About Scott H Young
In brief, Scott Young is a speed-reading, vegetarian, holistic learning, productivity hacking university student. For the last three years, Scott’s been experimenting to find out how to get more from life. You can find his books and articles at his personal website here.
What’s your overall story?
I’m a university student, blogger, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed dance machine. I’ve written at ScottHYoung.com for over four years, exploring the question of what it takes to live the ideal life. In addition to the blog I sell several guides for productivity and learning, and run a rapid-learning tutoring program. I’m Canadian, but currently living in the south of France.
Basically zero gadgets. Some people can handle, and make productive use of, many different technologies. I find they complicate things.
Web apps or productivity apps?
Just a few apps in my productivity system. Just Google Calendar and a to-do list software, TadaList. Keeping things simple helps me ensure I stay focused on the things that matter, not organizing them.
You a coffee or tea person?
Tea sometimes, but lately mostly water. And, in both cases, that’s water from the tap.
Best books you’ve read recently?
Too many to remember, but from non-fiction I recently finished and enjoyed The Progress Paradox, which is about how the world has actually been getting better across almost every standard over the last few decades, but people aren’t getting happier. And in fiction I recently re-read The Count of Monte Cristo, a classic book and a great parable about hope and perseverance.
What’s your routine?
I spend about twenty minutes going through email and RSS, then I focus on the most important task for the day, typically.
What are your overall thoughts on focus?
Focus is essential. I don’t like how the simplicity movement have seemed to hijack it, in claiming it is necessary for having a zen-like, peaceful life. Of course, that’s completely true! But, that also means over-achieving go-getters often adopt the opposite advice of spreading themselves thin over several projects. The result is at best accomplishing less, and at worst becoming a stressed-out basket-case. In that sense, the simplicity writers have it dead on: maintaining a focused (and I think nearly obsessive) outlook on your current goals and projects is the best way to make sure they are accomplished.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?
No idea. I love what I’m doing too much, so it’s hard to imagine.
Any parting thoughts?
The power is in constraints. Constraining yourself to one project, one mission or one really important task for the day gives you power because it eliminates the distractions. My productivity went way up as soon as I stopped multi-tasking and multi-projecting and placed some constraints.
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