sup homeslice. This site is in beta. Posts are drafts; streams of consciousness.
Better to have published and been Insulted & Humiliated than to have never published at all.

In this file, cat is going to be female and referred to as her but this applies to male cats/dogs/fish/etc.

  • Any animal is afraid of entities (animals, humans, objects) bigger than itself and will be frightened if you display that you’re larger in size to her, hence she will react with aggression or fear at the sight of a larger creature. To avoid this, stood/crawl down to the cat’s level or somehow hide the majority of your body only exposing hands/fingers as the cat cannot distinguish that this body part is part of the larger whole (your finger is not attached to your entire body, as far as the feline is concerned.)
  • Stand up, open your shirt/jacket or somehow appear larger than the cat to invoke fear in her, but do so shortly before/during/after having a treat (cat food, catnip) with you. You want to override that a large creature is not a threat by override learned behavior that a larger animal is a threat by giving the feline a treat during or shortly after frightening her.
  • Let cat adapt to surroundings by reducing noise levels, ensuring air quality is good (avoid smoking tobacco or having open flames for better air quality.)
  • Let the cat roam around with nobody present. Any human or other pet (or smell of previously owned pet urine/fur/litter) will make the cat cautious about leaving her conform zone.
  • After a few days or weeks, if cat is left alone, she may begin to approach you on her own. This is a goos sign. Should the cat approach you, make no noise and no furtive movements. Simply put your hand out. This may frighten her at first, but keep your hand out and pet her behind the neck (where as a kitten, her mom would have carried her using her mouth.)
  • Try to use the same voice/tone with the cat while kneeling down. Use voice gently and if cat refused to acknowledge this call, let her be. Should she respond by peaking out or coming towards you, reward her with a treat or by petting her. Keep hand/arm as low as possible and let her approach it. As you would with a police officer, avoid furtive movements. This is beyond the scope of this article so I will include a short excerpt here:
    • The term Furtive Movement is vague and police use it often enough in any situation rendering it meaningless.
    • To rephrase this, do not make stealth/unexpected/quick/underhanded movements that may scare the cat. Your movements should be slow, visible to the observer (cat, officer, anyone) and predictable. An example of a furtive movement is quickly reaching into your pocket, having your hands up and doing a sly/quick move to touch your hands together or even your watch (reaching for something including your watch is a great way to get shot as the watch may actually be a specialized device (detonator, button to destroy device, etc.)
  • Let feline explore her [new] surroundings at her own pace. Use a single name/sound/voice with a consistent node to give her time ao acclimate
Posted in Anxiety, Bad Habits, General Tips at February 1st, 2015. No Comments.

Having more money usually results in no more than a higher Quality of Life (QoL.) It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll suddenly begin forming new habits because of this big change in your life.

Our hobbies and things we buy are directly correlated to our budget. We implicitly raise our standers of quality and how we perceive purchases. If hiring somebody to fix your shower head will cost $50, and you make $50 an hour, that means you’re spending only $50 vs the 3-4 hour DIY job you’re thinking about to save money. 3-4 hours to do something means the cost (in work hours) comes out to $150-200 and probably low quality work.

People who overspend when they are rich are people who likely overspent and gotten into debt before coming across their fortune. Here’s an example: Spending $300/night on a hotel isn’t that big of a deal to somebody who makes $1000 a day. If that person is making $30,000 a month, $300 to them is only 1% of their monthly income. 1% of $4100/month – a common middle class monthly income (~$50k/year) – is $41. That doesn’t sound absurd. In fact, we will probably opt to spend much more if we feel this is a one time thing, or “we’re on vacation so we might as well stay somewhere nice.”

If it takes less than 10 minutes to do, do it now. Some 10 minute or less tasks are taking a shower, doing the dishes and going around the corner to buy something you need.
Don’t have idle moments. If you feel you’re being idle or conversing with your inner critic too much, shake it off and remind yourself what the next important action is. It will make you feel like crap but if it’s something you can finish in 10 minutes or less, the pros beat the cons.
Have yourself complete at least one small part of what you’re doing before going on breaks. If you feel the need to take a break because you’ve “earned” it by doing a task, then do another task but for no more than 10 minutes, then continue with your break. Over time you will naturally build a habit of reminding yourself what matters right now. Doing the dishes so you don’t have to do 2 loads before bed, vs doing the dishes now and possibly having to do another load before bed knowing both tasks will take 20 minutes in total.

