FREE TIME is GOOD for PRODUCTIVITY Because It's When You Get Creative Insights w/Niklas GoekeSep 21, 2021
Welcome to episode 12 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.
Episode 12’s guest is Nik Goeke. He’s an online writer with over 600,000 followers across platforms and over 50 million views. He’s been featured in Business Insider, Fast Company, and CNBC. He’s also the founder of Four Minute Books where he and his team produce over 800 book summaries that are available online for free.
He’s the former editor-in-chief of Better Marketing and has personally coached over 300 people. He is working on his first book – The Four Minute Millionaire and he splits his time between London, Munich, and his hometown. He’s got some great insights about how he manages his time.
I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels.
- You can find all my work and socials here: http://amardeep.co
- Download my free Anti-Burnout Toolkit here: http://antiburnout.mindfuldriven.com
- United for Global Mental Health: https://unitedgmh.org/mental-health-support
- Find more about Nik: https://fourminutebooks.com/
- Follow him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ngoeke/
- Follow him on Medium: https://ngoeke.medium.com/
Topics discussed in this episode:
- How to manage your time better.
- How to be more productive and have more energy.
- How to prioritize your work.
- How to achieve balance between work and life.
- Why is free time good for productivity.
- Downtime inspires your best work.
- Rest and downtime are different.
- How to manage your schedule better.
- Introduction (0:00)
- Quality over quantity (1:59)
- Time and energy (7:43)
- There’s always something (14:44)
- The desire to stay somewhere (17:44)
- The initial momentum of intentions (27:20)
[00:00:00] Nik: But I was like, I just can’t keep doing this and, you know, make sure I grow as a writer at the same time. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So it was really off. And so I quit that. I quit that job, but for me it was just the right decision at the right time, basically. I just got a huge chunk of white space in my calendar and it was exactly what I needed. I purposefully, I recalibrated from there and I also added less back in and that’s been, that’s been helpful. So of course, you know, we’ve quitting a good job as a well-paying one, whatever, always hurts but sometimes it’s still the right thing to do.
[00:00:35] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is Nik Goeke. He’s an online writer with over 600,000 followers across platforms and over 50 million views. He’s been featured in Business Insider, Fast Company, and CNBC. He’s also the founder of Four Minute Books where he and his team produce over 800 book summaries that are available online for free.
He’s the former editor-in-chief of Better Marketing and has personally coached over 300 people. He is working on his first book – The Four Minute Millionaire and he splits his time between London, Munich, and his hometown. He’s got some great insights about how he manages his time.
Welcome Nik. It’s great to have you on the show.
[00:01:16] Nik: Hey, happy to be here.
[00:01:17] Amardeep: So Nik is actually the first writer that I’ve met in real life. I started writing during the pandemic more or less, so starting in January, 2020, and it was during the pandemic that I started making connections. I was on Facebook groups, so I was emailing people like Nik, who is way ahead of me. Nik came to London, I think it was in May or June last year and it was almost this really surreal thing because I thought he’d be like 10 foot tall, basically. And from his answers, what you realize is that he’s actually such a nice person in real life and I’m really happy to meet you and then we’ve met a few times since then.
[00:01:49] Nik: Yeah. Happy to be here. It was a nice summer’s day, I think Greenwich park or something, and pretty cool, chatted for quite awhile.
[00:01:56] Amardeep: So the first question I ask my guests is what’s some common advice that you disagree with?
[00:01:59] Nik: Quality over quantity. Basically in arts or creative arts, content creation, whatever you want to call it. Basically, everyone has a creative job. That usually gets turned on its head. And it’s something in that space. A lot of people agree with, which is sort of quantity begets quality, right? It doesn’t matter whether you look at Seth Godin or someone like Gary V or I don’t know, all these people are basically saying, you just got to post, create as much as you can possibly create, and then the quality is just going to rise to the top from whatever you’re a big content soup is. I think that’s a piece of advice that is not wrong, but there’s a lot of nuance in there that gets lost. At least for me, because I’ve been writing going on seven years writing now, and I can tell you that writing more does not help me write better anymore, and posting more does not help me create better quality articles. It helps me grade popular articles. You never know what your hits are, but it does not help me make something where I’m more proud to have posted that thing. What people do is they start out posting a lot and writing a lot and posting a lot of videos, and I think that’s exactly what you should do because at the beginning you were an amateur, your learning curve is super steep. You’re learning a lot from each item to the next, Each thing that you make, but then that levels off whether it’s a year, two years, I don’t know it’s different for everybody, but at some point that levels off and you have to realize that. More quantity does not lead to more quality. It just leads to more quantity. And you start going in circles where you rewrite your same articles. And this definitely happened to me where you realize you’re rehashing the same ideas and maybe it sounds slightly more sleek or whatever, but it’s not, it’s not getting any better and you really need to take more time. And the quantity has to go down because you need more time to work on any individual thing. And so that’s been a big revelation for me, I think. And it’s very hard to act on it because the default is always to, you know, just release the next thing. Be quick, stay on top of the algorithms, whatever it’s been helpful. And yeah, the more I wrap my head around it, the more I realized, yeah, there’s actually a way to go, so you need to take time to make good things.
