023. 3 Hat Productivity with Christian Genco

Christian Genco explains how splitting work into three responsibilities helps him avoid distractions and get more done.
  • A little about Christian and how he first met Leo
  • Mister Money Mustache, spending less
  • Patrick McKenzie, inventor of Bingo Card Creator
  • A day in the life of Christian Genco
  • Prepopulate your task list, start with your most important task and include lots of easy wins
  • Put healthy snacks, hard tasks, and what to do if tired or feeling overwhelmed in your task list
  • Plan for spending time in the sun, meditating, journaling, and cooking
Why 3 hats?
  • Challenges that Christian faced in order to balance all of his responsibilities:
    • Putting off difficult work
    • Lots of distractions from new or exciting opportunities
    • The constant questioning of priorities
  • "You can take it seriously, give it the time, money and attention it deserves and build it into something real. But what you’re doing is not working, so either shut it down or double down." — Hiten Shah to Nathan Berry about ConvertKit
  • What didn't work to solve these problems:
    • External accountability didn't align with his personality
    • Homegrown todo lists simply added more distractions
    • Pomodoros didn't help understand why work was important or handle administrative tasks well
    • No framework for breaking down tasks
3 Hat Productivity explained
  • Separate work into 3 modes:
    • CEO - picks the direction
    • Manager - makes a list of tasks
    • Worker - completes the tasks
  • Use Things app to communicate between the three roles
  • Before developing the 3 Hat system, Christian was mostly in Worker mode. 
  • Clear tasks get higher priority than undefined tasks
  • Do not change direction until the most important task is done or a 4-hour daily limit is encountered
Dealing with distractions
  • Don’t try to prevent distractions from happening — that would take an extraordinary amount of willpower
  • Acknowledge distractions and use Things to send them away so you can intentionally revisit them later
  • Review your list of distractions:
    • CEO triages the list
    • Review it every three days
    • Group related tasks
    • Remove the tasks that aren’t relevant anymore
    • Keeping something in the list means you’re ruling every other possibility out, so don't hold back when trimming the list!
    • The analogy of a donkey trapped between water and hay
  • To keep the list from growing over time, separate the times when you have the idea, prioritize it, and do it
Batching administrative tasks
  • Admin tasks are anything that isn't part of your most important task
  • Group tasks based on the nature of the work being done
    • Buying things
    • Tracking finances
    • Contacting people
    • Compiling statistics and metrics
    • Research
    • Reading long-form articles in digests
  • Do all admin tasks on Saturday
Bonus tips
  • If you find Things to be expensive, try Fantastical
  • Avoid introducing tools and tech into your process at first, they'll be distracting
  • And a few more things for listeners to try 😉
Where to find Christian
Related links and apps
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Copyright 2019 Dion Gillespie Media Productions