Being Attractive is a Daily Discipline

The number one problem you have with creating and sustaining your attractiveness, is that you give attention to time-sinks and the urgent but unimportant stuff, while you neglect the non-urgent but important stuff.

Take a peek at the classic Four Quadrants from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

The most important quadrant is the first one. You just have to do this stuff and that’s all there is to it. So you do that stuff as a matter of course. Moving on…

The second quadrant is very important too. But because nothing in there is urgent, it’s tempting to skip on it. If you miss a day in the gym, nothing happens to you. There’s no immediate consequence for eating a cupcake. If you don’t go back to school for advanced training, you don’t get fired from your current job. If you don’t plan out your goals for the year, no one yells at you. But skip doing the second quadrant for long enough, and lo and behold you’re Captain Cupcake in a shitty job and no plan for the future…

…there doesn’t seem to be a consequence for all that lack of effort until you’re at a party and your wife hands you her purse and spends the rest of the night twirling her hair at some asshole. Now she’s just laughing at his jokes. Now she slapped his arm and wagged her finger at him like he did something wrong… but she’s grinning at him.

WTF! She just leaned in and whispered something to him… what the hell did she say??!?!

It’s easy to totally neglect quadrant two, in favor of quadrant three and four. So let’s talk about that.

Troubles in quadrant three are typically resolved by time management. The truth of the matter is that at least half the people you work with are vacuous warm bodies, wasting the planet’s precious resources by their mere existence. Every time you have to interact with one of these people, you lurch into the third quadrant. But you do have to interact with them somehow. So productive people tend to structure their day to condense their exposure to the herd. They get into the office early and work like crazy to get as much done as possible before… ah… here comes frakking Jerry making his way across the office like a sloth… don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact… ah crap he’s coming right here… ah fabulous, he wants to talk about the quarterly report filing system protocol revision that was discussed at the staff meeting held two weeks ago. Maybe if you went to the meeting you’d know.

See how that whole paragraph got padded with a waste of time. I think I actually got a slight touch of PTSD just writing the phrase “quarterly report filing system protocol revision.”  Jennifer is gonna groan during editing too lol.   (Jennifer: OMG yes. I get more done before 10am than in the entire rest of the day when the office is full of people asking me questions lol.)

Anyway, the other thing you can do is limit when you look at email, make phone calls or whatever it is that you do. Find a way to structure your day to make it as efficient as possible. Find the time lost into the ether of idiots. Use that time to do your quadrant two stuff.

Quadrant four is just all purpose time wasting, which is admittedly fun sometimes, but if done at the expense of quadrant two, you’re in trouble. Classic quadrant four time-sinks are Facebook, Farmville, World of Warcraft, mindless day time TV, standing outside having a cigarette for a total of 1.75 hours of your work day (Seriously will someone please fire those useless sandbags!), a six pack a couple of times a week, yada yada yada. No productive purpose + heavy effort =  a meaningless time-sink.

In one very meaningful sense, all the MAP is doing is getting you to drop as much quadrant four stuff as you can and replacing it with quadrant two. You’re going to eat right. You’re going to work out. You’re going to not just let things slide between the two of you. You’re going to find your way to a better income. You’re going to fix the house up. You’re mowing the lawn, changing the oil, and not letting the kids get away with murder. There are probably some ways you can squeeze some found time out of quadrant three, but the easy move is dumping quadrant four for quadrant two.

And yeah, it’s a bit boring at times. You could be knocking a few cold ones back, but instead you’re at the gym. It’s not always fun, it’s hard work, but there will be a pay off eventually. Keep at it long enough and one day you’ll be out having fun chatting to some hot MILF you just met and having a good time… but dimly aware of some tubby dude holding a purse glaring at you for no apparent reason…

…then the MILF leans in and whispers something in your ear…


  1. Purple says

    Wow… a little light just went off in my head. I spend WAY too much time doing things in quadrant 4, because “I need a break”, “I’m too sore to work out, so I need to catch up on Facebook instead”, yada yada… I always find myself frustrated and now I know why!

    …which quadrant does reading MMSL fall into? Hehehe

  2. says

    Ha ha, Purple has said everything I was going to. How great minds think alike!

