Tag Archive | Efficiency

Learning Optimization 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize Learning?”

Gain optimal feedback on the quality of your learning immediate feedback after every learning session and daily feedback at the end of every day.

How effective was your learning? (Strategy)

Did you learn the highest-leverage things you could be learning? (Leverage)

Did you learn them in optimal order (so that they optimally build upon one another)? (Sequencing)

How efficient was your learning? (Tactics)

Did you challenge yourself?

How active was your information absorption process? (Understanding Efficiency)
Did you process – that is, deeply reflect on – the information immediately, or just lazily saved it for later?

Did you practice deliberately? (Practice Efficiency)
Did you actually have deliberate practice time?

Always keep in mind the central tenet of Essentialism:

Less, but better. (Greg McKeown)

The Non-Zero Progress Principle

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the non-zero progress principle?”

“It’s a brilliant little principle I know from Darius Foroux [<link] – one of my favorite people. 

Do one thing every day that helps you move toward your most important goal.

It’s basically two principles into one:

Consistent Action – Consistent daily action compounds [<link; short read].

Efficient Action – Focus on the highest-leverage things, one at a time.”

“Weren’t you already doing that?”

“I was taking consistent action, but not efficient action. Darius’s principle helped me see the error of my ways.”

On Learning and Quality

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize learning?”

“Realize that there’s two aspects to it: the learning foundation, and the learning process.

The former refers to getting yourself in a peak mental and emotional state for learning. That means optimizing what Brian Johnson calls the Fundamentals:


It also means training your capacity to focus.

As concerns the latter, start by asking a better question.

What exactly do you want to optimize about the learning process?”

“I want to maximize learning density [<link; short read]. The amount of learning I get done every day.”

“The problem with that statement is that it focuses only on quantity.

Let’s say you get a lot of learning done in a day, but of low quality. Think cramming for an exam. You have a high density, but very low quality.

The learning process has an input and an output. Let’s say you have a lot of efficient input in a day but zero output. You have a high density, but an imbalanced input/output ratio [<link; short read].

You want to get more learning done every day. (Quantity)


You want to get more out of your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more present in your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more balanced in your learning every day [<link; medium read]. (Quality)

Quality has four components: Effectiveness, Efficiency, Presence, and Balance.

We can think of effectiveness as the macro, and efficiency as the micro. Strategy and tactics. Both are essential.

To maximize density, maximize efficiency. 

Better still, focus on maximizing all aspects of Quality. You can think of them as the Quality-checklist.”

Beautiful Models: Time-Density

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the most important resource?”

“I’m thinking time, because it is non-renewable.”

“Would you say the more you have, the better?”


“What if you have a lot of time, but you don’t have the energy to make use of it?”

“Then, I guess, all that time is for nought.”

“The time you have is a potentiality, which is actualized by how you use it.

To actualize time, you need energy.

I love Robert Greene’s idea – which I’ve turned into a mental model – that there’s only two types of time: alive time and dead time.

You actualize time by turning it into alive time.

Dead time is wasted time.

Think of a leaking bucket. The potential time you have is the holding capacity of the bucket. The actual time you have, is however much water you have at any given time.

You also actualize time by increasing time-density.

“What is time-density?”

“It’s how efficiently you make use of it.

If you learn something in half the time compared to someone else (learning-density), then you can dedicate the time difference to other pursuits. In the same amount of time, you’ve done more things. This applies to not just learning, but also experiences (experiential-density), creative output (creative-density), and growth more generally (growth-density).

Over the course of a lifetime, increased time-density can amount to years.

With a high time-density you can live more than your years.

The converse is also true:

With a low time-density you can live less than your years.