[00:04:00] Amardeep: Yeah. And I think what happens in anything, right. So I can take the example of dance or karate. At the beginning, if you don’t go to classes because you’re just afraid, a lot of people are nervous about looking bad, but at that beginning stage, it’s going to lots of classes, you will naturally get a bit better just because you get more familiar with the moves. So with writing, just by the nature of writing several articles, you start to get a little bit of a flow, but it’s, once you get to a certain point, you’ve already got the familiarity. You’ve already got the basics down.
That’s when you really need to start putting on more effort. So, I guess that kind of practical advice from that is, the people who start something new, just make sure you start, just make sure you start going because you can have that paralysis at the beginning, where you don’t want to write anything or you don’t want to create anything or you don’t want to try anything because you’re going to suck at the beginning. Pretty much everybody is bad at the beginning. Right? So at that beginning stage, just do it. Just go to a bunch of classes, get a bit of, go to a bunch of classes, go to through the motions of whatever you’re doing, and you’ll slowly improve until the point you get to that level where you can start understanding, oh wait, this is how I need to improve. I think it’s the four stages. Isn’t it? You start off where you’re bad and you don’t even know why you’re bad, then you’re bad, but you can know what you need to do, and you’re kind of conscious of that. Then you become good and, but you have to focus on what you’re doing, and the very top level is when you’re good and you’re not even thinking anymore. And I think that’s,
[00:05:16] Nik: Yeah, that’s true. That’s a good model.
[00:05:18] Amardeep: Very few people get to that top level with anything. But I guess what you’re talking about there is the first couple, the first stages at least, you need to do enough to be able to understand where you are, not what you’re not good at, and then once you get to like your stage in writing where you’re good, but you need to focus on it, that’s when you need to spend that more time.
[00:05:34] Nik: Yeah. You just have to in the beginning, In the beginning, you were like a sponge, so you’re soaking up everything. Like when you said with the karate, if I go somewhere in the beginning, I can just sit and watch, you know, tennis matches for hours probably, and I’ll absorb because my brain gets used to seeing these motions and saves the imprint. So that’s helpful. Even just being around the people who do it, doing your own moves, orienting yourself in the craft or the sport or whatever it is. Then at some point you get, you know, you get some routine and you can start paying attention to what you’re doing and how doing it, and then you can start tweaking and filling with those things. Then at some point you have your set routine, you know, you’re playing a tournament or whatever. You level off at some point, and then, then you really have to step back and say this whole, look at the whole, look at the whole arc look at, okay, how have I gone from where I started to where I am now and what might it take me to do better? And usually it’s some form of breaking whatever routine or, or habits you have at that point. Yeah. That’s what that’s very hard. So basically just be, stay mindful, stay mindful of your learning curve, kind of, and where you are and don’t get lost in the, in the merry-go-round, especially at a certain level, if you’re a YouTuber and you get 200,000 subscribers or whatever, it, it feels very comfortable there. Just keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working. But in terms of your personal growth and you feeling good about your work, that’s not, that doesn’t happen automatically. Like once you go to, once you go from sponge to automaton, it’s very hard to stop that rodeo, especially if you’re making a lot of money doing it, then yeah, it’s very hard and there’s never a good time to do it either. And then you just have to step back, take a break, you know, take a few months off or a few weeks, or whatever you need, go with, go to nature. Think about it. Reflect. You have to say, oh, wow, I actually think I need to do this. And it’s usually something you’ve been thinking about for a while, you’ve wanted to do for awhile. And for me, it was writing a book and it was very hard to step away from. And, you know, three articles a week to do that. It’s painful also, right? You’re watching the fruits of your labor go down. Your views and everything, but it’s still the right thing to do. And yeah, there’s usually never a good time to do it. So, so just, just be mindful of that observe, and then take, take whatever time you need to find the courage to make that real step into quality from quantity.
