How to Learn Anything Faster (and Be Way More Productive) with Lifehacker Timothy Moser
This week, I’m happy to host another lifestyle entrepreneur who, like myself, is focusing his time and energies on teaching productivity, memory, and accelerated learning. Like me, he has chosen to live outside his home country, and runs a blog and podcast, called Master of Memory. Like me, he’s teaching courses online that help you learn faster and memorize more. He also has a company and a podcast called Ace Productivity where he focuses on productivity hacks to help you get more out of your time. On top of all of this, he also shares my passion for lifestyle design and travel… So, of course, with so much in common… I was really excited to sit down and talk to him and compare notes!
In this episode, we talked about productivity, accelerated learning, lifestyle design, and much, much more. We actually go into some very unique tricks for language learning that actually kind of blew my mind in the level of detail and clarity that they offer. You’ll learn how to hack grammar using memory palaces, how to memorize maps, how to look at life more productively, and a lot of other super fascinating stuff.
This episode does build a little bit on our previous memory related episodes with Dr. Anthony Metivier and Nelson Dellis, so you should make sure to listen to those either before or after this one, if you haven’t already.
Let me know what you think of this episode and share the most interesting piece of information you learned by sending a tweet to @gosuperhuman.
In this episode with Timothy Moser, we discuss:
- Thoughts on “competition” in the information economy
- Timothy Moser's story and how he became a world traveler and lifestyle entrepreneur
- Why Timothy Moser chooses to live in 3 different cities – and why he chose each one
- How Timothy learned to learn more effectively, and what it is that he teaches his students
- Some hands-on, applicable techniques for learning new information like languages
- The power of frequency lists in learning languages
- How Timothy Moser uses memory palaces to learn both vocabulary and grammar (genius!)
- How Timothy is using pre-set images and pre-set memory palaces to accelerate people's Spanish learning
- What things has Timothy used his accelerated learning skills to learn?'
- How to learn all the streets in any city in an hour and a half
- Timothy's favorite behavioral or mindset “hack”
- What is Timothy's #1 productivity tool?
- What subjects and disciplines is Timothy Moser learning right now?
- Insights on lifestyle design, planning your week, taking a day off, and more
- Our guests's top book recommendation (as always)
- What would a $100 Timothy Moser quick-start kit look like?
- What is Timothy Moser working on next, and what are his goals for the rest of the year?
- Conferences recommended for online marketers and content creators
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Dr. Anthony Metivier's podcast Magnetic Memory Method
- My course with Dr. Anthony Metivier, Branding You™: How to Build a Multimedia Internet Empire
- My course on accelerated learning: Become a SuperLearner: Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memory
- My course on productivity: Become a Speed Demon: Productivity & Automation to Have More Time
- Timothy's podcast, Master of Memory (iTunes)
- Timothy's productivity podcast: ACE Productivity (iTunes)
- Timothy's Accelerated Spanish Podcast
- The Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule
- Tim Ferriss and his books, especially The Four Hour Work Week and The Four Hour Chef
- eLance (now owned by Upwork)
- Evernote (highly recommended)
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
- Phantastes by George MacDonald
Favorite Quotes from Timothy Moser:
Introduction: Welcome to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.
Jonathan Levi: Hello, SuperFriends. Welcome to this week's show. I'm absolutely tickled to have you guys with me. Today this week, I'm happy to host another lifestyle entrepreneur who like myself is focusing his time and energy. On teaching productivity and memory and accelerated learning like me. He's chosen to live outside his home country and he runs a blog and podcast called Master of Memory.
Like me, he's also teaching courses that can help you learn and memorize more. But on top of that, he's running a podcast called ACE Productivity, and he's focusing a lot on productivity hacks to get more out of your time. On top of all of this, like I said, he is a lifestyle entrepreneur. And so he's passionate about lifestyle design and travel.
Pretty much all that stuff is stuff that I do and stuff that I'm passionate about. So as you can imagine, I was very, very excited to get in touch with him. Compare notes, share strategies, share mindset tips. In this episode, we talk about productivity. We talk about accelerated learning, lifestyle design, and much, much more.
We actually go into some very, very unique tricks for language learning that actually kind of blew my mind in the level of detail and clarity that they offer. These were techniques that I'd actually never come across. Despite teaching a lot of language learning techniques in my courses, you'll learn how to hack grammar using memory palaces.
You will learn how to live life more productively, how to look at productivity, and the tasks you have to do. You also learn how to memorize all the streets in your city, which is kind of a neat pro tip. The episode does build a little bit on our previous memory-related guests like Dr. Anthony Metivier or Nelson Dellis.
So you should probably listen to those episodes either before. Or after this one, if you haven't already just so you have an understanding of what the heck a memory palace actually is. If you don't know already. All right, guys, let me know what you think of this episode and share with me the most interesting piece of information that you took away by sending a tweet to @, that's the squiggly little a sign @gosuperhuman. All right, ladies and gents, let me present to you, Mr. Timothy Moser.
Timothy, welcome to the show, my friend. How are you doing today?
Timothy Moser: Doing great, Jonathan. Thanks for having me.
Jonathan Levi: My pleasure. Do you go by Tim or Timothy?
