It all started with a twitter thread.
A number of people chimed in with recommendations from shows like Joe Rogan to Tim Ferris, but one guest kept showing up in almost every answer: Naval Ravikant.
I don't know what rock I'd been living under, but I'd never heard of Naval until now. Not only is he the founder of Angel List, but he'd also invested in early-stage startups like Uber, Twitter, Clubhouse, Stack Overflow and many more. Today he's often referred to as an Angel Philosopher.
After binging every podcast episode he’s ever been featured in, I can see why. His philosophies on life, happiness, fulfillment, wealth and business are phenomenal.
I resonated with his philosophies so much that I've gone back to the drawing board on how I view my own business - and the role it plays in my life.
One of the key points Naval preaches is his idea of ruthless prioritization. You can’t do everything. You can’t be everything to everyone. There’s simply not enough time. You have to figure out what matters to you and stick with it in order to see any level of success in those areas.
“If you’ve got a fuzzy basket of 10 or 15 different priorities, you’re going to end up getting none of them.”
Back to Basics
Another concept that stuck out to me was his idea of becoming extremely proficient at the basics. If you master the core fundamentals in any given subject, you'll likely be more successful than if you go off the deep-end in one niche area.
“I think learning should be about learning the basics in all the fields and learning them really well over and over. Life is mostly about applying the basics and only doing the advanced work in the things you truly love, and where you understand the basics inside out.”
Business isn’t some fancy thing that you show up to, it’s just an extension of who you are as a person. These two concepts got me thinking about my own priorities.
Here’s how I’m trimming down my priorities in life and business and going back to basics.
In the rest of this article I'm going to go further into detail about:
- My top 3 priorities for life & business 🚀
- My reasons for choosing these specific priorities 🤔
- My action plan to make sure I hit these priorities 📒
- Bonus: 4 anti-priorities (things I avoid at all costs) ❌
My Top 3 Priorities in Life & Business
#1 - My Health (Physical & Mental) 🏃♂️
Everything starts with your health. If you aren’t feeling well physically, you can’t push your body to do it's best work. If you’re too stressed and anxious with work, you can’t enjoy the other areas of my life. Keeping my mind & body rested, active and healthy is my top priority.
✅ Action: Move my body for 30 mins each day
- Kettlebells / dumbbells
- Bodyweight exercise (pushes, sit-ups, planks)
- Yoga / meditation
- Nap or rest when necessary
#2 - My Friends & Family 👨👩👧
Life is a good as the people you spend it with. The pandemic taught us that life is also fragile. We never have as much time with our loved ones as we think we do. I would give anything to spend more time with my friend Akeem. Today, spending quality time with my friends/family is a non-negotiable for me.
✅ Action: Spend quality time with the people that matter most
- Spend uninterrupted time with my girlfriend
- Take long walks with my dogs
- Go camping in our converted Honda Element
- Hang out or call my closest friends and family
- Prioritize in-person hangouts with friends
- Play video games with my best friends
#3 - My Business(es) 📈
My business is my livelihood. It’s my ticket to living a good life, owning a home and eventually raising a family. Any time spent working on my business will compound and eventually allow more time to focus on my first two priorities. Plus, each business I operate focuses on solving unique problems for people. The more I grow my businesses, the more I can help people.
✅ Action: Prioritize compounding actions in business each day
- Work with my clients to create assets that help their business
- Create resources & digital products that solve unique problems
- Create content to help others join the creator economy
- Provide support, guidance or mentorship to my team
- Build systems, frameworks and optimizations to scale
- Read, read, read, read
❌ My Anti-Priorities
These are things that I’ve generally marked as either not useful, or straight up harmful to my overall wellbeing. These include:
❌ Zoom Calls - After this last year, I’m tired of them. They take up way too much mental processing power and they’re mostly not an efficient use of time.
❌ Meetings - Closely related to Zoom calls. Most meetings can be an email. If we all focused becoming better communicators via email we would all save a ton of time in the long run.
❌ Feed Scrolling - My screen time stats on iOS scare the shit out of me. This is the worst habit I have and I’m consciously working towards reducing it.
❌ Media Consumption - I already spend too much time staring at the screen. Most things on the internet are just noise.
Note: There are some exceptions to the rules above (obviously). There are a few structured meetings I have each month that genuinely help me in my life/business. I love watching my favourite creators on YouTube. We watch Netflix. It’s just important to recognize the things that serve you, ditch the things that don’t, and prioritize creation over consumption.
😠 Addressing the Haters
Q. “You can’t run a business without Zoom calls!”
A. Bullshit. When you put the right systems/processes in place, Zoom calls become irrelevant. I’ve only had 1 or 2 zoom calls with my team of contractors in the last year, the rest is done via text/slack.
Q. “Are you saying you’re too busy to help me???”
A. Yes and no. I love helping people. Every business I’ve built makes money by helping people solve their problems. When I work with a client directly, their priorities become my priorities and I treat them as such.
The difference is scale. Instead of spending an hour on a zoom call to answer one person’s question, I’d rather answer that question in a video/blog post or other online resource that can be accessed by hundreds (or thousands!) of people.
Q. “I still need your help with something. What are my options?”
- 🎬 Video Production: If you’re looking to create a high-impact brand video for your business, you can apply to work with me here. Note: We’re currently booking well into September at this point. The sooner you reach out the sooner I can get you booked in.
- 🐦 Tweet Me: Twitter requires us to focus our conversation to the most important bits. It also allows other people to discover the Q&A, which provides more scaleable value in the long run. Find me here.
- 📫 Email Me: If your issue is sensitive (for example if you don't want your employer to see you tweeting about leaving your job) then send me an email. I carve out a bit of time each Sunday to respond to as many people as I can.
- 👨💻 Hire Me: If you need me to dig into something super critical, I still offer a limited number of direct consulting spots each month. My hourly rate is $250 USD/hr and you can request a booking here.
- 🌐 DYOG (Do Your Own Googling): This is a cop-out answer but it’s probably the most important one. You wouldn’t believe how little I actually know. I’m just really good at googling things. The earths entire history of knowledge is available on the Internet. There's a good chance you don't need to hire me to Google things for you.
The point of this post isn’t to convince you that my way of doing things is better than yours. You do you. Don’t let anyone else dictate what your priorities should be.
However, I do implore you to think about your priorities and be honest with yourself about whether or not your daily actions are in alignment with them.
Life is short. Live yours in the way that’s true to you. Whatever that might look like.