[00:07:41] Amardeep: And I think so much depends on what your goals are as well. So for some people they can automate things and they’re making money and they’re happy. Finally, for example, in my previous job where I got to a stage where I could kind of coast, I could, I knew that it could be a good enough and to outperform and to deliver for the clients, but it stopped being the same kind of level of challenge for my brain. It’s a decision you’ve got to make for yourself. Do you want to have that coasting where you’re doing well? Like you’re delivering everything you needed to deliver, but you’re missing that little positive bit of the puzzle, which is that challenge. Did you find this, like in the past where you made a tough decision and you are struggling with your balance and then what did you do about it and how did you get through that?
[00:08:17] Nik: There was a few times. Well, there was a few distinct times where it was some form of going through the motions right. Too much work altogether, or I was too focused on money or, or, yeah, just too distracted, kind of in going through the motions and then it took a good smack on the head and all like hitting some physical wall or something it’s like five years ago, I think I got really sick at some point, cause my sister’s high school graduation and I had been working myself to the bone before, and then afterwards I just got totally knocked out for two weeks or something, couldn’t do anything. And I was like, oh man, I’m falling behind on all these deliverables and whatnot. And it felt bad at the time. And then later on made up for it, but I was like, I need to, you know, find some physical, that was, that was about health. That was about finding physical balance. And I’m slowly getting better with that. The past two years I’ve been quite good. Like haven’t been, you know, full, full out sick in a while. So knock on wood, but the most recent, the most recent one and one of the hardest ones, I was doing multiple things as usual. So I was writing on Medium posting articles. I was running four minute books with some help. I was also the editor for Better Marketing. I quit that job after, it was probably two months of deliberation and struggle, and it was hard cause it was it was a very high paying job and it wasn’t that many hours even to begin with. So from a, from a effort value position, Why the hell would anyone quit this job? But for me, it was just the work was taking a toll because editing is very, as you know, editing is very ruthless. It’s a very, it’s a very thankless job also, because no matter if you clear out your inbox on Friday, you just know Monday morning, it’s going to be full again, and you, you look at the same stuff. You have to give the same answers. How’s the times. You’re always under this communication pressure where you have streams of information coming in. You’re looking at so many options. It was a lot, there was a lot on top of what I was already doing, but then it also sort of drained my creative energy. For the writing that I was doing for myself, and I was like, this is actually more important to me to, you know, have the energy to write good articles. And it was a good job. It was, it was fun helping people. It was, we did a whole bunch of cool stuff there. The publication grew a lot in the 18 months or whatever that I ran it, and it was really cool. It was cool to enable all these people, but I was like, I just can’t keep doing this and, you know, make sure I grow as a writer at the same time. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So it was really off, and so I quit that. I quit that job, but for me it was just the right decision at the right time, basically. I just got a huge chunk of white space in my calendar, and that was exactly what I needed. I purposefully I recalibrated from there and I also added less back end. And that’s been, that’s been helpful. So of course, you know, quitting a good job as a well-paying one, whatever, it always hurts, but sometimes it’s still the right thing to do.
[00:10:57] Amardeep: I think you made an important distinction there as well, between time and energy. So even though you weren’t necessarily spending that much time on it, because it drained so much of your energy, it meant that you could get less done in the remaining time you have. And I find that myself. So for example, whenever I call someone or whenever I’m on video, I enjoy it, but I also know that I’m going to need to take a break after this. So I need a bit of time to recover because it takes more energy than some of the other stuff I do. And for me, that’s energy worth spending, but it’s worth thinking to yourself, you can say, oh, I only spend this much time on this per month, so my hourly rate is. But if that drains you that much, that you can’t then make the most use of your other time, maybe it’s not worth it. And I guess that’s what you found, isn’t it? Where it was the energy factor is the most important thing for you.
