Floris van der Pol - Living Without a Smartphone and Reading 100 Books a Year
How can you read 100 books a year? What’s it like to live without a smartphone? What’s more important: willpower or designing your environment for productivity?
[00:00:00] Peter Akkies: Hey folks today, I'm speaking with Floris van der Pol. Floris is a Dutch philosopher, writer, and self-described reading addict. He publishes book reviews on YouTube, as well as videos on reading more generally and on living without a smartphone, which he has done for years now, Floris also writes a newsletter with essays on philosophy and literature.
[00:00:24] I met Floris in a course I was taking about YouTube, the Part-Time YouTuber Academy by Ali Abdaal if you're curious, in which Floris gave me fantastic feedback on some of my own YouTube videos. We got to chatting and some of his YouTube videos impressed me so much that I wanted to get him on the show.
[00:00:42] Floris and I discuss how he reads 100 books a year, what it's like to live without a smartphone, how he designed his life to improve his attention span, how to get stuff done with a baby around, and whether video gaming qualifies as an addiction. We also talk about much more, of course. Enjoy the show!
[00:01:03] All right, Floris. Welcome to the show.
[00:01:06] Floris van der Pol: Hi Peter. Thank you.
[00:01:09] Peter Akkies: So uh, Floris you and I both live in the Netherlands and we have just gone through one month of a full lockdown as the only country in Europe. I recently moved apartments, so it hasn't really affected me much because I had plenty to do. How has it affected you?
[00:01:25] Floris van der Pol: And not much either. I've I have a young daughter at home, so we're kind of stuck in our own bubble either way. I guess the only, the only thing that really changed for me personally, is that I can no longer go to the gym. So I bought a pair of dumbbells, which you can change the way to ride very easily.
[00:01:45] And now I'm trying to work at home a bit, but that's just for me directly, personally, I mean, People in my environment are obviously affected some bit more.
[00:01:56] Peter Akkies: Yeah. It's so funny that you mentioned the dumbbells goes. I remember the first lockdown we had for COVID like a year and a half ago or, or even more now, I guess. Wow. That's been a long time. I tried to buy two, two of those dumbbells, the adjustable ones, but I could only find one because I think everybody in the whole world wanted to buy dumbbells for their house.
[00:02:12] So was it easy to find them this
[00:02:14] Floris van der Pol: No, not at all. So I had to look at like five websites and then they all said that they will be available in one month or something. So I ended up buying the most expensive ones.
[00:02:25] Peter Akkies: Yeah.
[00:02:27] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, It's too much money, but I wanted them.
[00:02:30] Peter Akkies: Yeah, no, totally. Well, fortunately, just today we got some news that a gyms are opening again on Saturday. So if the reports are to be believed, so hopefully it can, they get back as soon.
[00:02:41] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. but maybe I'll keep training at home. Actually it saves me from going through the chairman at the moment when, because I have to take care of my daughter's emergency. I mean, every minute saved is kind of worth it.
[00:02:55] Peter Akkies: Yeah. Yeah. Cause so, so you mentioned you had a daughter and she's like three months old now or something. So I imagined that your time is very valuable and you'd rather anything you could do to save time. You'll, you'll take the opportunity.
[00:03:07] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. Procrastination is no longer an issue when you have a, as a small child around.
[00:03:13] Peter Akkies: We can leave that as a advice for any listener who does not yet have kids. I heard flows say that if you struggle to procrastinate, you should just have a kid. That's what I,
[00:03:23] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, maybe.
[00:03:26] Peter Akkies: no, that's great. Do you find it easy to bring up the motivation to actually work out at home?
[00:03:31] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, because it's a nice break. I mean, so. I’m really like the parent at the moment, my girlfriend has a job at the university and sees he's working pretty much full-time so I'm taking care of my data girl, and then it learns break. I got one hour to work out. So, I mean, it's my free hour. I'll go for it.
[00:03:53] Yeah. It's really easy to bring it up.
[00:03:55] Peter Akkies: I see. Yeah. It's something to look forward to. I can see that. I, I guess from me, you know, because I have no kids, so I don't have that responsibility, but I remember the first time that I was locked down in and I was just like, okay, I'm going to try to make myself work out from home. But I resisted it so much.
[00:04:08] I was like, this is the exact same room that I also tried to work in. And I just, like, I always kept postponing it and stuff. And I didn't, I never fixed that. The re the way I like actually started going to the gym, just paying a personal trainer at some point. And that's the way I fixed it. Um, so I find it impressive that you can make yourself do it, but I guess your, your priorities are a little different.
[00:04:26] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. For me, it's also, it's not in the same room, so I guess that's the difference. I actually have to go to the stairs,
[00:04:34] Peter Akkies: Um,
[00:04:35] Floris van der Pol: to like, uh, and not the basement, the thing that's
[00:04:41] Peter Akkies: the attic.
[00:04:41] Floris van der Pol: on top attic, indeed. And there, I have the dumbbells in a small room for my, uh, for my ONF some rings where I can do pull ups and stuff like that.
[00:04:48] So, I mean, I do think that's important that you somehow have a different area for different kinds of tasks so that you don't have a single room where you need to sleep, work, make love, do everything, basically, because then it's easy to, to get those things confused.
[00:05:08] Peter Akkies: Yeah, no, totally. And you know, I just moved apartments. Right. And, um, in a previous place, it wasn't a studio, but it was like a one bedroom apartment, technically two bedroom. But I mean, one actual bedroom in a tiny, tiny, tiny office. But basically because I live with my girlfriend, one of us was always working in the living room and it's just so weird when like you're saying is you're, that's where you're cooking.
[00:05:29] That's where you're eating. That's where you're just chilling. And like, your brain is like, no, this is where I'm supposed to have fun. This is not what I should sit down and do work or something like that. Um, yeah.
[00:05:41] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, totally agree. I actually heard about this performance artists who lived in a cage for four single year and the only at like the bet and a couple of square square meters. And then people asked after you lived there for a year, like, how did you do it? And then he said, yeah. So I imagined that I had in my bed and I split it in free.
[00:06:01] And when I sat on the left side, it was like my garden and the middle middle was my living room. And the right side was something else. Like, even if you don't have the room somehow visualizing that there are different spaces can already work. I felt that it wasn't magnificent finding and that guy lived in a cage for a whole week.
[00:06:22] That's incredible.
[00:06:23] Peter Akkies: Wow. That is the really impressive and also mentally strong to be able to do that. I think because.
[00:06:30] Floris van der Pol: That's this plane for sure. Yes.
[00:06:32] Peter Akkies: Yeah. You know, it reminds me of, um, my girlfriend's studied in Hong Kong and one of the things she mentioned is that because in Hong Kong, there's so little space for so many people that the room that she shared at university was with like two other girls.
