Productivity Algorithm of the Future: How to program yourself for future success.

Absolutely everything we do is an algorithm. In fact, most of our time is spent as mindless machines, running on cruise control and reliant on our homo sapien evolution with a sprinkle of environmental, cultural influences.

I’m ruminating on what Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow has left with me. A really fantastic book, especially if paired with his first book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Together, Harari traces how we evolved and makes predictions on where humankind is going. These are grandiose forecasts, so prob best with a glass of wine or stout!

So, if we’re nothing more than the sum of our programming… it makes me want to understand what it takes to get the “best” programming. For example, let’s imagine there’s a version of us that is the best version of us. He/She can run marathons, catch fish from a stream, do complex math problems without a calculator, and is funny, wise, and humble all at the same time. What can we do to get closer to this version of ourselves?

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • Human history informs our future selves
  • Morning routine 100 years from now
  • Program a better workout algorithm
  • Productivity in the future

But, before we dig into this concept, let’s center ourselves on WHY we want to do this. I mean, why aren’t we satisfied with what we currently have and why do we push ourselves so hard for… more?

Call-to-Action is to take just 5–10 minutes and write down that stream of consciousness. Doesn’t matter where you write it, old school on a piece of paper or in one of your fancy apps. Just answer the question, “why do I feel the need to push myself to be more?”

Remember, as you go about soul-searching, you need to know how awesome you are right now, as-is. I know it’s self-serving, but I do really think the fact that you even read something like this, take time to ask yourself tough questions, and have a desire to improve — that’s awesomeness.

What the Past Tells Us About Our Future

“A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations.”

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

Our morning routine is an algorithm. It might look like this: hit snooze a few times, roll out of bed, brush teeth and make ourselves presentable, drink some water and make some coffee, maybe do some exercising or meditation, and then get ready to make my earnings for the day.

A long time ago, it was: wake up to the rooster’s scream, wash face, put on overalls, cogitate what to do today, and step outside on the farm to milk some cows.

A long, long time ago, it was: wake up outside to the sunrise in my clan, grunt at some nearby colleagues, pick up my spear or basket, and get to the work hunting and gathering.

So, what will the algorithm of the future look like? Let’s be like Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow and forecast the future, in order to take advantage of that reality today.

Data Worship — In the future, the only thing that’ll matter is if every aspect of our life is measured, recorded, and analyzed to understand us better than we know ourselves. We do this today by measuring our sleep quality, how many calories we eat, and our screen time.

Data Contribution — Already prevalent, whatever we are doing doesn’t matter unless there’s a picture or video of it, shared socially, and then gets Likes. We’ve been trained that our contribution to society is adding to the diversity, beauty, and vibrance of humanity, albeit in a selfish way.

Give Up Your Decision Making — More and more, we’ll hand over our decision making to algorithms. For example, we do Hello Fresh, where they send us pre-defined meals to cook. My Netflix and Spotify knows me well enough to autopopulate playlists. In the future, the algorithm will tell us who to marry, when to have kids, and where to invest.

Call-to-Action is to ask yourself throughout the day:

  1. Is my data working for me, or am I working for the data? For example, am I too obsessed with tracking the stats of my running, versus just being happy I’m outside and healthy enough to pound the pavement?
  2. Am I sharing information to help others, or to help myself? For example, if I’m posting on IG, is it for the benefit of others or am I just trying to look cool? Or in a meeting, is what I have to say contributing to the topic or trying to establish my credentials.
  3. Would I be ok with an evil robot overlord making these decisions for me? Depends. If the robot overlord is evil because of bad programming by it’s human creator, then we’re getting what we deserved. Or if they’re like the clones in Battlestar Galactica, sign me up!

Morning Routine a 100 Years From Now

Photo by Ali Pazani from Pexels

Next, let’s brainstorm and chat about what a morning routine could look like… 100 years from now! What’s the point? I’m hoping through this thought experiment it will reinforce how some parts of our routine are timeless and why we even do them.

First, a quick primer. A morning routine is the series of activities you take in the morning to get ready for the day. Ideally, the morning routine sets us up for success and to make the most of the day. Whether you know it or not, you have a morning routine. Is it working for you?

Ok, now let’s list out what we think are pretty safe bets what the world will look like a 100 years from now:

  • Robots perform manual labor tasks (Ex. cleaning, lawn care)
  • Everything is measured (Ex. our personal health, where we spend our time)
  • Everything is automated (Ex. grocery shopping, transportation)
  • Life expectancy is increased, due to advanced medical and synthetic science
  • Venture Out readership is still growing and everybody loves it

Now that we have a picture of the future, let’s predict what it means for a morning routine a 100 years from now:

We need to keep our mind sharp, otherwise the robots will replace us. Plus with so much of life automated (our fridges will auto replenish, the house will clean itself, etc.), it will allow for more time to focus on exploring and developing our conscious mind. Perhaps the final frontier, what are our minds truly capable of?