[00:11:40] Nik: Yeah, that’s just this week, I think I was thinking about this. So I’m a little OCD in the organization department. So in terms of, I’m very organized. If there’s, if there’s a table, if you have a desk and you know, some people like to just throw that stuff on there, you know, the Einstein, supposedly the order is for the idiot, you know, the genius rules, chaos or something like that. And I’m the opposite of that. And I think many people are so, if there are stuff lying around, I’ll organize it. Right. I’ll just all man. Like I look at a desk and I’m like, if you push all this stuff into one corner and just stack it, you had the whole desk free. Even if you don’t put anything there for me, that’s just, I get so much mental peace out of that. Just looking at organized things and knowing everything is kind of like in its place. And I was thinking about that and I was saying, it’s a helpful, it’s a helpful habit. My girlfriend said, oh yeah, but this is a helpful habit. Right. It’s useful because you know, you always know where things are and you never forget anything. I was like, yeah, I literally never forgot my keys ever. But also at the same time I spent disproportionately more amounts of time thinking about organizing things, than I actually spend time organizing things. So, cause I always have this, you know, like, oh, did I forget my key? You know, triple check my back pocket for my wallet, things like that. With work, it’s kind of the same, right? It’s if the job is only, if the job only takes 10 hours a week, but you spend your remaining 30 hours thinking about it with every third thought or whatever that you have, that’s a tremendous amount of mental energy that goes there, and yeah, you don’t really, you don’t see that on your calendar, but it definitely affects you. Yeah. And with Better Marketing, it was like that for me also, because I was always thinking about, oh man, like, what am I going to say to this person, to that person. I have to turn this person down and reject that article, wish I could do this and that, what emails am I going to get next week? And so on. So there was like, there’s always the mental space that something takes up and then there’s the space, the time space and the mental space is often much, much bigger. And it’s a big difference whether you have nothing of something or very little or a lot. And this, this time, this part of getting to zero sometimes makes all the difference in the world when you can completely eliminate something from your brain and in case with the job, right. The only way to do that is to quit that job. So, yeah, I, I found that does make a big difference this whole like thoughts versus time or energy was the time, like you said.
[00:13:49] Amardeep: I might invite you to my flat again, just to tidy up for me. You’ll have a field day. So you can’t see, you can only see a certain amount in the camera at the moment, but off screen,
I think you’ll be terrified.
[00:14:02] Nik: Since I visited you the other day, it was, it was all good.
[00:14:04] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show.
So since you’ve made that change last year, do you now find you’re in quite a good place or are there still things you are struggling with balancewise
[00:14:47] Nik: There are always things I struggle with balancewise. And I think, I think for most people it’s probably also like that. I definitely feel in a better place now, especially with my physical health than I did two, three years ago where I was doing school, working full time. And so my physical health and like, I’m proud of how far I’ve come with that just in, you know, not physically draining myself with work basically, but of course there’s always something and now, right, it’s almost more of a personal thing, but basically what I’m doing now is I’m dividing my time between three cities basically, or three places. So one is just my parents’ house, family. So like whenever I go back, which I do more frequently than I used to, because I didn’t do this a lot while I was in college, on exchange, wherever else. And so, and because I can work from anywhere, what I do do. When I go home, I usually tend to stay two, three weeks so that it’s more time, more quality time and I can also work from home. Then I live in Munich usually, and that’s where I also spent most of my time. And then my girlfriend lives in London where I am right now. And so just the past year, two years, year and a half. It does come with this con it’s in one way, it’s fun. And everybody’s saying, oh, you’re doing the nomad life. You know, multi-city Jetset, whatever, and, and yeah, it’s fun to some extent, but it also has, it comes with the challenges. Every time I switch places, I have to reorganize my routine again, and my routine is slightly different, right? It’s like when you’re with your partner, if you have a different routine than when you’re alone, then when you’re with your family and it always takes some time to adjust, you know, you need to get going again with work. It’s definitely been challenging. I mean, now, I mean, there’s even multiple time zones, right, for these. So there’s a lot that comes with the there’s a lot that comes with it so far. What I’m trying to do is not go back to the part where I sacrifice my health, because I just came from that, right, so I’m trying not to do that again. Just be sure that I’m in contact with the people that I care about. At least on a somewhat regular basis, so whenever I’m not home, I’ll call home and I’m not here in front, both to video chat and stay in touch every like every morning, say good morning. Things like that.. So I’m just trying to do that. The other thing is that I’m thinking a lot about one of my friends always says, she’s the perfect example of FOMO. She’s like she said, there’s like FOMO in person, basically. I’m always afraid to miss out on something. I’m trying to do less of that and just be wherever I am. Because I’m always missing things, so the other day a friend turned 30 and she had a party at home and I couldn’t go because I was here. And on the other hand, There’s always a million things you could be doing around the world right now. There’s always a million things happening and so it doesn’t ultimately, it doesn’t really matter which ones you miss, as long as what you pick, you were happy with, right? Like as long as what you do spend time on you’re, you’re happy with those things. Yeah. But, but it’s, it’s an ongoing process and yeah, I’m, I’m still learning, still trying to, trying to figure it out. Again, so far, it’s been all right, and as long as I prioritize my health, I think that’s sort of the main thing that part’s been good, but it is, it definitely comes with its challenges.
