Luis Cuende


A series on personal productivity

I started working on software ten years ago, and on crypto about seven. Out of that, a year and a half on Aragon. With Aragon growing, my responsibility has increased to levels I have never experienced.

To add to that, I moved four times in the past two years. To Palo Alto, then Sunnyvale, then Barcelona, Madrid, and finally Zug, Switzerland. I have dealt with tons of stressful experiences in regards to visas and legal stuff. I had to manage a remote team for the first time. And all this inside the crypto world, the craziest and fastest-moving space there is.

To do all that, I have found two ways:

  • Refusing to life and working 14 hours per day
  • Optimizing productivity to the greatest and trying to work no more than 8–10 hours a day
  • I have tried #1 for a couple years with no good results. It’s unsustainable and makes you unhappy. It’s crappy and undesirable. Plus in the long term, you end up regretting not having time for your girlfriend, family and friends. And regretting is the worst.

    So I opted for maximizing productivity. It happened while I was trying #1 out. I was living in the Bay Area and couldn’t afford to eat anything more than nachos, pasta and Soylent. So it wasn’t the best of the situations. I started working 14 hours a day and almost burned out. I was first-time CEO, and I was discovering the amount of work involved into getting “easy stuff” done. At one point, eating so bad and working so much started making me feel ill.

    Not only mentally exhausted, but also physically ill. At that point, the only thing I could do is to learn how to cook and play sports.

    Doing both takes time. Thus, I couldn’t work during those hours. I needed to increase my output while working less hours. The only answer was being more productive. I have always tried to increase my productivity, but even more since that key moment.

    A lot of the learnings I had seem like common sense to me now. But in a world full of distractions, I realized focus and productivity are not the norm, but the exception.

    In becoming a better manager, Monica advised me to be transparent about the way I work. First, because that would help the people I work with to understand me better. Second, because my learnings may be helpful.

    So I will document my learnings by writing a series of very practical, short blog posts. I hope this series is helpful to my Aragon One family, to the crypto community, and to any other readers.

    During this blog series, I want to cover topics like:

  • Being healthy and how it increases productivity
  • Saying no and not feeling bad about it
  • Becoming a morning person and how it helped me
  • Being conscious about coffee and alcohol intake
  • Debugging your day to optimize your time
  • Digging deep into topics by having topic-based days
  • Processing what you read
  • Freeing the mind during the weekend
  • Escaping from undesired inputs by filtering notifications
  • Setting up a nice workspace
  • Setting up a nice digital workspace
  • Leveraging travel so it doesn’t get into the way
  • Scheduling calls so all your time doesn’t get consumed by others
  • Setting daily and weekly goals
  • Being brief while still communicative
  • I hope they also help me debug myself and further increase my productivity by revisiting how I could enhance those aspects.