There was no “Productivity 101” in school or college.
That’s why I struggled — even as I looked successful on the outside.
From childhood, I was the “picture perfect” Asian kid of immigrants from Vietnam. I did all my homework, I got straight As, I aced spelling tests.
Then I went to college and the wheels came off the bus.
My to-do list was never-ending. I was a chronic procrastinator, starting projects at the last second and barely getting them in on time. My calendar and email were a mess because I used them both as to-do lists...until my inbox got so out of control I just never looked at it (too scary!) and missed important emails.
I was constantly stressed, constantly thinking, “There’s something I need to be doing...but I don’t know what it is.”
Eventually, I dropped out of college and landed a high-paying job.
Then things REALLY got high stakes. I felt like I was in over my head.
I was taking too long to reply to client emails...
Showing up to team meetings late…
I was getting to be known as a guy you couldn’t rely on, and I HATED it. My parents raised me that your reputation is everything. Your word is your bond, and you always keep it. But I was letting people down and embarrassing myself.
All my problems got bigger. Don’t know how to write a tricky email to your boss? Wait until it’s too late...and trust me, the problem gets worse!
Anxious about pulling off a big project? Wait till the last minute...and then it’ll definitely suck!
On the outside, I looked like I had it all together: high-paying job, nice apartment in a nice city.
But inside, I felt like I was on a hamster wheel and about to fall flat on my face.
I never had time for friends, family, my health, or personal development. It was all work, work, work...and not even pulling that off 100%.
I knew SOMETHING had to change. I didn’t leave my home in the Netherlands and go to America so I could spend the rest of my life stressed out, working all the time, and never taking time off and just enjoying life.
So I dove head first into the productivity world. I read all the books, tried all the challenges, experimented with all the techniques.
I found a community of other productivity nerds like me, and we encouraged each other, held each other accountable, and shared our learnings with each other.
After a lot of experimenting, I created productivity systems that let me meet the demands of my high-paying job AND start Asian Efficiency.
I met all my deadlines and over-delivered for my Asian Efficiency clients.
I started taking 3-4 vacations a year, with lots of weekend trips thrown in between.
I took up hobbies and skills I’d always wanted to learn, like throwing fancy dinner parties, taking hip-hop dancing, and delivering keynote speeches around the world.
What’s really interesting is that beyond a certain point, it wasn’t more INFORMATION that got me there. It was a COMMUNITY that helped me implement what I learned. But before I get into that, I want to ask...