Case Studies

Productivity Champ Spotlight — The Power of Systems by Andrew Pfeiffer

Systems Considering is a strong course of that you should use that will help you produce good outcomes. That is true for our productivity champ–Andrew Pfeiffer. Andrew had a problem being constant together with his habits and to resolve this–he harnessed the facility of techniques.

When he began utilizing methods, he was capable of make progress on his massive objectives and have become uber productive.

We’re excited to introduce Andrew to you and find out how he carried out techniques in his life.

Introducing Andrew Pfeiffer

Tell us a bit of bit about who you’re and what you’re as much as.

As you possibly can see from my go well with, I’m an enormous nerd! I studied a Bachelor of Mathematical and Pc Sciences (majors in Pure Mathematics and Statistics) and a Grasp’s degree by analysis in statistics. When you’re fascinated by my research, you’ll find links to my work on my LinkedIn profile.

After ending my Grasp’s diploma, I gained a position in the graduate program of a big group. As half of the program, I completed a six-month rotation in a knowledge science group, where I received to use my mathematical and programming expertise to research and visualize patterns in giant knowledge units. It was my dream job because I received to program in R, the same language that I used to be using for most of my Grasp’s analysis. I then spent the subsequent two years in my dream job as a knowledge scientist – aside from a four-month secondment with a special organization.

This yr, nevertheless, I’ve decided to take a break from vocational knowledge science for a yr or two to do an internship with a university-based parachurch organization. I used to be an element of this group whereas learning at college, and I found them incredibly worthwhile in my progress as a Christian. It’s a privilege to be able to serve other students and help them to obtain the identical benefits that I did.

In fact, I’ll all the time be a knowledge scientist, and I’ve been making probably the most of my programming expertise in my internship in a spread of methods. For instance, I send monthly e-mail newsletters to supporters, and, as an alternative of using a point-and-click service like MailChimp, I exploit the command line interface offered by my e-mail shopper of selection, MailMate. I’ve additionally been asked to research some knowledge sets as part of my internship, which shall be fun!

What is the backstory that ignited you to get began on turning into more productive?

I distinctly keep in mind a day – I was learning at college on the time – the place I wandered into kikki.Okay and bought a random guide about organizing your paperwork. I soon found myself diving deeper and deeper into the productiveness rabbit-hole, studying more organization and productivity books, together with the ever present Getting Issues Executed by David Allen.

I also need to offer credit to at least one of my Grasp’s supervisors, Dr Jono Tuke. (Aspect notice: he is an excellent supervisor, and I highly advocate him.) He introduced me to a raft of productiveness instruments, including Evernote, OmniFocus, OmniGraffle, You Need a Finances, and – of course – programming languages like R and Python.

By the beginning of 2015, having learn Getting Issues Carried out and soaked in Jono’s knowledge for a yr, I used to be an eager scholar of productivity. I steadily added totally different productivity and know-how blogs and podcasts to my ever-growing RSS feed, including Lifehacker, Gizmodo, and – in consequence of these blogs – Asian Effectivity! I signed as much as be a Dojo member in late 2015, after which a lifetime member in early 2016! I can’t advocate extremely sufficient being a member of the Asian Effectivity Dojo, since you get entry to each world-class coaching materials in an entire vary of subjects related to productiveness, and an extremely supportive and useful group. I clarify in more detail why you must enroll as a member of the Dojo within the video under.

What was the wall or drawback that you simply ran into that stopped you from undertaking what you needed?

My drawback was that I was inconsistent at constructing habits into my life that I knew have been good for me. I’ve all the time valued being productive and getting issues accomplished, however I knew that until I constructed good habits into my life – comparable to planning my day the night time before, conducting a weekly assessment, sleeping properly, studying, exercising and meditating – my capability to make progress on my greater objectives can be impeded. For example, I knew that my quality of life would enhance if I made steps to sleep nicely persistently, train properly, and eat properly. Nevertheless, I didn’t understand how to execute these habits persistently.

What was the epiphany you skilled and found?

Systems! Systems! Systems! Building methods into my life that mix multiple habits and monitor my efficiency at attaining them have been such an epiphany.

