's like a it's like a batting average you

01:03:24   know it's just like well you're expecting to do perfect things every

01:03:27   time well you're crazy no nobody does that nobody you ever have spoken to does

01:03:31   that. It's like bizarre beyond rationality to expect some kind of perfect hit rate every

01:03:38   single time.

01:03:39   All right, but here's the thing, right? There are people that work differently to you and

01:03:47   have different schedules and have, I would say, maybe luxuries in the way that they work,

01:03:53   which means that they have to be creative,

01:03:56   but can't treat it like this is fine, work will come.

01:04:01   So I'll use two examples.

01:04:04   I will use me, and then I will use general person

01:04:09   who works in creative field for their job in a company.

01:04:14   So I'll start with me.

01:04:16   There is an off joke, like an often told joke on this show,

01:04:21   that I love schedules.

01:04:23   I don't necessarily love schedules,

01:04:26   but I choose that my business will run on one.

01:04:31   I make the choice because that makes more sense to me.

01:04:34   It's easier to plan.

01:04:35   My shows run on schedules.

01:04:38   All of my podcasts, they run on schedules.

01:04:41   And that makes it easier for me to book advertising

01:04:44   in a way that I'm comfortable with.

01:04:46   It's not necessary, but I figure it to be for me

01:04:50   a more realistic way of getting my work done.

01:04:53   There are times when a show is looming

01:04:57   and I have no idea, I have no inspiration,

01:05:02   I have no topics, some weeks there is no news.

01:05:06   What do you do?

01:05:08   So I work in a couple of different ways.

01:05:12   Sometimes I despair.

01:05:17   because there is nothing and I have nothing planned.

01:05:20   Sometimes I work in advance in that.

01:05:25   If I am feeling particularly inspired, I will make notes

01:05:29   and I have this for all of my shows, lots of notes of ideas

01:05:32   and planned out topics.

01:05:33   I have topics that I have had planned out for this show

01:05:36   in outline form for over a year.

01:05:40   And they sit there waiting to either be pulled in

01:05:43   at a time when one of us is inspired

01:05:46   to talk about that thing or at a time when we have no other inspiration of any kind that

01:05:51   is drawing us towards something. So I have these planned out things that are ready. So

01:05:56   for someone like me who goes through these problems but is able to work in the way that

01:06:04   I work, I will have things kind of in the chamber ready to be pulled in. But there are

01:06:10   definitely times when I don't and there are times when I am lucky in the type of

01:06:16   work that I do that I can ask our audience, "What do you want to hear me talk about?"

01:06:22   And that is a very valuable thing.

01:06:24   So like that is a thing for me where it's like I have decided I want to be – my work

01:06:30   to be on a schedule that there is an expectation set by a calendar as to when the work will

01:06:37   be completed.

01:06:39   And I have understood that and I have tried to use my experience to build the business

01:06:43   the way that I want, right?

01:06:44   So that is a difference to you, but a solution.

01:06:48   But there is another option, so like the third route of this, which is person who is creative,

01:06:56   but for somebody else.

01:06:57   Like they work in a job and they are employed and they have to be creative.

01:07:03   What does that person do?

01:07:04   And that is tricky, because I'm very aware of that, that not everybody has the luxuries

01:07:08   to choose the things that they want to do in the way that we do. So if somebody is burnt out,

01:07:12   they haven't taken a vacation in a while, and they're being given a thing that they're not

01:07:16   very passionate about, that is a real problem, right? That they have expectations put on them,

01:07:22   and they have timelines, and they have deadlines, and they have people that want things in a certain

01:07:27   way, and they aren't able to just be like, "Nah, I'm gonna wait until it comes to me,

01:07:35   because maybe it's due in a week. That's tricky, right?

01:07:38   I think it's terrible the way many professions treat creative employees.

01:07:46   Like it's just a faucet.

01:07:47   Yeah, exactly. Like they're in a factory cranking out widgets all day,

01:07:53   and widgets are beautiful ideas that are new in the world.

01:07:58   It's like, okay, well, that's not how it works.

01:08:00   And what I think is so interesting is how many creative fields have a very natural ebb and flow to them.

01:08:09   If you talk to anybody who works in TV and movie writing, that is a prime example.

01:08:16   Like, why do TV seasons exist?

01:08:20   One of the huge reasons is you can't have a script writing team just working all year.

01:08:25   Right? It's just like, they just can't do it.

01:08:27   And if you make them do it, you get terrible TV at the end of it.

01:08:31   Because it's like, you're gonna burn out your writers if you ask them to write

01:08:34   every day for the whole rest of the year.

