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The One True Secret to Being Happy, Productive and Sane Forever

This entry is part 26 of 26 in the series Timeboxing Trilogy

When you’re doing one thing (which by, definition, is something you can do, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it) never, ever, not for even one femtosecond, think about the infinities of other things you aren’t doing. That includes all the things you can’t do, won’t do, didn’t do, should do, would do, could do and/or wish you were doing. Ignore them like a phone call from a telemarketer or a chick you’re ghosting, I dunno: I’m not here to judge how you handle your romantic relationships, brah.

(Unless, that is, you want to be depressed, unproductive and suicidal, in which case, yeah, go nuts — always be thinking of all the things you aren’t doing 😉 ).

Always be here now. Completely and utterly immersed in this moment. Inhabit it totally. Move in like it’s your house for the rest of eternity. Dive all the way in. Lose yourself like Eminem’s mom’s spaghetti. Let this moment swallow you up like a black hole connected to a pocket universe.

Does this mean you never think of the future or the past? Yes, except for scheduled, timeboxed contemplation sessions, it means exactly that.

The upshot of all this is that you’re highly likely to start thinking, planning and acting better, because you’ll love the freedom of losing yourself so much that you’ll fill your day with things you can gladly lose yourself in, things that reward you both in the present and the future. But that’s not the actual aim of the game — it’s just a lovely side-effect, sort of like how Viagra was originally actually a heart medication, and helping guys perform for women they’re not attracted to was just a serendipitous side benefit oh crap I’ve said too much.


Wiser men than I have had something to say on this, among them the man who singlehandedly popularized the Pareto principle in our time, Ricardo van den Kochden aka Richard Koch:

“In a word, selectivity.

Live in the present for most of your time.

But live in the future – be concerned about building a better life for yourself and the people you truly care about – for the vital moments when you can make a difference.

When you make the decisions that may change your life, and that of others.

Choosing a life partner. Deciding on a career. Accepting a job offer or rejecting it. Helping a friend in need. Starting a business. Inventing a new product or service. Cultivating a new friendship with someone who can possibly change your life, and certainly enrich it.

These are all examples of decisions and activities that are of crucial importance. Making the right decision is a highly leveraged action. A small amount of time will have a huge influence on the future.

But these decisions don’t come along all that often, or consume – even in total – a large proportion of your time.

So live in the present moment most of the time – perhaps 95-99% of it.”


1%-5% of the time means that you get at most 10 to 72 minutes per day to plan, fret and worry. The rest of the time, it’s present time all the time, baby.

  • “フェムト秒 1000兆分の1(10^-15)秒のこと。フェムトは10^-15を表す補助単位で、fと表記する。” [フェムト秒(ふぇむとびょう)とは – コトバンク]
  • “a femtosecond is to a second as a second is to about 31.71 million years; a ray of light travels approximately 0.3 µm (micrometers) in 1 femtosecond, a distance comparable to the diameter of a virus.[2]” [Femtosecond – Wikipedia]
  • “在一飛秒中光可以在真空內傳播0.3微米” [飛秒 – 維基百科,自由的百科全書]
Series Navigation<< Why America Doesn’t Win Wars Any More and What (Ironically) That Can Teach You About Learning LanguagesHow (and Why) to Make and Use Entropy Bombs >>

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