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.

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.

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.

Thinking about doing something, but never actually going ahead and pursuing it is actually more common than you think. I’ve met very very few people (none I can think of off the top of my head) who will take an idea, no matter how simple or grand, or what the potential is, and then implement it. Some start, but most will lose hype in the idea within days if not a few weeks.

When we feel hyped about an idea we have (a new project, a business plan, etc), we feel the idea is brilliant, perfect, etc, and we feel determined to begin working. This hype never lasts however, no matter how brilliant the idea is in an objective sense. We eventually sober down and will easily begin pushing the idea further back on our todo list, if not completely disregarding it as being unfeasible or stupid. Every idea is stupid unless it works.

Being a Doer instead of a Thinker requires an excruciating amount of discipline. 99.9% of people can’t do it. Stop thinking you have a mental illness or any sort of problem, disadvantage or misfortune. You don’t even have a lack of discipline, if you’re comparing yours to the average person. Sure, Amphetamine might help, but it doesn’t mean you have ADD. Depression and anxiety can hinder progress and stop you from doing pretty much anything, but it doesn’t mean not being depressed or anxious will necessarily mean you will begin knocking big projects off your list.

Understanding this may give you a more accurate picture of yourself and put you in a more positive mindset. You don’t want to be normal, you want to be exceptional. Suddenly, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you — instead, you have a drive to work beyond your limits and excel at what most people cannot – Doing things when you absolutely don’t feel like it. Skipping naps and other enjoyable things to get shit done.

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.

You’re walking down the street, watching TV, or just browsing the web, and you come across something profitable or unique you had an idea for long ago, but never bothered to pursue. The feeling is both good and bad. On one hand, this discovery reassurances you that despite what your peers might tell you, neither you nor your ideas are crazy, inane or unfeasible. But on the other hand, that dude totally stole your idea.

But what does “stole my idea” mean? This assumes that the idea itself belongs to you, and being that it’s your own idea, it does belong to you, but does it mean that nobody else can have the same idea? We’d like to think so. In reality, there’s a good deal of people who have long had the same ideas we have now, and there will be people having these same ideas thinking they’re unique long after we’ve actually implemented the idea and shown it to the world. The idea can belong to each of these people, but the actual implementation cannot.

What matters is not just having the idea, but actually going forth and implementing it. Walk through a supermarket and mall, and there’s plenty of “obvious” things that “anyone could have thought of” – and there’s no doubt plenty of people did, but who actually went ahead and risked working on something unique, and then became popular for it?

People believe that the idea itself is 99% of the work, but is isn’t true. It takes a lot of time, money, effort and some luck to actually implement an idea. And after that it might never take off because it’s ahead of its time or its implementation wasn’t good enough.

Most people will brush their own ideas off as being unrealistic, but most ideas begin like any other: “you know what they should make? something that …” or “man, if only they put a ____ that also does ____” – these usually bring a laugh, but somebody, somewhere will actually find profit or value in these innovations and risk time and money to make them a reality. These people are the ones that deserve the credit.

This  means you need to choose what you work on wisely. Most of our ideas will never see the light of day, and that’s OK. The important thing is being able to spend our time working on ideas that we truly believe will be of value, and especially related to things we are passionate about (if possible). After many failures we will begin to see what we excel at, what we suck at, and our ideas will become more focused and “realistic.” It becomes easier to get our ideas off the ground, but until we’re at that level, we need to throw shit at the wall until something sticks.

A lower income class man might look at a homeless man and wonder why he doesn’t get a job. Why he works his ass off picking up bottles, when he can use that time and energy to make much more money, for relatively less work. Anyone can do it, he thinks.

You look at a lower income class man and wonder why he doesn’t get a real job, instead of spending nearly all his time working 3 crappy jobs to make in a year what you make in a month. Anyone can do it, you think.

A rich man might look at you and wonder why you don’t stop working for somebody else, and instead learn how money works to become rich. Anyone can do it, he thinks.

The homeless, poor, and middle class man all believe they can’t surpass their status, and therefore won’t change what they’re doing because it’s, to them, futile. They look at the classes above them and attribute that to luck, genetics, parents, government conspiracies, Gods. Some might attribute the higher class(es) as being only attainable by unethical or illegal means.

Some might attribute it to hard work and believe the path their following will lead them there, eventually, if they persist. They see life as being setup in tiers; A ladder. They need to start low and work their way up to become relatively rich (enough bottles, a better job, etc).

None of them believe they can reach the status of the rich man (own a Ferrari, a successful business, etc), and so never will, with the exception of luck. This causes the belief that rich==luck is to be reinforced further.

* Note: There’s a book titled How Come That Idiot is Rich and I’m Not? This post is not based on anything in that book. I have not read the book.
Posted in persistence, self-awareness at March 21st, 2009. No Comments.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not – nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not – unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not – the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

-Calvin Coolidge

Posted in persistence at August 27th, 2008. No Comments.