On Peak Performance 2
In mental, creative work one can do his best only for two hours at a time on any one subject. But he can work another two hours on another subject with equal freshness. (Walter Russell)
Walter Russell sometimes worked two hours a day on five different creations, thus living five lives at a time.
(Glenn Clark, The Man Who Tapped the Secrets of the Universe)
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“I find that quote about Walter Russell (one of my Heroes) deeply inspiring. The idea of working in 2-hour blocks on 5 different subjects, thus ‘living five lives at the same time’.
It powerfully resonated with me in the moment when I read Glenn Clark’s book about Russell, but then I forgot about it. Recently however, while reading Jim Kwik’s book Limitless, a passage struck me:
Make sure you have a block of time set aside to get into flow. When conditions are right, it takes about 15 minutes to achieve a flow state and you don’t really hit your peak for closer to 45 minutes. Clearing out only half an hour or so isn’t going to allow you to accomplish much. Plan to set aside at least 90 minutes, and ideally a full 2 hours. (Jim Kwik, Limitless)
The idea of setting aside time for achieving Flow… ideally 2 hours. It’s the same 2-hour pattern!
A light bulb went off in my head.”
“What was the insight?”
“As you know, I’m very interested in peak performance. Two things I’m focusing on are designing my life around the Flow state, and optimizing Energy. Flow is the most energy-efficient state we can achieve.
The insight was to think in flow-blocks instead of work-blocks.
I divided my WorkPlay [<link; short read] day into 2-hour flow-blocks. Each flow-block I dedicate to a different subject.
Block 1: Writing (playing with ideas).
Block 2: Learning-block dedicated to Meta-Leaning and Peak Performance.
Block 3: Learning-block dedicated to Web Design (career-related project).
Block 4: Learning-block dedicated to something chosen at random among my many interests – I call it RND Learning.
Block 5: Variable – it can be Parkour, Improv, Connection, Dancing, Drawing, Systems Optimization, etc.
The structure is modular. It changes based on my present focus and circumstances outside my control.
I call this process parallel learning. This ties in with a fundamental principle of learning called Interleaving – the idea of varying and mixing up your learning to maximize engagement and retention.
The game is to achieve maximum efficiency during every block, and to consistently reach 5 blocks, like Walter Russell.”