[00:06:45] And they basically all had like a desk and a bed and you could like barely close the tourist. So I think there probably are actually people, you know, living like that, except it's, it's obviously different if you can not leave the cage. Right. But I think, I think there are, you know, in many places in the world that he's like people living in tiny, tiny, tiny spaces.
[00:07:01] So, um, it could be good advice for them.
[00:07:04] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. Maybe we have a luxury problem, like many things, but there's still problems, right?
[00:07:11] Peter Akkies: That's how I feel. Luxury problems are still problems. So you need perspective, but you can acknowledge to yourself that it's a problem. So I wanted to talk about something Florida and for the listeners who don't know yet Floris has a YouTube channel, which will of course be in the show notes. Um, and you know, I always do a little background research on my podcast, guests.
[00:07:28] And, and so, um, I, I'd already been watching a bunch of your videos, but I watched a couple of new ones. And one of them, you mentioned that as a teenager, you did a lot of gaming. This was in a, uh, in a video you made about how you read a hundred books a year, which I definitely want to ask you about later.
[00:07:44] Um, and you said that as a teenager, one of the things you spent a lot of time doing is playing video games. And that's something that is very, you know, very familiar to me. I was that person too, you know, sometimes I've tried estimating how many hours a day. I played video games as a teenager, probably something like six or eight or whatever.
[00:07:58] It's very hard to say. Um, was it like that for you?
[00:08:02] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, it's more than eight for sure. I mean, especially when I went to university, because then I had nothing to do anymore. I mean, like, I think I touched on 10 or 12 hours a day.
[00:08:16] Peter Akkies: And what kind of games did you play?
[00:08:17] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. So there was this one game, which was called nuke zone, which was actually a text-based game. So they had no images at all. And you had to build this province and armies, but your army basically read like, Uh,
[00:08:32] an Abraham Stanks 1000, then that's the amount of units you had of it. and then the stats of the tank and stuff like that.
[00:08:39] And then it was organizing in clan. So you were working together with, with all the users and were warring with all very plans and stuff like that. Then, I mean, to me it was a blast for sure.
[00:08:52] Peter Akkies: and you played that before, like for years.
[00:08:55] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, For years, for sure. I mean that there was some real dedication in that game because you basically had to log in. Every five hours to be kind of optimal within that game. So in the night you would set your alarm to wake up and play the game and stuff like that. It was, I mean, the discipline, uh, came from there for sure.
[00:09:22] Peter Akkies: Yeah, it's so funny that you mentioned that because I have very mixed feelings about my own gaming time. I played mostly games, like call of duty. And actually at some point I was like one of the top, like my clan was the top call of duty clan in Europe for a very brief period, which, you know, at the time was much easier to achieve that now.
[00:09:39] I mean, this is like 2005 right now. Good luck right now you need coaches and whatever, you know, but, um, the, we trained a lot. So, you know, we had like three nights a week of like training and then, you know, one night, a week of actual like, you know, competition games or maybe two nights a week. And I feel I have very mixed feelings about it.
[00:09:55] Cause I think it really messed up my brain in many ways to, to gain that much. You know, it's, I think if it as an addiction, basically, I'm like a video game addict who doesn't have as much of a problem with any more. It's the way I think about it. But. I also feel like I learned a lot. So it's interesting that you mentioned for the dedication, because I definitely learned some leadership skills.
[00:10:14] Um, I learned how to set goals and, you know, in a targeted way, achieve those goals, how to prepare for big events, like competitions and stuff. So I don't think it was all bad. What do you think
[00:10:26] Floris van der Pol: I basically agree with everything you said, but the question is if there was no gaming, like, would you have learned the skill somewhere else without an addiction and perhaps also learn some other skills? I mean like, yeah. Gaming was in certain aspects. Certainly. Great. And I learned a lot, but I mean, so many hours, so many years.
[00:10:49] I don't know, of course, if you compare it to doing absolutely nothing, gaming trumps, absolutely doing nothing,
[00:10:56] Peter Akkies: some value.
[00:10:57] Floris van der Pol: yeah, but what should you compare it to? That's the question?
[00:11:02] Peter Akkies: Yeah, I like this question cause I studied economics in college. And so in economics we ask, what is the opportunity cost is essentially what you're asking right now. Like what else could you have spent your time, your energy or your money on in, you know, in economics sometimes. And, uh, that's, that's a good question, but you know, I do think there's sort of a bit of a stigma with, with people who play games, right?
[00:11:21] And so they're loners, or maybe this is less so now than it used to be, but, um, you know, people who play a lot of games are loners and they, you know, they should be doing more productive things with their lives. And, you know, I, I think like you're saying it just, it totally depends on what is the other thing that you're doing.
[00:11:37] I mean, if the other thing you're gonna be doing is drugs, I think it's probably better, you know, or if the other thing you're going to be doing is causing trouble in the streets, it's probably better. But you know, if I compare it to sort of someone I used to date at some point who spent much of her teenage years learning how to conduct an orchestra, maybe that's a better use of time.
[00:11:57] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. maybe, but also with gaming, I do think it depends on the game and the intensity, like for me looking back it, for sure it Was an addiction and it was also an escape in a sense that when I was gaming and I didn't only play nukes, but also some other games, it was like it was entering another world to not live in the real world.
[00:12:20] So to say, I mean, I would say that I was one of those loners. I mean, I mean, th there is a stigma for sure. Gaming, you can gave me motivation and you can learn a lot from it. But I do think there is, there might be this tendency for people to escape in gaming.
[00:12:41] Peter Akkies: Yeah. Was there anything in particular at the time that you were trying to escape from?
[00:12:47] Floris van der Pol: In general, I guess, expectations,
[00:12:51] Peter Akkies: Yeah.
[00:12:52] Floris van der Pol: what to do.
[00:12:53] Peter Akkies: Right. Yeah. Th that's, you know, so I still play games from time to time now. Um, actually lately it's really been daily. Um, it's very interesting to sort of observe my own pattern. I play a legal legends on my iPad, um, which is something I used to play league of legends on the computer. It was actually kind of nice on the iPad because individual games are shorter.
[00:13:13] You know, it's one of those things that like, you played with 10 people though, like with nine other people and it's like five versus five, like you cannot, you have to kind of commit to it. You can't just sort of like turn it off. Um, you have to like finish one game, which is sometimes eight minutes and sometimes, you know, 40 minutes.
[00:13:26] Um, but, um, you know, I think at the time for me, um, I felt a lot of, you know, You're a teenager. Right? And so you don't, you know, you don't really know what Dumont there's like social things going on at school. At least for me, there were like, I wasn't really one of the most popular kids at school, but in the video gaming, I was the leader of what we call the Klan, the team.
[00:13:55] Right. And so, you know, people look up to you and stuff like that and you get to make decisions. And so for me, that was very exciting. So I'm not sure if I was really trying to like hide from real life as much as like, it was just somehow more exciting. And of course, you know, there's also like dopamine going on.