For instance, a number of years in the past, I had a training name with Thanh where he helped me to arrange a system for tracking my time. I exploit a shortcut for the precise monitoring – it appends a timestamp and a time-tracking class to a CSV file. Nevertheless, the magic of time-tracking occurs once I evaluate my time-tracking knowledge on the finish of every week. I’ve created a simple net software the place I enter the CSV file and enter some parameters to create a visualization of how I’ve spent my time. I’ve included instance knowledge and an instance plot in my Github repository. With the ability to see at a glance how I spent my time every week has confirmed immensely useful to me in many ways. For example, if I wasted time within the evening watching YouTube movies, the visualization will make that clear to me. Even the act of tracking my time itself makes me more accountable to how I’m spending my time, and fewer more likely to slack off in the night when going to bed earlier can be the wiser selection.

I additionally discovered to track my efficiency by reading 12 Week Yr by Brian Moran, a superb ebook beneficial to me by many members of the Asian Effectivity group. I’ve obtained immense value by following Moran’s system for measuring and reviewing performance using a weekly execution rating. Moran defines the execution rating as the share of techniques – mini-goals – that you simply complete each week. As the identify of his e-book suggests, Moran suggests reviewing your techniques every 12 weeks or thereabouts, which makes wonderful sense. Twelve weeks is sufficient time to make progress and never long sufficient to tempt you to slack off.

Moran recommends setting a maximum of three objectives and then deriving a small number of techniques from these objectives. Nevertheless, I resonated more with James Clear’s advice in Atomic Habits: he states that enhancing life methods is superior to setting and completing objectives, as a result of techniques can all the time be improved (Kaizen – steady improvement), while objectives don’t inform you what to do if you full them. Or, as he puts it more pithily, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Consequently, I set five to ten techniques for a given 12-week timespan, after which I give myself a move if I accomplished the habit on a minimum of six out of seven days for the week. As Clear notes, missing a single day gained’t cause any points with breaking habits. Nevertheless, repeatedly missing habits creates a new, inverse behavior. I then journal at the end of each day relating to whether or not or not I accomplished every tactic: If I didn’t complete the tactic, why not, and is there anything I can change to help me full the tactic next time?

Studying find out how to create efficient methods that type the spine of my techniques have also been immensely beneficial. In addition to Atomic Habits, I resonated lots with Atul Gawande’s The Guidelines Manifesto and Sam Carpenter’s Work The System. Particularly, Gawande emphasizes that checklists have to be as simple as potential, which I’ve discovered immeasurably helpful provided that I err on the aspect of perfectionism. Consequently, simple checklists have shaped the backbone of the techniques for which I monitor my performance – each checklist has a cue (when to start out following the checklist), content (what to do) and a end result (the specified consequence from following the guidelines). Gawande additionally makes the extremely helpful distinction between reading and do checklists (you read the checklist earlier than you comply with the steps) and do and ensure checklists (you comply with the steps after which learn the guidelines to verify that you simply’ve completed it). Particularly, learn and do checklists must be accomplished in a sure order, whereas do and ensure checklists could be completed in any order.

You possibly can view my checklists on my website. By method of instance, some of my techniques at the time of writing are:

  • Spending 45 minutes or more reading the Bible and praying.
  • Eating four or more serves of vegetables.
  • Reading for 15 minutes or extra.
  • Walking 8,000 steps or more.
  • Avoiding know-how after 6:00 pm (aside from journalling).

What was the transformation that you simply skilled?

Having this methods mindset and tracking my performance at adhering to my techniques has changed my life immensely. For example, I shortly realized that the most effective time to finish many of my desired habits was first thing within the morning earlier than I could possibly be interrupted for the day. Consequently, I get up at [5:00] AM and spend three hours smashing out my most necessary habits, including studying the Bible and praying, consuming four serves of vegetables, studying, and going for a walk. I’ve little question that having a methods mindset and monitoring my performance are two major the reason why I’ve been capable of stick with my three-hour morning routine persistently. (As an apart: In case you are simply beginning out with the idea of a morning routine, please don’t attempt jumping straight into a three-hour routine. My routine is the product of years of regularly build up what I do in the morning and experimentation.)

