David Kadavy became a writer by accident. A product designer by trade, David realized his love for writing and decided to focus on that pursuit. He’s now the author of two books – Design for Hackers and The Heart to Start.
Now let’s get to the interview – a few questions with David about how he stays inspired and productive every day so he can pump out his best work.
What does the first 90 minutes of your day look like?
While I’m still in bed, I grab my portable word processor and free write, mostly with my eyes still closed.
What’s your number one productivity/time-saving tip?
Mind management, not time management. Productivity is increasingly about the quality of your ideas, not the quantity of the work you do. So, I try to optimize for creative output by making the most of my creative energy.
Do you have a pre-bed/nightly routine?
Yes. About two hours before bed, I turn off social media and start wearing orange blue-blocker goggles. When it’s bedtime, I sit in bed with a lamp on and my eyes open until my eyelids get heavy. Then, I put in earplugs and put on a sleeping mask and turn off the light.
#1 Email tip?
Get at least two hours of work done before you check email.
What’s the biggest hindrance to your productivity? How do you combat it?
Any kind of interruption first thing in the morning will ruin my creative output for the whole day.
I’m very prone to distractions in the morning. This distractibility goes hand-in-hand with my enhanced ability to be creative in the morning. This is why I protect that time from distractions.
When you lose focus, what do you do to regain it?
I write down everything that is on my mind, including what questions are in my head. I ask myself if I’m losing focus because I don’t see what I’m doing as a priority. So, I evaluate my priorities. Sometimes I’m able to find the motivation to keep going. Other times, I decide to do something else.
If I still can’t focus, I ask if I’m in the right mind-state to be doing that type of work. If I can change my mind-state, I will. Otherwise, I may have to put it off until a time of day or week when I’m in that mind-state.
What bad advice do you hear often?
Just get started. If you can follow that advice, you probably don’t need it. It’s like telling a depressed person to stop being depressed. This is why I wrote a whole book on exactly how to get started.
In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Protecting the first few hours of my day to do my most important creative work.
Follow David on Twitter.