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A productivity system I use — The Iceberg Method

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I want to show you a simple system I use that helps me stay extremely productive. I call it the Iceberg Method.

Like an iceberg, where the real size is hidden beneath the water, this system will make people say: “Wow! That’s insane!” and they’ll attribute super-productivity powers to you. In actuality, you just consistently used this system beneath the surface.

Accept the accolades and turn them into free drinks. That’s what I do.

I decided to share the Iceberg Method once I got this question from an IWT reader:

“I read a lot of influential things every day from people like you, Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, etc. All of the topics you discuss and people you link are insightful and usually have a great deal of value and takeaways. However, even when distilling it down to bullet points on pieces of paper, it can all still be a lot to take in (that’s how much value there is!), and often it’s easy to forget some or all of it. What is the process you use to internalize information like this and make it a part of your everyday thinking, rather than just another sheet of notepaper?”

You read all this stuff every day. How do you apply what you’ve learned?

And how can you use the Iceberg Method to already be 30% of the way done…before you even start the project?

Hint: It’s not just about being “more productive” than the next guy.

I recorded this video to share how I use this:

When you think about it, this is exactly what Pinterest, Delicious, and Evernote are for.

Leave a comment below — do you use any of these tools? What else do you use to sort through all the material you read every day?

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  1. […] Ask Ramit: A productivity system I use: The Iceberg Method is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. […]

  2. […] Ask Ramit: A productivity system I use: The Iceberg Method – I Will Teach You To Be Rich […]

  3. I use Evernote primarily to store all articles and research material. But I think it’s important to have a single place where you stash away all your information. It’s so tempting to use all those apps, but being consistent with your habit/system/method is more important than having the sexiest app.

    A similar question was asked to Eben Pagan, and I remember him saying something like “I can’t remember everything I read, but I just take away one concept from a book and apply it.”

  4. in addition to the tools mentioned by you i also use your basic notepad app, both on the iphone as well as on the computer (yellow pad). over time i find my notes are all over the place. i have a good calendar reminder quarterly to consolidate all notes and retain it on a running file, off of which i generate my project initiatives. works great for me. the key is having a consistent system that you follow – the tools are merely there to make life easier. forgot i also us the voice recorder app as a note to self mechanism, especially when driving. when i get to the office, i replay it and remind myself

  5. I think the tips offered in the video are helpful, but I was looking for something more along the lines of how do you take all the guidance from Ramit, Tim, et al and distill that down to something that you can keep top of mind, all day, to know you are doing the right things. Maybe there isn’t anything like this, it may just take a really conscious effort to focus on the teachings.

  6. I use a spreadsheet on google drive. That way I can open it wherever I want and whenever I want. I initially tried dropbox but sometimes I download the spreadsheet and upload it back and it became a version control nightmare.
    So there is a spreadsheet I have on my google drive that has different sheets from notes from the books I read. There is another spreadsheet that I have on my google drive that have different ideas for all business ideas I have categorized according to the type of products for eg, a one tab says online, another says organic etc.

  7. These are great tips – thanks! I also use the Instapaper app a lot. It has a “Read Later” button that you can click on to instantly store articles you want to save.

  8. Thanks for the tips!

    I do that as wel ont the email thingl!

    But I think what is important is to be able to leave things for later! sometimes we want to feel as if we have accomplished something so that pulls as toward activity instead of focusing on what we really want to do.

    I use evernote to capture ideas that came to my mind and review them once a week and then place them or used them as I need them.

    Also, it is useful to have categories in your life such as work, health, relationship, contribution, finance, etc so that anything you do fit in those categorys and you don’t feel overwhelme by all the things you need to do.

    Finally, I think it is important to realize that there isn’t anything we “have” to do, but there are only things you “want” to do, once you remember that the presurre and stress goes away!

  9. I love the Iceberg Method. I have hundreds of Evernote notes (broken into subject Notebooks) and a few thousand Delicious bookmarks – these are both products I learned about via Ramit.

    This came in incredibly handy this fall. I coach a college soccer team and we were having some tactical issues after our first few games. I found a soccer strategy article on Delicious that I had bookmarked over a year prior and ended up implementing it to the letter and it really helped stabilize things for the team.

    Sunil, I really like the system you created!

  10. Great tips Ramit! I like the one about organizing the emails you get from interesting people to meet up with them later. I use Evernote and it’s been great for me. It’s important to set aside info for the future especially if you are working on multiple projects. You do need to periodically review what you’ve saved to see if it’s still relevant, otherwise you’ll get buried under that iceberg.