Timothy Moser: I generally go by Timothy. I'm one of those rare ones.
Jonathan Levi: Rock on. I go by Jonathan. So I totally understand.
Timothy Moser: There you go.
Jonathan Levi: Awesome. So Timothy, actually, we got connected because I saw that you were on Anthony Metivier's show. And he actually mentioned in our mutual course together where we talk about personal branding. He mentioned that, Oh, it's a great idea to network with people in your space. And actually, you're the example that he gives. He says, you know, some people would consider. Timothy Moser to be a competitor. I consider him to be someone pushing for the same agenda and teaching a lot of the same stuff. And so, you know, we host each other on our podcasts and so I said, Hey, we should have you on my podcast.
Timothy Moser: Yeah, absolutely. And I agree with him that it's more about building the relationships. I don't think of business really as competition, as long as you're providing value. If. More people are going to get more out of what he does and what I do then I think that cross-promoting our stuff is only helping everyone.
Jonathan Levi: Exactly and I love that point. Timothy, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be, where you are today. I have to admit, I didn't find too much bio stuff on you, so.
Timothy Moser: Okay. Yeah. Well, it's a little hard to say that I'm based in one place right now. I'm in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I basically move around between here, San Diego, New York, and my hometown Tulsa.
So I just kind of float around, but basically I've started podcasting on productivity and lifestyle design back when I still had a day job. And then I started Master of Memory, which is my show on accelerated learning and, you know, rapid language learning and memorization, just because I was sort of an interest of mine and a hobby.
I've always been very interested in learning and the same sorts of things that you teach and that Anthony teaches. And it just, it grew, my audience grew eventually I made it into my main thing and now I. Again, just kind of float between the cities, teach this stuff and do language training where I'll hire native speakers to train my students, to perform well in their target language.
And so, yeah, basically it's about maintaining my lifestyle while living in multiple cities.
Jonathan Levi: Very cool. Now, what's in each of those cities that makes you come back to them again and again, versus someone like Benny Lewis, who's always discovering new cities and kind of constantly on the move.
Timothy Moser: Yeah, sure. So I really like to get to know a place for the longterm. I actually don't really like the process of traveling so much. I mean, it's exciting one time, but the last time I was in Buenos Aires, it took me eight planes and a two or three-day car ride between Buenos Aires and a conference in the Philippines just to get there and move some stuff.
And so. That was very exhausting and I don't really like that process so much. I'm more like to settle down, find a routine, get some stuff done, work on some learning projects and then move on to the next one and settle in there. Long-term as well. I see. It's different from being nomadic. It's more like. Moving, you know, I can genuinely say that I've moved to a city and then I stayed there for two or three months and then move on to the next one. So it's much more easy for me to be productive in that way and, to settle in and feel really at home in that way.
Jonathan Levi: I like that. I like that a lot. I feel the same way. After about 10 days of moving about it gets real tiresome.
Timothy Moser: Oh yeah. No, I can't stand that. As far as which cities I've chosen go. I was raised in Tulsa. I moved to San Diego because I have lots of podcasting friends there. Lots of well-known people in San Diego. I'm sure that lots of people listening to this are aware of that.
And so I like to hang out with them for a while. I went to Buenos Aires, which was actually the first place that I moved. Outside of my hometown, because it's an awesome study and it's Spanish speaking, which is a benefit for me because I like to keep that up. I mean, it's just fantastic. I love this city its quality of life and the cost of living.
They just kind of pair pretty well. And then also New York because it's New York.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, absolutely. So if you're in Buenos Aires in February, let's connect because I'm going to come down there for carnival and then go through Buenos Aires.
Timothy Moser: Oh, awesome. Yeah, fun. I was here in February this last year and it was way too hot for me.
So I might be avoiding it this February, but I will be back sometime in a few months.
Jonathan Levi: Rock on.
Timothy Moser: See if we cross paths.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. So Timothy, tell us a little bit about you, you said that you started out as a hobbyist in productivity, and then you were interested in learning and hacking the learning process. Tell us a little bit about how you went about learning those things, what things you picked up, what strategies you found most interesting, that kind of thing.
Timothy Moser: Yeah, well, in the first place I was homeschooled. And so in, after a certain point, my parents just kind of went, you know, here's the stuff you have to learn. We're going to test you on it. Find some way to learn it. And when that happens to you, you kind of go, you know, nobody's shoving this stuff down my throat.
I have to figure out how to learn this myself. And so partly as a consequence of that, I think the learning process itself has always been really interesting to me. I've always been a bit of a, a nerd about, you know, how is it that we learn stuff? What is actually important to learn for the longterm and what are ways that we can do it.
And so something that I've. Never really talked about on a podcast, but before was at one point in high school, I learned Java just to create simple text programs. And I created this sort of just quizzing program where I would make myself type things in exactly to the character, you know, without any typos or else it would make me answer them again. So I was forcing myself to memorize large amounts of information just by Rhodes, just by typing it in. And yeah, so just kind of created the program for myself. Now, of course, there are better options online with Quizlet and other quizzing platforms, but so it's just always been something I've done.