    I confess to being a little weak on the work discipline front, passing over harder tasks in favour of finishing the easier ones that I can make a quick inroad with. I know I’m doing it, so why do I do it? Having said that, I’m good at not getting too involved with people stopping by to chat, and I don’t go outside for cigarettes. Clearly I have some redeeming qualities :-)

    Although, having recently bought a Kindle (that I keep in my bag) my comfort breaks tend to be five minutes longer than they should be due to me being distracted by reading downloaded filth ;-))

  3. Version3.0 says

    I know I’m a broken record with this quote,. but it really is my touchstone:

    John Wooden: “If you miss a day, you’ve lost a little bit. It’s little things that eventually become big things and make big things happen.”

  4. Tank says

    Athol, the importance of this post and this advice cannot be overstated. Every one gets the life they want. If you aren’t getting laid because you look down for you d!ck and see only the accumulation of sweet treats and six packs, or because you’ve abdicated your role as head of the household, or because you’ve not been promoted, or not gotten a raise (etc . . .), then those circumstances ARE YOUR CHOICE. You don’t have a convertible, a washboard stomach, or a horny little homefront because having those things are just more difficult than not. I won’t ramble on, but . . . seriously . . . great post. Get crackin’!

  5. CajunSensation says

    Awesome post! You start off by getting me holding a purse. You make your point about getting my shit together. Then, you show me I’m now the other guy across the room…getting something whispered in my ear.

    I’m now that guy. It took two years to cross that room. Thank you, Athol!

  6. Nana says

    Yeah, this kind of post is why I come back here everyday. Poor Jennifer has to live with the office politics. I still do too, but am transitioning to freelancing (part of my female MAP, lol).

  7. Nana says

    Question: should the female MAP be called FAP, as in, become fap-worthy and your man will follow? *grin*

  8. says

    Two points:

    1. Many opportunities in life are things where you have a few seconds or minutes to capitalize on months/years of preparation. From pickup-oriented game, you have a few minutes to leverage a woman’s fleeting interest into something more, for which you’ll employ months or years of learning, experience, interests, seductive moves, etc.

    In sports, you’re at the end of the game and need that one play to work to get you the victory. You’ve spent hours upon hours preparing and drilling for success in a five-second sequence.

    Doctors train for years so they can correctly diagnose and treat a patient in 20 minutes.

    Likewise with LTR game and married life, you spend a lot of time building and preparing so you’re ready when it’s time to pull the trigger on responding to your wife’s interest, or taking advantage of that financial opportunity, or working your way into that job that gives you more satisfaction or a shorter commute or whatever.

    2. “How does a project get a year behind?”

    “It gets one day behind 365 times.”

    Doing the long-term thing isn’t that hard for me, as I’m very long-term oriented and get satisfaction from chipping away at long-term projects, but it’s not easy, and I can understand how guys who aren’t oriented my way can have a REALLY difficult time keeping up on all the little things you have to do to stay attractive, esp when you don’t have the single man’s opportunity to just drop out of the game for a little while to reset your oeuvre.

    It’s just something you have to insist on making part of your day.

  9. says

    “Anyway, the other thing you can do is limit when you look at email, make phone calls or whatever it is that you do.”

    Take a page from the PUAs and don’t respond to calls/texts/emails immediately, unless it’s an emergency. Don’t let your coworkers get into the habit of thinking they can make you blow off your core work to put out their incidental fires.

  10. says

    Many guys and most Nice Guys are prone to ADD and procrastination. I know I have a decent case of ADD. I know that I have to stay conscious of the important things and a big thing is making sure you have a plan for everything. I have constantly keep lists and a good calendar. I get better at not following the shiny new thing and getting distracted from the boring task in front of me.

    Don’t put off what can be done now and live life deliberately!

  11. says

    Good stuff; seen the quadrant before and it’s useful. If you really want to manage time better, hands down, the best book is “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. It’s boring, but his method works wonders and you’ll get tons done.

  12. Liz says


    Please, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, stop writing “lol”. I’m know you’re very bright, but every time you do it (and you do it a LOT) it makes you seem like you’re, uh, not so bright.

