What I learned week 3 2023

Productivity gurus are fighting about a false dichotomy, and a good example of Parkinsons law.

Productivity guru fight

Ever since Gary V asked us to stop doing shit we hate back in 2008 there’s been a split between Hustle culture and self care. It can quickly be summarised like this:

Hustle culture is all about getting off your ass and doing the work, regardless of your mood, just get it done and reach for your dreams.

Self care is all about realising that energy is finite, and you shouldn’t waste it stressing out, but take care of yourself and do what’s important.

The problem with this us vs them mentality that has evolved over the last few years among productivity gurus is that this is a totally false dichotomy. You shouldn’t be stressing yourself do death. And you should definitely turn off Netflix and get going if you want to achieve something. These things are both true, at the same time. Finding the balance between the two is not easy.

Thankfully we have new gods gurus:

Shawn Parrish said this:

But Ali Abdaal said this:

Parkinsons law explained

You know Parkinsons law that you’ve probably quoted at standups every now and then?

“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Parkinson’s law

Do you know what that actually looks like? Because it isn’t always obvious to me. Though I find it becoming more and more true as my projects grow in complexity.

Thankfully indie hacker Marie Ng came up with a simple example in an interview for Ness Labs.

Parkinson’s Law states that the work you have to get done fills the time allotted to it. If you’ve ever noticed yourself procrastinating because you think “oh it’s not due till next week”, and then scrambling to get it done at the last minute, then that’s Parkinson’s Law.

Marie Ng

That really helps. Also it hurts a bit.

The slipper slope of being bored

We are bored because there’s not enough friction in our lives.

We seek status signals because there’s nothing we “have to” do.

We get addicted because it’s an easier stimulation. Fantastic clip from Dr Lembke on @hubermanlab.

What I learned week 2 2023

This week I’ve been travelling all across Germany to go to a handful of meetings. If only someone had discovered a way to meet remotely.

Did you know you can increase your luck by keeping a luck journal?

Me neither. But I did know what luck is actually not random, but an effect of how open we are to find opportunities in our daily lives. There’s been plenty of studies on this, and in this video Ali Abdaal highlights one of the ways to increase your luck: keeping a luck journal.

At the end of each day, simply list all the ways you were lucky, or avoided being unlucky. Anything from “didn’t step in the puddle” to “million dollar lottery ticket”. This simple practice will help you open your mind to start noticing luck, which will increase your luck.

I’ve been doing it for one week now, and so far I feel a lot more lucky!

Baths are super relaxing

I’m very tall, so I haven’t fit into a bathtub since I was 12. But on this week business trip I was lucky and got moved from a room to a junior suite because the hotel was overbooked. It had a large bathtub, so I had to try it.

I heard Matthew Walker explain on Huberman labs that hot baths and showers before going to bed can help your body lower your core temperature. Meaning you relax and fall asleep quicker. I wasn’t expecting it to work this well though!

My 15 minute bath had me the most relaxed I’ve felt in months, and I almost fell asleep in the bath.

Yes I will be looking for more baths in the future!

What I learned week 1 2023

First and foremost, hangovers last a lot longer than the headache… I had a wonderful new years eve standing on a rooftop watching the fireworks over Berlin without our jackets because it was 15 C.

Unfortunately it also took me 4 days to start feeling motivated and calm again. Thankfully we basically stopped drinking in 2022, and I’m looking forward to less hangovers in 23!

Focus on long term productivity

Give yourself permission to slow down. Forget trying to have efficient days, focus on the long term.

When your goal is to be long-term productive, say by creating jobs for hundreds of people or publishing a few great books, you realize your day-to-day productivity isn’t what you should optimize around. Taking a strategic break from a problem lets your mind noodle on it in the background so you can attack it more intelligently afterward. Anyone who exercises regularly knows that rest is when your body gets stronger.

Nat Eliason

A portfolio approach to live

Every part of life is a collection of habits, relationships, and experiences. But it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking we can keep those over time. We can’t. Life always changes.

A few times over the last decade or so, I’ve found myself drawn towards a particular idea about how to use my time and energy. It’s an intentional variety. A collection of experiences. A portfolio approach to life.