I never really thought of it as something as a business or anything like that. But then the productivity show happened. I really got into podcasts. A good friend of mine introduced me to John Lee, Dumas, Pat Flynn, all those people. And I was really interested just in podcasting as a medium. And so I started my productivity podcast just because of ideas about life and getting the most out of life that I've always thought of things like maximizing your time and getting the most value out of everything that you do because.
Ultimately everything that we do has some sort of value that comes out of it. Even if you're out partying, there's some sort of value that you're wanting, whether it's connecting with people better or having fun, anything that you can identify can be maximized. And so that was the premise of ACE Productivity, which was my productivity show.
From there. I kind of took the same concept into learning. And just started to maximize that. So my daily, Q and a podcast about education and about accelerated learning, I just started doing that by answering people's questions, exploring the learning areas that they were talking about and Master of Memory became a number one education show.
It still gets thousands of downloads a day and floats around in the top 100 of iTunes education. And so that really took off. And then quickly after that point, our Spanish course and Spanish podcast. You know, went through the roof as well.
Jonathan Levi: Cool. Tell us a bit about some of the more powerful techniques as you mentioned. I do also teach accelerated learning and speed reading and memory. So I'm very curious, always to talk with other experts and other people who are very keen on the field and compare notes. If you will see what kind of techniques you think are the most powerful for memory or learning.
Timothy Moser: Yeah, absolutely. One that I start with that tends to surprise people because they always come in here going, you know, I want to learn all this information. I want to be able to retain all this information and too many questions that I get on the podcast, or, you know, how can I memorize 5,000 vocabulary words in a few weeks and stuff like that.
Whereas the question that I respond to those questions with is why, why do you have to memorize 5,000 vocabulary words rather than choosing the small number of words that are going to give you the best result and really figuring out deeply and understanding deeply what those are. So to cut to what I'm saying here, the one thing that I always start with is exclusivity.
If there's any way in the world, you can figure out how to cut down to the 20% of information. That'll give you the 80% of results using Pareto's law, the 80/20 rule. If you can cut down to that 20%, that will give you much better results than everything else. Then you're learning much faster than anyone else without doing any more work.
So just forget about how you absorb that information or how you retain stuff. Just choosing the right information in the first place is one of the most powerful things you can do.
Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. I couldn't agree with you more. It's one of the first things I mentioned in my course, I was actually going to say when you mentioned Buenos Aires and you mentioned lifestyle design, it's going to say, you know, I bet you we've shared some similar reading material.
Timothy Moser: I bet we've all read. Yeah. The Tim Ferriss books.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, absolutely. But it's just a testament to how powerful it is. That we've both been inspired by so many different aspects of the work, not just choosing our location and our lifestyle, but also our learning processes.
Timothy Moser: Absolutely. Yeah.
Jonathan Levi: And what are your thoughts on language learning techniques? I particularly wanted to get you on the podcast because you've taken it a step further and a step that I find very interesting, which is how do we apply these techniques to learning languages?
Timothy Moser: Sure. Right. So the interesting dilemma with languages is in the first place, a language is not just vocabulary. You know, there are tens of thousands of words in any language. Some have hundreds of thousands of words. And even if you learn those words, that doesn't necessarily mean that you've actually learned the language effectively, as you can find out if you just go and search for, you know, the guy who memorized the dictionary, be sure he memorized the definitions of all those words and can tell you where they are on the page, but he still has trouble communicating.
And so language is more about communication. And so if you can take something that is quantifiable, what I would say, the first thing to start with. Starting with exclusivity is looking for frequency vocabulary. So Tim Ferriss talks about this. I'm sure that you're familiar with it, but I would actually suggest starting with the top one or 200 words, forget the top 2000, which can get you to fluency, but just the top one or 200 words.
And you can just do that. Anybody can do that with pretty much any language, just Google frequency vocabulary Spanish, or frequency vocabulary German, whatever it is. And you'll find a list of pretty good data on what are the most frequently used words that might surprise you. Actually, this is kind of an interesting point.
What do you think the number one most used word is in the English language?
Jonathan Levi: I would be surprised if it weren't either I or the.
Timothy Moser: The. So it's you. Huh? Yeah. You would never think that. Right. But here we are. I've just used you already. And that sentence and the number 15 word is know at K N O W. And so the phrase, you know, and things like that, the little things that we don't think about there it is.
Yeah. Yeah, so people try to teach just without quantifying it. They try to teach the words that are the most important. But if you go to the data and you actually look at what's compiled and what people have actually used the most, it's something different. And that just forces you to take a more objective view on what is really making up this language and the way that people actually talk.
And so if you take those top one or 200 words, And you go and do some deep readings, some deep listening on exactly how to identify how those words are being used. Those are the words that make up the language. They have the soul of the language in them, little things like it. And the, and with, those things are so hard to internalize and it's hard to spend exclusive focus on those.
Whereas nouns and verbs and things like that. Those become very easy to learn over time. Once you have the heart of the language, the fabric of the language, and you have all of that down first. So one thing that we've found extremely useful is. Actually having native speakers, and this is anybody can do this, just go to Elance, or I guess it's Upwork now and hire a native-speaking translator who speaks your target language, give them this list of words and say, Hey, I want you to write me a completely idiomatic dialogue that only uses these words.
