August Bradley, the man who designs and teaches his Notion Life Operating System to almost 50 thousand people on YouTube! He created this comprehensive performance system – Pillars, Pipelines, and Vaults (PPV) – long before Notion was created and now integrates his Life OS system with the software to help people who feel they’re not progressing in life to achieve what matters. Over his career, August has provided creative and strategic solutions to leading brands including Coca-Cola, Xbox, Kia, Gap, Banana Republic, just to name a few. He has a popular podcast and YouTube show exploring the forefront of transformational technologies, scientific research, and a bold new thinking that enables humans to function at a higher level.
Tom sits down with August and gets deep and philosophical, as the two of them discuss meaning, purpose, and life aspirations. August is a Notion enthusiast, who empowers people with the system in a way no software has ever been able to do before. It has enhanced his life immensely, and with an impressive track record of students, his approach certainly works.
In the podcast, we delve into his world and see just how his approach applies to us all; whether for personal use or business, for those who feel they are not progressing in life, or just for those who are keen to take Notion to the next level. As Ivan Zhao, CEO & Co-founder of Notion, says: “When I first saw August’s videos about Notion – they were not just smart – they had the potential to really change people’s lives…“
Despite August being an avid Notion fan, his formula for elite performance hasn’t got to do with Notion. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with any tool what so ever!
Be prepared to shift your outlook! And embrace a new way of thinking! Tom and August really tap into something transformational!
Hit play to listen to the Podcast! Take it all in – digest the full blog post below!
A new way to plan your goals
Do you find yourself wanting to progress with goals but, get caught up on life’s treadmill, where you end up not getting anywhere? Or, perhaps you’ve set aside a day and devoted it to your passion project, only to have it sidelined because you’ve ended up reacting to other people’s needs all day. It is often the case that the areas in our own lives, we give the most importance to, don’t get prioritized, and as a result, we don’t achieve anything!
It’s better to inefficiently paddle in the right direction, than to paddle efficiently in the wrong direction.August Bradley
As much as we love discussing systems, automation, and workflows, we can also lose sight of our personality and individuality, we are emotive beings after all! Our chat with August explains why the systems we implement in our daily lives need to incorporate our aspirations and values, and when these are aligned, clarity and connection emerge.
August’s Pillars, Pipelines, and Vaults (PPV) System shifts the way we approach decisions and our day-to-day activities. It’s a new and current framework, that begins with how we look at the world.
Fundamentally tools are secondary. Everything starts with self-awareness.August Bradley
Within August’s Life Design Notion database, users don’t often use a ‘DUE date’ instead they have a ‘DO date‘. This is the date we plan to actually ‘Do’ the task. The essence of the ‘do date’ is to put the task into your schedule, so that it never gets forgotten instead gets deliberate consideration on a scheduled and specific date.
The belief is we want to avoid creating an overwhelming list of things to do in our calendar or task manager, this can feel intimidating and off-putting. Instead, this simple switch helps us really prioritize and screen out the tasks that aren’t essential to us, plus it eliminates those tasks that would be nice but, aren’t really adding value to our goals and objectives.
What are Pillars, Pipelines, and Vaults?
The PPV system is designed to bring focus and alignment to your life. The objective is to help you focus and to ruthlessly zero in on what you need to do today to achieve what really matters to you most over time. The system enables intense laser focus, clarity, and transparency with what you’re doing. Plus, it’s unique to other systems. It aligns with your highest level of aspirations, your core values, and what you consider to be truly important.
PPV – Focus & Alignment
Most project management systems are good at project and task management, but they don’t seem to align with your highest level of life aspirations. In contrast, PPV begins with your guiding principles and becomes your north star with what you do. It doesn’t just help you manage all your tasks and projects, it helps you understand yourself. This self-empowerment helps you align with what you do and with what you value most in life.
If you don’t know [your values] you’re just going to be rowing frantically in arbitrary directions.August Bradley
August believes your system needs to bring clarity to who you are. The PPV approach empowers you to put this holistic, systems thinking approach into practice. Systems thinking is in direct contrast to the standard way society tends to look at issues. August, even describes our current, analytical thinking as an ‘unconventional thought process‘. His approach starts with the recognition that all systems are part of larger systems and every system is defined by its function in the larger system.
Systems thinking is looking at the world as a series of interconnected ecosystems interacting with each other over time. This way you can see patterns – cause and effect – rather than individual elements. Being able to look at its entirety, and see how it functions within the greater systems allows for greater insight.
Our current analytical or reductionist approach results in old obvious explanations with limited frameworks and with limited solutions. This approach reframes our way of looking at the qualities of a fully-functioning system beyond the sum of its parts, and it helps us see the causal relationships.
Systems thinking will magnify your ability to create and solve problems, as well as complete any complex work tasks better. August admits it’s a learning curve, it takes effort upfront. But, once you’ve put that effort in, life gets easier. It actually simplifies your life.
Is PPV for personal or team development?
PPV can be used for teams, however, the teachings available through his YouTube channel are focused on the individual life system. This includes personal and work – it’s about every aspect of your life. Whether it’s your own business, or you work for somebody else, being able to track your career ambitions, goals and aspirations is key to progress.
Setting Priority conventions
Those who have implemented ICOR® Mastery, are well aware of the importance of priorities. Without setting these conventions we lose sight of where to start and it can easily lead to you feeling overwhelmed. What is often urgent at the moment is rarely what’s most important. It is great to hear August echo the same insight. What is even more refreshing, is hearing how August relates priorities to what is meaningful to us. Isn’t that such a great reframe!
Prioritization starts with self-awareness and knowing what really matters to you in life, what you value, and what you find most meaningful.August Bradley
With the PPV framework, you are actively working on your own commitments. With this clarity and definition of what is important, we are empowered to balance our own tasks and those tasks aligned with others, whilst helping us move the needle with our own aspirations.
Why Notion works best with PPV
The ICOR® Framework philosophy is built on being tool agnostic. Once you distill your conventions finding the right combination of tools for you is a secondary step. So, we were keen to hear just why August is so passionate about Notion.
August explains, there is certainly a place for a wide range of tools. He recognizes Notion’s limitations; their lack of API and integrations, as well as seeing the value of tool-specific tasks like
- Ideal for non-coders.
- Able to manage goals, projects, tasks in an immediate manner.
- Clarity from accessing the interconnected information for all aspects of your life.
- Resurface information in context.
- Customize the system to how you want it.
When you have clarity on what you have to do and when there is a greater probability of actually achieving it. August, also advocates ‘time blocking’. These deep periods of uninterrupted work are the time when your high-priority work happens. Whichever way you schedule this into your calendar, time blocking is a proven productivity hack, you can find out more here.
We’ve learned a lot from chatting with August. His PPV aligns well with our ICOR® Mastery Framework. With these insights into relating our values to our conventions and priorities, we can truly crystalize what we do on a daily basis. We encourage you to check out his popular Podcast and YouTube channel.
Rather than short-term thinking and ticking off your To-Do list aimlessly, choose to look at your day/ month/ year/ life from a holistic perspective, and focus on tasks that are adding real purpose to your existence. As, August says, “everything starts with self-awareness. What do you care about, what makes life meaningful to you?”