The idea here is to use the time you have between important tasks to complete mundane little tasks that quickly pile up

Sometimes you’ll need help. Sometimes you’ll fail (certainly more than you’ll win, at anything) and sometimes you’ll have regrets. These are part of the human experience and brooding over them costs a lot of time. Most people don’t realize how much time they have in a day (even minus sleep.) It’s not easy to condition yourself to change right away

New experiences are important to help your brain cells build stronger and more efficient connections together. This plasticity is responsible for molding your behaviors and humans are able to constantly make use of it in positive ways to induce a conditioned response. You can’t choose exactly how you feel. Your brain
Don’t say no unless you have a great reason. If the person inviting you is constantly rebutting every excuse you have, they know you don’t want to go because you’re disturbed or anxious. There’s no point hiding it and there’s also no real point in saying no unless you really have an excuse. Alone time results in strengthening the networks between neurons such that they are configured in formations that determine how you feel about something and how you approach it. It’s obvious when somebody is depressed or anxious, and trying to talk them out of it isn’t going to work.

Always take into account the fact that others don’t perceive things you do. You might have a grand idea or you’r enthusiastic about a subject. You’ve found something that’s meaning to you. This means whatever it is you can’t stop raving about is a way to help you cope with your own issues. For others to join in to help you achieve it, or when it comes to explaining your idea to somebody else, keep in mind that the other person probably doesn’t have the same definition of the adjectives you’re using. Some people might understand you at an intellectual level, but unless you have authority (experience) and a proven track record, telling people your ideas generally results in questions and topics that lead you to never start. Show off or ask for help only when you’ve done a majority of the work and have shown that this is something you’d actually pursue this time. You waste everyone’s time by constantly switching between ideas.

Small tasks pile up quickly. One tip I use is to simply remind myself that if the task takes less than 10 minutes, Its best to get it out of the way right now.

Doing the dishes right after eating or cooking takes about 1-5 minutes tops for 1-2 people’s dishes. It takes about 3x as long to finish the same load if you let food dry onto the dishes overnight.

Doing your dishes encourages others to do theirs as well. You should continue to do at least your own dishes regardless of whether your roommate/partner/family take notice or not.

Taking out the trash takes no more than 2-3 minutes. Before adopting this habit (took awhile) I used to let garbage pile up in my garage and take it out in big batches monthly.

It’s unlikely you would have productively used the 5-10 minutes each task takes. When depressed, anxious or just unproductive, time seems to fly by very quickly. In fact, 10 minutes is a very long time. Adopting a habit of learning something, recreational reading or exercise for 10 minutes a day is a great start.

Posted in Bad Habits, Time Management at February 25th, 2011. No Comments.

There are some excellent self-help material out there. Some of it can change lives, or at least instill excellent habits and help one see things in a new light. Think and Grow Rich is a classic. Steve Pavlina’s articles are informational and motivational. Joe Novarro’s books on body language are a must read for everyone. There’s something I noticed about people who don’t get many benefits from self-help.

Self-help books assume that you’re healthy to begin with. How can you Get Things Done when you can’t even change the cat litter less than once a month, or do the laundry or dishes?

These things aren’t easy, but for some people they just aren’t possible. It’s not that one may be physically incapable of doing something, but for people who suffer from depression (clinically, not just occasional sadness,) it’s easy to justify against doing anything. No matter how good this advice is, telling a depression person to exercise daily will never produce results. Telling a depressed person to quit smoking will never produce results. That person may be able to exercise and quit smoking after the depression is taken care of. In this sense, these things would serve as symptoms of depression rather than a cause.

If you’re stuck and you can’t seem to move forward, especially if it has been this way for a prolonged period, I recommend seeking professional help. It takes a lot of courage to get past the stigma of mental illness (it takes about 8 years to diagnose depression, on average) but it doesn’t make sense to loiter through life until it gets bad enough that you will end up seeking professional help anyway.

After the mental illness is being taken care of, the self-help material begins making sense in a new light. It’s no longer just mental masturbation, but begins being actual habits that you can work into your life slowly. Treating the depression will not change the bad habits a person depressed for years may have integrated into his life, but once you treat the illness (either via medication or psychoanalysis, or both) getting things done, exercising on a regular basis, getting over shyness, socializing, etc become feasible, especially after you begin seeing changes occur at such a rapid rate.

Spend at least $10+ buying something you really want to eat. The healthier, more expensive, more ethnic – and anything else that may make it easier to justify eating the meal, the better.

Buy this meal, prepare it, unpack it, etc, and then have it sitting in front of you. Oh, and don’t eat it. Just sit.

