“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
The Tradeoff Of Specific Constraints
The more we grow, the more specific our constraints and filters become.
In general, we become more open as individuals. For example, most adults lose the picky-eater antic as they grow up.
That has more to do with most people realising that there are things that they have to do. In this case, eat all sorts of foods to get all kinds of required nutrients.
If the picky-eating behaviour is prevalent in an adult to the point that they don’t get enough nutrients, they most likely suffer from avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). That’s a recognised disorder, by the way.
However, there are some things where our filters get stronger. They could be relationships, how we spend our time, the people we spend our time with, or the way we want our space to look. You get the idea.
The thing about having particular constraints, though, is that you’re practically playing life on hard mode.
If you’re even barely familiar with the idea of gaming, the hard mode is well, the difficult one. You have more challenges, and in return, the payoffs are usually higher.
That’s the trade-off. As an adult, the more specific your constraints, the more difficulty you’ll face in doing basic things, like, finding an apartment or a partner. However, when you do, the amount of satisfaction you’ll get is unsurpassed.
There are no right answers. It’s to be noted that whatever your constraints or filters, you should know about the trade-off.
The pickier you are, the more you’ll like the things you choose, and the more difficulty you’ll face in the day-to-day.
The trick is in making sure you get everything you need, though.
I Barely Check-off My To-Do List
When it comes to using a to-do list, the one thing I hear a lot is that most people don’t like their days planned to the pinpointed second. That, to me, is a fallacy.
If you use to-do lists, you know the thing most of us know: to-do list zero is an ambitious place to reach.
Amir Salihefendić, the founder of Doist, a company that makes multiple productivity software, including the famous app Todoist, revealed his method for how he manages his days.
The one thing I love about the exceptional interview is this thing he says about reaching to-do list zero.
“Of course, I don’t complete everything on my to-do list every day or respond to every email in my inbox every day. Sometimes I’m just postponing stuff that I didn’t get to.”
My experience has been similar as well. On most days, I never reach to-do list zero. There’s often some task that gets leftover, forgotten or becomes low priority enough to be rescheduled.
I’m sure you’re wondering why bother making one then? My answer is: to structure my days loosely.
That’s it. It’s to have a vague picture of what’s important today.
There’s no goal or productivity porn here. It’s all about the faint outline. Then, you do what you can do every day.
I barely stick to my to-do list, but I make sure the tasks are all on there.
Reading List: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
Outliers was one of my favourite books in 2018, and for a good reason.
With the examples Malcolm Gladwell has picked, this book screams survivorship bias. This book is also a treasure trove of things you can do to be in the survivors’ group of the survivorship bias of the world.
It walks you through great success stories where people were uniquely put into highly specific situations, like Bill Gates being one of the few people in an entire country to have access to learning programming when he did.
This book tells you that luck plays a huge factor in success as much as talent does. It also says that luck can only help you to a limit. If an opportunity arrives, you should be able to utilise it.
So, in some way, the best way is paradoxical.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
What decision are you stuck on? I talked about the concept of decision fatigue and its prevalence in the age of the internet and smartphones on the blog last week.
The idea is that we’re continually making small, irrelevant decisions with each ping or notification. By the time we reach a crucial fork in the road, we barely have any willpower to decide judiciously.
Also, I’ve been revamping the Instagram account ever so slightly so if you’re on there, let me know if you’ve picked up on the tiny changes by replying to this email.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.