Personal Operating System

I listened today to a great interview of a successful entrepreneur and investor. One part of it especially stood out. He was asked how he manages to relax even though he’s constantly engaged in high-output activities, and his answer was enlightening:

  • Simplify life – He doesn’t want more things in his life that he must think about or do. He minimizes the number of daily decisions he has to make and the things he does regularly. He constantly downsizes to further simplify his life.
  • Avoid mental chaos – He could do lots of things, but juggling too many things creates mental chaos and stress. When he’s stressed, his energy changes, he’s not in a good place, and he’s not effective in his work. To avoid this, his default response is no.
  • Hyper focus – He says yes to something only when he anticipates massive output for a decent amount of effort. He will hyper focus on that project, blocking out time on his schedule to do so. The rest of his time is unscheduled and used for relational activities and learning.
  • Optimize his “personal operating system” – He knows what he can handle and how he operates best. He doesn’t want to overload his personal OS by taking on too much. Instead, he optimizes for a few things that have the potential for a big impact.  

This approach is unique. It’s counter to what I’ve heard from other successful people. I really like how he is so self-aware that he’s able to optimize his approach to what works best for him while ignoring how other people manage their work and lives.