Coming to grips with productivity after travelling and partying

15 minutes: I would be very surprised if this article takes you more than 15 minutes to digest. What you’ll get in return is a new slant on productivity, boombastic jazz, and a kick in the butt regarding your stock market activities. Oh, and some of my pics from Ibiza the last few days.


Productivity can be illusive

My definition of a boombastic jazz style is this!

Travelling with Ronja builds character

Okay, linking to a random YouTube clip from my youth might smack more of procrastination than productivity, but consider this advice:

Never put off (just) until tomorrow, what can safely be scheduled for the day after that.

Hmmm, am I getting my message across here? Perhaps not just yet, but believe me that both statements will be tied in very neatly with the main theme of productivity.

I came back yesterday from 10 days of travelling, during which I did exactly zero writing and not significantly more reading – not even fiction. I did alter* my state of consciousness a lot though – not least on Ibiza. How productive was that?

Well, how can this (pic of our Ibiza living room this year) not be productive (=worthwhile)?

*meditating, schmeditating, medicating…


Why strive for being productive?

I constantly get bombarded by questions regarding my activities, now that I don’t have a job. I guess what they are really asking is how I can stand not being productive (which is one of the basic human driving forces, and used to be necessary for survival).

Today, I even found myself thinking in terms of not having been productive for ten days straight. Quite out of character for me to think that way. The second after, however, I immediately started pondering the word productive in itself.

My first thought had centered around not writing, not reading articles, not working out. So wrong.

My second, corrective, thought simply asked the most important question in the world: why?

Busy doing nothing at Destino


Purpose is everything, Mr Andersson

It all boils down to the why of things, to the purpose.

It’s amazing, really, how profound Mr Smith’s monologue on purpose was in the Matrix trilogy.

Being productive means being both effective and efficient. That, however, does not mean doing what others expect you to do as quickly as possible. It means doing whatever brings you closer to your desired state, in the best way possible (which sometimes is a slower [preparing, meditating] or more roundabout [education, or whoring out] manner).

I read and write because I like it in the present, as well as because it makes me evolve and grow, because it conditions my brain’s plasticity and prepares me for the future. I don’t do it to simply fill my days, or to keep on some arbitrary blog schedule.

Sure, I want to spread my ideas as widely as possible to make the world a better place, but I won’t do it at the cost of my own ultimate goals (don’t ask. No, I mean it; don’t ask).

If you have a productive imagination

I urge you to reconsider the definition of “productive” in terms that apply to you specifically:


What is being productive to you?

Is it productive to go to the gym? Why? You want to get stronger? Why? You want to live longer? Why? Sometimes it’s simply more productive in many ways to not go (building motivation, resting strained tissues, prioritizing something else)

Is it productive to train your brain to understand feedback loops, or avoid biases, to know math and languages, to make it more plastic? Why? To get the highest paying job possible? Why? To get the most rewarding job? Why? Is it to never postpone what can be done do right away? Why not? [That’s one tie-in]

Is it productive for you to become smarter? Why? What pleasures will you reach for with your new super smarts?

You want to get richer? Why? Sure, money and time can resolve a lot of issues, just rarely the important ones. What are you going to do with the extra money? Invest to get even richer? D’oh!

You want to become more aware, more mindful? Do you feel behind schedule when you can’t make time for meditating or doing mindfulness exercises? Why? What will you do with your increased sense of unity with the physical world?


The cute path to hell

Oh, make no mistake, I am all for becoming stronger, wiser, smarter, plasticity-er, more aware and mindful. I am acutely aware of my own purpose and the ultimate answer to my own why:s. I just want you to question your own choices along the “cute” path society has made you believe is the only one (also known as Keeping Up With The Joneses = KUWTJ).


Question everything, trust no one

Lesson one is to question the meaning of being productive.

For me it’s sometimes about meeting people, hanging out with friends, kicking back, altering my state of consciousness with alcohol, coffee and other drugs.

At other times, it’s reading fiction, meditating etc.

At yet other times it’s challenging myself, my body, my brain, my fears and insecurities.

Once upon a time, it was about making a pile of money as quickly as possible. Before that, it was all about surviving as comfortably as possible from day to day; about not getting caught naked, not being put on the spot.

Lesson two is about questioning all your power words; realizing your relevant definition is somewhere along a spectrum of possible definitions.

What is being courageous? is it doing something dangerous, something you are afraid of? Not necessarily.


Healthy? Healthy food, lifestyle, workout routine? Is it vegan food only, is it working out every day, is it never indulging in sweets, fat, salt, alcohol?