  13. Tinker says

    Tim Ferriss book “The four hour work week” has a lot of good stuff about time management in it. Just following one, using an auto responder to all email that you answer email twice a day ( say 11am and 4:30), but leaving a cell number to call for emergencies has me getting more done before noon that I used to all day.

  14. says

    I like LOL’s, they mean she’s nice.
    This was a very good post, I needed it…daily workouts, check. I’ve been doing my push-ups too, the only problem is when my kids jump on top of me as soon as I hit the floor, I am completely unable to do a push-up.

  15. says

    Why do people always assume nice women are stupid and mean women are brilliant? I really don’t get this, but it drives me nuts.

  16. Liz says

    @Sis: We know Jen is nice. And I for one get the impression that she’s intelligent. That’s not the issue here.

    The question I have, and which drives me insane, is why women feel they have to write stupid, semi literate things or people will think they’re – *clutches pearls* – assertive and mean? I think, with Jen, it’s her natural submissiveness. She doesn’t want to trample on Athol’s territory, so she puts in little “lols” to make it clear that she’s not the main attraction, she’s not trying to steal the spotlight, move along now, don’t pay too much attention to her, let’s get back to the main show…

    There’s nothing wrong with that dynamic. It’s just that she can support her man without writing lol all the time. Pretty please.

    *straightens armchair psychology degree*

    *prays Athol doesn’t go nuclear and ban me*

  17. Over It says

    It’s definitely too easy to ignore the quad 2 stuff, which then unfortunately creates a habit of not doing it that becomes your default routine. Then you need to recalibrate your entire routine to change it…and it’s an uphill battle.

    I read recently that a way to overcome routine is to make yourself do 3 of the quad 2 things per week. I guess it’s supposed to get your momentum going, which gets you excited to do more, multiplier effect, etc…

  18. Louise says

    I could never imagine giving my husband my handbag to hold. Do women really do that? i don’t like other people even touching my handbag, let alone holding it. And if I was planning to start flirting with another man under my husband’s nose, I would ceetainly want to hold onto it. Because if I left it with him he might walk off in a huff with it and leave me without money, keys, credit cards etc, and then how would I get home?

  19. Serenity says

    @Liz I love the ‘lol’s. I picture Jennifer smiling every time I see her write ‘lol’. Meaning doesn’t always come across clearly in the written word, absent body language. Emoticons and ‘emotion’ acronyms allow better understanding for the reader. ‘Lol’s’ convey a light-hearted, joking approach, not stupidity; at least to this reader.

  20. Serenity says

    @Liz And I guess one solution is to start your own blog, if you haven’t already, and ban ‘lol’s forever. Who knows, you might find a niche of lol-less followers. lol

  21. Danceny says

    The truth of the matter is that at least half the people you work with are vacuous warm bodies, wasting the planet’s precious resources by their mere existence.

    Truth. I’m one of these people, indeed reading MMSL at work right now.

  22. Geoff says

    Another book recommendation is The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz. Excellent book. Anyone running the MAP should read it. Ultimately what we’re talking about here is priorities, committing to some basic continuous personal growth and good health. The more people point out that it will lead to getting laid more often, the more folks will do it. I think Athol has the ultimate “unique selling proposition” with his angle on selling personal growth. I’m shocked nobody else has come up with it in the past. “Do these things and you’ll be more productive and have a better mental state” – that just sounds exhausting.
    “Do these things and you’ll get LAID” pretty much every guy on the planet would listen.

  23. MyOwnDog says

    Covey’s time management quadrants concept is the one thing I’ve remembered from going through his stuff years ago. Simple, yet powerful.

    The point that several have made is that it’s not complicated. It’s just a matter of motivation and doing what you know you need to do. Kind of like dieting. Changing body composition and replacing fat with muscle can be more complicated, but simply not being fat is not. Yes, there are lots of diet books and approaches, some better/easier/more optimal than others. But everyone knows how to get it done. It’s just a matter of doing it. Every day.

  24. Draggin says

    RE: lols

    Using initialisms and emoticons is a feminine trait when it comes to attraction between the sexes. Expressing emotions, whether verbally or in written form, is expected of women. Sexually attractive men are expected to be doers, rather than emoters. There are not very many emo heroes in romance novels.

