Tag Archive | Intention

On dealing with time wasters

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Some activities make it more likely for you to lose balance and waste time. Brian Johnson describes them with a wonderful metaphor: ‘kryptonite’.

What is your kryptonite these day?

It’s of the digital kind: YouTube and Twitter.

What about them makes you lose balance?

In case of YouTube, the suggestions feature. It helps you discover new things, but it’s also distracting. I wish I could disable it, but unfortunately, it’s not possible.

In case of Twitter, the endless scrolling feature. Once I get going, it’s hard to disengage from it.

Why do you think endless scrolling is hard to disengage from?

It makes me enter a trance-like state. While in the state, especially when tired, I lose access to my metacognitive capacity.

Maybe it’s so engaging for the same reason slot machines are engaging: variable rewards – the intermittent reinforcement mechanism in operant conditioning. You never know when you’re going to stumble upon something interesting. And when you do, it feels like a promise of more.

What’s your strategy for dealing with them?

“I marked them as red flags. A conceptual reminder to always set intention before engaging in them; to never engage in them without a clear exit strategy (eg I’m only doing x) – and a backup exit strategy (eg setting a timer).

Pre-Learning Priming

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What if I read something inspiring related to learning before every learning session, to get into the optimal state?”

“Watch out not to waste too much time with it.

A little bit is impactful.
Past a certain point, you get diminishing returns.

It’s one of those things where you’re better off doing a little bit often rather than a lot infrequently. Think micro-moments of positivity [<link; short read].

Set the intention for how long you’re doing it right before.”

On practicing Quality

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How many re(petition)s did you do?”


“How many quality reps?”

“Maybe two or three.”

“Those are the only ones that count.

Make it a habit to only count quality reps.

“How can I maximize the number of quality reps?”

“Make it a game. Remind yourself of it by setting the intention before every practice.

Be your own coach. Slow down. Create space for reflection.

Make every rep a learning cycle [<link; short read].”

The Essence of Meditation 2

Concentration is at the crux of all human success and endeavor. If you can’t concentrate, you can’t manifest.

Concentration is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period of time.


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of meditation?”

“I thought we were done last time [<link; medium read].”

“To practice something efficiently you need to know exactly what you’re practicing.

What is the structure of the practice?
What is the scope of the practice?

Last time we focused on the structure. The scope however – the why – is equally important. The more specific and inspiring, the better.


I’m meditating because it’s good for me.

That’s terribly vague, and really uninspiring.

I’m meditating because it’s essential training for performing at my best.

I’m meditating because it’s the gateway into Flow, the peak performance state, the optimal state of being.

In meditating, I’m training Concentration and Relaxation, and I’m preparing for Flow.

I call this why-priming [<link; medium read]. You can do it right before meditating, as a form of intention-setting.”


“I like what you did there.”

On dealing with time-sinks

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“There are some activities that tend to swallow big chunks of your precious time if you let them. I call them time-sinks.”

“Haven’t you eliminated non-essentials?”

“I have. But it’s a matter of proportion. Or, to use a different model, opportunity cost. The more time you give an activity, the less time you have for others.

Time-sinks come in two flavors, big and small.
Either one big time-block – activities that are hard to disengage from.
Or multiple small time-blocks – activities that stealthily compound.”

“What strategies do you use for dealing with them?”

“One strategy is setting limits.

Always have an exit strategy.

It can be a limit per session. ‘I’m going to read for half an hour, then take a break.
It can be a limit per day. ‘I’m going to check social media for no more than 10 minutes per day.‘”

“So you track your time?”

“Yes. Not for all activities. Only for certain time-sinks.

The idea is to identify failure-points and give them special attention.

Another strategy is setting focus.

Let’s say you want to read for x minutes. 
If you focus on finishing the chapter (outcome), and the chapter takes longer than x minutes, you will likely exceed the allocated time.
If you focus on reading for x minutes (process), you’re much more likely to succeed.

So the key is to focus on the process not the outcome.

Another strategy is setting intention.

This is a kind of priming.

If you don’t set the intention, you’ll default to your habitual patterns. Depending on the habits you’ve formed, it can work for or against you.

Make it a habit to set the intention right before engaging in an activity.

You’re essentially setting up a life-algorithm.”

“Can you give an example?”

“For instance:

Set a timer to 25 minutes.
Focus on the process not the outcome. (Priming; Practice: Selective-Focus)
Ignore ALL distractions. (Priming; Practice: Deep-Focus)
Stop / Interrupt yourself after 25 minutes. (Priming; Practice: Discipline)”