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Clean Up the Oatmeal Before It Dries

One of my favorite foods is oatmeal. It's a complex carb with a high amount of fiber, so you feel full all morning after eating it. It's dirt cheap. It's incredibly easy to make - you stir some boiling water into it. Thus, you can make it even without a full kitchen, like if you're in a hotel. The taste is kind of bland, nothing special, but you get used to it pretty quickly. If you want to spice it up more, any kind of fruit mixes well into it. If you're training, you can stir in flax seed for higher calories and protein, and then it takes on roughly the taste and texture of soft pretzels.

I love the stuff. I eat it whenever I can, which is pretty often. However, there's one downside of oatmeal - it's brutal to clean if you let it dry on a plate.

It's trivially easy to clean if you clean it while it's hot. Run a sponge over it once, or even just rinse a few times with very hot water. But after the stuff dries, it becomes a nightmare to scrape off.

I try to clean up immediately after breakfast, but sometimes I read, or write, or work on spec'ing something out with breakfast, and I might get lost in thought.

The time needed to clean up the oatmeal goes up drastically the longer you let pass. Clean up right after eating? 20 seconds or so. Three hours later? A few minutes. And if you let a whole day pass? You're going to be scrubbing that bowl in the sink for 10+ minutes.

Things Not to Cut When Busy

From time to time, everyone gets so ridiculously busy than they need to make cuts on some of their activities. If these cuts aren't consciously chosen, they'll happen anyways - we've only got 24 hours a day.

Interestingly, I hit a massively busy patch last week. I came onboard as a partner at a new company that's growing fast, but we haven't hired the staff to take over a lot of the mid-level tasks that need done. So we were jamming on everything for a week, plus I have a lot of other things going on.

What shocks me is how poorly the cuts I made at first were. The things that weren't getting done were some of the most valuable. Here's three that I wasn't doing, that I've now reversed even though this week is still busy -

1. Planning/organizing: There's been a bit of an anti-planning backlash the last few years in response to stupid bureaucracy in big companies. But the more experience I get and the more I interact with people performing on a really high level, the more planning and organizing I see.

Think about it - many activities and tasks only get 5-10 minutes of planning, but then take 3-10 hours to do. If you double your planning and make a task only 10% more efficient, you've got a net gain. Yeah, it can feel like "shit, I've got to get to work" when you're super busy, but being frantic leads to waste. Don't stop planning if you have too much going on. Arguably, that's when you should plan more carefully at the start of each day and week.

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