And that uses all of them in all the idiomatic contexts that you can think of. And that gives you an extremely exclusive little thing. That has the heart of the language in it. It has everything you need to know, basically, as far as the grammar and the structure and everything goes, but you don't have to learn an extremely large amount of vocabulary for it.
It's more about learning the language itself before learning vocabulary.
Jonathan Levi: What are your thoughts on learning grammar?
Timothy Moser: Grammar kind of comes with phrasing. So actually anybody can find this stuff out there for free, but basically, I teach learning vocabulary using a memory palace. My own memory palace approach to learning words is actually just sort them in terms of grammar.
So nouns go in one place, feminine nouns on the left masculine downs on the right, the pronouns, like object pronouns, how you store them in different places in your memory palace. And so what happens is if you've learned a few phrases like, Como Leva. How's it going for him? You can exchange that with Como Teva because that te and that le are in the same place in your memory palace.
Oh, interesting. Yeah. So you're kind of learning your vocabulary by function. In your palace, but the way that you're actually learning to speak is using this dialogue, these dialogues that are actually native written dialogues. And so if you just learn a few sentences at, you can switch out with equivalent words from your memory palace, and you can confidently speak with perfect grammar.
Jonathan Levi: That is pretty genius. I always struggle in Russian because you have TBA and TBR for me and at me or at me and to me. And I'm thinking I have them stored in exactly. There's no rhyme or reason to how they're stored. In fact, they're stored in a room, right. Of speaking in the second person. And then I have a room for the third person, but if I were to separate that room out.
Timothy Moser: Maybe consistently put one right above the other or something like that. So anytime you're not completely sure you can look and see which one is above the other one in some way.
Jonathan Levi: That is super clever. That's going to be my takeaway for the, uh, what kind of structure or building are you using? Are you using like a childhood home memory palace for each language?
Timothy Moser: Actually, yeah, that's a good question.
So it is most recommended that you use a place that you are so intimately familiar with. Since I'm interested in teaching with imagery that multiple people can use, which is quite unconventional for nominalists, but actually, yeah, it's very, very unconventional for reminisced, but it gets good results for us.
I actually use it. A fabricated memory palace. So it's a made-up place and we have lots of images. We have videos and things like that. So people learn the place. They can actually, you know, go around it themselves and feel at home in there. And then we store the imagery in that palace. So that, I mean, because otherwise, we would have to teach people how to create their own imagery, which is ideal, but it takes so much time for them.
Just the process. It doesn't work for the speed at which our course goes. So we just give them.
Jonathan Levi: I'm glad you said that because in our course, we spend about 60% of the time teaching people how to create their own imagery. We call them markers, but we teach people how to create markers, how to link them to each other because we're teaching people how to speed, read any material they come.
And then, so we can't give them markers because frankly, I don't understand molecular biology. But I, I love that, that you've, uh, you know what I mean, as an example, but I love that you've come up with a system that says, look, if you want to learn this language, here are the images because we're moving fast.
Can you give us, an example of what are the images for say, Como leva?
Timothy Moser: Yeah, so come leva. So we've stored them in different palaces for different parts of speech. Como is an adverb in, so that's stored in the marketplace, which is outside. And the image for that is just somebody's hair is combed a very strange way, and this guy wants to comb his hair like this guy does.
But the fact is the word Como doesn't just mean like, or as. Or how it kind of means all of those. So you can see it kind of encompasses all of those meanings. He wants to comb his hair, how he does that's born as he does, and then le, and te and me are all in a pronoun scene where there's a sheep that lay down on the left side.
So it's lying down on the ground and the shepherd tells the main character to give the tea to the sheep. So he says that he should give it to him, which means that he should that lay like Dallas. Yeah, exactly. And then the, let's see VA that's from a palace of verbs or the ear palace, which is a giant, a big ear doctors shop that is shaped like an ear.
And you kind of go down this tunnel and it's really far. And so for the third person, which is this kind of gets advanced, but we separate all of the different people of the tenses into different persons. This is where the main character is a B the second. A person is the owner of the store. The third person is a lizard.
And so in this case, Como live is a third person. And so the lizard goes really far down the tunnel. And so far it kind of sounds like va.
Jonathan Levi: Mm, very clever. I love that. Are you actually providing people the images of someone with their hair combed or you're telling them to imagine?
Timothy Moser: Yes
Jonathan Levi: Okay. Wow.
Timothy Moser: They all have pictures there so people can cause a picture is worth a thousand words. People memorize and remember pictures much more easily.
Jonathan Levi: Wow, that's very very sophisticated stuff. Have you used this for other languages besides Spanish in your own personal life?
Timothy Moser: I actually haven't I was planning to move on to other languages, myself using the same techniques, but the Spanish has kind of absorbed all of the business and my own life at this point, just because it's grown so much.
And so just trying to get everything systematized so I can move on to. Hopefully, first, a very different language, like an Eastern language, and see how I could apply similar techniques in a very different way for an Eastern language.
Jonathan Levi: I think you would have a lot of fun. I'm I have to admit I'm very impressed.
