The Greatest Minds: Interview with Alan Brown #4
1# Filipa Canelas: Who is Alan Brown? And what did he do to be where he is?1# Alan Brown: An ADHD/productivity coach, #1 Best Selling author and host of Crusher™TV (www.CrusherTV.com), Alan is the creative force behind ADD Crusher™, the award-winning video series for ADHD teens and adults. Undiagnosed for decades, Alan’s untreated ADHD manifested in underachievement, failed relationships, substance abuse, and worse. Once diagnosed, he found it difficult to learn coping strategies from books, so he developed his own unique “brain hack” strategies while building a successful advertising career and several start-ups. He’s a featured presenter at ADHD conferences in the U.S. and Europe and host of his own weekly online TV show, Crusher™TV, where he and his guest experts help busy and overwhelmed people “unleash the power of their brains.” Get Alan’s free eBook, “5 Things You’re Doing Every Day that Make Your ADHD Worse!” at www.ADDCrusher.com.
2# Filipa Canelas: Your new book “Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier” is coming out. What can we expect from it? And how would you sum up your whole book in one paragraph?2# Alan Brown: [IT’S NOW RELEASED]I’LL LET ONE OF THE REVIEWS SPEAK FOR THE BOOK: "We only have so much time in the day and there are plenty of resources to look into how to best leverage that time. Alan’s book breaks things down to practical actions you can take now, using what you already have at your disposal – the thing between your ears: your brain. Alan offers practical and actionable advice in these pages that will help you process and prioritize better than before." - Mike Vardy, productivity strategist and founder of Productivityist
3# Filipa Canelas: I’m a huge fan of morning rituals, because they changed my life. Do you have any type of ritual to begin a new day? If so, please describe it.3# Alan Brown: HERE’S MY MORNING RITUAL, TAKEN FROM A RECENT EPISODE OF Crusher™TV:Power Ritual #1. The Morning Ritual, which begins with this quote ”When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” [Marcus Aurelius].
Why is this a quote so powerful? Because...if you DO what Marcus Aurelius says – more specifically, identify three things for which you are grateful every day for 21 days, you carve neural pathways that give your brain a higher baseline of optimism and happiness [this is based on research by Shaw Achor]. Gratitude is the first part of the Morning Power Ritual.Next, set your Three Biggies for the day (three important things you will work on today). Why only three? Identifying more than three priorities reduces your odds of finishing ANY of them.
Then, you must Calendar those priorities – give them each a time slot in your calendar. Research tells us that a task that has been assigned a time and place is 50% more likely to be completed. And last, write down an Affirmation. Some expression of intent that attaches to a medium- or long-term goal. For instance, “I, [state your name], will create a profitable new X.” Or, “I, [state your name], will compete in a half-marathon this year.”
That is a powerful morning ritual – that gives you clarity for today’s work, and reinforces a longer-term goal.
4# Filipa Canelas: What is the most precious advice you can give me if I want to increase my energy?4# Alan Brown: When you sit down to do some hard mental work, do so in accordance with your Ultradian Rhythm. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, says, “We mistakenly assume we’re meant to run like computers – at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time.” Nope. We are designed to move rhythmically between spending energy and renewing it: ultradian “sprints” of around 90 minutes. And then “recoveries” of about 20 minutes.
Set timers for your single task sessions (work sessions focused on ONE THING — NOT multitasking!) and pay close attention to your energy levels, and you’ll be doing more of your best work.
You’ll get diminishing returns when you ignore your body’s signals that you’re dipping into a renewal phase: You must Take Breaks.
Research has found that virtuoso violinists tend to practice for 90-minute intervals, BUT...only 3 sessions a day. The rest of the day, they’re recovering.
How do you know when your rhythm is entering a renewal phase? Feeling restless, hungry, tough time focusing, excessively wandering thoughts. The longer you ignore these and keep trying to push through them -- as we think we’re supposed to --- the more you’re depleting your day’s limited energy supply.
Here’s a list of simple ways to recover without leaving your desk: - A mini-meditation: close your eyes for two full minutes. That’s all. Nothin’ fancy. But do see if you can quiet your thoughts a bit.- Stretch for even 60 seconds – gets your circulation going and fresh oxygen to your brain.- Tidy up: When you re-set your environment, you re-set your mind and body.- Reach into your drawer for that bag of nuts and dried fruit. Eat multiple small meals across your day.- Switch into some non-demanding work for 20 minutes. (Now’s the time for that pseudoproductivity.)
But ideally, you should LEAVE Your Desk!!- Take a walk – Even if you can’t get outside, hit a staircase for a few minutes. Take a “power nap” if you can.
Digital strategist Tom Gibson said, “We need to understand that 'on' is impossible without 'off,' and that the distance between the two needs to be made closer.”
5# Filipa Canelas: What was the lowest point in your career/life and how did you overcome it?5# Alan Brown: When my mother was in a hospital in New York City, in her last months battling cancer, I would visit her. But I would not stay long, because I always needed to be somewhere else: in Harlem (very dangerous area back then) to buy my drugs. I was a drug addict. I had not control of my brain.
6# Filipa Canelas: If you could only live by one principle what would that be? And why?6# Alan Brown: “Be here. Now.” This is about “being present”... Being “in the Now”. When you are not mindfully present, you are usually worrying about the past or worrying about the future, rather than being focused on what you are DOING NOW. Be present!
7# Filipa Canelas: What are you now working on?7# Alan Brown: My next episode of Crusher™TV!!!!
The Last Book you Read:Deep Work by Cal Newport
Dream Job when you were a Kid:Economist
Favourite Quote:“If you don’t have a life plan, you will fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you. Not much.” - Jim Rohn
25$ life-changing item:TextExpander app
Favourite place to work:In my truck!! (I park near the ocean where I live in San Diego and sit in the passenger seat. I am VERY productive in my truck!)