“Relatively small changes in genes, hormones and neurons,” [Harari] points out, “were enough to transform Homo erectus — who could produce nothing more impressive than flint knives — into Homo sapiens, who produce spaceships and computers.” Why should we assume that Sapiens are the end of the evolutionary line? [6]

We need to keep our bodies elite, otherwise we won’t be able to fight the robots when they rise up against us. Ok ok, I’m just kidding… it’s the zombies that’ll get us. In either scenario, we will need to stay vigilant in keeping our bodies in good physical shape since life will get so automated, it’ll be even easier to turn into couch potatoes.

Since we’ll have better technology to replace limbs and organs, that means our human lifespan might be well into our 100’s! And that means we need our human body and mind to last as long as possible. I don’t want to spend the last years of my life with a failing body and a feeble mind. And you guessed it… it all starts with a strong morning routine.

Level Up Your Workout Algorithm

@therock

I like to ask people who workout hard, “what runs through your mind when the exercise gets tough?” I’m curious about what helps people break through any mental barriers, which allows them to push harder than they thought possible.

We’re just biological machines, running on an algorithm that’s been refined over millenniums of evolution and only just recently (last couple hundred years, decades) greatly accelerated with technology. What programming is it in each of us that allows us to push through? If we can ‘hack’ our own programming, our chances of having breakthroughs will increase.

Let’s take Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for example. I love his workout videos where he yells to himself, “FOCUS!” whenever he gets distracted.

“When you wake up every morning and look in the mirror, you decide whether you choose to go to the gym (or go jogging or do the sport you prefer) and strive to overcome the competition and yourself, or stay in bed and throw away all the effort and everything to trash.” [4]

For Dwyane Johnson, he digs really deep, all the way to his core purpose, which allows him to mentally push through. For him, it’s a question of which version will he be, the one who gets stuff done or the one who slacks. He’s programmed his workout algorithm to include a question about his core purpose, which he knows will result in greater gains.

Here’s your workout CTA:

Get a clear picture of your ideal self. Then link it to the workout we are about to do… because the only workout that matters is the one right in front of us.

Keep a workout notebook. Nike’s Head Running Coach Chris Bennet advises us to keep a logbook. Write down what happened that day and then how our workout went. Over time, we can pick up on trends, such as if what I ate, how I slept, or what’s on my mind affects my performance. Data is the new religion.

Automate what works. For example, I have my proven workout and running gear. If there’s a piece of clothing or equipment that doesn’t work anymore, I donate or throw it out. Your time is important.

Future Algorithm for Productivity

Photo by Ali Pazani from Pexels

Long time ago I attended a lecture by Michio Kaku, an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science. During that lecture, I recall his observation that nobody enters a room and says, “turn on the electricity.” We just say, “turn on the lights” when in fact it’s the technology of electricity that makes it happen. He predicts in the future, the same will happen with the technology of computers, where it’s application is so embedded that we stop recognizing it. I heard that lecture back in 2013 and it already sounds dated!

I write about positivity and productivity. I’m (perhaps) obsessed with learning and sharing ways to increase both. Yet, the pace of technology changes so fast. With technological advances (yes, even TikTok), it changes our culture (who hasn’t seen a kid dancing by themself in front of a phone).

Having recently read Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrowand his futurist predictions, I wanted to practice using what I learned and try extrapolating what could happen. In other words, I’m doing strategic thinking — taking in new data, analyzing it, and then making a plan to take advantage of this newfound knowledge (i.e. exploit opportunities, avoiding traps).

Here are a couple grandiose predictions about our future and how we need to adapt today.

No such thing as weekdays and weekends. In a 100 years from now, there will be no such thing as weekdays and weekends, no division of when it’s time to ‘work’ and when it’s time to ‘relax.’ With our hustle culture, the trend will be that we work everyday, but then will need to find ways to relax throughout the day. I believe the takeaway is that our morning routine should be the same everyday. Therefore, if you enjoy a nice morning routine only on the weekends, I challenge you to implement it on weekdays too. For me, I enjoy my weekday morning routine and therefore apply them to Saturdays and Sundays as much as I can.

Humanity will cluster and segment more so. In a 100 years from now, the ability to choose where we spend our time will be greatly enhanced, most likely in the virtual realm (ala Ready Player One). In the virtual world, we will spend our time in perfect echo chambers, surrounded by people who think exactly like us. And in the physical world, prob due to the growing economic divide between the rich and poor, we’ll live in a more class/caste system. I believe the takeaway is we need to consciously fight against this divide. It’s an effort to get to know new people, even more so with people we don’t have much in common with… and yet we must. Exposure to different things helps us be more empathic and innovative. Cultivate new hobbies and speaking of things I love…

Guaranteed Mornings

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REFERENCES:

  1. The Secret Algorithm Behind Learning by Shane Parrish
  2. What is the algorithm for success? By Francesco Marconi
  3. K-means Clustering: Algorithm, Applications, Evaluation Methods, and Drawbacks by Imad Dabbura
  4. The key to not leaving the gym and staying motivated, according to The Rock by Guillermina Carro
  5. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari review — chilling by Tim Adams
  6. Review: ‘Homo Deus’ Foresees a Godlike Future. (Ignore the Techno-Overlords.) by Jennifer Senior
  7. I followed Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule for a week, and the most rewarding part was also the most difficult by Anisa Purbasari

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