01:08:37   I find it interesting that like lots of creative areas have this kind of ebb and flow. Like it's a very

01:08:44   it's a very natural thing and

01:08:47   it is something that I am aware--

01:08:50   I am the most fortunate person in the world in this position, but let's say like I am aware that

01:08:56   Let's just say like a lot of people who work on YouTube

01:09:00   Like YouTube does not have any kind of ebb and flow to it

01:09:05   Everything about the way YouTube is set up is almost like an employer

01:09:10   who constantly wants new things produced all the time and

01:09:15   as I think that for

01:09:18   Individual creators, that's that's not necessarily a great thing over the long run

01:09:24   And I think that's also why I do know some channels that sort of like

01:09:29   rotate out teams of people who are producing content for them.

01:09:34   Small.

01:09:34   But yeah, because it's the same thing. Like, you're gonna burn out people if you're asking them to just work all of the time.

01:09:41   This is a thing that you see on YouTube sometimes where various creators will have to put up a video of like

01:09:47   "I'm really sorry, but like, you know, it's just been too much for two..."

01:09:51   You know, they kind of are forced to take a break because they push themselves like too far and too fast.

01:09:59   And that is very much the thing that I'm like, I'm

01:10:02   totally trying to avoid.

01:10:05   It's like I never want to do that. I want to do stuff at a sustainable pace.

01:10:09   But that means I can't possibly treat it like

01:10:13   stuff's going to come out at the exact right time every time.

01:10:17   I think it just I think creative work fundamentally doesn't work like that and

01:10:21   I

01:10:23   Would say I do not view

01:10:25   employers who treat it that way in a in a very

01:10:28   Favorable light I think that's the that's the wrong way to look at this kind of work when I started my youtube channel

01:10:34   I was treating it very much like all of my other work

01:10:36   Then that I would have a schedule that I would adhere to and it was basically weekly

01:10:42   I have since just decided to myself that I'm not going to do it that way.

01:10:47   And that I'm going to maybe be a little bit more like you in that I am treating this as a project,

01:10:54   but I don't want to just be pumping out content. I want to make things when I have an inspiration to do so.

01:11:01   So that's what I'm doing now with my YouTube channel.

01:11:04   So I have seen that and it's something that I'm trying to be comfortable with because I'm not comfortable with it.

01:11:11   Just because of my working routines.

01:11:14   Let me tell you something, Myke.

01:11:15   Even if you have very different working routines, say your working routines are much more like mine,

01:11:19   it is still a deeply uncomfortable thing to not have regular output.

01:11:24   That is one of the trade-offs for this is you still feel that.

01:11:29   Like I'm still always aware that there is an audience there that wants a thing.

01:11:34   Yep.

01:11:34   It's always going to be uncomfortable.

01:11:37   But obviously I think it's a very good decision to not build in a regular schedule.

01:11:45   I don't need another one.

01:11:47   Yeah, you don't need another one.

01:11:48   And I mean just in general for anybody who's doing the YouTube stuff,

01:11:52   this is one case where I deeply disagree with YouTube's standard advice to new creators.

01:11:57   We're like, "Make sure you have a schedule and teach your audience that you upload it every Tuesday at five o'clock," right?

01:12:01   And I was like, I so strongly disagree with that as a piece of advice.

01:12:09   I don't think it's a good idea to upload a video just because this is the time where

01:12:14   you're supposed to upload a video.

01:12:17   I really deeply disagree with that.

01:12:20   And I am glad to hear that you are also going to go down the path of not feeling like every

01:12:26   Sunday at 8 there's going to be a new episode of the Myke Hurley Show.

01:12:30   I also want to offer a couple of pieces of advice for people who work in a

01:12:36   creative field as part of an organization.

01:12:39   If you are feeling like this level of burnout, there's one thing that you

01:12:43   should could try and do pay attention to the people that you are delivering

01:12:46   your work to and try and notice from them what they consider to be the

01:12:52   base level of acceptance and sometimes try and work just to that, like have,

01:12:59   Have a real sense for what, you know,

01:13:03   if you're turning in something you don't think is very good

01:13:07   and they seem okay with it,

01:13:10   just pay attention to what that looks like.

01:13:13   Because later, when you need to just turn something out,

01:13:18   you then might have a better understanding

01:13:22   for what might fly.

01:13:23   Because a lot of times, people that are creative

01:13:27   are turning in work to people that are not creative by nature.

01:13:31   So you might find, depending on where you work,

01:13:36   that people are impressed by something that you don't find impressive.

01:13:41   And maybe you can just target that.

01:13:44   That is great advice. That's great advice.

01:13:47   If your boss is a creative person, he might be f*cked.

01:13:49   Or you might be more creative than them, huh?

01:13:53   That is possible. Definitely tougher.

01:13:55   But I also think it's great advice for any kind of job.

01:13:58   Anyway, like be aware of what the acceptable level is like.