[00:14:10] Um, yeah. How, how was that for you?
[00:14:13] Floris van der Pol: Well, I think the status is definitely a thing. And for me in New Zealand, I was also a clan leader. And then you?
[00:14:20] are a leader of, of 20 people and you commit to this like period of three months with, with those 20 people. So you really get close with them. And that we will be on Skype every night, even when we were setting our alarm through, would set them at the same time.
[00:14:37] So we could all go on Skype and chat with each other and all attack the same province. And I mean, in that sense, it, it was just kind of bonding. I mean, we, we, those people like with some of them, I was a football inside, which is this Dutch football program where they talk about football and then we would just watch together and then discuss it and stuff like that.
[00:15:02] So, I mean, Yeah.
[00:15:05] gaming, but that's the thing like gaming can mean so much. it's always easy from the outside. If, if you don't have experiencing the, to reduce it to something, like to reduce it to a problem or to reduce it to something that's just fun or something, but there's so many elements within it, which obviously depends on the person.
[00:15:26] Peter Akkies: Yeah, totally. And do you still play any games today or is that totally not part of your life
[00:15:30] Floris van der Pol: no, I'm still addicted.
[00:15:32] Peter Akkies: Yeah.
[00:15:33] Floris van der Pol: I cannot, I cannot seriously, I cannot play again for half an hour or an hour or whatever. Like I used to play also Dota, which is the precursor of league of legends and 32. And sometimes on YouTube, I find myself watching these Dota streams or age of empire streams or whatever.
[00:15:52] And even those get me hooked straight away. Like the addiction is there, but yeah,
[00:15:58] and I don't think it will ever go away.
[00:16:01] Peter Akkies: yeah. I I've thought about this a lot because I think at some point it's just, your neurons are wired in such a way that like, it just fires up so much desire. Right. And it's been really interesting for me to observe recently because I feel like I'm somehow keeping it under control. Like I've been doing a thing lately where I'm reserving all of Tuesday and all of Wednesday to work on my YouTube channel.
[00:16:23] And so that means I'm either, you know, writing the outline for a video, fleshing out an idea, or I'm recording. Um, Gaming does not really get in the way, but at the same time, if I want to take a break, I might play a quick game. Or most of the time in the evening, sort of before I go to bed, I'll play a game where a couple of games and, you know, I can tell that sometimes it kind of, it's like slipping through my fingers.
[00:16:46] I feel like it gets too much, but at other times I'm able to control myself and it's almost kind of like a challenge to see, like, can I kind of handle it? Um, but at the same time, maybe it's a bit playing with fire.
[00:16:57] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. And that's what you're to play. Devil's advocate. That's what you're telling yourself. Like, Hey, I'm still in control. I'm just playing with it. Uh, no, I'm not back smoking. I just take one cigarette at a party. Like who's speaking there. Like it might be the end, you know, the voice of the addicted one, which is pushing the boundaries slowly, but I can't speak for you, but I know for me, like it's, it's still that and addiction for sure.
[00:17:25] Peter Akkies: no, totally. I've thought about it a lot, you know, because. Uh, when I set my goals, right? Every quarter I update my list of goals that I sort of have for my life. I'm never, I'll never write anything down. Like I want to play more video games. That's never on my list to go. I did actually, at some point have the goal of becoming so of like playing a game against a professional player of a different game called command and conquer general zero hour, which I played a lot when I was a teenager, it's kind of like red alert style.
[00:17:55] Um, and so I played that a lot as a teenager, but there's still an active community of people playing this. And at some point, one of my goals is like, I just want to play a game for fun against one of the top players, which would require me to develop some level of proficiency for a top player to want to play with me.
[00:18:06] Right. Um, but I kind of dropped that at some point. Cause I realized that I didn't care about it so much anymore, but it's interesting that you mentioned that because I, I, you know, I, I guess I kind of think of it as like harmless in the moment it's just entertainment. It's just fun. It's like, it's like one of the things I do for fun, just like other people watch TV, but you know, if you substitute.
[00:18:24] Smoking for gaming and tell the same story. Maybe I would judge myself much more harshly.
[00:18:30] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, but on the other end, like addictions, why are addictions bad? Like it's because they ruined the rest of your life. Right? We're addicted to like the things we only use addiction as a term for things that affect your life negatively, or that we think that affects society negatively. And I mean, if it's imbalanced with the rest of your life, I mean, then, then this obviously.
[00:18:54] Like let's say drinking water. We obviously all addicted to drinking water or, or something, but no, one cares or we're glad that we are,
[00:19:03] Peter Akkies: Yeah, no, I think that's a good point. I've noticed also, like if I'm on a trip, I love to go scuba diving. For example, if I'm on a trip and I'm scuba diving, I do not think about pulling out my phone or iPad to play a game or something like that. Right. That's just, I, you know, I think also with like COVID and the lockdowns, and for the past two years, having been spent spend a lot of time at home.
[00:19:21] It's easier to do this, to hide from the reality of like, I want to go places. I want to do other things I can not. Let's just like waste some time this way.
[00:19:30] Floris van der Pol: you could also read a book.
[00:19:33] Peter Akkies: That's a good point. And let's talk about that because that's something that I've been wanting to ask you about. Your YouTube channel is induction. And so people should know this it's in Dutch. Um, but there's a lot of valuable stuff on there. And so it's called Florida's reads if I translate it to English.
[00:19:50] And so a lot of the things you do is you discuss books and, um, one of your videos is sort of something like how I read 100 books a year, um, which to a lot of people I think is going to sound like a lot to read a hundred books a year. So I'm kind of curious, um, how do you read that many books?
[00:20:12] Floris van der Pol: Alright. So first things first, like the number 100 quantity doesn't really matter. Like I put that in the title to get people in, but I do really want to stress that beforehand because I've had people commenting in the, on the video, like, yeah. I also want to read 100 books. I'm only reading 40. And then I like, yeah.
[00:20:32] Who cares about the amount it's some books are fixed on. Books are like hard to understand some books you want to read. So. Let's talk about the practice of reading and that's not focused so much on the quantity. I mean, it's also my mistake, but always like a fine line with the titles and thumbnails.
[00:20:53] Like you pick something to put yeah. To pull people in, but at the same time, you don't want the true message to get lost.
[00:21:01] Peter Akkies: no, I don't think that's a mistake of yours. I think that's good. I think, you know, this, this is a video on YouTube, right? And so people on YouTube can watch cat videos or they can watch what you have to say about reading more. And I think for a lot of people, love cat videos are very funny. You know, they have a desire to read more and if you can get their attention and, you know, talk to them for a little bit and do something that causes them to actually read more books, I think actually making a positive difference in their lives.