DO NOT taste any part of the meal. Don’t even taste the ketchup packets.

DO NOT eat anything for the next 8 hours.

DO notice the smell and freshness of it.

DO make note of every justification you’re coming up with. (See list below)

Remember that this is a test of self-control, not healthiness, finances, or anything else. The cost of the meal is the cost of the experiment, not “a waste of money.” Yes there are starving kids in Africa, but when did you give a shit?

This will likely take a few tries, but try to 1up the last meal you failed to resist.

Justifications that may be going through your mind:

  • I’m wasting money
  • I’m wasting food
  • My mom/Gods told me never to throw food out.
  • I never tried food from this place
  • I never tried this dish/item
  • I’m gonna be awake for a long time so I should eat
  • I’m hungry. It’s not healthy not to eat
  • I need protein (or carbs, or fats, or calories, …)
  • I have dry mouth (water is OK but don’t fill yourself up)
  • I’m afraid of getting an ulcer (or some other medical condition)
  • I just drank coffee, alcohol or <insert other drug>, it’s better if I eat something with these drugs
  • I don’t have self-control, who cares?
  • I’ll try this again some other time
  • Just a bite (1 bite is justified same way as entire meal)

Notice that in the back of your mind, the goal that you will eat the food will remain. What’s stopping you from eating the food is your search for a reasonable justification. The point of the task is to stop this searching and just accept the unwanted end result – no soup for you.

Posted in Bad Habits, persistence, self-awareness at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

It’s something we know deep down but continue to ignore and try to find alternatives for, sort of like physical exercise. We look for tips, shortcuts, medicine to take, people to copy and people to push us. Ultimately, all the experience, wisdom, knowledge we gain, and all the self-help books, will lead us to this same conclusion: Just Do It – it’s the only mantra you need.

Knowing this, begin looking for an answer not on how to be more productive (I just told you how), but on why you avoid things that aren’t enjoyable right now. It’s because you’re not future oriented, and it’s the same reason you don’t exercise on a regular basis. The kids who sat in the back of the class in junior high school and didn’t do any work probably had the same problem. Imagine you’re teaching them why they should suck it up and go to class, and then use the same thing you tell them to motivate yourself to suck it up and just do what needs to be done, right now.

Sometimes we avoid doing trivial tasks because while the task itself takes 5 minutes, there’s a burdensome process that must happen before and after the task. One example is upgrading your computer. Putting new computer memory (RAM) in is easy. It’s simple and takes literally a minute. The entire process of upgrading your RAM can take much longer, or at least seem to be a huge burden psychologically. We need to shutdown, move the pc, open it, put the RAM in, close the pc, move the pc back, run some RAM tests, etc.

In reality even the entire process done fully as hypothesized above doesn’t take too long, but we will subconsciously avoid or procrastinate on tasks that we think might be a chore. One way to counter this is to always think about maintenance while you work. Don’t do a half-assed job because you’re in a rush. Take extra time to make sure your work is quality. Leave your work in a state in which neither you, nor anybody else would mind going back to and maintaining. Depending on what you’re working on, document your work (for yourself as much as for others), clean up properly and make sure things are as close to how you left them as possible. Try to be consistent.

I have a major problem taking the garbage out, not because I mind spending 60 seconds picking up bags from every room and tossing them in a bin, but because I can’t find the garbage bags. Irritated, I fumble through my garage for a garbage bag, get the chore done, but then have the same problem a few days later. If I take an extra 5 minutes to organize all the things I need (bags, twist ties, etc), probably close to the bin going out, then the chore will remain trivial.

Another major cause of stress is not being able to find something, because I didn’t put it back in its usual place the last time I used it. This is especially aggravating when somebody else does it to me. Living with others who have bad habits is probably the best catalyst in getting you to make positive changes in your own habits.

Spending a little extra time in every single task you do takes considerable effort to make a habit, but is well worth it. I suggest starting small. I began by always putting things back where they belonged, and then moved on to doing the dishes as soon as I’ve used them, instead of having them pile up. It’s especially important to keep the flow going when you absolutely don’t feel like doing so. The best time to keep pushing and go with it is when you can logically justify putting the chore off. Being able to realize that washing a just-used plate will only take a minute and is worth it, when you can easily justify not washing the plate because you’re studying or otherwise very busy, is one of the last steps you’d need to get through before this habit becomes regular.

Posted in Bad Habits, persistence, Procrastination, Productivity at June 20th, 2009. 1 Comment.

