September 6, 2022




Decomplication, Via Negativa, Speed Matters, & More

At a glance

Welcome to the 300(!) new friends of the Mental Models, Concepts, and Frameworks newsletter who have joined us since last week!

This Week: 7 mental models you can use to actually be productive (instead of just reading about mental models that make you “feel” productive)


We’ve been led to believe that our everyday problems—weight loss, productivity, saving money—require complex solutions.

This is called ‘artificial complexity.’

Decomplication is the process of boiling problems down to their simplest form.

h/t @nateliason

Via Negativa

When we have a problem, our natural instinct is to add a new habit or buy a solution.

But usually, you improve your life by subtracting instead.

The foods you avoid are more important than the foods you eat.

Subtracting distractions is the key to productivity.

Speed Matters

The faster you do things, the less activation energy is required to do any one thing.

To avoid procrastination, keep the activation energy low by shortening the timeframe for the work that needs to be done, and work faster.

h/t @jsomers

Hourly Aspirational Rate

Figure out how much an hour of your time is worth: Your 'aspirational hourly' rate.

When deciding whether or not to do a task, ask whether it's worth more or less than your rate.

If it's worth less than your rate, outsource, automate, or delete it.

Trust in Calendar

”A calendar speaks more truth than a to-do list.

Your to-do list is the ideal Sunday evening theory.

Your calendar is the brutal Monday to Friday practice.

Operate accordingly: you must block time in your calendar for deep work.”

h/t @shreyas

High-Leverage Activities

To maximize output, spend time on the activities that will influence that output the most.

The more you need to do an activity or the more you are affected by it, the higher the leverage is on time spent perfecting that thing.

h/t @rabois

The Top Idea In Your Mind

The topic you think about in the shower is “The Top Idea In Your Mind.”

If it's not what you want to be thinking about, it might indicate your focus isn’t where it should be: on your most important problem.

If so, you may need to change something.

That's it, I hope you enjoyed reading :)

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