[00:21:27] Um, so I think that's
[00:21:29] Floris van der Pol: hope so. Yeah.
[00:21:30] But it is a thin line, I guess, but, but let's talk about books before we delve into like a meta discussion of YouTube and the problems with , which I'd love to talk about, but about reading, like, right. So then we have to also get through the smartphone, like, because, because I don't have a smart phone, I have a lot of time for reading. So usually
[00:21:55] Peter Akkies: hold up, hold up. We gotta, we gotta talk about that for a second. So you do not own a smartphone for how long has this been? The
[00:22:00] Floris van der Pol: yeah. About four years now.
[00:22:02] Peter Akkies: That is a long time not to own a smartphone. Um, why do you not own a smartphone?
[00:22:09] Floris van der Pol: So I was tired or. Constantly looking at my smartphone?
[00:22:14] it's that basic. And I noticed this myself, when I had this, this small moment of time, I would grab my smartphone, not really knowing why, but it was just this instinctive habits when it was ready for the bus, when it was in the bus, when I just stepped out of the bus the whole time.
[00:22:33] And so, and we discussed opportunity costs shortly, and I was thinking, okay, if I do something else, what would I like to do? Okay. I'd like to read, or I'd like to take notes because I like to write. So I thought, okay, I need to restrict my smartphone use. So I Googled how to restrict your smartphone use.
[00:22:54] And I threw away apps and I threw away the notifications and I threw away some more apps and I restricted the time, years. And then I was restricted so much that my smartphone good actually only call people. And then I felt okay, Basically I've done great in my smartphone into a dumb phone. Let's just do it your way altogether.
[00:23:16] Peter Akkies: And does that cause you any problems not having a smartphone?
[00:23:20] Floris van der Pol: No, like people, because people have asked me this before, obviously, especially friends and, um, and they always wonder like, Oh, do you not get lost because you don't have maps? Or how about group chats and stuff like that? Like, I've got lost once in four years and I've obviously missed a lot of parties that's for sure.
[00:23:45] And then once I arrived at a party which had been canceled with no.
[00:23:48] one had told me, but
[00:23:49] Peter Akkies: Oh, no.
[00:23:50] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, But we had a nice evening with the two of us. So there was those great.
[00:23:57] Peter Akkies: Yeah, I know. I'm just thinking, for example, like also in COVID times, you know, for the listeners, they may not know, but in the Netherlands we have a, um, QR code for if you are vaccinated against COVID and if you want to get into certain places, uh, you need to show a QR code either because you tested negatively, um, very recently or because you've had your shots.
[00:24:18] And so, um, most people pull out their smartphone for this flows, but you don't have a smart.
[00:24:25] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, so you can print one out and I have a printed version in my jacket, and then there's still a lot of work around for stuff like that. And to be honest, it does sometimes feel like a work around and that the world is more and more adept to two smartphones. And that, for example, with bank transfers, it's getting more and more difficult.
[00:24:45] Like there are still solutions for sure, because there's still a big enough group that's forces society. Yeah. To make sure that people with a smartphone have access to the services, but it's getting harder.
[00:25:00] Peter Akkies: And how do you feel I want to get back to reading soon, but I'm just really fascinated by this not having a smartphone thing, because I've been wanting to do an experiment of like, not using my smartphone for a month or something like that. But I just take, it's going to be so hard based on some preliminary thinking I've done, like how much I rely on the phone.
[00:25:17] Um, So, how does this affect your day-to-day sort of attention and productivity? Cause that's, I think the appeal for many people, right? A lot of, I was just coaching someone a couple of hours ago, um, you know, have a one-on-one coaching program. And she said, listen, like when I have to do my important work, like writing papers, writing academic papers, you know, I just find myself reaching for my phone.
[00:25:40] Um, or, or maybe not reaching, but seeing notifications come in and stuff. So I guess for a lot of people, the dream is, I like, if I didn't have a phone, I'd be extremely productive and I'd be focused all the time. So how is that for you?
[00:25:55] Floris van der Pol: Well, it's obviously not that easy, but it does help. Like we, when we think about discipline, we often think about discipline. That is something you, you have to do to yourself. Like you have to be your master of your own mind, but obviously, like we always live situated within a certain environment and the environment has certain pools of you.
[00:26:16] For example, the smartphone has this pool over you to take a look. So if the smartphone is not there, the pool is not there. And I think that's really important to think about this one, also reading in terms of your environment and how you can shape your external environment to make discipline easier and not having a smartphone helps, but then you go onto your laptop and then, Hey, there's also YouTube and take talk and whatever you do to get those dopamine neurons fired.
[00:26:43] So on my laptop, I have a program called cold Turkey pro, which allows me to restrict my, my future access for the future. And I used to, I used to think of this like, Oh, this is some sort of weakness, but nowadays I think like there are like the most brilliant minds in the world are getting paid to get me addicted.
[00:27:07] Like billions are invested to get me addicted.
[00:27:10] Peter Akkies: yeah.
[00:27:11] Floris van der Pol: I need every trick in the book to get to help me. And so I was thinking about this the other day. And then I thought about one of the oldest stories in literature, which is the oldest say by Homer. And there is this scene that, um, that the oldest says he, um, he let himself get tied to a mess on the ship because they're going faster sirens and the
[00:27:40] Peter Akkies: Oh, yes.
[00:27:41] Floris van der Pol: they, can sing so beautifully that everyone wants to stay there.
[00:27:45] And then in the ante they die. So he like. The LCS crew. Okay. Time to the mess and whatever happens do not let me lose. And then I felt that is how I think about, for example, the app on my laptop, like it's preventing the future Floris from, uh, from an seduction. And so it's not something new. Like this is something people have always done.
[00:28:12] Like one of the great heroes of literature has already like come up with this idea that his future self would be weak. So his current self can prevent that from happening. And I mean, that's, that's basically what I do.
[00:28:27] Peter Akkies: Yeah. And so when I, I don't know the story too well, but when the disease actually passes the sirens, does he tell them, cut me loose? Cut me loose. Is it like that?
[00:28:37] Floris van der Pol: But he also said, he'd probably say that?
[00:28:42] Peter Akkies: They don't.
[00:28:43] Floris van der Pol: the only one who survived.
[00:28:45] Peter Akkies: Oh, interesting. Interesting.
[00:28:46] Floris van der Pol: If I remember correctly, it's it's been been well, I have to look at it again because I just came up with this connection a couple of days ago. So, uh, I'm going to look at it again, but if I remember clearly it's the only one who survived, uh, because he was the only one who cared about his future self.
[00:29:04] Peter Akkies: Yeah, that's a, that's a great message. And so, um, you mentioned your lack of owning a smartphone in the context of reading books. So what is the connection there?
