And (if applied) can change your life as well
Naval Ravikant is one of the wisest men to have ever walked the planet. And he isn’t stingy with distributing his wisdom.
He disseminates it in concise ultra-distilled doses through his podcast and tweet-storms. Quickly lapping it up, the internet wrings out iconic quotes from it.
While every Naval quote is a delicious concoction of insight that I love devouring from time to time, 3 of them have proved outright life-changing.
I want to share them with you — I hope they prove life-altering for you as well.
What Efficient Work Really Is Like
If you’ve been a constant reader of mine, you’d have seen me quote this at least a million times.
“Forty-hour workweeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes — train and sprint, then rest and reassess.”
This quote encompasses all productivity advice—work in short focused bursts, indulge in mind-recharging breaks, and repeat. Studies have found this to boost your productivity by as much as 5 times!
In the early months of my online writing, I’d sit at my laptop all day, every day.
Shuffling between 10 chrome tabs and rewriting each paragraph, those long hours would yield a half-complete sub-par article. Not to mention the creeping burnout and mounting frustration.
Now, I achieve all my writing in two weekend-deep-work sessions—4 to 6 quality articles and 2 newsletter issues. The weekdays are for editing them leisurely.
Higher, better quality output. Much lesser time spent. No burnout. No frustration. That’s the power of working in sprints—here’s a complete guide on how to construct such a routine for yourself.
With productivity, think in terms of the mind, not time. 3 hours of focused work interspersed with leisure beats 8 hours of humdrum brain-drain by a mile.
By leisure, I mean actual leisure — meditation, light reading, family conversations, park strolls, etc.
Not binging Netflix, gaming, and other brain-draining activities.
The Trifecta of Effortless-Wealth Building
I used to spend my Sunday mornings washing my car and gloating over how I was saving money. Now, I pay my janitor to do it and use the time to write an article or two.
And this is a win-win-win:
The janitor’s income is boosted.
He does a much better job of cleaning than I ever could.
The articles earn me 5 to 10 times the money spent on the car wash.
Time can’t be earned, money can. Be it fixing a broken pipe or mowing our gardens ourselves, we think we’re saving money — but we’re actually trading it for time.
“If you want to be wealthy, spend your time earning, learning, or relaxing. Outsource or ignore everything else.”
Outsourcing is a positive sum-game — it earns both you and the recipient more money. But when should you outsource? Here’s a 2-step strategy for just that:
Ask yourself, “How much money is an hour of my time worth?”. Depending on your knowledge, skills, and acumen, it could be $10 or $10,000.
If the product of your hourly rate and the task’s duration exceeds the cost of paying someone to do it, outsource. If not, don’t.
But you can’t and shouldn’t spend all 24 hours of your day working. Adhering to a stringent “24-hour-productive” routine in college had burned me out and wrecked hell on my mental health.
This is where relaxing and learning come in.
While earning taxes your brain, relaxing activities such as meditating or light reading recharge it. And learning enables you to constantly amp up your hourly rate.
The result is incredible wealth — not just financial, but knowledge and mental wealth as well.
Well-dressed black man walking with a smile
Photo by Fortune Vieyra on Unsplash
Leverage the Insane Power of Compounding
Writing and investing have shown me the power of compounding — while every article draws in new readers, every invested dollar gives birth to more.
“Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest”
Working out is no different—one workout doesn’t cause any visible changes, but thousands of them over the years changed me beyond recognition.
How can I forget reading? The 400+ books I’ve read in my life have built a gargantuan reservoir of knowledge and wisdom. And every new read further swells the waters.
No wonder Einstein called compounding the 8th wonder of the world — seemingly insignificant efforts or savings add up to exponential results or figures.
The craziest part is the synergy — working out led me to self-improvement. Being a lifelong reader developed my love for writing. And my first hit article? It was a books listicle. The second, a fitness one. Reading led to philosophy, which made me prioritize meaning over money and status. And this circles back to self-improvement.
Everything is interlinked — not only does compounding work in individual fields of life, but it also bleeds across them.
Doing a little every single day beats infrequent spurts of high effort. So, build your wealth, relationships, knowledge, and life one brick at a time.
CONTRIBUTED BY Neeramitra Reddy
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