It usually comes up in moments of transition. A move. A change of jobs. Some life event. Because when change is happening around me, I’m compelled to find some way of making sense of it.

Randy Hunt

What I learned in week 52 of 2022

This last week of 2022 I spent a lot of time going through notes from the year. Trying to summarise what I learned, and rediscovering many insights and factoids that I then never put to use. This is that summary.

If I could boil 2022 down to a single insight, this would be it:

If you are reading, watching, listening, to interesting things all week. But not applying what you discover in your own life you didn’t learn anything.

I did a lot of performative learning this year. I spent a good chunk of my time learning things that I never applied.

Most of what I did learn, I can categorise into three areas: Slowing down to speed up. Measuring progress. And being tired.

Slowing down, to speed up

Being busy is a form on mental laziness. We are doing more things in order to feel productive. Rather than do the hard thing to be productive. Slowing down, being less busy, makes this clear. Which is why we don’t do it.

This article might sound like I will go head first and as fast as possible. On the contrary, I have learned that if you want to slow down time, go slower, which is precisely what I need right now: Slowing down time! I will rest more. Stay organized. Execute. Reflect. Plan ahead slowly.

Val Sopi

Getting distracted by things that are emotionally charged is pure laziness. Again we are jumping at a short term win, or an imagined short term threat, instead of working on the hard thing.

Odds are, the latest office debate or family squabble isn’t worth winning. Most arguments are only tangentially related to your end goal. What outcomes are you actually trying to create? What type of life are you actually trying to cultivate? Stay focused.

James Clear

Slow down and pick the thing that is important to work on.

But when you do know what the hard thing is. Speed is an important tool to focus on that thing. Speed up to avoid making it “perfect”. Speed up to avoid getting caught up in the details. Speed up to ship the thing.

Going fast makes you focus on what’s important; there’s no time for bullshit

Nat Friedman

Measuring progress

Whatever you do. You need to track that what you’re doing makes a difference. How else will you know that you are working, and not just being busy? Slowing down helps.

But you also need to realise if you’re putting in iterations, shipping something, or just spending X time on that thing to try it out. Which one is it?

In some areas of life, value is unlocked by starting. Even a five-minute workout or a short walk can reset your mood and benefit your body. In other areas, value is unlocked by finishing. It does you no good to build a bridge halfway across the river. You need to complete the project to realize the value. Do you need to start or finish? Are you building a body or building a bridge?

James Clear

When you are working on something for real, there are no quick dopamine hits. There are no “checked that off” moments. It’s just a slog of slowly doing things. Sometimes it’s fun! Sometimes you hate it. That’s what hard work looks like.

The most damning observation of hard work is that it’s relentlessly repetitive and each work day looks boring and uniform. But over time, repetitive work in a single domain creates an intuition that compounds over time. This intuition increases the surface area in which breakthrough ideas take hold, which are necessary to great work.

Sunsama blog

But always remember. If you aren’t failing, if people aren’t pointing out mistakes, if you are not embarrassed… You aren’t going fast enough.

Balancing success and failure is a tricky thing. I’d say 8 or 9 times out of 10, you should be succeeding. Build momentum. Accumulate advantages. Feast on the feeling of success and let it feed your desire to do more. But 1 or 2 times out of 10, you should be failing. Push yourself and reach beyond your current grasp. Force yourself to try uncomfortable things. Occasionally you will surprise yourself and the rest of the time you will learn. Win enough to keep progressing. Lose enough to keep learning.”

James Clear

Fail 10% of the time. At all things.

Being tired

We probably aren’t tired. We probably don’t need another drink. Or another night out. It’s just that the modern world is very boring. Very safe. So we get bored, and we feel tired, depressed, and in need of some fun.

But there’s only thing we can do to make life less boring: do more risky stuff. Don’t search for what makes you happy, search for what makes you excited. If your heart is beating fast and your cheeks are red, changes are you are doing the right thing.

The man who begins to go to bed forty minutes before he opens his bedroom door is bored; that is to say, he is not living.

Arnold Bennet, How to live on 24 hours per day

I believe in the Scottish proverb: Hard work never killed a man. Men die of boredom, psychological conflict and disease. They do not die of hard work. The harder your people work, the happier and healthier they will be.

