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A collection of resources curated by Robert Douglas, for the review of his peers, use by his followers, and empowerment of his teams. May y'all live long and prosper.

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14 Jan 2020 » tools

If Robert Douglas sent you here, start at ‘(1) Tools , if not, recommended reading begins immediately:

(iv) No one cares what you think, the only thing that matters is what you do.

No one cares how you feel, no one cares what you thought, the people around you and your life will only be defined by your actions.

The words the last person said to you; those words represent their attempt to communicate an idea to you, it was what they wanted you to hear. All language is mind control.

Your actions can be pointed to as a series of facts. They leave a measurable change on the world and are the only long-standing proof of who you are.

I won’t lie; people often remember how you made them feel in general more than they remember the exact words you said, and sadly people when introduced to something too far outside their world view are more likely to misunderstand the situation than ignore it.

So think frequently, it’s free! Be careful in your words and start taking action now for the future you, because your environment was determined by the actions you took yesterday. Want a better life for you, and the people around you? It has to start now!

(iii) How ‘Current You’ makes decisions, and how you can set ‘Future You’ up for success:

Every time you do something successful three criteria are usually met. A (1) prompt that lead you to that action took place, an (2) understanding of how to complete the action was available to you (allowing your mind to process the outcome as possible), and you had the (3) energy (likely in the emotional form of motivation) to do it.

This means if you want future you to accomplish the goals present you currently desires… you’ll need to plan for every action in the future to have the right:

(1) Prompt, usually in the form of a scheduled or well-placed reminder you’ll come across again. They tend to work best when they reveal themselves at the most appropriate time to initiate the task you’ve planned…

(2) Understanding, of the steps required to start or complete the task, often in the form of notes that accompany a prompt OR internalized so that you can enter the task with as little thinking as possible… and

(3) Energy, for you to conquer the hurdle of starting (knowing your potential for a positive outcome is more valuable than the energy risk you’ll expend attempting it) and that benefit of future resources or time will give you back more energy than the task took from you.

(ii) This is too much, I’m overwhelmed, I don’t have the energy, and I can’t make time

If you lack a prompt, you won’t do the task at the right time, and it’ll be as though you have to make the new prompt all over again with no guarantee it’ll be done.

If you lack the understanding, your task will feel overwhelming and impossible because it is currently impossible in your minds eye, only more information through research or trial and error will change this.

If you lack the energy your body is likely trying to tell you something, it may see the task as more energy than reward you’ll get back. Maybe you’ve already had a long day. Maybe the idea of taking on another thing feels uncomfortable. Humans tend to work best in short bursts, where there is clear recovery and motivation available.

Overwhelmed? Record your items in a list. You know you won’t do them all now. Have a smart phone? Use the native reminders app and you can re-sort by priority. Found those that are most important? Do them in that order. When you’re overwhelmed only focus will set you free.

Don’t have the energy? Good. It means you worked hard so you can rest hard. Not motivated but not tired? You didn’t work hard enough, you need to work harder so you can rest harder. Is this a perpetual issue? Ask others for help, not in completing your task, but telling you what to prioritize.

No energy but have time? Drink a glass of water, eat a snack, walk for 8 minutes or more, and reconsider. Does your significant-other have the same problem, bring them a glass of water and make them drink it, bring them a snack and make sure they eat it, then take them on a walk. Based on your relationship this may end up solving 80% or more of problems. If this doesn’t work you may benefit from a low carbohydrate and lower sugar diet, a sub 15 minute nap with your feet elevated, or a little bit of caffeine.

Not enough time? A pomodoro is a work-break-structure that allows consistent breaks for recovery and deferring distractions to promote a sustainable [Flow state]( where nothing else gets in your way. If you can’t dedicate one 25 minute block to completing a pomodoro in the effort of getting what you wanted done, then you have bigger problems than this list can help.

There’s too much going on, I know what I need to do, why should I make a list

How can you possibly try to change your life if you can’t take stock of what you’re doing right now.

That list may work as a motivator, as every time you cross an item off a list you get a feeling of accomplishment.

That list may work as a filter, where the tasks of the day that normally keep popping up in your head can just be written down instead of constantly interrupting you.

That list may tell you what you can actually get done in a day; when everything is written out, you see the whole picture.

That list may make you smarter, because space normally consumed by your short term memory just got freed up.

When you review an old list, you can see what you thought was important and what was not. This review programs your subconscious to emotionally value the actions that had a long-term impact on your life over the things that failed.

Without your conscious mind having to do work beyond reading an old list, you are tuning your body just like any auto shop tunes a car.

