Sources and Methods #32: Belle Beth Cooper

Belle Beth Cooper 101:

Belle’s Website

Belle on Twitter

Productive Habits Email Course


Hello Code Website


4:06 - In terms of my own productivity, I think I’ve always been drawn to the idea of self-improvement, and trying to get more out of my day and trying to learn new things and find time to do interesting things. I’m one of those people that’s interested in heaps of stuff, and I have a really hard time sticking with one particular thing, so I’ve always been looking for ‘how can I fit more of these things in, and how can I get better at 10 different things at once’ and that’s led to the productivity stuff I write about now.


12:55 This [productivity reviews] is important because we tend to ignore things like what science tells us about the brain and the subconscious ways the our brain works, things like cognitive biases that affect us day to day. And other things like we all have different body clocks. But taking advantage of all the specific idiosyncrasies of you and your life and your surroundings as well as understanding the more general aspects of what science has shown us about how brains work in general and how humans behave and the habits we all have that are really predictable - combining both of those means you can be so much more productive. And part of the problem that productivity courses get such a bad rap is because its become this idea that productivity equals doing more work. And of course it seems silly to think that you need to do more work. We all could if we just forced ourselves. But what’s a better way to think about productivity is doing more of the right things, and getting more out of your day. And you accomplish more of what’s important. And you have more time to lay around and do nothing, if that’s what you want.

Personally, I do that. I spend heaps of time just doing nothing or being very lazy. Because I spend heaps of time getting certain things done rather than just getting through a to-do list.

Productivity you get the most out of your time. Not getting the most done.


20:12 - Knowing your own habits and your own behaviours is really important to being more productive. Because I think so many of us reach for little tricks. Like Pomodoros, or some new app, or we buy into a new philosophy. But if you don’t know what your own habits already, or how you’re productive already, or what being productive means to you, it’s not going to help. I did this myself. I bounced around different systems and apps so many years.

I always try to grab a pencil and paper and write down the problems I’m having and why I think I need to try something new, and what my expectations are before jumping in.


33:15 (On public transparency for business goals) So that was something we did very early on, and that was something that came out of my time at Buffer. When you’re super transparent, you can help people by sharing the lessons of what’s worked and what hasn’t. It’s definitely helped us with our own business. We try do a report on our blog every month, a business report with all kinds of statistics on it, visitors to the website, incomes, etc. And people have really liked that.


On Coding and what to learn:

49:39 - I would recommend learning HTML. HTML and maybe CSS as well. Because I think so many of us interact with the web on a daily basis and it’s useful to know things like how to inspect the website you’re looking at, and figure out what’s gone wrong, or how they’re doing something. Or if you’re a blogger, it’s quite handy to use HTML to get exactly what you want.

I would not recommend coding (app development, etc) to everyone. Do not try to learn it yourself unless you really want to build things. Because just trying to learn Python and Ruby because I thought it would be interesting was so frustrating and I got very little out of it. If you’re doing it just for fun certainly don’t try to teach yourself.


56:00 (On the usefulness of physical writing systems) Writing things down really helps me remember them. Sketchnoting really just came out of having a lot of notebooks around.


Belle’s Picks:

Book: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Film: My Scientology Movie

Music: Tim Minchin