[00:29:14] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. So I think with reading, it's like most things in life about making it a habit. So I've really thought about that. Okay. I really like reading. How do I make sure that I always have an opportunity to read? So I think that's where it starts. So for me, I tried to have books everywhere, even back when there was a university, had the jacket with his winter jacket, which is.
[00:29:44] Allow me to stuff, a book inside. One of the, I dunno, what's called
[00:29:50] Peter Akkies: the pockets.
[00:29:50] Floris van der Pol: one of the pockets.
[00:29:51] in the, so I would always have a book with me and that's
[00:29:55] Peter Akkies: been a really large pocket.
[00:29:56] Floris van der Pol: yeah, but it's about accessibility. I mean, the book was closer to them than the phone.
[00:30:01] Peter Akkies: Um,
[00:30:02] Floris van der Pol: that's, that's one of the approaches let's think about friction.
[00:30:06] How can you reduce friction to read a book? Make sure the book is closer to you than everything else. Um,
[00:30:13] but that's assuming you like reading. I mean, if you don't like reading, I'm not one to tell you, you have to go reading or something. But if you already know, like, okay, I like reading, reading is important to me.
[00:30:26] I want to read more, but I think certain things are preventing me from reading more. Then you can think about, okay, how do you shape your environments? How do I change my habits and stuff like that. But that only comes if you find reading important to begin.
[00:30:40] Peter Akkies: Yeah. And you know, it's interesting because I see a lot of my core students setting goals. Like I want to read more or sometimes more specifically, I want to read X books a month or per year or whatever. And I think for a lot of people, this is an intention. Then when I sort of ask whether they actually enjoy reading the answer is they usually don't because they cannot keep their attention on it.
[00:31:05] Um, so I'm kind of curious whether you think there is, um, you know, what is the relation between, between sort of feeling like I have a goal to read more, but then not enjoying it in the moment. Do you actually want it? If you don't enjoy it in the moment?
[00:31:22] Floris van der Pol: That's a difficult question, but the thing might also be reading the wrong books. The thing is with loads of books and they are not written for people who do not read a lot. Um, so if you're getting into the habit of reading and you notice yourself not enjoying it or being distracted, perhaps you're picking up books that are somehow too ambitious for you at that moment that you first need to get back into the habit of reading and enjoying the process before tackling switch books.
[00:31:53] I mean, I come mainly from the set from the literature side, but like we have this famous classic novels, like toy story, war and peace. And then people who've never met are like, yeah, I want to read the classics. I'll start the war peace 1000 page characters. And I mean like here, you could do it, but you could also start with some short stories from like, uh, stories that are perhaps five pages long or 20 pages long.
[00:32:19] And just, just read one in one sitting before better. I mean, you actually have the feeling that you finished a task, so that might be a better approach for nonfiction. I mean, it also depends like some nonfiction books, I guess mainly most nowadays are the Vietnamese small portions and should be quite accessible.
[00:32:41] But I do think that's something too to consider.
[00:32:46] Peter Akkies: Yeah. And you know, it's interesting that you mentioned reading at bedtime because that's something I've done for as long as I can remember. I mean, I read in bed every single night. I mean, I guess occasionally I'm so tired that I can't bring myself, but like, it really rarely happens. Um, and so I'm very used to reading at night, but, but I've also noticed, like, I will usually, I I'll read either fiction.
[00:33:07] Um, you know, which can range a lot. Like for example, I like space or pro a lot, you know, not, not usually super intense, serious literature, but also sometimes non-fiction like, for example, I recently did a video of my favorite books. One of the books I really liked is the making of the atomic bomb.
[00:33:21] Fascinating. Um, you know, you learn about the Manhattan project and all that stuff and you know, how does nuclear energy work and nuclear reactors and you know, that kind of stuff I can read, but then a lot of people, because I sort of teach productivity on the internet. A lot of people think that I must read lots of productivity books and like.
[00:33:38] I do not actually, like I have a very hard time making myself reading productivity books, and especially in the evening, I couldn't do it because that would just keep me up. Like the, you know, I do like to read something that sort of has me gradually falling asleep. Um, but even during the day I find it very difficult for some reason to read about it.
[00:33:53] So I think you're so right. That it matters a lot. Um, on the kinds of books that you read, would you say that there's like, um, better things to read and worse things to read?
[00:34:05] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, I think don't read?
[00:34:06] too many productivity books that's for sure,
[00:34:09] Peter Akkies: Why not?
[00:34:11] Floris van der Pol: because you often fall in this trap of trying to optimize for productivity, and then you're just spending all your time on optimizing productivity instead of doing what you want to do. And I think that comes for almost all self-help books and books that going into that direction.
[00:34:26] I mean, unless you really want to be good in the fury of self-help and you want to become like you and have a podcast and help people. But if that's not?
[00:34:36] your goal, I mean, go for one book a year in that space. then do really study that book and try to follow it. But I think people also fall in the trap of consuming more and more.
[00:34:50] Peter Akkies: Yeah. I also think that people are different. And so a lot of the times what people will tell me is like, I've been trying to apply. For example, I know you also read James Clear's atomic habits, or at least I saw it in the thumbnail of one of your videos. So presumably you read it. Um, and a lot of people are like, yeah, I've read this book.
[00:35:07] And I tried this techniques and they didn't work for me. And so I think, I think it makes people feel like they're somehow bad at something. Whereas my reaction is just like, I guess it didn't work for you. Try something else. Right.
[00:35:19] Floris van der Pol: Yeah.
[00:35:19] That's a fair point then, but, but I do think that. At least that's also something that I noticed for myself. And that's actually one of the points that James clear makes in his book is this distinction between motion and action. That action is actually doing the thing itself. For example, you want to be a better football player.
[00:35:39] Action is actually picking up the ball and kicking the ball. And motion is reading about becoming a better football player, watching Ronaldo score a famous goal and stuff like that. And then I think in the realm of productivity and self-help people often fall in the trap of too much emotion, but that's not to say that motion doesn't help because I actually watched some of your videos.
[00:36:02] I was things free and I implemented them and I really like how you approach that. And it didn't cost me too much time. And I do think it may be more productive.
[00:36:13] Peter Akkies: Oh, thanks. That's it. That's great to hear.
[00:36:15] Floris van der Pol: Yeah.
[00:36:16] Peter Akkies: No, I it's. It's very funny because you're so right. You know, I, I often tell. I spent a lot more time thinking about productivity than you. And it should be that way because I'm trying to teach it. So this is why I have courses also, so that I could quickly transfer knowledge.
[00:36:30] You can move on with your life and do whatever it is that you're good at. You know, whether that's like some medical research or being a philosopher or whatever. Um, so back to reading though, um, w how do you feel about audio books? Is that if someone says, I really want to read more, I know what kind of books I want to read.
[00:36:48] I just have trouble actually making myself sit down and keep my attention on a book. Would you say, okay, listen to audio books.