Like most people I know, I do my best and most productive work late into the AM. This is generally seen as a bad habit, even by those who do it, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who tries to “fix his schedule” every other day.

One reason I’d like to fix my schedule is because I feel if I wake up early and get my work done, I have “the whole day ahead of me.” This is true, but in reality, I have the rest of the day ahead of me no matter what my schedule is like. If I wake up at 5 AM, 12 PM or 3 PM, I have the same amount of time between when I awoke and when I’m going back to bed. It only feels like waking up late eats most of my day because I subconsciously go through the day still intending to sleep at the early bed time I set for yourself; i.e., 11 – 1AM. If I give up the idea of trying to fix my schedule and accept that I will be awake late, I suddenly feel I unlocked more time.

For people who have jobs or classes to attend in the morning, getting up early isn’t a choice. In that case, there’s no doubt you need to fix your schedule. What matters is getting enough sleep. That aside, there are many benefits to waking up early in the morning:

  • Being up late at night can be depressing, especially when there’s nobody around.
  • Staying up late is usually the result of worse habits, like bad time management. Perhaps a feeling of “I wasted the entire day, and now I don’t want to sleep before I get something done.”
  • In most places, even  New York, being up late in the AM is much more limiting than being up at night. Things you might need to get stuff off your todo list, like banks, libraries and post offices, will be closed.
  • People are far less likely to think you’re a drug abuser or a zombie if you wake up early morning.

With those benefits, why not fix your schedule? Accepting that your schedule is bad and taking the above factors into account, there’s really not much harm in staying up late. If you do wake up and sleep early, you might not get anything done if you’re poor at managing your day.

I noticed if I wake up early, I feel lazy just because I know I have so much time ahead to get things done. It’s idiotic and easily fixed if I look at the big picture, but I generally have no obligations in the morning and so no real reason to be up. I work from home with no fixed schedule, and if I take classes they’re almost always after 12 PM.The stress and pressure of feeling guilty for staying up late aren’t worth the benefits of waking up early. Being up in the morning is overrated, especially when you’re getting enough sleep and getting things done.

Re-evaluate if you really need to fix your sleeping schedule, and then if you do: Fix it. Wake up at the same time everyday, no matter when you sleep. Don’t take naps and your body will naturally adjust to make sure you get the right amount of sleep. You’ll begin to feel tired later in the day, and more energized in the morning, provided you give your body enough time to get used to the change. Just be aware that you will likely not be able to get anything done the first 2-3 days. I tend to feel like indifferent, tired and dysphoric while waiting for my body to adjust. That’s OK. Just realize this is normal and will go away, otherwise this withdrawal syndrome will keep you tied to your bad schedule.

Posted in Bad Habits, Sleep, Stress, Time Management at June 18th, 2009. No Comments.

There’s no question that buying in bulk means you’re paying (much) less per individual unit, but in the long run does it save you money? The obvious answer is yes – how can it not? Instead of buying 1 train card for $4 everyday for 30 days (total $120), you would save $40 if you buy an $80 30 day unlimited card. In fact, you would likely save more because on some days (maybe weekends) you might use the train multiple times.

With metrocards, or anything you purchase on a regular basis that you can sit down and calculate a near exact cost of (cable bill, monthly memberships, etc), buying in bulk is a no-brainer. However, things you consume or use up, like gas or food, likely end up costing more when bought in bulk.

This happens if you don’t have a system for how you plan on using what you bought over an extended period. Instead of buying one Twinkie a day, you might think you’re saving $20 buying a big monthly supply (monthly supply being 31 Twinkies, for example). Without any form of control or restriction placed on the Twinkies, it’s likely you will now just end up eating more than one Twinkie per day. You might finish the Twinkies in a week instead of a month, and then probably either get sick of them and quit buying them for a week or two, and then resuming the cycle, or resuming it right away. Food isn’t the only thing we can abuse…

With a full tank in the car, I’m much more likely to speed or drive aggressively. With multiple bags of cat food in storage, I would probably take out scoops without caring much about losing any bits of food. I.e., some bits fell on the floor, or I put too much and need to throw out the old bits.

This also happens with money. If you have $100 in your bank account, you’re much less likely to charge small purchases, and become very vigilant about what you’re buying. With $3,500 in your bank account, this self monitoring is inhibited because suddenly, the loss is insignificant relative to how much you have in the bank. This is illogical. Saving $1 is saving $1,whether you have $2 in the bank or $2,000.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is an excellent way to save money, but also requires that you micromanage your supply.

Posted in Bad Habits, Money, self-awareness at June 8th, 2009. No Comments.