    Using initialisms (lol, omg, lmao) and emoticons is beta for a male. That is, it has a place to creating comfort, but not to create attraction or mystery. It can actually detract from attraction because you clearly show your emotion instead of letting the hamster spin and create its own beneficial drama (what does he mean? Is he teasing? I have to find out more!). Men should severely restrict or stop using emoticons with women they wish to be attractive to. As a corollary, if you want to be taken seriously by other men and in business matters, stop using initialisms and emoticons altogether (unless it is with a very close friend that knows you are not flirting and even then overuse will make you seem girly to them).

    Using initialisms and emoticons adds to a woman’s perceived femininity. I do find women that overuse them annoying, but that requires using it as every second word. I know women that use emoticons every text or two and and it is not annoying at all. In fact, watching the frequency helps me gauge their current attraction to me.

    I never found Jen to be overusing the the lols. I only get to read one text from her every day after all. Her use of the lols gives me the impression of warmth and play and increases my attraction to her. It is good girl game on her part. She would seem less feminine and more cold and bitchy if she did not add them.

    As a guess, I think the people who do not like Jen’s lols are feeling threatened by her femininity and feeling that their sex rank is lower than hers. Asking her to stop is along the lines of “You would look so much sexier with a brush cut” so that the relative sex rank difference is lowered. It could also mean that they were raised by a feminist mother to believe that feminine women are stupid and haven’t been able to correct that childhood frame yet.

  25. Draggin says

    A question: The request to stop the lols would be a shit test if it was aimed at a guy, but is it still called that when it is woman on woman?

    Original quote: ” …. stop writing “lol”. I’m know you’re very bright, but ……. it makes you seem like you’re, uh, not so bright.”

    Translation: Please change your actions so that my feelings more accurately reflect reality.

  26. says

    @Liz: “She doesn’t want to trample on Athol’s territory, so she puts in little “lols” to make it clear that she’s not the main attraction, she’s not trying to steal the spotlight, move along now, don’t pay too much attention to her, let’s get back to the main show…”

    Interesting theory… Except for the fact that Athol uses lols ALL THE TIME.

    I guess it’s ok if guys do it.

  27. Shanna says

    Love the “Highly effective people” series. There are great books for teens, too.
    Great post! I worked at a small computer company for a while and my office was right near the coffee room. Everyone would stop by to say “hi” after getting coffee and I couldn’t get anything done!
    I ended up looking into body-language books so I could send people silent messages to go away. One good tip I learned is DON’T take your hands off the keyboard or turn your chair to them. They’ll get the hint and walk away sooner.

    I completely agree with what Serenity said. LOL’s in our parts are used to place emotion into otherwise dry text that could be taken in various ways. I use them all the time. Because I’m nice and funny in real life, so I want to make sure that you know I am in text as well. :) (See what I did there. LOL!)
    When people use emoticons or acronyms it makes me like them more. I know what my IQ is, and it’s much higher than you would think to look at me. But I know a lot of intellectual arseholes and I’d rather be warm and friendly.
    Rock on with your bad-self, Jen Kay.

  28. JCclimber says

    I find the LOLs very annoying, when written by a man.
    I’ve actually stopped reading a couple posts because it showed me that he wasn’t serious about his craft. if you need to convey humor and weren’t able to make the point with your word choices, try adding “smirk” or “chuckle” or some other word that doesn’t imply a limp-wristed swisher got their paws on your keyboard.

    That said, I’m glad MMSL isn’t too full of it, it seems to be limited to the blog.

  29. FeralFelis says

    This is such fascinating insight into something I am coming to realize so fully that in my 54th year I can unequivocally say Ricky Nelson was right: You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.


  1. […] So following on from yesterday, the whole four quadrant thing is in my mind because I’ve been reorganizing my day. The adjustment from full time nursing and doing MMSL at night, to being at home and just MMSL has been a much bigger adjustment than I thought it would be. I easily get distracted and was finding that I simply wasn’t getting done what I really needed to get done. Oh I was certainly busy and active, just at the end of the day somehow exercise and book writing wasn’t happening. […]

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