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.

200909211303.jpg

(Cleaning and cleaning up in this paper are used interchangeably to refer to restoring a unit or environment to how it was prior to starting a task, including but not limited to water+soap cleaning, such as doing the dishes.)

Cleaning up sucks. It can stop you from starting an otherwise fun project because you don’t want to bother with the clean up. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity — one that many people would never learn to just accept and do without whining. It’s one of those are things that just have to be (done).

Cleaning up is actually a manly thing to do. A major aspect of being a man entails putting emotions aside and doing whatever task needs to be done. Being able to stop yourself from thinking how awful and ‘worthless’ cleaning up might be – whether done in a whiny fashion in which you bitch about how annoying cleaning up is, or done in a state in which you envision devising some clever way to avoid cleaning up: A business plan, an innovation, or any philosophical or logically correct idea – will almost always result in you just getting up and doing the work anyway.

The thought that you have to clean up is easier to accept effortlessly if you tie it into each task you’re doing. It might take 2 minutes to cook Ramen noodles, but it would be erroneous to tell yourself that eating will only take 2 minutes. Though the noodles need to remain in the water for 2 minutes before they are ready, the entire process from opening the cupboard to finishing the dishes takes much longer.

Keeping the entire process from start to finish in mind before you begin will make it easier to quickly accept and finish up anything that needs to be done afterwards. But besides that, cleaning up is actually pretty cool sometimes. Quality cleanliness is an art. Anyone can wiggle a plate left and right under running water and say they did the dishes, but being able to use an efficient amount of water (and no more), the right amount of soap/solution, and devise methods for making finishing the task easier or more efficient, takes practice. And it shows, as you will learn if you live with somebody who’s impatient or simply doesn’t put much effort into cleaning up

Posted in Productivity, Thinking vs Doing at September 21st, 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.

Imagine taking a camcorder and recording yourself for 24 hours on an ordinary day. You could actually get hold of a camera and do this, but this may be difficult as batteries don’t last longer than a few hours, and your camera might not be portable enough to be practical in some situations (mounting it while driving, walking around with it, etc). Just visualizing this scenario works just as well if you put thought and effort into it.

Imagine this in third person; You seeing yourself from the outside, and with no audio (and if you actually do record, play it back on mute).

Your camera is positioned toward your bed and begins recording as soon as you’re up in the morning – up as in conscious, not necessarily fully out of bed. What would you see next? Some people get up right away, but most probably remain in bed fully awake for awhile, pondering the universe and their existence.

Now you go through your morning routine (SSS: shit / shower / shave), and eat, or not. Assuming you sit on the computer to work, what would you see yourself doing? Maybe pausing in between work, browsing random sites, just staring at the screen not doing much.

Imagine the rest of your ordinary day. If you’re a thinker, most of your life only happens in your head. On a muted video, you’re sitting around not doing much, but at that moment in your head, countless thoughts, ideas, worries, and emotions and imagery are happening, and you might not realize that to the rest of the world, you’re just standing still. No action is being taken, and you can finally see why hours go by without much work getting done.

Posted in self-awareness, Thinking vs Doing at August 2nd, 2009. No Comments.

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.

You’d be surprised to find out that most people are understanding if you just speak to them. It’s almost never all-or-nothing, and many people will gladly settle for much less than what you think they expect of you. Here are some examples…

You can usually ask for an extension on school work. Contrary to what I’ve always assumed, professors aren’t going to think you’re an idiot or sigh, just because you tell them that you’ve been having a problem with the work or need some extra time to finish.

Even after you’ve agreed to finish something for a client, there’s nothing wrong with going back to them and telling them that you can’t get this or that done exactly as planned, or that things are taking longer than expected. If you can’t finish something on time, it’s better to tell them ASAP and work something out, rather than giving up quality by rushing things.

If you can’t make it to an appointment on time, just call in that you’ll be a little late. Very few things are worse than having people wait on you, especially if it’s a first meeting.

Most of the time we won’t speak up out of fear or humiliation, but there’s no shame in going back and explaining something honestly to a person, no matter how high we think they expect something from us. Ironic.

If you closely watch how people interact with you or with each other, they’re usually pretty honest about what they can and cannot do. The idea that only people who are incompetent or slow go back and ask for more instructions, or admit that they don’t understand something, is completely irrational. In fact, there’s something non-human about just taking in commands and shitting out work – Input/Output.

Posted in Confidence, Thoughtless Thoughts at July 2nd, 2009. No Comments.

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.

ThisĀ  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.

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, evenĀ  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.

What you do is your own choice. Nobody can force you to do anything. People can have an influence on you, but so can anything. Filter out things you feel will influence you into doing something for which you won’t accept responsibility.

Things don’t have to suck. Our memories, opinions, beliefs and thoughts label everything good or bad. We choose how to feel. This means that things suck because we choose to believe they suck. See above.

There’s no such thing as multitasking. It takes your brain a little bit of time to settle into the groove of whatever you’re doing. This becomes impossible if you’re constantly distracted or willingly trying to finish multiple things at once. Stop it.

Be confident, but to do so you first have to thoroughly understand what confidence means to you.

Understand and internalize that progress is made in little steps.

We can justify anything to ourselves. We pick certain facts and beliefs and use them to formulate a very logical justification for …pretty much anything. Any one of us can go out and murder children, and no matter how bad we feel about it, we will eventually find countless reasons to justify what we did. This is part of human nature.

Despite what your therapist taught you, when you’re with other people, or in a public place, you likely are being judged and looked at. It’s normal. We all do it all the time. Is it really a problem? Does the judging we do the first second we lay eyes on somebody affect or hurt them? There will always be people who hate you or things you do. They have a right to think you’re retarded or ugly. Why do you care?

Life isn’t a race. You’re not playing against anyone else. Don’t compare yourself to others. This belief can impede everything you do and can sometimes feel impossible to change, even after becoming aware of it.

You can do or be pretty much anything. Excuses are easier to come up with than most other accomplishments, and we naturally choose the path of least resistance. We can learn to speak a new language fluently, or master a new skill, or build something remarkable. We can also convince ourselves that we’re incapable and incompetent.

Life sucks. It will always suck until you decide to believe otherwise.

Change. A big part of changing is just the realization, or belief, that you have changed. All the work you do between point A and point B is done to convince you that you’ve changed. By believing that some change has already occurred, you can greatly speed up the process. For example, if you’d like to be more confident, then just believe (or pretend) that you are, and do what you would do if you were more confident. (I’m not talking about any New-Age shit.)

If you want to lead, take charge. This is easier said than done. Most people will never be able to take charge unless they feel they’re superior to those in their group.

The hardest task is always getting started. There’s rarely a more efficient way than just to stop thinking and start doing. Don’t get stuck in a position where you just sit and think about how to get started, or of any shortcuts. You will end up either never starting, or just getting started the conventional way.

Relax. Things are fine, even when they’re not.