[00:17:38] Amardeep: A lot of people say to me, oh why didn’t you [unintelligible], why didn’t you travel, the world? And it’s a difficult question because I think if I was always away from home and away from my friends and my family, I’d have that same feeling of missing out. So it might be seeing all these amazing things in the world, but it’s that balance of what’s important to me is kind of, I’d rather be sometimes here for somebody’s birthday or for some event or an engagement part of it, like that than across the world, maybe experiencing something amazing, maybe having an amazing view, but it’s trying to determine what I value. And I think something to value people more than the travel. And that might be something that’s changing in me at the time.
[00:18:09] Nik: I think that’s something a lot of people will admit later in their life than they should. Cause that’s something that has been dawning on me the last two or three years. I was also super into this whole nomad lifestyle dream. Like it was a big aspiration back when I started, but I had also done some travel when I was doing an exchange in the United States, and that same year or the year I came back, I went to Japan, Blanca, Korea, Australia. I did a lot in a very short period of time, and ever since I came home from that, I didn’t have as nearly as much of a desire to travel. And I also realized, man you’ve seen more than 99% of people will ever see if you die having seen nothing, but this quote unquote, then that’s still very, very good. I just had this, I also had the desire to stay somewhere and be somewhere, and that tends to get stronger as I, as I get older, and I think that’s the way humans work, right? We want strong relationships. We want to know that the, around our bodies that maybe we’ve known since we were three years old and the jokes are never as good with someone you just met two weeks ago than they are with someone you’ve known for 20 years. I think that most people do eventually come around to this and travel is a full-time job in and out of. So it’s better if you’re working and traveling, if you’re doing a lot of traveling where you switch location all the time, that gets super exhausting, super fast, cause you have to plan all your travel and always, you know, watch your back, your belongings, things like that. It’s very, it gets very stressful, very fast. And yeah. So I’ve also decided that I’d much rather try and stay local for maybe the majority of the year and then take shorter trips where it’s like a weekend trip locally, relatively locally, for example, in Europe for me, or take a longer break at some point and then do three weeks, four weeks somewhere, and then just fully enjoy that place. Whether it’s as a tourist or maybe with some work thrown in, I think that that’s where I’m trending basically in terms of lifestyle.
[00:19:54] Amardeep: I think for me, it’s about, I built a life here that I enjoy, so I don’t need to escape anywhere near as much as I used to, and I think if I did travel, it would be more about completely switching off and going away, so I wouldn’t want to be working while traveling because I’m not really doing the best of either. So when I went to Lisbon recently. I didn’t think about work at all. I didn’t think about anything and it was amazing. I just enjoyed the moment and I think that’s what I want to work towards. Being able to do that, where I can just switch off completely. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy what I do, but it’s having those different experiences. It’s having that variety in my life so that when I’m out there and not working, then when I come back and refreshed.
[00:20:27] Nik: That goes right back to the quality, quantity thing, right. So I just spent a weekend in Oxford and we went to a wedding of friends. It was great. It was like, you, you, you get out and you see something totally different. You don’t even have time for work cause you’re busy doing things. And, but what you see is inspiring. We went to some of the Oxford colleges, some of us like, oh, Harry Potter, you know, this, this scene from Harry Potter happened. And, and you’re like, wow, this is really, you stand in these huge quads are what they’re called, the huge squares, courtyards and things. And you just look around and I came back and I wanted to work. I was much more, and I was stuck the week before. So I was dragging my heels a bit on something, and then I wanted to work. I came back. The best part of your work is basically hidden in that time you spend away from work. So it’s an integral part to not work is an integral part to doing good work, actually. Right. So only when you let it go, can you come back and you have better ideas and things like that. Yeah. So that’s like more downtime doesn’t hurt, especially once you’re at that stage where you need to take more time to make better quality work. And that is so hard also to accept and to yeah, to, to and lean into rather than away from it, because ambitious people are usually the default is like, oh, I feel guilty. You know, I should spend this time working. I should, I should be doing more. I should be doing this. And it’s very, very hard to accept the downtime, but then actually reframe it and try to accept it as, or try to see it as this is actually net positive for my work
[00:21:51] Amardeep: [unintelligible] when you move from between three different cities, but is that the kind of thing you want to continue in the future or what’s your ideal lifestyle that you’re working towards?
