The only way to reach your targets in life is to get to work. But it’s easier said than done. Only a fraction of people in life are actively working towards their goals. They know how to create and use the right tools and processes to generate progress for themselves. A lot of these people have a ton of interesting things to say. So I thought I’d interview them.
Most of my weekly guests created their own business, and they got where they are today by successfully implementing self-discipline in their life. To each one of them, I ask questions about their life, their learnings, their tools, and sometimes about which celebrity they would like to have coffee with.
There are no rules for success, only consistency in the work you do. None of the people I interviewed are super-humans. They’re just dedicated, and they have a lot of awesome things to teach us.
Let’s get to it.
My guest this week is Darius Foroux. Darius is the author of 6 books, including Think Straight and What It Takes To Be Free. He has over 150K followers on Medium, and is a top writer in many categories (productivity, psychology, self improvement…). He is also the founder of Procrastinate Zero, an online course to beat procrastination, and has published over 300 articles on his blog. There’s one question at the core of his work: How can we live a useful life that matters? As Darius puts it, his readers and himself face the same challenges, he only documents how he deals with them through his work.
Do you have a morning routine?
Yes. My morning routine changes based on what I’m working on. For example, I’m currently working on a new online course. So it’s important for me to read, journal, and get in the right mindset. But no matter what my morning looks like, I always read at least 20–30 minutes every morning.
I must say I’m not a strict morning routine person. It’s not like I have to go through X steps to get my day started. I always rely on systems and broad guidelines. That’s how I like to live. Not too strict.
What is the number one habit/routine you attribute the most success to in your life (online and/or offline)?
It’s never one habit. It’s always a combination of habits, activities, techniques, etc. Together, they form a system. And having a system is the most important thing.
That being said, I do write every day. For me, that’s the most important thing to build a career. We’re all writers.
You talk a lot about the concept of simply sitting down and getting the work done. What other tips do you have for people who struggle to start working on the projects they have?
Don’t overthink it. You can try meditation or Stoicism to limit thinking. So before you even start working, clear your mind. And that will help you to do better work. Another thing that works well is to pick 3-4 priorities you will focus on each day. We can’t do everything in one day. But we can achieve a lot over a long period of time. But that all starts with making daily progress.
The One Book you recommend for self-improvement and/or productivity?
The Good Life Handbook by Epictetus. I’ve probably read that little book 30 times.
What is the number one productivity item you can’t live without?
Nothing. I don’t rely on anything for my productivity. If a tool or item doesn’t work, I simply do something else. The key is to stay flexible. This is an important aspect of getting work done because you never want to depend on a tool. It’s counterintuitive at first, but once you adopt this mindset, it will give you a lot of freedom.
You write on medium, have a website, a podcast, and have released 6 books. How do you split your time between each project?
I plan all the time. But I also change my plans all the time. For example, I have a release calendar for my courses a year in advance. But if something unexpected comes up, I’m happy to change my initial plans. Again, the key to my strategy is flexibility. Life is not static. We need to adapt all the time.
And I never try to do too many things at the same time. I finish one project and then move on to the next.
Is the classic newsletter/subscribers the core of the business when it comes to blogging, or do you see things changing?
I definitely don’t see the newsletter changing. That’s the most direct way to communicate with your readers. It’s also a platform that you have more control over. If you build a list, you can always take your list to a different email provider. But you can’t do that with other platforms.
You often draw your own illustrations for your articles. Can you tell us about the creative process?
I use an iPad with an Apple Pencil to draw the illustrations. By now, people recognize my drawings from a mile away because I’m not the best illustrator. But it’s my style. And I always try to explain a concept from the article. It’s very important to me. I don’t like stock images because everyone uses them already.
In terms of process, I always write the article first, and then pick the most important idea from that article for the illustration. I just focus on one idea. Then, I think about visualizing it.
How important is time off for you, and what do you do when you take time off?
Rest before you’re tired is my motto. When I notice I’m starting to get tired, I rest. Too often, we rest when it’s too late. In that case, we need more time to recover. But if you take regular breaks during the day, and a longer break every few months, you’ll be better off.
But this is not science. It’s good to listen to your body and make sure you don’t burn yourself out.
If you could have a coffee and talk about anything with a personality (dead or alive) you admire, who would it be and why?
Warren Buffett. He’s the most rational and down to earth wealthy person I know of. I would just talk about his day. He seems to enjoy his simple life. I like those types of people who are always cheerful.
Buffett is the perfect example of somebody who lives their life according to values. He’s been consistent for decades in his lifestyle and business. I respect that.
There you have it. I want to personally thank my guest for taking the time to provide me and my readers with really insightful answers. I am deeply grateful to Darius Foroux. Thanks a lot, and keep up the great work! All the best!
And thanks to you for reading my content!