That's such a cool idea to actually put in the work because a lot of our students do struggle. Like I said, the hardest part is learning to create your own imagery. And if you don't have to teach them that if their learning goal is just Spanish, then boom, let's go with the preset images. That's so cool.
Timothy Moser: And also some people who are taking the course, they are doing it because they want to learn Portuguese or German or whatever, and that's totally fine. They just see how it works visually. And then they create their own. Exactly. You know, based on that.
Jonathan Levi: I was going to say, I think you would have a ton of fun with something like Chinese because now you have to include it for, I think it's four, it might be five intonations in your images.
So, you know, the lizard man needs to be rising up or be falling down as he's doing these things.
Timothy Moser: Yeah. Have you tackled Mandarin?
Jonathan Levi: So I lived in Singapore for six months and I spent one week of that. And when I say one week, I mean, I did a couple of sessions of Mandarin and decided this is not for me. Oh, okay.
Timothy Moser: Okay. Yeah. I'm looking at it in eager and frightened dentists, the patients trying to go, how is this going to work? But we'll see.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, I had a very dear friend who was working on learning Hokkien, so the Taiwanese dialect, the dialects spoken in Taiwan, and to this day, when he speaks, he started out raising his hand up and down to kind of try and remember the intonations sort of weird muscle memory to this day.
He still kind of raises a finger under the table while he's trying to speak to his wife, which is pretty funny. Okay. Yeah. It's one of those interesting, like, can you harness different portions of the brain?
Timothy Moser: Well, yeah, that's interesting. And you're using a kinesthetic approach. Exactly.
Jonathan Levi: Exactly. Yeah. Timothy, what are some of the things that you have used accelerated learning techniques to learn? I always love to find out.
Timothy Moser: Yeah, sure. So shortly after moving to Buenos Aires, the first time I got lost two times, one time when a bus left me in a place I did not expect, which was a not very nice neighborhood, actually, one of the shady or parts of the city, very sketchy. And another time when I just, you know, I don't remember, I, I couldn't figure out the subway or something. And so eventually I just want, you know, what I'm going to do is I'm just going to sit down and memorize all the downtown streets. And I'm going to see if I can do it in one and a half hours.
So just gave me myself that challenge. I kind of had a rough approach to how I was going to do it, but I also documented it using videos. So it's on my YouTube channel, just how I memorize the streets of Buenos Aires in one and a half hours. And what I did was I just used, I took the names of all the streets and I took the stress syllable of each name.
So forget the whole name. Like if there's a street called Erie, Goshen. I just think gauche so goat. So every time I, if I was to walk across the street and see that name, I'll go eerie. Goshen. Oh yeah. Goat. I remember that. So using the exclusivity, even down to the word, but I turned those all into images, and then I created a memory palace out of the city itself by separating.
The avenues, basically the bigger streets, separate different substrates, like water from stone, from grass, from mud. And then I just imagined that the smaller streets in between those. Those things were in those things. So let's say the street, which I lived on at the time, the image was CU a dove cooing.
So I got Cujo and that dove since it was a North-South street, it was in, let's say it was a different substrate and it was in the mud. So you just imagine a dove in the mud and you can remember any time you run across Ayacucho. Oh, this is. This must be West of cajole, the main Avenue in the center of downtown.
And so I just sat down and did that as quickly as I could. And I never got lost downtown again. And I still remember all those streets downtown.
Jonathan Levi: That's incredible. That's a really great example of how to use the skills.
Timothy Moser: In a very practical way.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, absolutely. There are still cities that okay. Confused here, because first off, all of our streets in Tel Aviv are named almost exclusively after founding fathers and things like that.
And so a lot of them have very similar last names, but, uh, you know, you tend to forget and I think, yeah, that's really brilliant.
Timothy Moser: It does help that Buenos Aires does have regular streets North, South, East, West.
Jonathan Levi: Uh-huh. Very cool. All right guys, let me just hit pause really quickly to let you all know about this episode's sponsor.
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Timothy, I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about productivity. Since I know we actually both write and teach about productivity skills. Can you share with us your favorite productivity hack, whether it's a mindset adjustment or a habit, or anything else?
Timothy Moser: Yeah. So something that I was mentioning at the beginning, but I can go a little more into is the idea of getting value from everything that you do.
And so let's say you get up, you walk out the door and you go to breakfast. There are certain values that you can identify that you want to get out of. Let's say not just the breakfast, the experience of getting out of bed out of walking out the door, um, the way that you, I don't know that you do your hygiene routine.
I think that approaching everything from the perspective of what the value is that you want to get out of, it is extremely valuable, but something that I would particularly suggest doing is basically separating as far as possible, one side from the other side. And that is the difference between a shower activity.
And a bath activity. So let's say you need to take a shower or a bath. How do you choose which one to do? Well, it seems to me in this is just an analogy really, but a shower is a utility activity. It may be enjoyable, but really it just is intended to get its function done as quickly as possible. A bath is an activity where you can spend forever and there you're just enjoying it, absorbing it.
And the value that you get out of it. Is really more based on how well you enjoy it than on how quickly it gets done. So if you're going to identify all the activities that you do that are shower activities, and literally get them done in the absolute minimum time possible, you can spend more of your life taking baths or spending time doing things where maximizing the time is actually maximizing the value.