[00:36:55] Floris van der Pol: For some people, it works like that's kind of for audio books, it's really like personal. I don't like them at all. Um, and the reason is that it's difficult to pause and it also difficult to really study it to act. So I think all of your books work well for texts that are not?
[00:37:16] that great. And that's a bit, bit harsh to say, but I think a book that works great as an audio book is a different kind of book that than a book that works great as a text and a text, you can pause, you can really think about a sentence, try to connect it.
[00:37:34] And the audio book, everything goes in the same tempo. So it has to be written in the sense that someone can understand it in the same time point, that often leads to load of repetitions, louder, lots of examples, uh, and shared, uh, that can work. But I come from a background of philosophy. We're used to like really dense texts and reading a paragraph over and over again and trying to even understand single sentences.
[00:38:03] So for me, this rush of the audio book is like, it's almost like if you can. the standard book as an audio book is probably not worth reading to begin with, but that's also a bit, it's a bit too hard because that's coming from someone who is read a lot and read a lot of difficult texts. And I mean, for some people, they probably don't want to read content and difficult stuff and they just want to hear a good story.
[00:38:34] And audio books are probably great for that.
[00:38:37] Peter Akkies: Yeah. And I know it works very well for some people. So for example, I recently did a course on how to get better at YouTube by Allie app doll. Elliot bell is like a pretty big YouTuber. These days also has videos on productivity and stuff. And he says that he listens to a lot of audio books, you know, and like he's clearly very intelligent person and stuff.
[00:38:56] And like you, he, he consumes a lot of books. Um, and I guess mostly through audio. And so, I dunno, I think, I think for some people, my sense is it probably works, but I do agree with you, but your basic point that it, it makes it more difficult to slow down on a specific bit. Like how do you. You know, I, I probably would find myself rewinding a lot.
[00:39:16] Right. Which is kind of tedious if you're, you know, I think people listen to audio books on the go, maybe while driving, you know, or I hear in the Netherlands we're biking, um, or, you know, while doing the dishes or whatever. So, um, I don't know. I guess, I guess for me, I prefer to listen to something like a podcast, which to me is more naturally something you listen to because it's a conversation between people is it's more used to it, um, or is, is better for the medium of audio.
[00:39:41] Floris van der Pol: Agreed, but we also have to come back to the question of why do you read, I mean, if you read or want to read just for entertainment, that's completely something different from whether you read for your study or you read as a profession and you want to extract the knowledge and combine that with your already current understanding.
[00:40:03] And for me, reading is often. connected to also producing something, whether it's a YouTube video or an essay or, or a story or something like that. And that this ask for a different kind of reading, a more intense reading with taking notes and connecting ideas. And I guess audio books make even less sense.
[00:40:29] I think audio books probably make the most sense if you want to consume lightly. And that's absolutely fine. I mean, uh, I listened to some podcasts like that just because I liked them. And I think, oh, perhaps so much of those ideas will stay in my head, but I don't want to take notes of everything. I certainly don't care about every single idea that comes by, but I, I like the general vibe and I, I like if it's just one idea that that stays in my head and that's fine.
[00:41:01] And I mean, if that's your approach, then I guess audio.
[00:41:06] Peter Akkies: Yeah, I understand. And you know, that, that reminds me, that I wanted to ask you about attention spans, which I find, find very interesting. Um, there's a couple of reasons that I thought about attention spans because, um, you mentioned that, you know, light light reading is probably easier to consume an audio form, but you also mentioned that you studied philosophy and you read a lot of tough philosophical texts.
[00:41:26] And that reminded me of when I was in college and I got really mad because we had to, for my political science class, for example, read something by Fuko and so difficult to understand. I like, I just thought of myself, like, like you're saying, you go back over the same paragraph three or four times and you still don't understand what it says.
[00:41:43] Um, and I, I don't know. I kind of developed the opinion that if it is that difficult to understand the text and they just didn't try hard enough to explain their idea. Well, which maybe is a little, a little crude, um, I, you know, I don't think things necessarily need to be difficult. I don't think, you know, complex ideas need to be difficult to comprehend.
[00:42:07] Right. Like, I don't think it's bad. If something is easy to understand what to do. Do you feel like certain material is just always going to be difficult to comprehend, to read?
[00:42:18] Floris van der Pol: Hm.
[00:42:19] Peter Akkies: Yeah.
[00:42:20] Floris van der Pol: It's a difficult question. So, okay. Let's let's first start with, and then perhaps we can. Go from there. So I think, especially with philosophers, a lot of people don't understand that philosophers don't write for students, philosophers write for other philosophers. So as a student, you're at a major disadvantage because you're used to reading stuff, that's actually kind of written for you.
[00:42:44] And now you're reading something that is written for people who have studied philosophy for 30 years and are at the same level as the one who was writing. So those texts are going to be bloody difficult, especially the texts from France authors, because they've all studied the same. Philosopher's that's due to how the French university system works.
[00:43:06] They also do the same artists for a couple of years. So they all assume the same background knowledge already when starting to read the text. So, I mean, those texts, they are really difficult, but they are, that's at least part of the reason. but I do agree that yes, There is certain skill and making things easier to comprehend.
[00:43:28] And some texts are difficult because other is a bad writer. And sometimes especially in philosophy, you need as a second for is to translate something to a more general public. But that's not to say that every difficult ID can be dumbed down and still hold fully its content. Some because there's also something that, that I think often happens when you try to translate it to a broader audience, that something of the original idea gets loss.
[00:43:59] And that's a difficulty with, with philosophy because you, on the one hand, you want to stay true to the original idea, but you also want to present it in a certain way that a lot of people can understand it. But if we, for example, take a parallel to physics. I mean, there are physics theories out there that perhaps only 100 people in the world can undertake.
[00:44:22] Peter Akkies: yeah.
[00:44:24] Floris van der Pol: we're not going to say, oh, those are dumped theories because we cannot understand them as layman. And, and then another physicist might try to translate it to a book for a general audience and then use all these examples. Like time is like, uh, like breadth and you can go all these ways and stuff like that.
[00:44:42] And then, ah, okay, now we get something of it. Okay. Maybe we get it a bit, but it's not the same. Like it isn't, it is a translation and a lot can get lost in the transit, in the translation. And I think the weird thing is that with philosophy, people expect that everyone should understand it because it's, they are words.
[00:45:03] And we understand words with we, we don't expect that of physics or biology or whatever.
[00:45:09] Peter Akkies: that's a good point. That's a good point. Yeah. People are not going like, wow. I do not understand the string theory. Therefore, a string theory. It's like poorly conceived. Oh yeah. It reminds me of one class. You know, took an economics and we read a paper that was about the economics of healthcare, which is very interesting because when you study economics, you learn about how markets work and you know, how, um, markets make sure that there's a balance between demand and supply for whatever it is.