01:14:01   And that that's your actual target.

01:14:02   I would say that maybe if you're if you are creative and you work for a creative

01:14:06   person, they may understand more.

01:14:08   Yeah, that is possible.

01:14:10   And that they may they're more likely to get it and that you might be able to have

01:14:15   some open conversations with them when you're in this type of situation.

01:14:19   Another thing that I will just recommend is that one of the ways to break out of

01:14:23   burnout is to change things up, is to like refocus your mind.

01:14:28   And if you have a project at work, you can't just turn in something different.

01:14:31   Like that's not how it works.

01:14:33   But what you could do is maybe start a new side project or hobby that helps get

01:14:37   your creative juices flowing in something that's less high stakes than the work

01:14:41   that you're supposed to be working on and that you can work at at a time when

01:14:44   you're not supposed to be working.

01:14:45   And it might help you kind of get back into the creative mode again.

01:14:49   There's some things that I learned from trying to be creative inside of an organization that

01:14:55   didn't care for creativity.

01:14:56   Alright, so have you been doing anything specifically to help you kind of break through into making

01:15:05   videos again?

01:15:07   Or is this it now?

01:15:08   I don't know, like are we done?

01:15:12   No we're not done, Myke.

01:15:15   But what I have done, and what I always find is like, the "break glass in case of emergency"

01:15:26   creativity stuff is bringing out the old paper and a pen.

01:15:33   Oh, my favorite!

01:15:34   I thought you might like that.

01:15:36   But yeah, so in the past week or so, I've been feeling like, "Okay, I've been going

01:15:43   into the office, I've been trying to do work, but the bounce rate is just unacceptably high

01:15:48   and I'm trying to do a bunch of different things and blah blah blah. But the thing that

01:15:52   works for me in the end is essentially giving my brain no options in the world except to

01:16:03   do the thing that I want it to do. I feel like this is a key thing about productivity

01:16:07   and trying to accomplish anything.

01:16:10   It's not about motivation.

01:16:13   It's not about knuckling down and working hard.

01:16:16   It's about tricking your brain and constraining options.

01:16:19   And so, what I have been doing is I have been

01:16:23   going to a different and new cafe

01:16:28   with just a pad of legal paper and a pen

01:16:33   and

01:16:34   Literally nothing else except headphones connected to a song I can loop on my watch.

01:16:40   It's like, "Okay Brain,

01:16:42   you and me,

01:16:43   we're gonna sit here, and we're gonna sit here, and we cannot leave until you have done two hours of writing."

01:16:50   It's like, "I don't care what you write Brain. I don't care at all, but we're not leaving until this happens."

01:16:56   And it's like, guess what? Under these circumstances where there's literally nothing else in the world to do,

01:17:04   eventually something will come out. And it's like, okay, I'm just gonna start writing a stream of consciousness here.

01:17:09   I was like, this is all we need to do.

01:17:10   We're just gonna get the hand moving and that's it. And this is always my like last resort

01:17:16   trick into trying to boot myself back into having a better

01:17:21   actually writing rate. So this is the thing I've been working on for a little while and it's pulling me out of it and

01:17:28   it is just, it is my

01:17:32   ultimate kind of last trick is to give the brain no options.

01:17:36   You have to do the thing, brain. That's all there is.

01:17:40   However, there's a thing that like the listener might ask which is why don't you just do this right from the start?

01:17:47   I think a key thing about

01:17:51   creative work is being aware, like when do you need to step back for a little while and

01:17:58   When I was first aware that like my my bounce rate was just way too high and I wasn't getting any

01:18:03   quality writing work done at all. It's like, okay

01:18:07   This this is a time not to push it like don't don't push it too hard

01:18:14   when you're not going to get anything out like it feels like you could break something here when

01:18:20   it's just not going to happen and so

01:18:25   What I did and what I was kind of alluding to last episode is this thing where I have spent a very

01:18:33   significant part of January

01:18:36   essentially

01:18:38   breaking down the entirety of

01:18:40   How do I work? What are my systems around work? How do I use task management? How do I organize notes? Breaking down

01:18:48   absolutely everything to nothing and

01:18:51   starting over and

01:18:54   spending a lot of the time that I would normally be writing,

01:18:59   thinking very intentionally about

01:19:03   how do I work?

01:19:05   What am I working towards?

01:19:07   Doing a very intense

01:19:10   seasonal review and trying to think of how to structure a

01:19:15   2017 that is a great 2017 and also sustainable.

01:19:22   So that's what I've been that's what I've been doing and I would love to talk about that more

01:19:27   But we've been talking for a very long time Myke

01:19:30   Are we gonna leave this episode on a cliffhanger?

01:19:33   Is that what this is? I think it might be this is unprecedented next time on cortex