So, separating those as far as possible from each other utility from pleasure or, you know, shower from bath is something I would do. Especially for example, with my meals, when eating at home, I can spend an average of a dollar, a meal and then eating out easily, spend 50 or a hundred dollars depending on what city I'm in and it thoroughly enjoy it.
And it's just because I've polarized those two things that utility from the pleasure. And so it's not just time, it's money and really every aspect of life, polarizing those two things and really thinking about what is the value I'm getting out of this.
Jonathan Levi: I really, really love that because in my productivity course, I kind of talk about thinking rationally and logically about everything we do.
And one point that I make, which I love that you started out with is even if you're going to be hanging out with friends, that's a time of productivity, do an activity. That is going to build your relationship rather than sitting around watching movies and smoking weed, you know, so figure out a way that you're going to improve your relationship.
And also that's productive in another way, right. Go to a museum or go for a run or do some fun sport that also improves your health. So I, I love that. I'm not the only one who thinks about things in that way. Yeah. Of course. Let me ask this. What are your thoughts on productivity tools and are there any make or break productivity tools or apps or hacks that you use in your day-to-day workflow?
Timothy Moser: Yeah, whatever you're gonna use consistently. For me, the most important tool is more concept than a medium or an app or anything like that. And that is just the concept of a checklist. I can wake up in the morning and spend an hour scrambling around, going up and down the stairs, trying to figure myself out and figure out how to get out the door so I can get coffee or I can just go step one, gather these clothes. Step two pick up this bag. Step three, carry the towel, the bags, the clothes, and my cup of water downstairs. And it seems really stupid and childish. Doesn't it but at the same time, if you can reduce anything that you do to a checklist, no matter what you're using, I just have an Evernote file, but if you can reduce anything that you do to a checklist, you can get it done in half the time. And with zero stress because you know that you're actually doing it the way that it's supposed to be done.
Jonathan Levi: That's really cool. Have you read the checklist manifesto?
Timothy Moser: I actually haven't, it's on my kind of list of things to read, but I just have to say that I probably agree with it because I really liked checklists.
Jonathan Levi: It sounds like you've already gotten the whole thing down. It's just, you didn't touch on the whole error reduction thing, which is, you know, you have surgeons, I'm going to kind of spoil the book for you and save you having to read it. But he talks about surgeons. Who've been performing the same surgery for 30 years and without a checklist one in a million times, they will make a mistake and forget to do something.
Yep. And having someone who's in charge of the checklist effectively nullifies that mistake. So it nullifies that, wait a minute, I didn't put the coffee in the cupholder. I must've left the coffee on the roof of the car, that one in a million scenario.
Timothy Moser: Yeah, exactly. I completely agree. And even with my teaching techniques, like for coaching Spanish or whatever, they are basically down. But I have to make myself a checklist just so that I can make sure that I go through every single point I need to go through.
And also it helps in handing it off to other people, which is also a big productivity thing, because if I can get other people to clone myself, then that frees me up to spend more time. Doing bath activities as well.
Jonathan Levi: The activities I like, we won't go into your bath activity. Ritual. It's a different show.
Timothy Moser: Oh yeah. A different show.
Jonathan Levi: Let me ask this, a lot of people sometimes ask me and I'm sure they ask you, don't you feel like you're taking the fun out of life or becoming a robot? What's your response to people who think that way?
Timothy Moser: No, because the only things that I reduced to checklists like that are the things that I want to get done as quickly as possible.
And even in those activities, I don't know, I'll be listening to something meaningful in the background, whether it has to do with language learning or, you know, a learning activity. I think that as long as you're learning, you're living life. And so I personally, for me minimizing the time doing Phyllis activities or things that just have to be done, it means maximizing the time that I spent learning and I think that learning and getting new experiences is the definition of living life. For me, that is the definition basically of living life. And so I have no problem maximizing that. No matter how I do it.
Jonathan Levi: That is beautiful. That is a really beautiful quote and has a beautiful point. And so I'm assuming there's no checklist for bath time.
Timothy Moser: No checklist for bath time.
Jonathan Levi: Let me ask this. What are you learning right now?
Timothy Moser: I am actually spending a lot of my time learning some of the nuances of the Argentinian variety of Spanish. So I've spent most of my time in learning Spanish and I've been fluent in Spanish for several months, I guess, a year now. But the real problem is just some of the crazy accent.
What are the reasons I actually? I really like being in Argentina is that it's such a challenge for me because they do not pronounce their S's all the time. And they have the craziest words that they use and stuff like that. Lately, just coming back to Buenos Aires two weeks ago, I've been spending a lot of my time kind of trying to internalize all of that.
And then other things I enjoy doing are things like scripture memorization, learning the top popular songs in the world. Like the best-selling singles of all time. If you do that, then there's actually extremely good chance that when you hear a song on the radio or at a party, you will actually know it and you know, know every word of it.
So playing the 80 20 rule to that, and only learning actually less than a hundred songs can pay off really well. Whereas lots of people learn thousands of songs and still not know what comes on at a party. And. Yeah, just kind of applying the same techniques to lots of things.
Jonathan Levi: I was going to ask if learning a musical instrument is also in your kind of lexicon.