[00:45:37] You're buying toilet paper, you know, like that didn't go very well in the beginning of the pandemic. I don't know if that was true in other countries, but in the Netherlands, we had no toilet paper for a while of the shops. Um, you know, and I, I remember what it said about health care and there was a very famous paper basically by healthcare economics.
[00:45:54] I mean, it was like, you know, in like, I dunno the sixties or something like a long time ago, seventies maybe, and basically this. Professor of economics explained like healthcare is not a normal market. It's not like buying apples. It's not like if apples are a bit cheaper somewhere else, you know, like someone goes to the other shop to get the cheaper apples and people can see all that at the same quality apples.
[00:46:14] You know, you said when you go to a doctor, you can, it's very hard to compare the quality of one doctor with another one. Like you don't, you may not know what is wrong with you. You don't really know how skilled this doctor is. You cannot really judge this ahead of time and stuff. And I remember that was such a profound idea and there was a lot of math behind it, but at the same time, like I remember reading the paper that described this and I was like, wow, this is the first time I've actually read a professional economics paper.
[00:46:41] And I understood all of it and I was able to follow it, you know? And, and I didn't feel that way about a lot of the contemporary economics papers, which were all full of really complicated equations in whatever. Even aside from that, just like they were written so poorly, you know, in like a drab style.
[00:46:58] And like this paper on health economics was just like, it was almost like I was reading like a fun novel or something like that, you know? So I dunno, I dunno. I feel like on the one hand, I, I agree with what you're saying and the other hand, I also think that like everyone, regardless of whether you're writing for philosophers or for lay people or whatever, you should really try to make things as accessible as possible.
[00:47:20] And, and some things will end up being more accessible than others.
[00:47:24] Floris van der Pol: Agreed, but it's also a scale and it's difficult. Let's be honest.
[00:47:30] Peter Akkies: Yeah.
[00:47:31] Floris van der Pol: It's really difficult, especially to translate difficult new ideas directly to, to a broader audience. And it's also the whole system of academics, which kind of forces papers to be kind of boring.
[00:47:45] Peter Akkies: Yes. No, that's definitely true and very sad also. So because it, like, you know, it's one of the reasons why I realized I don't want to go into academia, which I consider that at some point, but I was just like, if I have to write stuff like this, but worse, if I have to read stuff like this every week, like, I don't want to do that.
[00:48:04] Floris van der Pol: And the thing is, even if you, if you don't write it, you get it, you submitted to a journal, you get it back, there's redaction, you send it back. And it goes for like 3, 4, 5, 6 times. And I mean, it's such a hassle. I mean, it's also why, why it didn't go further in academia after my master's in philosophy, I have my own website and these YouTube videos and I can just make whatever I want.
[00:48:30] And there's no gatekeepers and that's, kind of neat actually, because they're just my fault. There's no redaction redaction. There's no one commenting on it. And, uh, sure. Sometimes collaborations are great, but does feel really freeing to just be able to produce what I want.
[00:48:54] Peter Akkies: Totally. Totally. And, um, I w you know, I want to ask you about that, about your process for producing the videos, for example, that you do, but just, just before we go there, I just want to wrap up the topic of a topic of reading more for people who want to do that. Um, what advice do you have for people who say I would like to read more books for whatever type of books they are, but I don't have the attention span. When I start reading, I get distracted.
[00:49:18] Floris van der Pol: So the first thing I'd say is, think about the environment. So how can you make sure that you're actually reading and not doing whatever that is distracting you? And that might be really difficult. So if it's really difficult to go to a place where the only thing you can do is read a book, just leave your phone at home, take a book with you, walk away 40 minutes from your home, go sit on the bench.
[00:49:45] Well, there might still be threes distracting your clouds or whatever, but I'm sure it will be different distraction than your environment, because I mean, Where you want to read, which is probably at home. There is already, already so many patterns of behavior and rituals that you have. So perhaps you need a new place for reading somewhere where you can build a new rituals, new habits, and that might be outside of my, be different spots in your house.
[00:50:13] You might even just be in a new chair or turning around the chair to face a different role, and now say, okay, this is my reading spot. And that's the thing. Think environment first, and then you should be good.
[00:50:28] Peter Akkies: No, I like that advice. And I think a lot of time people intuitively understand this because I'll hear people say whether it's for reading Mora, some other kind of goal that they have that requires them to focus. You know, there'll be like, you know, I had a week off work and suddenly I made a ton of progress on this.
[00:50:45] Like, why is that? That is because you were on holiday in a different environment and you, you broke your patterns. Um, so there, is there any role for willpower at all? Or should people just completely ignore that and only focus on the environment?
[00:50:59] Floris van der Pol: I don't know, willpower is obviously important for some things, but I don't really think for reading also because it's supposed to be fun. Right. You're trying to do this to be something you enjoy. And if you're trying to do it with willpower, like then it's become something you're forcing yourself to do.
[00:51:19] And I'd say it's probably already enough in your life that your willpower in your way through to, and it's also sad to see breeding as something you require willpower. Like, think about joy, the joy of reading. Let, let a joy guide you. I mean, when I think about reading, I think about that it's fun. And. I really think you want to go through a space like that and leave the willpower at your computer.
[00:51:49] Peter Akkies: I love that. I love that. So you mentioned your YouTube channel, um, floors reads. Um, I am curious to hear about your process for producing a YouTube video. So how do you go from having an idea to create a certain video to actually having created that video?
[00:52:11] Floris van der Pol: So in the beginning, the format was really simple. I just read a book every week and I made a video about it. Um, so those were really like book reviews. But after a while that got kind of boring because I find myself repeating what I was saying, but then about different novels. So I've been doing it some extreme. Experimenting and tackling more like video essays, which is about not having a smart phone and, um, yeah, yeah. Different kinds of books. So that also required a different kind of structure. So now I've actually been changing this quite a bit, but what I've always done is I've, I've scripted my whole videos.
[00:52:54] So I've done attempts at freestyling it, but it doesn't work at all. Like I have to re write out every single sentence of what I'm going to say. Um, so basically I use this app called obsidian and I have a list there of topics that I find interesting.
[00:53:15] Peter Akkies: I have to stop you here for a second. Cause I feel like some people just absolutely, you just made them very, very happy. Obsidian is currently one of the hottest apps in the productivity space. So, uh, people here's another obsidian user. Okay. You make for Z-Pak.
[00:53:29] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. So, but I've only been using upsetting for a cup of months. I've, I've tried to notion, but I don't like nursing at all. I don't know if that makes people happy or unhappy, but
[00:53:39] Peter Akkies: Well, I'll tell you actually, so my most popular YouTube video is one in which I'm sort of ranting about things you shouldn't use notion for as last time I checked that like 300,000 views or something like that. So it's very funny that you say that. Um, but yeah, anyway,
[00:53:55] Floris van der Pol: notion sucks. Let's just say obsidian rules. Uh, So the great thing about the program for people who don't know it, that always said, it allows you to link your fault. Like it, you can simple simply make a hyperlinks from one fall to another fault. So what I, for example do is I have daily journaling and then I just write out my fault.