I have additionally immensely valued my routine as I’ve transitioned into my internship in college ministry. In contrast to my previous position, where I simply rocked as much as the office and worked for a certain quantity of hours earlier than leaving every day, my internship has a lot less routine. Consequently, having a morning routine that I can smash via – in addition to a shorter night routine on the finish of the day – to bookend my day with a continuing construction by means of which I can achieve my most necessary objectives has proven so helpful.

I am also immeasurably extra assured at attaining other objectives that I set for myself. The methods mindset may be utilized to any aim because any aim might be achieved in the event you repeat the identical process time and again. For instance, after reading about Keto and listening to different members of the Asian Effectivity group speak about their experiences with it, I lately tried to offer the system a shot. I haven’t absolutely systematized the eating regimen yet, but I eat the identical factor for breakfast every morning (a meat-and-green-veg stew at [5:00] AM and a few frozen veggies at [8:00] AM), and I weigh myself each morning utilizing some sensible scales that mechanically monitor my weight and physique fats proportion. In the last three months, my BMI has dropped from 24.5 to 21, my body fat proportion has dropped from 19% to 12.5%, and I really feel nice!

A standard misconception of habits and methods is that they make life boring. On the contrary, I’ve found that setting good habits for myself permits me to place myself on autopilot for routine tasks in order that I can spend my helpful cognitive assets working on extra artistic and intensive pursuits. (For extra particulars, take a look at Atomic Habits.) For instance, within the speedy future, I plan to systematize some other writing-based objectives that I have for myself, similar to adding a weblog and ebook evaluations/outlines to my website. I don’t need to hold every part I’ve discovered from books, podcasts and net articles to myself – I need to share it with other individuals! I also need to mix my love for programming, productivity, and know-how to construct some extra productivity-based net purposes that different individuals might discover useful.

In case you have one piece of productivity recommendation for someone who is struggling to make progress in the direction of their objectives, what wouldn’t it be?

Be a part of the Asian Efficiency Dojo, and sign up for lifetime membership. Within the Dojo, you’ll have entry to world-class video training courses in all kinds of subjects, including The AE Method to Implement a 12 Week Yr, The right way to Get Began with Journalling and Get Laser-Targeted with Deep Work. You’ll also have the ability to interact with different Dojo members and the Asian Effectivity employees via the Dojo forum, the Dojo Slack channel, and stay podcast recordings. We might be delighted to answer your questions and aid you obtain your objectives. For extra details about the Dojo, take a look at the video that I recorded for Asian Efficiency.

As a consequence of its overwhelming reputation, Asian Effectivity solely opens the Dojo for brand spanking new enrolments at selected occasions throughout the year. If the Dojo is closed, my other piece of advice is to determine precisely what is blocking you from attaining your objectives. And I’m fairly confident that your blocker will fall into one of three classes – a scarcity of time, a scarcity of power, or a scarcity of attention. Asian Effectivity dubbed this framework that they created the TEA framework. Once you’ve recognized whether or not time, power or attention is your blocker, make the most of Asian Efficiency’s assets – corresponding to their weblog and podcast – to find a answer. For example, in case your drawback is time, you would wake up 15 minutes earlier and spend that time making progress toward your objectives. In case your drawback is power, you can obtain a sleep-tracking software and monitor your sleep for every week – this really helped me improve my power! And if your drawback is attention, you possibly can buy some Bose QC35 noise-canceling headphones and use them whenever you’re making an attempt to work.

To summarise: sign up for the Dojo, and when you’re waiting, use the TEA framework to seek out probably the most applicable answer for you.

What Does it Take to be A Productivity Champ?

Thank you, Andrew, for sharing!

Andrew is a superb instance of what we seek advice from in our group as a “productivity champ” — someone who constantly seems for tactics to turn out to be better or someone who has the expansion mindset. Other examples of people who have succeeded are Lisa and Scott who we’ve got written case studies about.

In case you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or distracted, you possibly can overcome that and turn into a productiveness champ too:

  • Evaluation our TEA Framework, and develop into acquainted with the three Pillars of Productivity.
  • Take our super-quick Productivity Quiz, which provides you with actionable perception into where you must get began.
  • Decide one (only one!) action step and schedule it in your calendar to implement it.

Should you assume we should always function you as a productiveness champ, get in touch and tell us!