Timothy Moser: Okay. Yeah. That's a good question. Actually, my degree is in music composition. Yeah. So there you go. You dug it out. My degree is in music composition, but my instruments are the Baton and the pencil. I actually injured my hands over playing the piano while I was in college. And so I can't really play anything at this point while hoping to get this kind of fixed, but it's a permanent injury.
And so they say that those things are reversible, but there's really, there are no doctors or even in sports medicine or anything like that, who really know how to deal with tendonitis in the little fingers. And so that's something that is on the list for the someday, get that fixed and pick up an instrument because it's a major passion of mine.
And it's just kind of sad that I can't do that right now.
Jonathan Levi: No, is that list also in Evernote? The fixed someday list.
Timothy Moser: Yeah. The fixed someday lists. Yeah, it probably is. Yeah. I have a lot of someday things in Evernote that I can go in and dig up once in a while, either sort of a goals notebook in Evernote.
Yeah. It's definitely in there.
Jonathan Levi: I have the same one, you know, the long, long long-term fixed chronic injuries from high school list. Yeah, that's really cool. I want to ask you kind of a two-part question, Timothy, which is. The first part is what is your workday and workweek look like? But the second is you've identified and we've both kinds of shared some common ground on lifestyle design.
So I want to use that first question to get to the second question, which is what is the life you've designed for yourself beyond the travel, which we covered extensively. How do you design a social life around that? How you design a financial life around that? Tell us a little bit about those two things.
Timothy Moser: Yeah. Sure. So as far as the large term to small-term, I again, spend two or three months in one city and then move on. And I established my routine. Something that I find very helpful for me personally, is I separate different days of the week into meeting days versus non-meeting days. So for me, I'll meet with people on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, sometimes a few meetings on Fridays, but other than that, I don't meet, I don't do interviews.
I don't do the meetings with students or classes just because it just ruins my day. I mean, thanks for ruining my day, Jonathan. I'm kidding. It's not like it, but you know what I mean? If you have a whole day to yourself, just not to have any meetings or anything like that, and you can spend the whole day, you can write it out yourself.
You can just say, I'm going to do this first, this second, this third. And you don't have to plan it around those things. And. I just find it it's like night and day almost. I get things done on meeting days as well, but I don't know. I find it so much more freeing and I actually get the important things done, not just the little trivial tasks, but the important things done on the days that I don't have meetings.
So for me, that's Wednesday and Saturday. I don't have any meetings. And then one day a week, and I've done this since high school. I don't remember necessarily exactly what prompted me to do it, but I literally don't let myself do any work one day a week for 24 hours.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. That's my Tuesdays normally. So thanks for ruining a nice day as well.
Timothy Moser: Sorry. No, it's fine. Yeah. No, absolutely nothing. So I'm going to a conference. I mean, I'll go to the conference, but I will just chill. And if I'm at home, I will literally just go and see friends and wander around all day. Like two days ago, Sunday, I just went to the fair and Palermo and just kind of drifted around and then wandered my way back home.
And I really, really did nothing all day pretty much. So that is great in the bath all day. And, uh, I don't know, just some learning. If I feel like it I'll do things that somehow are peripherally related to work, but I just don't make myself have the stress of any work. And the fact is that that cycle, there's just always being able to look forward to that one day a week, makes life so much easier to live. I can work like crazy. For several days a week, knowing that on Sunday, I'm not going to do anything.
Jonathan Levi: That's correct. Right. I actually recently implemented, well, let me backpedal a little bit and say that I think as people who set our own schedule, we have a tendency to kind of gravitate towards everyone else's schedule and myself. I was just assuming that since all my friends are working on Tuesdays at a corporate job or whatever, it may be that I have to sit at the computer a nine to five and all that kind of thing. In Israel here, we work Sundays to Thursdays. And so I just gravitated towards doing that. And then I realized like I'm wasting so much time because I feel like I should be sitting at a computer.
When there's really absolutely no reason. And so in order to force myself to be more productive and take a little bit of advantage and now do a extreme sport Tuesdays. So I went surfing two weeks ago. I couldn't find an extreme sport to do in a sandstorm. So I went and got a massage last week, which was awesome this morning I took a gymnastics class. So every Tuesday I try to avoid working unless there's a very special guest that I'd like to interview.
Timothy Moser: So. I appreciate that.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. So typically we're coming towards the end of the interview. I'd like to ask a couple of kind of practical and next-step questions for our audience to maybe act on some of this information, the first being, which book have you given the most as a gift?
Timothy Moser: Book, I've given the most as a gift. Wow. That's a good question. I've heard it used, but I've never really thought about it much myself. Right? I know what it is. Fantasies by Georgia MacDonald fiction. It's very poetic Gothic fiction. Basically, the epitome of Gothic fantasy is gorgeous and it's really not about learning. It's more about living.
And yeah, to be honest, I've given probably about six copies of that book away.
Jonathan Levi: I love that next question. If you had to make a hundred-dollar Quickstart kit for someone to Timothy Moser their life, what would be included in that kit? Assuming it would be a maximum hundred dollar kit.
Timothy Moser: Yeah, man. It's so hard to turn Timothy Moser into an adjective.
