Optimisation your life away

I've thought a lot about optimisation of the last decade, always looking for better tools, productivity systems, and efficient ways of doing many, many, things. Until a few years ago when I started thinking about over-optimisation instead.

I now believe I've been using optimisation as a crutch, to procrastinate from doing the important, but scary, things in life. 

Optimising up front is usually a bad idea, it's a worse idea for every day life. Optimising should have a clear outcome of freeing up time.  If it doesn't, maybe you shouldn't be spending your time on that?
Maybe that time is better spent on the real work, or life?

Leo said it better.

(Update: This is a life strategy worthy idea.)

Reaching any goal

Have you reached every goal you have? No? Than something isn't working, and that something is you. To do something you've never done before, you have to do things differently than you have before.

Losing weight, starting a business, being creative, everything demands a change of routines and lifestyle. You have to change.

Don't be afraid to throw out who you are. When something doesn't get us what we want, change is the only way we can get it, so embrace it fearlessly. Here's how:

  1. Disregard how you usually do something (or how you are, that's nonsense).
  2. Read about or talk to people who have done something.
  3. Try it.
  4. Do it all over until you succeed, or want to do something else.

This post is a part of my 6 month experiment of discovering strategies for life.

Strategies for a successful life

If you are anything like me, you've read a ton of great books and articles about how to live well. Learned tips and tricks from masters about how to achieve what you want in life. But honestly, I've probably forgotten more good ideas than I remember. Some idea I've had to relearn more than once. Some would've made my life much easier if I had just remembered them. Which is why I'm so inspired by Derek Sivers idea of Directives.

Derek takes notes while he reads, when he finishes something, he summaries it. Then he takes what he's learnt and adds it to a Do's and Dont's list. The list becomes an ever evolving set of strategies to live a better life. I think this is a great idea.

As one his directives is to shamelessly imitate, I'll take that advice and start doing the same thing. Starting today, I'll post everything I learn and keep a running list of Do's and Dont's. I'll tell you how it pans out in 6 months.

Getting rid of wish lists

I've been practicing minimalism for years. Slowly getting rid of things that I don't need. But I realized only yesterday that I'm hoarding clutter in my own head. Getting stressed for no reason. So I've decided to get rid of that stuff.

Yesterday I was talking to my friend Magnus about how he managed his reading list. You know, that list of books and articles you keep in three different places that always seems to grow? Those amazon wish lists that never seems to have a thing you want to read right now?

Well Magnus didn't have one, and that got me thinking.

I've been bookmarking all these books, articles, movies and TV-shows all over the place. But how much time am I actually spending enjoying things from these lists? To be honest, most of the time I stress about them and maybe once in a while I prune. So what is the point of keeping a list of musts when they were supposed to be entertaining?

This is the essence of minimalism. Your stuff ends up owning you. When you spend more time on upkeep of your stuff than on enjoying them. It becomes a ridiculous waste of lifetime.

So I'm getting rid of my lists. I will no longer store articles, I'll read them or disregard them. I'll no longer add books to lists. Either I want to read it now, or I'll come back when I feel like it. I'm not about to stop consuming media. Instead I'm going to consume what I want, instead of what I should want.

The goal is to get down to one or two things I'm reading. One thing I want to see next. The rest can wait.

There's never enough time as it is. Why the hell keep holding on to distraction?

Stop living for the weekends and start living

Today, like every Friday, I'm receiving an alarming amount of tweets on the lines of "tgif!" "weekend is near". This focus on living only in the weekends is starting to freak me out. Why do we only live on the weekends? Probably because we have full control our own time. But this won't work in the long run, we can't spend 71% of our adult lives waiting to live. We need to find a balance to live and work in the same days.

  • If you hate your job, get a new one. Find something you enjoy doing and never settle for something less.
  • Don't work long hours. Work towards goals and achievements. If you can make things happen, point them out to your boss and state that you'll come in later or leave earlier when you can. Because living is important to you and your work.
  • If you have children, spouses or situations that you can't change. Make sure you live with them. Maybe you can do things with your children that you will enjoy as well as them.

Whatever we do, we can't live only in the weekends. We can't spend 5 days out of 7 looking forward to a short burst of life. We need to squeeze more time out of the days we have already.

So this Monday, why not do something fun?