Mind Tools


  • who you want to become?
  • what you want?
  • assume 100% responsibility for your own level of clarity.


  • What do I really want?
  • If I leave what I love, do I come back to it?
  • What if I had only had 6 months left to live?
  • What is my best version?
    • Imagine the last day of your life. And you meet the best version of you, that you could have become. See and feel the difference between you and your best. Ask questions.
  • Create clarity by distancing yourself from the research subject, observing it without limiting views and from expanding views.


  • How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?
  • How can I achieve my goal 10x faster?

Decision Making


  • Pareto principle or 80/20 - 80% of effects come from 20% of causes.
  • Eisenhower Matrix - categorize into (not) important and (not) urgent. Examples.
    • IU do first. Examples: deadlines, pressing issues.
    • INU plan and schedule. Examples: long-term strategizing, health.
    • NIU minimize or delegate. Examples: distractions, repetitive work, low value activity, immediate desires.
    • NINU don’t do. Examples: news, movies, entertainment, comfort, old hobbies, time wasters.
  • Decision Matrix Analysis - list options, factors and their importance, calculate total score.
  • Paired Comparison Analysis - list options and their relative importance, calculate total score.
  • Two List Strategy by Warren Buffett
    • List 25 things you want to do. Focus on top 5 and avoid all others at all costs! Until the top 5 are completed.
  • The Ivy Lee Method
    • End of day write 6 things to do tomorrow
    • Prioritize them.
    • Tomorrow, work focused on the first until is finished. Only then go the next.
    • Repeat.
  • Make a “Not To Do List”
  • Putting accountability to work
    • Put structures and systems in place to measure and record your progress. Schedule regular appointments to check in.
  • Method criteria: simple, limits you.
  • Prioritize tomorrow
  • Do the most important thing first each day.
  • Scalable priorization - make scales for the factor you want to prioritize. Measure, prioritize the time spend on each scale
    • e.g. if you measure money, then measure and prioritize time spent that generates you $10/h, $100/h, $1000/h, $10000/h.

Reduce Decision Fatigue

  • Limit and simplify your choices: clothes, food, transport, etc.
  • Aim for good enough instead of perfection.
  • Don’t make decisions if you feel distracted.
  • Plan daily decisions the night before.

DM➝Outcome Analysis

  • DM is more probabilistic than deterministic. Analyze more probabilities.
  • Good/Bad DM➝Outcome:
    • (GD➝GO) good decision, good outcome
    • (GD➝BO) good decision, bad outome
    • (BD➝GO) bad decision, good outcome
    • (BD➝BO) bad decision, bad outcome
  • Levels of DM➝Outcome analysis:
    1. Only GD➝GO and GD➝BO
    2. Add BD➝BO analysis
    3. All of them: GD➝GO/BO, BD➝GO/BO
    4. All of them (esepcially GD➝GO): How could it be better/best? Go beyond past, personality and known and unknown limitations.

Others on DM



  • to make a habit, make it: Obvious, Attractive, Easy, Satisfying.
  • to break habit, make it: invisible, unattractive, difficult, unsatisfying.
  • do it everyday at predictable time.

The 70% Rule

  • Once you’re at 70%, just do it.
    • The project is 70% finished? Ship it
    • You’re 70% sure about the decision? Make it.
  • if you’re making a decision that is either:
      1. Cheap to be wrong about OR
      1. Easily reversible

Source: https://taylorpearson.me/fast/

Pomodoro Technique

  • focuses on working in short, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break to recover and start over.

Parkinson’s Law

  • “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
  • Reduce Time to Increase Output


  • Use platforms like Upwork and Fancy Hands to outsource tasks which can be done for less than your hourly rate.

Other Productivity Advices

  • Write shorter emails
  • Make quicker decisions
  • http://e.ggtimer.com/5minutes - browser based timer
  • https://getpocket.com/
  • Use Calendly to schedule meetings.
  • Use a text expander to save commonly used phrases (like your address or commonly typed URLs).
  • Music: brain.fm, noisli
  • Time constrain things that are important but not urgent, thus making them urgent.
  • Epic Results = 80/20 Principle Priorization + time constraints

Mental Models


  • Goal: Improve X.
  • Approach:
    • Forward Approach: What can you do to improve X?
    • Inverted Approach: What can you do to worsen X? Avoid it.
  • Comment: Less likely to cause harm. Avoids the worst.

Second-Order Thinking

  • Goal: examine the long-term consequences of our decisions
  • Approach:
    • Never seize on the first available option, no matter how good it seems, before you’ve asked questions and explored further.
    • consider the second and subsequent order impacts.
    • Ask:
      • And then what?
      • What do the consequences look through time? 10 min, 10 months, 10 years?
      • How the environment will react to it?
  • Comment:
    • First-level thinking is fast, easy and superficial. It is similar, everyone reaches similar conclusions.
    • Second-level thinking is deep, complex and convoluted. Extraordinary performance comes from seeing things that other people can’t see. Less competition.
    • Long-term success can be the result of first-order negative and subsequent order positive things.


  • What important truth do very few people agree with you on? (read)
  • How can I achieve a 10 years goal in 6 months?
  • What makes the problem obsolete?


  • Look at the object of observation from completely different angle
  • Frame the problem differently


This project is maintained by nikolayhg