I'm trying to figure out what a Timothy Moser life is. I think probably it would consist of a few books, including the Four Hour Work Week and let's see the Four Hour Chef. Yep. And then as far as the XR learning stuff, that stuff can be found online for sure. The rest of the money would probably go into hiring people to develop, which is quite inexpensive on Upwork or events.
To develop learning materials for you based on the principles that I've taught. So again, for example, getting that native dialogue written if you want to master the essence of a language, getting that native written dialogue, using the idioms of the language that does not cost a lot of money, anybody can do that.
And so if what you're wanting to Timothy Moser is a language or even a learning project such as, I don't know, history or whatever it is. Figure out the 80/20 yourself. Compile that data, those words, or those history dates or Wars that you want to learn about or whatever it is. And then hire somebody who's an expert, who's a native speaker or who is a, you know, some sort of expert in some way to do the work that only they can do.
I think that that's my best answer to that.
Jonathan Levi: I love it. That's a good one. I was surprised that there were no bath salts in there, but I think it's a good one.
Timothy Moser: Nonetheless are bath salts.
Jonathan Levi: Timothy, what are you working on next? And I'm assuming if you and I have as much in common as we have thus far, I'm assuming you have some goals for the rest of the year or what are those goals?
Timothy Moser: Yeah. So right now my major goals are, have to do with marketing with the Spanish course and actually the systematization of that. So we keep adding to it. We keep growing it. I've been actually surprised at some of the developments that have happened. Like now we actually, and again, it's all systematizing this stuff, trying to get it down to the idea that we can get people in there.
And I never have to wonder, Hey, how's that one student doing? They're all doing what they should be doing. So for example, We've recently had our students basically write personal scripts one or two times a week that will actually get produced for them so they can listen to natives speaking those things and they can imitate that.
So it's actually exactly the way they should be talking but personal to their own lives. But the long story short is I want to get all that stuff systematized and. Completely documented so that we can treat all our students the same way, follow up with everyone. And then we can move on to starting to learn Mandarin, which is what I'm wanting to make my next big learning project.
That's for the next few months. Yeah, beyond that, you know, the holiday, these are coming up for me. I'm going to be back in my hometown for a little while. Visiting with family, maintaining some learning projects, keeping the business, going relaxing a little bit, then spending a lot more time at conferences next year. Which might surprise some people because I've been at a lot of conferences this last year, but I really want to base my travel schedule and everything around spending time with the people that I want to spend time with. And so that's what the early 2016 is going to look like for me.
Jonathan Levi: Very cool. What kind of conferences out of curiosity? Cause I would also like to spend more time meeting folks like yourself in different places.
Timothy Moser: It's interesting. I actually spend a lot of time at the sort of content marketers conferences, like the financial bloggers' conference, which I'm missing basically this month, just because I'm in the wrong hemisphere, it happens. But the new media expo, social media, marketing world, some smaller events in San Diego with podcasters that I know. There's podcast movement, which will be in Chicago in July. And so they're spending some time up there and. Yeah, I don't know. I spent a lot of time with a lot of content marketers and things like that. Chris Ducker's tropical think tank is the big one that's in March, and I think it's closed at this point. It's a, just 50 attendees, but that's one of my favorites. Definitely the best event I've ever gone to. And really good, because again, maximizing the value of something, maximizing the value of the event.
It's all about spinning that time. Getting to know everybody else at that conference and building relationships that'll last forever. And so finding anything like that, I would say just for you, just finding something where the people that you like and that you respect are hanging out and not just going to learn something, but going to hang out and to have drinks with them and to help them out in any way you're building relationships that will last forever.
Jonathan Levi: Totally, do me a favor. Next time you sign up to one of these conferences do let me know, particularly if it's on this side of the pond and I'll try to hop on.
Timothy Moser: Sure. Of course, definitely.
Jonathan Levi: Awesome. Timothy, I saw that you have three different websites, which one, or which ones would you like us to link up in the blog post and where should people go? If they're interested in different stuff?
Timothy Moser: I recommend going to Master of Memory first, that one's the one where I've been spending most of my time lately. And so I would recommend just going to masterofmemory.com, you can get in touch with me there. I'd love to hear from your audience. And it's just easy to get email access to me. I don't make that hard.
And you can see everything that we have going on there. All the information is out there for free, including all of the Spanish course materials and everything. We just released that because what we sell is the coaching. And so anybody can see everything that we have going on at Master of Memory.
Jonathan Levi: Oh, wow. So all this coaching stuff for Spanish we've been talking about, that's all free.
Timothy Moser: All of the materials, all the materials, spending time with native speakers and getting your own custom stuff developed that cost money because it can't be free obviously, but everything that we can make free, we've just released it's out there on the website.
Jonathan Levi: Wow, fantastic. Very cool. So we will link people up to that. Timothy has been such a pleasure chatting with you. We have so much in common, so let's make sure to keep in touch.
Timothy Moser: Absolutely. Jonathan. Yeah, it's been fun. I look forward to meeting you in person someday.
Jonathan Levi: Indeed. Let's make it happen.
Timothy Moser: Sounds good.
Jonathan Levi: All right, Timothy, take care.
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