[00:21:58] Nik: In terms of day-to-day lifestyle work rhythm, I’m pretty lucky, cause. I already have probably most of, if not the whole thing, of what I originally set out to do, or my childhood bedroom, childhood bedroom, there’s a sign that my parents put there, like when I was nine or something, and it basically says creative people are doing their best work when they look like they’re doing nothing. That’s just, that’s just me, so I was always, I was always building Lego as a child, super introverted, just sitting, I can sit in my room for hours, listening to audio tapes of children’s stories, things like that. Just fiddling with things. Later playing video games was big, especially those with good stories, so for me instinctively, it was always about man, like not having, you know, alarms, not having to run somewhere in the morning, get up, get dressed, show up on time, have a lot of meetings, talking to lots of people. For me, it’s like if I get at least at one good block of few hours where I can, you know, be left to my own devices, so to speak, and then of course, channel that into something productive, that’s ideal for me. And that makes me very happy. So if I do that in the morning, now it’s basically three to four hours of writing and the focus block, no matter what else happens that day, I’m pretty, I’m pretty happy with that day when I go to bed at night and it’s been also great to see that my initial gut feeling all these years ago was right. So it might be different for other people or might take longer to figure out what that is. Trust your gut on that one. Like at least try that first, whatever your gut tells you, like try that first. And then if you find out it’s wrong, you can always change it.
[00:23:26] Amardeep: I think it also takes a bit of that gratitude. Isn’t it as well, because sometimes people can think the grass is greener on the other side and when they get there, then they set a new target. Whereas it’s quite nice that you set your target years ago and then you’ve got, then you’re happy with it rather than like wanting more or wanting, you still wanted to try and make some things improving your balance, but you don’t want the drastic changes that you might’ve wanted beforehand. That’s quite a nice position to be in. What do you do in the rest of your time?
[00:23:51] Nik: Wake up and then sometimes I’ll do a morning routine with some exercise, meditation. Sometimes I’ll just go straight to work, but nowadays I’m writing a book, so I’m trying to put, you know, the three to four good hours in there, and then usually have lunch and have maybe up to an hour of downtime, playing video games, watch something, take a walk, whatever that may be. And then I usually, depending on the day, I try to add another block, a shorter one. So if I can think in chapters, then I try to do two chapters in the morning or pages and then try to do another one after lunch. And sometimes that works really well. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. And I can tell, okay, the creative energy is not there. And then I’ll just go to more administrative stuff like taxes, the stupid stuff everyone has to do, kind of. Those things. It’s, it’s pretty open, so in some weeks I have a lot of these, you know, administrative tasks, other projects, people I need to get back to, interviews, phone calls, meetings, whatever it may be. I always schedule meetings also in the afternoons if I can, and then it really depends on, and it’s also functional usually where I am, right. So if I’m with my girlfriend, we’ll spend time together or talk about like, what are we getting? What are we doing for dinner or when we need to go shopping, things like that. If I’m with my family, I always take a walk with my dad around, around our small little village where we are. If I’m in Munich, I might meet up with a friend. Definitely try to spend some time outside, go walking because that’s big. Try to work out here. For example, I’ve in swimming because we’ve got a pool, very close. For years, I’ve wanted to build this openness sort of into my schedule. Now I have it in, it feels pretty good. Yeah. Just this freedom to explore and, and just, yeah. Have fun in your life. That’s kind of like the mini vacation you get on you, you can get it almost every day.
[00:25:30] Amardeep: For the people listening at the moment, what’s one mindset shift you think they could make to make a positive difference in their lives.
