Stuff that improves things permanently after effort is made once is underrated.
Its valued highly, but nowhere near highly enough.
How can anyone -- anyone -- who interacts with a computer more than a few hours a month justify not being able to type?
And yet, most people who didn't learn it early won't invest the time into typing fast (or even competently, sometimes).
People don't learn keyboard shortcuts, and don't spend time thinking on how to customize their computer better.
People don't streamline workflows and integrations in business, and don't get an outsourcer or software on top of tedious recurring tasks.
30 seconds saved is incredibly valuable.
Knocking off a chunk of recurring spending is incredibly valuable.
Getting more leverage when you sit down to work is valuable.
Improving sleep quality through structural improvements is incredibly valuable.
Want to have a nice week? Brainstorm out 10 things you could do that would basically permanently improve your life.
Then, do those.
It ain't rocket surgery, but most people won't make time for those tiny gains that add up tremendously. Will you?
Burning midnight oil right now anyway. So, I will write the list.
Sebastian, do you have any suggestions on getting back on a regular sleep schedule after traveling/strange hours without resorting to melatonin supplements?
I was actually just thinking about this recently. I use Anki regularly for studying, but it bothered me that it didn't have emacs keybindings (so, for example, I couldn't use Ctrl-A to move to the beginning of the line, followed by Ctrl-K to delete the whole line - I had to backspace the whole thing or select with the mouse and backspace). This weekend, I finally decided to just write a plugin that did what I wanted. It took several hours, but the experience is now so much less painful. In this case, the upside isn't the 30 seconds I save every day (although that's nice too) - it's the fact that there's no longer any friction in doing something that is good for me, so I'm much more likely to continue doing it. That qualitative difference is ridiculously large in the long term, but the short-term pain of actually doing something made me put it off for far too long.
Reducing friction is important and not to be underrated.. though less related to this current post. I think the experience of writing the plugin alone is worth the action.
I ponder the other possible uses for Anki..
I did a poor job explaining the point I wanted to make above. What I intended to say was that the benefits of structural improvements are often long-term, whereas the costs are usually short-term. Additionally, the benefits can sometimes be qualitative improvements, which makes them harder to calculate and compare to the costs, which are usually quantitatively obvious (e.g. 3 hours, $100, etc.) Therefore, when determining if a structural improvement is worth the time required for implementation, it's important to consider all future benefits associated with the change, especially future costs for *not* making the change (e.g. giving up on Anki not because it was no longer valuable, but because it became too painful to use regularly, and it's something that really has to be used regularly). I hope that's slightly more relevant to the point Sebastian was trying to make.
On a related note, I think Anki would be fantastic for making these sorts of structural changes. One of my major use cases for Anki is memorizing constants (like the charge of an electron) so I don't have to keep looking them up. Also, your comment about pondering the possible uses for Anki inspired me to use it to memorize emacs commands so thanks!
One of the most rare mixes of people is someone that can do strategy, do tactics, and teach well. This kind of person understands big picture thinking and working on the right things, can experiment and solidify how to make those big things work in the real world, and can meet a potential student at their currency competency level to bring the person up.
This person is extremely rare, one of the most valuable people to all of society. They make great works, and can show others how to make great works. Whenever I encounter such a person, I try to dive in and learn whatever they're working on - I don't care if it's something totally unrelated to what I'm working on, anyone that has a mix of strategy/tactics/teaching is incredibly valuable. If I meet someone who is a highly skilled strategist-tactician-teacher in cooking, or singing, or dancing, or meditation, or mechanics, or crafts - I'll spend some time learning what they're studying. Carl von Clauswitz and Adam Smith both fit in the mold of strategist/tactician/teachers. Miyamoto Musashi, as well. Bruce Lee. In business, Michael Gerber definitely, Chet Holmes as well. In productivity, David Allen. In motivation/planning/goal-setting, Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy.
It's something I aspire to - a mastery of high-level figuring out how to win and what to win at, ability to put together quickly actionable plans to get there from here, and then after all that - being able to explain how you did it so others can follow in your footsteps. Truly, quality strategists are rare, quality tacticians are rare, and quality teachers are rare. The mix of all 3 - quality strategist/tactician/teacher - is one of the most rare and important people, and one of the most valuable to learn from.
Via Hacker News, I came across Danial Odio's site. He comes across to me as the rare breed of strategist/tactician/teacher. I've been going through his site at a crazy pace the last few days - his insights are simply remarkable. He understands the high level of being an entrepreneur and businessman and technologist, he understands the tactical level of generating value and spreading it through the world, and he communicates it in an elegant and straightforward way.
My biggest time consumer - completing the editing of my first book - is now done, so I'm looking to add a new creative campaign to what I'm doing. Odio writes here that people who spend time around him wind up getting DROdio-ized: Working from everywhere, getting efficient, becoming tenacious. The things Mr. Odio's working on and writing on line up very closely with what I'm working on, so I've got my next mini-project - I'm going to DROdio-ize over the next month or so. Looking at his site, Odio's written a number of articles that are very clearly actionable with detailed specifics on what to do. Tomorrow I'll summarize my rough plan and start getting more DROdio-ized - working everywhere, efficiently, being tenacious, all while becoming more strategic, more tactical, and showing others the way forward once there.
If you're in your 20's, you probably feel like you're going to be in your 20's forever. Can you picture yourself in your 30's? What about your 50's? Probably not. I get the same feeling from time to time, but have learned to develop a certain sense of urgency that allows me to focus on the stuff that matters, and avoid focusing on things that won't be beneficial for me long term.
Now don't get me wrong. I still party on the weekends, and plan to do it for a long time. But I still align partying on the weekends with my goals. How? When I go out, I'm constantly challenging myself and doing stuff that would scare the shit out of most people (Like approaching girls that are surrounded by 5 guys or whatever). But I don't drink, and I don't do drugs. I'm completely sober. And believe me, I'm having more fun than anybody else in the room.
What I mean is that you don't have to stop doing the things that you're supposed to do in your 20's, like going out, to live out your dreams. But you do have to focus on what matters most for you. Because what I have realized is that, in your 20's, most people will try to press you to become what they want you to be. And if your goals aren't clear enough, that's what probably will end up happening.
But maybe you don't know what you want yet or maybe you do know what you want but you don't really know how to get there. Fine, nothing to worry about. But that's not an excuse to play videogames 4 hours a day and get wasted on weekends. Here's what you should do instead: