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The Productivity Talks: Crazy systems to be productive with David Ramsey


👨 Who is David?

David is a freestyle rapping, jazz trumpet player that came from Texas to Philadelphia on a biochem scholarship back in 99. He is an espresso (coffee)expert, and he has been studying data science and deep learning with Python since the Covid shutdown. He is in the Fast AI course now and loves optimizing everything from deep work to health.

David was introduced to me by my co-founder Ionut Mistreanu as a crazy - in a good way - productivity expert. Now I don't tell his system is something that can be applied to anyone. He designed it for himself and it works. What I can do though, is to share it with you, and then it's up to you what do you want to apply from it and whatnot.

🌅 David's morning routine

  1. Wake up around 10 am (he works till late at night, depends on his muse) - he tries to get up without the alarm.
  2. He takes a cold shower.
  3. Makes himself ice water and an espresso shot - no food.
  4. He takes a few moments to meditate and focus on the breath, especially when his mind is so busy.
  5. He writes 3-4 lines of poetry and tries to rap it on his own bit or someone else's bit - then post it on Instagram. Don't trust me, take a look below.


  1. Sometimes he reads Personal Credo Book - which is a 90-page journal with questions to ponder upon - David takes up to 15 minutes to answer one question per day.

  2. Being inspired by The Art of Learning Book sometimes he writes down one question he wants to concentrate on within the day or the week.

Sometimes my question is: How can I get the most number of deep work hours done this week?

🥤 David's Lunch - 1 meal a day

He makes sure he gets 2000 calories every day. He gets them from a smoothie. He gets the last coffee after that smoothie, to eliminate the tiredness after lunch.

The reason for that are:

  1. He is more efficient with one meal a day.
  2. It helps him to build muscles as well.

⌛ David also practices time blocking.

Being inspired by Cal Newport he started to block his time when he was in high school.

I used to block the whole week, maybe that's why I didn't like it at the beginning.

Even here Cal Newport comes with an advice when it comes to time blocking.

Rule 1: Don't block time in the weekend.

Rule 2: Don't block time after 5pm.

If it is Monday David will spend 1 hour sketching out the week and the month and then looking at my quarter and then time blocking my day of 3h and using MyFocusSpace and Focusmate within those hours.

I use the Rocket Book for sketching - with has really thin plastic pages on which you use erasable ink and you reuse all the pages - they have a really nice app you take a picture of the pages and it sends them to Evernote and then you wash the notes with a cloth very easily.

Whenever, David, has blocks of time of 3-4 hours he split each hour into smaller chunks of 25 minutes, this technique is called Pomodoro technique.

🍅 Pomodoro technique for Deep Work and for Shallow Work

David uses it for doing both deep and shallow work.

Shallow work is something that you are not really focusing hard on doing. E.g. attending a meeting, a lecture. Set up a program on a computer to be able to do the deep work.

Deep Work is the time you set to be alone, without any distractions, working on something that is hard on doing.

He is inspired by Cal Newport which says in his podcast that shallow work is required, only that we need to figure out the ratio between shallow and deep work. This ratio should be different for each job. As a professor, Cal Newport says, you need to do 40% of shallow work and 60% of deep work.

When I am doing my pomodoros of deep work there a couple of important things. (1) if you call me while I am doing deep work, my phone won't ring. (2) if you text me, I won't get the notifications.

David got into a commitment of tracking this shallow work at the end of every week and finds out how many hours from the next week he will dedicate to shallow work, sort of negotiation with himself, if you ask me.

Final Note

You can find David and his experiences he writes about on:

His website:

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