Discipline. Sometimes it’s about working out despite not feeling it. Sometimes it’s the opposite; being psychologically strong enough to rest the required time, even if you’re lagging

What is your definition of a boombastic jazz style? Mine is this! [Second neat tie-in, although my mind actually goes completely blank when asked what a boombastic jazz style really is]

Destino Pacha – meditated in the pool, mouth below surface, for 90 minutes straight, while doing an epic split


Stock market implications

Oh, I know it’s all you guys really care about… Getting rich quick schemes, preferably on the stock exchange.

Then, consider this:

If you really want to make money on the stock exchange. If you want to go about it in a productive way. Then why do you assume following charts on your off hours, combined with luck, will make you beat experienced and immensely more connected, rich and powerful individuals and firms?

Why do you take chances? Why do you treat the stock market as a casino with way over 100% payout ratio. Why don’t you heed my advice and invest rather than speculate?

Being productive in investing means investing for the long term. Invest systematically. Invest productively: either in cheap stocks, in your own skills or in a business of your own. See previous articles on investing here on my START page if you haven’t read them already.

On the stock market: What is being productive? What is being courageous? What is being disciplined? What is a boombastic jazz style?

I can tell you what isn’t productive: following the herd, following the trend like a lemming, speculating blindly without putting in the work

I can tell you what isn’t courageous: doing exactly like everybody else

I can tell you what isn’t disciplined or decisive: buying the dips with no plan B, implicitly betting on selling to a bigger fool at just the right time 

I can tell you what isn’t boombastic: crying over your losses after the fact; crying that nobody knew what was coming, blaming your broker, blaming analysts, blaming media. No, boombastic is thinking for yourself and taking all the credit and all the losses on the same ego account.

“Boombastic” is getting a pop bracelet at the pool for being a cool dude

Before leaving, remember to share this article or subscribe to my newsletter for more pure gold. You do know there is a free eBook in it for you? I hear it’s quite retarded albeit useful and highly recommended. 

P.S. Here you’ll find pics and stories from last year’s Ibiza trip in July:

Retard thinking

15 Replies to “Coming to grips with productivity after travelling and partying”

  1. You always write a new article, when I actually ought to get some good sleep.
    Speaks for the quality of your blog, Micke.

    I agree about your points about productivity.
    What’s productive is fluid and dependent on the current situation you’re in, as well as what you’re actually wanting to accomplish.

    With no purpose, it’s difficult to define what productive really is, as there’s no end state that ”productive” action may lead to.

    Furthermore, the words we use are rarely clear in their meaning, rather we seem to get meaning out of synthesis that is contextual.

    Similar to the way we read.
    Humans don’t actually read every single letter, they use heuristics/pattern seeking to identify words.

    Your post kind of reminds me of an Alan Watts lecture.
    He talked about how the unperceived assumptions, that language itself and our words carry, are the most dangerous ones.
    Why? Because they go unquestioned.

    Also liked your point about health.
    Vegans are vegan because they think it’s healthy, but is it really?

    The brain can associate anything with anything, doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

    Looks like your trip did you well, probably one of your best posts yet.
    Guess the trip was productive.

    Just saw the affiliate link for the fish oil you drink.
    Feel free to ignore the stuff I send you, then.
    No point in affiliate marketing one thing and using another.

    But you already concluded that anyhow, right?

    1. Hi Nick. Apologies for ruining your sleep

      I wish I had thought of the word “trip”… ;)

      Regarding the fish oil I am always up for changing my mind, but the threshold in this instance is pretty high. I’ve been using it for many years with amazing results – not to mention I know the owner going >20 years back. He is meticulous in his search for good products, meticulous testing and research with a focus on doing good rather than making money. My belated affiliation (yesterday, almost a decade late) is my small contribution to his story. Don’t let that stop you from sending useful information though. That’ll keep him on his toes.

  2. I found your site recently and like it very much. Thanks for the great articles. I think a lot about productivity to in my life. But for everyone it’s something else. For me it’s productive to have as much free time as possible and care my healthy. Because that’s a goal at the moment of me to work on my healthy. Maybe in the future this will change. In the past I think productive things for me were something else when I was an employee. So productivity is relative. Relative to everyone. The most productive for example I was in terms of money it was when I get paid to make an education from government. But at the same time I worked on my own projects / website and get paid double at the same time. For me productive I relative. And I think can not be defined as a static thing what you can achieve 100% at all times. I think feel productive is the most important thing and feel good about the thing is done. Not important if it was reading a book, exercise or doing real work. Best regards from Germany

  3. Your ‘what is being productive to you’ is an interesting application of the “Five Whys” technique: that is, you need to keep asking ‘why’ and typically it takes five iterations to get to the root ‘why’.