(i) I’m doing the things in front of me, but my life isn’t getting better.

You’ll get what you want when you have focus

The following tools are meant to enable you to take stock of your life, prioritize what is really important to you, hobbies and work included, and move those things forward.

  • You don’t know your goals, they will come with time, and you can apply these tools on them as you need
  • You don’t need to do these things for more than 25 minutes (one pomodoro) a day. However, you’ll find that as you regularly do them it will be as if you are capable of doing a week’s work in a single day.
  • The clearest benefit of these tools is not that you’ll be able to achieve your goals, but that you’ll be able to complete what you said you would.

When your actions match your words, your words match your thoughts, and this will give you a regular, not necessarily easy, straightforward path for you to get exactly what you want from the world and all the people in it.

It’s INTEGRAL that you do this. It means you will be reliable and thus can overcome complexity without sacrificing consistency.

To push through a task the check boxes you need to clear are:

  • “Does future me benefit from this?”
  • “What do my emotions allow’?”
  • “At the end will I be better or worse off than I feel I am right now?”

The sorts of emotional programming you’ll likely benefit the most from vocalizing are:

  • “one more”
  • “remember my goals”
  • “you can do anything for a minute

(1) Tools

This is an overview of the tools I use, and in some-cases I require others use them too so they can receive a paycheck. There is just no possible way for anyone to go nearly as far with me as they could if their actions don’t match their words.

Discipline Tools

1) The Ivy Lee Method

2) Pomodoro

3) The two minute rule

4) Keeping my email inbox at zero.

Organizational Tools

1) Getting Things Done by David Allen

2) Clean Fox

3) Slidebox

4) Resilio Sync

5) Thinking about how “future me” will want to use something when I write it down.

Communication Tools:

1) The NATO Alphabet

2) 5 Lines or Less Email

3) Adding “Please respond by ____” to my signature footer.

(2) Tasks

This is an overview of the low level routines I use for any task:

  • Start: The first five seconds of starting are the hardest, once you’re moving forward the work becomes monumentally easier

  • Prioritize: If it takes two minutes or less, do it right now

  • Organize: Do things in the priority they help you, not easiest to hardest.

  • Focus: Only push things off when you have non-emotional reasoning to, things that are deferred are more taxing, and less beneficial when done later.

This is how it almost always goes except when there is a conversational or social narrative break.

You’ll find I have no issues asking one to mute themselves to have someone do a mission critical task… even when others are on the call, exponentially increasing the number of man-minutes consumed.

Remember: 20% of your actions will likely be responsible for 80% of your progress

(3) Habits

It’s important you increase your likelihood of doing all the things you said you would. These actions increase your ability and motivation to do future actions:


  • Simple enough to give you focus
  • Easy for you to complete or delete
  • Well placed so it can be compared to others in your current environment and taken seriously


  • add steps to your tasks when you make them (they’ll guide future you even if you get bored, confused, or forgetful)
  • link objects with clear titles, so you know WHY later that resource can be useful


(4) Benefits

When you make a list, you’re just taking stock of your life.

Review that list now, and you might find some of your actions were impulsive or can be done at a different time in the same place.

Review that list tomorrow, you’ll feel better about accomplishing things and you’ll get an emotional boost.

Review that list later this year and you’ll be able be able to determine what actions made the difference. Slowly, but surely, you will automatically begin to prioritize those kinds of decisions, the decisions that will ACTUALLY change your life.

You’ll get more done

The more you do for yourself the more you get to see the rewards.

Didn’t complete anything you wanted to today? Do five push-ups, you just got stronger.

Only did one thing today? Remove it from your list, there’s one less thing in your way.

Did three things today? You’re going to see major change pretty quickly in your life.

Did more than three things every day? You’re now in the top 1% of performing people.

You’ll enjoy working more.

As you work, you’ll slowly begin to enter into flow as you take more control of your life and acquire focus and speed. You can get there much easily if you have a healthy baseline. The process of creation comes much more easily since the actions that you’re taking are progressive and simple. This is due to proper preparation and setting up your frames in the first place.

When the mind is freed from distraction and worry, it can move easily in any direction and is as free to make any decision. These are the components that YOU can affect and thus will DRIVE the very decisions that will determine almost every outcome in life.

If you want to achieve anything in this life, it starts by doing that first step.

Motivation isn’t always available, sometimes suffering and thinking are required to achieve goals but like with any training… the more you do something, the easier it gets. You’ll feel your best, get the most done, and live the longest, and happiest, when you have balanced your life and by doing so you will set yourself up for success. Who knows, I may even hire you.

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