# One percent

Invest now to do more tomorrow.

# Intro

How do "geniuses" do it? These are people that are 10 times more creative or more productive than their peers.

I see 3 explanations:

- Nurture, i.e. habits
- Nature, i.e. genetics
- Luck, i.e. right place at the right time

Although genetics are important, it does not explain everything. Taking IQ as a measure of raw intelligence, there are no humans with IQ scores 10 times higher than the average IQ (i.e. 100). The recorded highest IQ measurements range between 250 and 300. That's a far cry from 1000 (i.e. 10 times 100).

We can't influence luck so for the rest of this blog post I will focus on nurture, i.e. habits.

What if you develop the habit of increasing your productivity daily?

You learn a new skill or tool today to be more productive tomorrow. Would that investment pay off?

If yes, by how much and how much effort would it take?

I created a toy model to explore these questions.

# The toy model

I start with the results of the model and then explain it to you.

## The results

**Investing in your productivity pays off!**

**Also, it's more important to invest in your productivity than to work long hours.**

The takeaways are the same when you change the assumptions of the model.

Below are some results based on different starting assumptions.

*Result 1:*

If ...

... my working day is 10 hours

... I spend each day 1 hour improving my productivity by 0.2%

Then ...

... my daily productivity after 1 year would be 21 hours (i.e. 2.1x compared to when I started)

... my investment in productivity would be paid off after 96 days

*Result 2:*

If ...

... my working day is 10 hours

... I spend each day 2 hours improving my productivity by 0.2%

Then ...

... my daily productivity after 1 year would be 21 hours (i.e. 2.1x compared to when I started)

... my investment in productivity would be paid off after 177 days

*Result 3:*

If ...

... my working day is 10 hours

... I spend each day 2 hours improving my productivity by 0.1%

Then ...

... my daily productivity after 1 year would be 14 hours (i.e. 1.4x compared to when I started)

... my investment in productivity would be paid off after 354 days

# the model

## Explanation

You can invest time in becoming more productive now or instead use that time to perform work. Lets use a simple model to explore this trade-off. You have an initial working day of hours. You can invest hours today to be % more productive tomorrow. mathematically:

or

so over period t the hours worked is:

the term is the hours invested to be % more productive the next day.

- No learning/investment
- Learning/investment

## FAQ

### Why do you think learning a new skill pays off with compound interest?

There are many skills that have compounding effects on your productivity. For example:

- improving your communication skills
- improving your time management skills
- learning how to use shortcuts for common tasks on your computer
- writing automation scripts for routine work

There is also anecdotal evidence in my field,i.e. software development, that learning new tools can have dramatic impacts on productivity.

Jeremy Howard, a well-known data scientist, noticed a 2 to 3x increase in his productivity when writing software in a notebook-first approach.

I've found that programming in a "notebook first" way can make me 2-3x more productive than I was before (when we used vscode, Visual Studio, vim, PyCharm, and similar tools).

Source: FastAI https://nbdev.fast.ai/tutorial.html

### This is clearly too simplistic

All models are false but some are useful. I think this toy model nicely illustrates what most people intuitively suspected all along.

### Are you the first person to write about this?

No. https://www.google.com/search?q=1%25+productivity

### How about practice?

I ignore it. Practice is very important and decreases when you work less. A more precise (but more complex) model would take this into account when you reduce the number of hours you work in a day .