[00:25:35] Nik: If you choose something to happen, it most likely will. But if you don’t, no one else is going to make it happen for you. And the two parts to that is obviously the first part is, it’s this, it’s very hard to not make this sound booboo and like all the secret and you notice visualization, blah, blah, blah. If you, if you set a goal, if you say, you know, I want to go swimming with the dolphins, I want to buy a Stradivari violin. I want to make $10 million, whatever it is, it doesn’t really matter, once you set that goal and you obviously, you, you start putting effort and energy into it, even if the goal wanders to the back of your mind, you’re still very likely to achieve that in the long run, if you stay on that path. So I think one example I can give is that it’s probably six years ago or something. I had certain goals I wanted to have, I don’t know, a 10,000 email subscribers, hit a certain number of people on my Patreon, certain number of income per month, and so. And together with a friend, but we basically had similar goals and he was like, do you want to create this accountability sheet? And we basically made a document where we said six months in advance, these are the goals we’re trying to hit each month. We set that thing and we did it two or three times. And I never looked at it again, always like every time it’s just, you know, we, we, we set the thing. It just disappeared, and then inevitably a year or two later, I go back to the thing and I realized I checked every item on that list, even though it was very different goals. It was very, it was varying, right? It’s like each one was about email subscribers and others about income. So not super related to one another, but it was super, it was a fascinating example for me of like the power of subconscious, you know, whether you think about your goals a lot or not, but just this intention, this intention has to be there. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a ritual or it’s more offhand, it’s like it’s drunk, stupid idea with your friends. It doesn’t matter where it comes from but you need this initial momentum of intention. And once you push that out there, there really is a lot going for you already, which is kind of crazy and weird. And I don’t, I can’t explain all, you know, the science of how it works, but it does. And at the same time, the converse obviously is that if you don’t do this intention, if you don’t put this intentionality in there, It’s never going to come your way. So there’s, there’s, this is the classic, you know, complaining about like, oh, it should be like this. I should get this much money for the work that I’m doing. And, and so on. Why isn’t, you know, the weather better where I live. Cook all kinds of random things. You’re maybe you’re waiting, you know, for someone to come along and it’s like, oh man, I wish someone would give me a reason to quit this job. To start writing my book or, and you have to realize that person’s never going to show up, like, whatever it is. No one’s going to show up unless you do. And so that bring that back to the community, quitting the job, deciding to write about. Yes. I realized something like I have to write the book. It’s like, no one, right? Like when, and it’s like it’s always a shitty time because books is totally new for me. I’m making $0 with it, at first. I have to start from scratch. I have to throw out a lot of what I think I know from writing articles. And so it’s never a good time to do it, but I was like, I’m a writer and I really need to try writing books because that’s the end game sort of in my mind for, for, for my writer career, what I want to do. And it’s like, if I don’t try it, if I don’t get some out, I’ll never know, right. And I was like, man, sell it a lot about writing the book, titles, whatnot, switch whichever book I’m writing three times, but it took a lot of took a lot of hassle and work. But finally I’m sort of like in the thick of one and you know, we’re trucking and it’s going somewhere, but it all took that initial hard realization also forget like this. I’m not going to stumble into, you know, I’m not going to, penguin is not going to reach out to me and say, oh, you’re the, you’re the greatest person. You have the best ideas ever. Please write a book for us. That’s not going to happen. So I was like, it’s up to me. It never stops to amaze me. Right. Because it’s so, it’s so vague and it’s hard to explain and it’s not very easy to grasp. But it does work and it’s very much worth cultivating and spending a lot of time thinking about it and setting your goals, your intentions.
[00:29:27] Amardeep: It’s not a case of just writing down the intention that’s going to make it happen. That’s the kind of manifestation idea, isn’t it. And I don’t really agree with that. I think you need to set your intention, like you said, but then, you know, you need to do the things to make it happen. And that’s what you did. It’s not like just the writing down on a piece of paper is what made it happen. But knowing in your mind that that’s what you need to work towards and having it clear. I think that’s a bit, I think sometimes people miss out is the clarity. If you clearly know what you want to do, then you’re not gravitating towards doing actions that will help you do that. Whereas when you’re not really sure, that’s when you can kind of throw your energy in multiple directions and that makes it harder to achieve your goals. So I think the intentionality is really that bit of, if you know what you want to do, you will start acting in a way as to make that happen, but you’ve got to be conscious of it, right? It won’t just magically happen. Just going to write it down, it’ll happen because you’ve set yourself a target that you want to achieve and you’re going to do the work to do that.
