Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is the bestselling author of books on business, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, creativity, applied psychology, and practical wisdom. About Josh »

The Braindead List

“Thoughts flowing like toxic sludge this Monday morning. Brain feels like it needs an oil change."

Venkatesh Rao,

Ever have a day where your brain just doesn't seem to want to turn on?

It happens to all of us: I'm having one of those days right now. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the old synapses just don't want to fire.

That's okay - you are not a robot.

Energy cycles are very real. Instead of trying to force yourself to be brilliant, it's usually best to recognize what's happening, accept reality, and change your strategy.

Creating Your "Braindead" List

Here's a useful technique I learned from David Allen, who picked it up from Robert Peake: it's useful to have a short list of low-thought, low-energy things you can do when you're tired or having an off day.

It's called a "braindead" list. Here's mine:

It's important to write these things down: when you're off your game, the last thing you want to do is spend too much time thinking about what you should do. Write it down, keep it close at hand, and use it as necessary.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going for a walk…

Do you have a "braindead" list? What should you add to it?

Read more essays by Josh Kaufman »

Books by Josh Kaufman

The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

The First 20 Hours

How to Learn Anything… Fast!

A practitioner’s guide to rapid skill acquisition. Accelerate your learning by deconstructing complex skills, practicing the most important elements first, and removing barriers to deliberate practice. What do you want to learn?

How to Fight a Hydra

Face Your Fears, Pursue Your Ambitions, and Become the Hero You Are Destined to Be

A story about summoning the courage to face the beast, fight the good fight, & persist long enough in your efforts to secure a lasting victory.