    It’s typically used in engineering for root cause analysis, but as you show can be applied to root causes in life…


    1. I never know if it’s a good thing or not that I don’t keep things like the 5 Whys at the top of my mind, and include or refer them in texts like this one. Anyway, it’s a good link, a good habit

  4. Mikael,

    Wanted to thank you for the blog. Read every post and it means a lot to me.

    I’m quite hard on myself “productivity wise”. I think I’ve read too much Wall Street Playboys whereby I curse myself for not “developing” continually. Consequently, I find myself sitting at lovely points of the country with a friend or two altering our minds as we should or shouldn’t.

    It’s not that this isn’t productive and perhaps you’ve open my mind to the fact that it is, but on a general consensus, it isn’t. I guess there are many ways of productivity and things like you trip or my trips are really just productivity alterations or deloads.

    All the best.

  5. Hej!

    Måste först och främst tacka dig Micke för en riktigt skön blogg!

    “The cute path to hell” fick mig att skratta högt. Ligger mycket i att ifrågasätta allt och inte lita på någon. Ja, förutom sig själv då i de flesta fall.

    Dina inlägg leder till eftertanke. Tack.

    Sofie Windh

    1. Tack för kommentaren.

      Mitt liv går ut på att perspektiv själv genom studier och erfarenhet, och i nästa stund ge perspektiv till andra för ökad visdom och livskvalitet. Om jag kan få in ett skratt också någonstans i livsräkenskaperna så desto bättre.


      1. : P

        Det låter som ett sunt sätt att ge tillbaka till mänskligheten. Ingen kan väl få för mycket visdom och livskvalitet.

        Genom att läsa om dina erfarenheter hittills i livet verkar det som du har varit med på en riktig resa. Har funderat en hel del på sistone på just pengar, framgång, lycka, osv (klassiskt). Nu är jag inte i dina skor och är därför nyfiken på ditt perspektiv så här kommer en aningens personlig fråga, redo? Vad i livet anser du är det som får dig att känna mest lycka (finansiell frihet räknas inte)?

        Mvh, Sofie

        1. Stor fråga, men som har många små och föränderliga svar. Det finns stor övergripande dov lycka och det finns korta stunder av små, men intensiva glädjerus. Den stora lyckan som ständigt bär fram mig består i valfrihet, trygghet i att känna mig själv mm. De vardagliga små lyckorusen ploppar in från verkligheten i alla möjlkiga former:

          Dofter: tjära, tång, bensin, kanelbullar, våt hund

          Insikter: när jag förstår sammanhang, när pusselbitar faller på plats, när jag läser och förstår, eller lär mig något nytt

          Gemenskap: att komma hem till min hund, att klappa henne

          Förändringar av sinnestillstånd: somna, vakna, dricka, nyktra till, ge sig av, komma fram, komma hem

          Mat och vila efter träning

          Att planera, göra framsteg, att uppfylla planerna, att se projekt och mig själv växa

          Bli glatt överraskad/rädd/skratta

          Att uträtta och avsluta saker/projekt/konstruktioner/artiklar

          Det mesta handlar om rörelse, utveckling och tllväxt, men ibland också om avslut och fulländning.

          1. Tack för ditt svar.

            Så om man kan sammanfatta dina svar så handlar det mycket att ta vara på de mindre sakerna också likväl större saker som man åstakommer. Att reflektera över dessa saker och ta vara på dem.

            Jag kan tipsa om en bok jag läste nyligen av Eckhart Tolle, “Lev livet nu” heter den. Riktigt klyschig titel och fult omslag (dumt att döma en bok av dess omslag uppenbarligen) men innehållet är något som verkligen har öppnat mina ögon och jag har tänkt väldigt mycket på den sedan jag läste den i våras. Går i linje med vissa saker som du skriver. Att vi mår bäst när vi balanserar på nuets “knivsegg”. Han menar på att det inte finns något “förr/dåtid” eller “framtid”. Allt som finns är nu och det är det enda vi kan påverka. Därför är det slöseri med att älta det som har hänt, eller vara stressad över framtiden då det “nuet” inte har kommit än och är opåverkbart.

            Jag har själv en liten hund som är med mig varje dag och jag kommer på mig själv ibland av att vara helt uppslukad och lycklig när jag klappar och leker med honom.

            Tack igen för en läsvärd blogg!

  6. Hi Mikael,

    What is your opinion about business ideas when being a student? I’ve got three at the moment, but I lack the capital to start them now. The third is a small sized one and maybe manageable in terms of saving money to start the production stage (developing website, ….).

    Should I keep them around and use them later or what?


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