9 Performance Hacks from 12 Years of Startup Life
Chase Garbarino

You touched on this a little but didn’t call it out explicitly — the concept of having default answers/decisions is huge productivity-wise.

For example, I almost never drink alcohol now and it has had an amazing impact on my productivity and my overall well-being. It took a couple of months to get used to especially since a lot of my networking is done over drinks, but once I was in the routine of ordering a Topo Chico, it became one less decision I had to make. My default is “no” instead of wrestling in my head with whether or not I should have “just 1” or order a second... I just don’t drink. Easy.

You can apply this to a lot of things. When someone recommends I read or watch or learn something: default yes. When someone wants to “pick my brain”: default no (though I do give them an option to email me questions or pay for my time).

The newest one I am working on: anything I feel like I “should” do, but don’t WANT to do (or HAVE to do) is a default no. Best example: happy hours, networking events. I often see those and feel like I should go, but I know my time is usually better spent with the baby or on client work and biz dev efforts. All this requires is a quick check in before I commit to non-essential activities— am I doing this because I want to? Or because I feel like I should? This has also helped me get really clear on priorities. A lot of people feel like they should go to the gym, but don’t actually want to. I try not to get caught feeling like I should go to the gym, because even if I may not in that moment want to work out, I DO want to be healthy. Make sense? I know I should go to networking events, but I also know that the end goal is to strengthen my community and there are many other ways I can and do do that that don’t require me to take time away from my family.

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