Danny Forest is a top writer on Medium. He writes about inspiration, self-improvement, productivity, education, entrepreneurship, life lessons, startups, photography, travel, and more. His stories have inspired over a million people around the world.
I connected with Danny and asked him to share some of his most influential habits and routines.
Danny is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more than 10 Medium publications.
In five months, he wrote two books which have inspired people from all over the world to focus, increase productivity, get rid of procrastination, achieve goals, and more.
Outside of writing, Danny Forest is a serial entrepreneur, software engineer, photographer, coach, speaker, and husband.
What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?
The most influential habit of my life is when I started learning 3 new skills every month, practicing for 30 minutes each every morning before work.
Waking up very early has greatly helped me get distraction-free time and accomplish a lot of things I would have been too fried to do after a full work day.
Meditation and journaling have also been incredibly beneficial for my self-awareness and overall mental health. I tend to work on too many projects at once and both these practices help me see the bigger picture.
How Do You Set Goals and Manage Time?
Many different ways.
At the end of the month, I plan my goals for the next month. There are usually about 25+ goals across different projects and life. I review my progress towards them on a daily basis.
At the end of the week, I schedule blocks of activities for the next week. I try to have all my calls scheduled for the week by then. Every minute of my day is blocked, yet it’s still quite flexible since I’m broad enough. At that point, I don’t specify exactly what I’m going to do. It’s blocks of time.
Example: from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm, I would just put something like “SkillUp work block.”
At the end of the day, I review my tasks for the next day and rearrange my schedule as needed.
I have set up a really nice system to manage all of that in Airtable.
How Are You Modeling Your Life?
I’m very much inspired by 3 people at the moment.
Richard Branson’s ability to start so many things and find the right people to delegate to and work with.
Elon Musk’s ability to start things and execute in very different fields and never giving up when times are impossibly hard.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s ability to combine his skills across different fields and excel at each of them.
Can You Describe Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?
Think things through then follow through.
A bit of upfront obsessive planning then acting pretty much on the spot. When I have big ideas, I figure out the one-day implementation and do it within at most one week.
I delegate as much as I can and focus on things only I can do.
What Do You Eat for Breakfast?
That changes depending on my environment.
Currently, I get the Selina breakfast every day, which is eggs + focaccia + salad + tomato. The eggs are the crucial part. About an hour later, I drink a mass gainer shake.
How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?
I do full-body workouts three times a week. I’m starting a new thing this month where I’ll stretch for 20 minutes every morning. I also walk to and from work, which takes me 20 minutes each way.
For my mind, I journal and power nap every day. I meditate when I need to. I started reading biographies for about 30 minutes before bed.
How Do You Meet and Connect with People?
Mostly at the co-working spaces I work from and through video calls with readers, writers, clients, business connections, etc.
Rarely through social media. When it happens, LinkedIn is where it really happens.
What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?
My evening ritual consists of reviewing the tasks I’ll do the next day and reading biographies. The exact time I go to bed changes every month. Normally it’s 10 pm. This month is 11 pm.
My morning routine consists of waking up at 5 am (usually 4 am). I write on Medium for 50 minutes as soon as I wake up.
Then I power nap around 2 pm every day.
What Are Your Investing Habits?
I’m quite frugal and don’t spend much money at all. I do buy some books though. If I have money left over, I usually just put it in my mutual funds.
What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?
Oh wow so many…
I’ll focus on these two things:
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
My thinking has always been shaped by the people I surround myself with, wherever I am in the world.
Which brings me to the other thing: traveling around the world and becoming a nomad.
More specifically, living with locals on Couchsurfing and Airbnb, and volunteering abroad. I used to be a pretty selfish and self-centered person and now all I really care about is helping people thrive in this century.