You might know Adam Goldstein as the founder of the beloved travel search engine Hipmunk, which travel giant Concur acquired in 2016 and (to fans’ dismay) retired in 2020. Users loved Hipmunk for its ease of use, focus on affordable flights, and friendly mascot designed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Hipmunk users and other travel enthusiasts will be happy to know that Goldstein will soon launch Flight Penguin, a Chrome extension for booking flights. Flight Penguin won’t make private deals with airlines like many other travel companies. Instead, users with an affordable monthly subscription will access a comprehensive roundup of flight options.
We talked to Goldstein, one of Flow Club’s founding members, to hear about his favorite productivity hacks, letting go of limiting beliefs, and how he gets into a flow state for work.
Did you know? One study showed that experiencing flow correlates with an increase in dopamine (a brain chemical involved in helping you feel motivated).
Clarify goals to stay productive
Launching a company requires immense focus and the ability to juggle an ever-evolving list of tasks. With Goldstein’s attention pulled in multiple directions throughout the day, it can be hard to carve out enough uninterrupted time to make meaningful headway on one project. He says he encounters three challenges when it comes to getting into a flow state for work.
Solidifying an idea: Whether he’s writing code or a blog post, it takes time to distill a broad vision into the final product. “I might have some general sense that I want to write something,” he says. “Right now, I have a goal of delivering a draft of a new blog post by the end of this month and the final draft by the end of next month.” Still, he’s not yet sure how long the post should be or how he’d like to narrow down the subject matter. His first step is taking the time to clarify his goal for each new project.
Tapping into motivation: “There’s a certain inertia to overcome just to get started,” he says— a roadblock that can take days to navigate, especially while working alone. That’s where Flow Club comes into play. The social nature of each session helps hold him accountable in working toward his goal.
Letting go of limiting beliefs: “Whenever I start to loosen up on my limiting beliefs about what I can achieve, everything becomes possible,” Goldstein says. Last year, he had lots of ideas for writing projects but was worried he wasn’t qualified to cover those topics and put them on the backburner. Eventually, he decided to just go for it. “When I overcame that belief and wrote those ideas, they were well-received, and I was happy I did it.”
Flow Club helps Goldstein get things done
Once Goldstein has a goal in mind, he needs a way to track his progress. He feels that time isn’t the best metric for assessing productivity. “It’s not just about time,” he says. In the past, getting to inbox zero made him feel accomplished, but now he says that answering emails and ticking items off a to-do list wasn’t a good measure of productivity at all.
Instead, he decides when he’d like to reach his goal and works backward from the completion date. For example, if he wants to finish writing a 10,000-word article within 30 days, he’ll schedule a few Flow Club sessions to keep himself on track. “I may not know exactly where I’m going to end up, but if I can write 500 or 600 words, I’ll get closer to where I’m going,” he says. By the end of the session, Goldstein says he’s nearly always impressed at the amount of intense focus work he accomplished.
Goldstein uses Flow Club sessions to write, tackle programming work, or finish smaller tasks like media outreach for Flight Penguin.
Depending on his workload and schedule, Goldstein might jump into a session weekly or even daily. “Almost 80% of the time, I get much more done in that hour than I would have otherwise,” he says.
Flow Club is Peloton for your brain. Everyday, the world's top founders, builders and operators join Flow Club's facilitator-led, structured co-working sessions to get away from distractions and dive deeply into the work they get to do.
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