Category Archives: Lifehack

First and Second Order Motivations

How do you decide what to do in life? How do you weigh different options? We all make small decisions every day: Do I take the stairs or the elevator? Walk, drive, take public transportation, or Uber? Cook, eat out, grab fast food, or drink Soylent? Attend class or skip? Go to bed early or get some more work done? Read a book or watch TV or Netflix in my free time?

We also make some decisions that have bigger implications for our lives: Where do I go for college? After college, do I get a job or go to grad school? Take a job with higher pay and longer hours or less pay and shorter hours? Work, volunteer, or pick up a hobby on the side? Date casually, seriously, or not at all? Have a child or focus on career? Move to another city or country or stay where I’m at? These problems are harder, but we all know they matter a lot. Read more of this post

It’s Not Your Fault

Growing up, I was notorious for losing things. I would sometimes spend upwards of 10-20 minutes looking for something I lost at home: My homework assignment, textbook, game, a pencil, a water bottle. Everything is always in the last place you look, because well, you stop looking, but it frequently also felt like everything was in the last part of the last room in the house that I hadn’t checked yet. Frustration is the strongest negative emotion that I feel, and losing things all the time was super frustrating.

I used to feel like this was a moral failing on my part. Why can’t I just keep my stuff straight? Why can’t I just be consistent about where I put my things? Why don’t I have a system in place for where each item belongs, and make sure to stick to that system?

Then I got to college. And I magically stopped losing things, or at least lost them with a much lower frequency and spent a lot less time looking. I still maybe lost a water bottle a couple times a year, so I switched to cheap flip-cap water bottles that I wouldn’t mind losing. Then the frustration was completely gone, and with basically no effort expended on my part. What happened? Read more of this post

What I’ve learned from time auditing myself

For a two-week period recently (April 27 to May 11), I time-audited myself. That is, I recorded everything that I spent time on, in 5-minute increments. I’m happy to share with you what I learned from both the resulting data and the process. Read more of this post

Soylent, ~60 meals in

Growing up, we occasionally would have tacos for dinner. We would carefully assemble each taco with a layer of meat, possibly some beans, then top it with cheese, lettuce and tomato. And then after one bite it would all fall apart on me so I’d end up eating taco salad. Eventually, I ended up just getting a bowl and making the taco salad from the beginning.

I asked my mom, “Why don’t we go one step further? Why not just blend all of the ingredients into a smoothie? Then you could take it with you in the car to soccer practice and it wouldn’t make as much of a mess? Plus, then maybe we could open up a drive-thru restaurant where other busy people could buy our taco paste!”
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Weird Al and Things I Fundamentally Enjoy

This past week, Weird Al came out with his 14th album of his ridiculously long career, Mandatory Fun. In doing so, he released eight music videos from the album in eight days through eight different video distribution services (e.g. Youtube, VEVO, Yahoo! Screen, Funny or Die, and several more I hadn’t heard of.) He linked them all on his website, and they’re pretty good, so check them out! My favorites are Word Crimes, Handy, and Mission Statement, but Tacky and Foil have also grown on me. Inactive doesn’t have a music video, but it’s also pretty good.

On a different note, I’m looking forward to my family visiting Boston in August. I’ve started to think about what we’d like to do with which of my friends, like who to go see a Red Sox game or eat dim sum with. It’s a somewhat complicated problem to try to pair up all of the different combinations, since I want them to meet all my friends while doing fun Boston things together with them.
I also recently got back from a leadership retreat with the Graduate Christian Fellowship. As a small part of the retreat, I got plenty of feedback on how the large groups that I had organized had been. We had found the top 11 “Burning Questions” topics the fellowship was asking and found pastors and professors from a variety of backgrounds to cover those difficult issues.
How are these three things related?

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