[00:54:17] And sometimes I have thoughts about video projects or books that I'm reading. So it might hyperlink to the video project or the book that I'm reading. And then there is a separate phase for the book for the video project. And just whenever I'm working on it, I have my faults there. And then when I really go and produce the script, I look at all the, the pages and notes that I've made that are somehow related to the book. And that is kind of my basis for my script. And then from there I try to write a script, rewrite it, and then, yeah, usually, um, I'm happy with the script and then filming starts and yeah, defense starts, I guess.
[00:54:57] Peter Akkies: And in what time span does this happen? Do you sort of sit down in the morning and you just bang out the whole script in the video in one day? Or does this happen over like the course of four weeks?
[00:55:08] Floris van der Pol: yeah. Longer periods, especially now making more complicated videos. Uh, I know to myself, Yeah.
[00:55:16] That it takes a couple of, couple of weeks for the ideas to, to develop, But that's also because I'm taking care of my daughter, like basically the whole day. So there are no periods of me sitting for a couple of hours straight.
[00:55:31] Like it's just half an hour there, half an hour there. Um, but it works. Like, I think I'm producing one video most at the moment. So it's another law, but I do to try to make it the best video that I can make.
[00:55:46] Peter Akkies: But how did that work before your daughter was born? Did you have, for example, Like I said like a whole day that you worked on YouTube or has it always been in shorter increments of time?
[00:55:57] Floris van der Pol: Yeah.
[00:55:57] So in the beginning, like the first two years, when I made weekly videos at a day, Sunday was movie day. My girlfriend knew that my friends knew that my roommates knew that. And then I would just in the morning, write the script in the afternoon, filming it's in the evening, edited and publish it. And honestly that works really well, but it just doesn't work for these longer, more complicated projects that I'm working on now, because back in those days, I just had what we call Avril camera, looking at me, and I will speaking to the camera and I would have to make cuts to remove all the repetitions.
[00:56:35] And every time I would look awkwardly at the camera, but that was it. But nowadays I really tried to also include elements of visual storytelling to actually show on video what I'm saying. And that takes a lot more effort and.
[00:56:49] Peter Akkies: Oh, yeah. Um, so that, that is by far my least favorite part of making YouTube videos. Cause it takes enormous effort to do B roll.
[00:56:58] Floris van der Pol: Yeah.
[00:56:58] I like it. I mean also because just doing a roll and talking to camera, it got boring for me. Like I like exploring this side of how to also tell a visual story, not just an essay, which I have read a loudly, you can see my face, but that's, I mean, in a sense, my earlier videos were just a face bliss voice, but the rest was just like a bluff.
[00:57:25] Peter Akkies: Yeah.
[00:57:26] Floris van der Pol: now I do think I'm really starting to produce something. That's actually a video and that's meant for, for this format.
[00:57:35] Peter Akkies: And so, so, so you, you say you sort of fit in a half hour here and there. Right. But again, let's imagine that either we're back before your daughter was born or we're a couple of years in the future where you don't have to sort of pay attention to her, like the whole day, maybe she's in school or something, how would you structure your day and would you structure your week?
[00:57:54] Would you say this morning, I'm going to work on YouTube and you just kind of start working on it until you feel like stopping, or is it more like, well, today between 11 and two, I'm going to work on this. Do you have a, do you have a sort of structure like that?
[00:58:08] Floris van der Pol: Yeah, I've always been really strict about this. Like, so my morning is, is always my productivity zone. Our hours, like before 12 is when I'm really, really focused. So.
[00:58:22] Peter Akkies: Hm.
[00:58:23] Floris van der Pol: But that that still happens. Like, so every morning I wake up at eight, I go for a walk with my daughter and then before I used to take a walk alone and then I go sit behind the computer.
[00:58:34] Now I have a standing desk and actually stand behind the computer. And my daughter is, is right here, tied up to my chest. And then I started with some daily journaling and then I started doing work on the projects that I want to work on. So, uh, for a couple of years it was working on my master thesis, writing a novel sometimes a day for YouTube video. And now it's mostly just working on YouTube videos.
[00:59:01] Peter Akkies: I see. So you just start in the morning, every day, roughly the same time do you stop at the same time every day? Also,
[00:59:08] Floris van der Pol: Yeah. And then I go for out, like
[00:59:11] Peter Akkies: let me see.
[00:59:12] Floris van der Pol: I, yeah. I like that's like the structure and then using the afternoon. I do something else or, or works work some more, but like these last couple of months are really, really strange for me because I no longer own my own time, but that's my, I used to have a really strict structure and I still kind of have it, but I'm like at a really low productivity within those hours.
[00:59:38] Peter Akkies: Yeah. It's so funny. How many new parents use that exact phrase? They're like, you're no longer in charge of your own time. Everybody says this, so must, it
[00:59:47] Floris van der Pol: just what it is.
[00:59:49] Peter Akkies: Yeah, no, it must be true. Um, all right, well, I've had a great time chatting with your flaws. Really appreciate you coming on. So your website in your YouTube videos and everything are all in Dutch, but a good amount of the people here are Dutch listeners.
[01:00:06] Um, even if people are not, they can watch some of your videos and turn on the subtitles, which by the way, like, you know, the reason that we're talking right now is because I recently discovered your channel and I like found your videos extremely engaging. So you talked about, you know, how some of your earlier videos were just a roll, just, just your face and whatever, but the recent ones, especially the video essays, like the one on not having a smartphone was so good.
[01:00:29] I think my attention span is pretty bad. I cannot watch that many videos where I'm like actually watching the screen for 15 minutes, but for you, like I watched the whole thing and it was so engaging. So I would love everybody to go check it out. Um, where can they find you? And is there anything else you'd like people to check out.
[01:00:46] Floris van der Pol: Well first, thank you for the generous words, they can find me at floors lays print now on YouTube flows, laced, which basically translates to floor seats. And honestly, that's it. I mean, I don't, I try to limit my presence on social media. I do think I have Twitter, but I hate Twitter and I have nothing else.
[01:01:08] No Facebook, no Instagram, no whatever. So YouTube is where I make stuff. And my website is where I also post stuff. So.
[01:01:16] Peter Akkies: All right. I'll put that in the show notes. Um, thanks very much Floris for coming on.
[01:01:21] Floris van der Pol: Thank you Peter.
Subscribe to my weekly articles
Every Sunday, I send an article on productivity to my email list. People say my articles are useful, insightful, and relatable.