General life hacks
Mold your life so that the path of least resistance is the path of maximum productivity -Matt Might
- Good if you want to stop checking slashdot 30 times a day
Recognize the default actions in your life, and find ways to change those defaults
Spend the first 30 minutes of your day on what you want to accomplish the most
Use ‘bright lines’ to avoid ambiguities that keep you doing things you don’t want. “I don’t do X. I only drink Y twice a week.”
Get enough sleep. Seriously.
- Learn to touch type
- The effort you spend getting to 70-80 WPM is far outweighed in time saved over your life.
- Learn your editor inside out
- Use the best tools you can for your development machine. Waiting for compiles suck time and money.
- Assistants generally excel at maintaining systems, not creating them. You should have the big picture in your head.
- Have a documented process. Questions mean the process isn’t documented well enough.
- Set 3 important tasks for the day, every day. Guard your time so that these three things always get done
- Identify problem spots first.
A real priority has a budget, a deadline, and a person responsible for it being delivered. Anything else is wishful thinking. Real priorities ship.
Ivy Lee Method
- Each night before you go to bed, write down the 6 most important tasks for the next day.
- Order by importance.
- Do the tasks by importance.
The Dip by Seth Godin
“Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment” - Seth Godin (p. 64)
- The dip - where there is a barrier to great success
- The cul-de-sac - where nothing will change when you reach a certain point
- The cliff - when you can’t quit until you fall off
The dip can be what separates mediocrity and the average from ‘superstardom’ If you’re not going to be excellent, why are you doing it?
“Successful people don’t just ride out the Dip. They push harder, changing the rules as they go. Just because you know you’re in the Dip doesn’t mean you have to live happily with it. Dips don’t last quite as long when you whittle at them.” (p. 19)
Decide in advance when to quit. Don’t quit when you’re panicking or the pressure is great - decide when you’ve got a cool, level head and can approach the issue rationally. Write down the circumstances where you’re willing to quit and when.
Who are you trying to influence? If you’re trying to influence a single person, you might be trying their patience. When you’re approaching a market, it’s different strokes for different folks, so you may be able to find a better fit. You can make progress with a market, and it gets easier as you become more entrenched.
Measuring your progress means you can see if you’re pulling ahead or not.
Questions to ask before quitting
- Is this a Dip, a Cliff, or a Cul-de-Sac?
- If it’s a Cul-de-Sac, how can I change it into a Dip?
- Is my persistence going to pay off in the long run?
- Am I engaged with just one person (or organization), or do my actions in this situation spill over into the entire marketplace?
- When should I quit? I need to decide now, not when I’m in the middle of it, and not when part of me is begging to quit.
- If I quit this task, will it increase my ability to get through the Dip on something more important?
- If I’m going to quit anyway, is there something dramatic I can do instead that might change the game?
- Should I really be calling on IBM? Should I really be trying to get on Oprah?
- What chance does this project have to be the best in the world?
- Who decides what best is?
- Can we make the ‘world’ smaller?
- If I like my job, is it time to quit?
- Is doing nothing better than planning on quitting and then doing something great?
- Are you avoiding the remarkable as a way of quitting without quitting?
If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
three disqualifiers for applying the craftsman mindset
- job presents few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable
- job focuses on something you think is useless or perhaps even actively bad for the world
- job forces you to work with people you really dislike
- Control that is acquired without career capital is unsustainable
- The point at which you have acquired enough career capital to get meaningful control over your working life is exactly the point when you’ve become valuable enough to your current employer that they will try to prevent you from making the change.
The Law of Financial Viability
When deciding whether to follow an appealing pursuit that will introduce more control into your work life, seek evidence of whether people are willing to pay for it. If you find this evidence, continue. If not, move on.
Work Right trumps finding the Right Work
Productive Work Space
- Quiet, minimum of noise
- Comfortable temperature
- Natural light
- Kitchenette/kitchen should be a separate space (eg no microwave smell/noise)
- Adjustable desk (ie allows for sitting and standing)
- Deskspace should allow for work material to be comfortably spread out
- Ergonomic chair
- Water carafe
- Easy-to-consume calories hidden away
- Desk clear of clutter
- Necessary stationary within reach
- Lots of monitor space