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I don’t know if I’m very productive. I take naps during the day. Sometimes I start businesses that fail. I often go down paths that lead to dead ends.

At the same time, I’m on the board of some very successful companies. I’m a successful investor. I write a lot. I have a top podcast.

I look at my calendar for next week and everything I’m doing is something I love doing. It took me a long time to build up to this level of productivity but that’s because I wasn’t doing so well the things I list below.



Most important: I love my wife and I think she loves me. Sometimes I don’t know if she loves me. Perhaps my most unproductive time is when I am wondering if she loves me.

I also get annoyed at my kids sometimes. This is very unproductive. Like, if one is late and I’m just sitting in the car. But I have a trick for making that time in my life productive as long as I’m not yelling at her or getting angry.
Anger is never productive. Some people are foolish and think that anger drives them forward but it doesn’t. Anger stabs at your heart and then your heart closes. You need your heart to be open.

How come? Because neurons transmit messages from your gut to your heart to your head. Everything needs to be open so your neurochemicals transmit messages effeciently.

Image Credit: dumblittleman.com
Image Credit: dumblittleman.com

So the first question is: what is ‘being productive’? 

I like to be in love with people and my favorite hobbies. Then I like to be successful at those things. And all other times I like to be sleeping or thinking of nothing.

That is success for me.

What are side effects of success? 

Kissing and sex and smiling. Some laughing. Talking to people who make me think. Reading about interesting things. Feeling that fire-like feeling in my chest when I’m doing something I’m proud of. And money is a side-effect. Note that money is not a goal. Having money as a goal makes it very hard to make money. Money is a side effect of the daily routine I am about to tell you.

These are all just side effects. And they are all happening in my life right now.

Image Credit: viralnovelty.com
Image Credit: viralnovelty.com


First off, I’m going to love you today. I picture you, the reader, and I’m in love with you. I’m grateful you are reading this. This makes a flood of oxytocin trigger in my brain so I can keep writing this and I’m happy doing it.

I woke up at 5:30am. I read books and had coffee. Oh, and I did about 30 pushups but then it got too hard for me so I’ll do more later.

What books did I read?

“I, Mammal”
“The Untethered Soul”
“The Last Girlfriend on Earth”
“Podcast Launch”
“The Hidden Tools of Comedy”

I try to read 5-10% of each book when I sit down to read. I rotate through books so tomorrow might repeat this list or might be new books.

Then I write. I’m writing right now.

Beethoven's Daily Routine (Image Credit: viralscape.com)
Beethoven’s Daily Routine (Image Credit: viralscape.com)

I’ll shower and brush my teeth. It’s good to be clean. 8 hours of sleep last night. Some exercise. Cleaning. Reading. Writing. I’ll be done with all of this by 10am today.

I’ll eat well. For me that means less carbs. Some people that means more carbs. Some people it means less calories. Some people will eat food they enjoy and it doesn’t matter what it is. It makes them happy.

I eat at 10am and then around 3pm and that’s it.

I’m only going to be around people I love today. I’ll call some friends. I’ll be with my wife. Spend time with kids.

I’ll respond to emails but only people who I love and respect and want to help and I hope they feel the same way about me.

I NEVER respond to people I don’t like. Why should I? Someone, for instance, wrote me last night an email that was insulting. He got instantly deleted and blocked. Not that I need to avoid him to be happy but there’s just no point in interacting with him.

Image Credit: http://dougleschan.com/
Image Credit: http://dougleschan.com/

I have a couple of email tricks I do every day: 

a. I’ll find someone from 3-10 years ago that I will send an email to. Someone I miss but have always liked. I’ll act as if we just spoke yesterday. It will be fun. 100% of the time they respond.
b. I’ll find two people I think should meet each other. I’ll first ask permission from both: “can I introduce you to so-and-so?” If they both say “yes” then I’ll make the connection.

I call this “permission networking”. My network is not the list of how many people I know. The strength of my network is how well everyone on the list of people I know, knows each other. Most people don’t know this important principle.

c. Finally, I’ll write to someone I want to meet. To do this I need to offer them something of value. So I have to be creative in my email.

Most of the time I get no response on these emails because most people I want to meet have no clue who I am and don’t want to meet me. About one out of ten respond.

You know who I wrote to so far today? I wrote to Coolio, the rapper. And Morgan Spurlock who directed Supersize Me. I’ll let you know if they ever write me back.

Image Credit: onlinecollege.org
Image Credit: onlinecollege.org

Next I’ll try to be creative.

I’m writing but that’s not enough. I need to come up with a list of ideas. It’s ok if they are bad ideas. It doesn’t matter to me. Just lots of ideas. If I don’t exercise my idea muscle every day I get less creative. I can actually feel the creative connections start to weaken from one side of my brain to the other. I might take an idea from the other day and combine it with an idea from today.

I was thinking of making a sitcom revolving around Jewish Neanderthals. Maybe I will make a list of episodes. I don’t know. We’ll see.

I will kiss Claudia. I will bow down and try to kiss her feet but she’ll reach down and say, “no no no” and laugh. She’s so predictable!

Image Credit: getmyshot.com
Image Credit: getmyshot.com

And then I will end the day much like I begin it. 

I’ll be grateful for the things happening in my life. I won’t just say “thanks.” I’ll think why I am grateful. I’ll even think of the things that are negative and be grateful that I can spend time looking for the positive in them.

I call this being “creatively grateful”. The more negative something is, the more creatively grateful I have to be.

And hopefully the end of my day ends in sex. Either sex or a good book. Or a good conversation. Or good sleep.

This is not my ideal routine. This is basically what I did yesterday.

The best indicator of having a good day tomorrow is to have a good day today.

The above response is written by James Altucher, and it originally appeared on Quora. The paragraphs and spacing were slightly edited and some visual images were added to it.

Categories: Lifestyle, Opinions

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)