[00:30:14] Nik: Definitely. I think, yeah, that’s a, that’s two good things you said there. The clarity is really important. At least looking back now I can definitely say that all the goals that I had were very clear. It’s like, I want to publish a book. That’s a very tangible, you know, piece of tangible results that I want to have. So that’s definitely been true that it’s never been wishy-washy vision, so to speak. It’s always been something very concrete and the other thing too. And I think that for me, maybe that gets lost a bit because when you write a lot, and you’ve written millions of words and you get used to it and you like writing and you do it almost every day, then it becomes more natural to do the work that goes into writing related goals. Right. So it feels less of an, it feels as active even though you’re working on it every day, technically. Yeah. I think that if you’re already further ahead, in terms of how much of a professional quote unquote you are in what you’re already doing, then it might feel natural and it might feel, it starts feeling probably more like magic because you’re already doing the work and you have such a habit of doing the work that you don’t notice it as much. You don’t notice it as much as very, very strenuous effort, but it’s still there and you’re still putting the work in. And of course, that’s the thing that makes it happen right. At the end of the day. It’s not the, it’s not the wishing, it’s the working and that just makes your intention more powerful. So, but you have to have that consistent habit of working, which of course takes years to build and to acquire, but once you have that, it gets all the more important, what you set your mind to kind of, right. Like where do you direct your target laser that you have in your brain?
[00:31:37] Amardeep: Yeah. And I think when people don’t necessarily know what they want to do, it’s that experimentation, which kind of what I’m doing now. Right? Like, I don’t exactly what I want to do in two years time, but I’m doing a lot of experimentation. I’m enjoying different things I’m trying out. And as I do more of it, it’s kind of, it came back to the beginning by the quality and quantity, as you do more of something, your goals can start getting a bit clearer, and then, you know, okay, because that experience in this area, so I now want to achieve this with that, and it’s once you can get that laser down, that’s what can really make the, speed up your progression.
[00:32:08] Nik: Definitely. For me, writing, for example, was it was very natural to try it. I’ve always liked writing, even in school doing the English essays where people were like running for the Hills. I was like, man, this is cool. I get to make some stuff up. So it was very natural for me to try writing. And it was a lot of fun immediately, even though I sucked obviously, but, and then it just stuck and I kept going with it, but I can’t tell you exactly, but it was at least until it took at least until year three or four to like say I can definitely see myself doing this for a long time, potentially forever and kind of like every additional year that I do it, I can see one extra year more into the future of me being like the content, just quote unquote, doing that, just being a writer and not having to go do something else, you build conviction in your passion as you, or like in your work also as you get better at it. So that’s definitely true that it’s not a, it’s not this, it’s not this, it comes to you and you know, you just know, and you just you’re, you’re off to the races.
[00:33:07] Amardeep: It’s been a pleasure to talk to you, Nik. Where can the listeners hear more from you?
[00:33:10] Nik: Yeah, you can find me on Medium. N G O E K E. Yeah, just Google. Nicholas Gokey G O E K E. The other thing I mentioned is four minute books, fourminutebooks.com, which is the book summary, a website where we do free book summaries.
We have over a thousand
[00:33:25] Amardeep: And the final thing to finish up on is, what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy recently?
[00:33:28] Nik: I’m going to my girlfriend this weekend and we went to a wedding at Oxford this weekend. And it was one of the first, if not the first big event I’ve done since COVID happened, there were two very wholesome things happening at this event. The first was dancing and it was actually Scottish and the person was Irish, but they did some Scottish Irish dances. I don’t know, but it’s kind of like a square dance where you have multiple people and you just interlock arms occasionally, and you have this group dance and it was just very, it was so wholesome. I was just looking at that. I was like, we can do that again. I could look at this, like we can, we can do this again. It’s it’s, it’s amazing. And I dunno, reminded me how sort of like simple human culture is in some ways, how complex and others cause like this dancing, like it’s very complex, right? People learning new dances on the fly. One person explaining it. Seeing learning in real time, everybody being together. And the other thing was, and that’s related to work to writing the stories was the speeches people gave. And one speech in particular was given by the groom’s sister when she just shared all these stories, the little moments of when they were kids and how they grew up. And she just had a yeah, she put a lot of humor into it. I didn’t know the groom and bride too well. I met him only a few times and just hearing these stories and hearing this backstory just make me realize that behind every human life, there’s a story, and the story is huge. It’s as big as yours, basically. Right. And you only know your story. So if you, if you get somewhere where someone is sharing a piece of their story and you’re lucky enough to get a glimpse of it. It’s, it’s just a good moment to tap in and remind yourself that these stories exist and we should be grateful that they do, and we should respect other people’s stories as much as we can and be as gracious with them as we can, because yeah, ultimately, you know, being a human is about stories and stories are how we pass on information, how we relate to one another, how we, how we inspire each other.
[00:35:16] Amardeep:If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes.
Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.
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