David Ogilvy

Here’s Dr Lembke talking about this on the Huberman lab, putting it better than I ever could.

2022 in review

Every year I do a big yearly review, go through all my notes, all my photos and my calendar. Usually it’s a lot, and brings a lot of insight. 2022 was the most eventful year yet I think. In no small part due to the fact that I moved to Berlin.

Timeline of events
Projects
Books I read
Things I learned

Timeline of events

January to March

We found a temporary apartment in Berlin. Packed all our things in Stockholm. Rented out our home since 5 years, and flew south. Berlin welcomed us with more sunlight than we were expecting and an early spring in February!

We also had some visits from Agnes’s family and our friend Laura flew in from England.

April to June

In April we visited Zurich for the first time to celebrate Benjamin and Sara’s wedding. We celebrated my birthday at Monocle cafe. Fredrik visited Berlin for an our recurring sessions of Arts & Crafts. May we explored the city, and I did conferences in Germany. June was all about midsummers! Which Laura joined this year!

July to September

In July we finally found an apartment in Berlin. It really is hard to find a place to live here. I did another conference. We accidentally joined a techno parade/protest. In August we visited some parks and I think this was when we saw the Pride festival? Even if my timing is wrong, Pride was a mess on broken bottles. August had more conferences for us both, and a lot of apartment fixes. Then in September Agnes mom swung by, closely followed by Laura again who flew in from Scotland this time.

October to December

October started with covid instead of Oktoberfest. Then we enjoyed the fall despite the unusual early cold. Our heating also broke down in October giving us three days of heavy winter gear indoors… November I spent more time on trains and conferences. Then my parents visited. We onboarded a new designer to my team, and had a Xmas party. Then we flew to Sweden for a 10 day Xmas bonanza. visiting friends and family.

Projects

I proudly set out this year to be more focused. But I significantly underestimated how much time it takes to set up a home here.

I did launch a beta of Sponsorpost. But all my other plans simply ran out of time.

Books I read

According to Goodreads I’ve read 19 books this year.
I want to especially recommend three of them:

Quite Leadership by David Rock
This management book gave me a lot of insights into self management and personal growth. Highly recommended. It’s a quick and easy read.

How to survive on 24h per day by Arnold Bennet
This classic self help book only takes about an hour to read. But it is packed with interesting ways of thinking about how to spend your time. It really helped me rethink what I’m doing on a daily and weekly basis.

Open Society and it’s Enemies by Karl Popper
Popper is a strong contestant for most important thinker of all time in my opinion. And this giant book is his steel manning and total refutation of the philosophies that underpin totalitarian regimes, from Plato to German National Socialism. It’s not hard to read, but the scope and detail makes it very long, and very dense. Might be the most notes I’ve ever taken from a book, and I suspect I will take years to fully digest it.

Some things I learned

There’s no speed limit
I’ve had to relearn this again this year. Most of the time we limit ourselves by doing things slowly. And doing them slow brings with it a lot of problems and mental friction that wouldn’t otherwise appear. Fight this. Fight this with every fibre of your being.


“Going fast makes you focus on what’s important; there’s no time for bullshit”

“You learn more per unit time because you make contact with reality more frequently”

Nat Friedman

You can learn soft skills from people around you
This shouldn’t be a shock. But I find it strangely counterintuitive. We’ve all heard from a young age that personality is something you’re born with. But you can learn to be charming and easy going. You can simply listen to people who are easily talkative and think about what they said and how they said it, and then you can do the same.

Yes it takes practice. But all things do.

Being stubborn is usually a sign of being dumb
Whenever you are stubborn, it’s likely that you are because you’ve closed yourself off to improving something about yourself. Smart people try, evaluate, and move on. They don’t cling to old thoughts. You probably do this in some areas, but not others? Why not?

This year I learned a few areas where I’m stubborn simply because I’m resisting change.
Time to change that.

The world really is abundant
We live in an age of abundance. And opportunities are all around us. But this isn’t the common view. And thoughts are shaped by habit even faster than our bodies. So if you don’t practice thinking about opportunities, and looking at the world as abundant, you won’t see it.
This is the year I actively start practicing thinking in certain ways.

If you want more time, go slower
Val Sopi nailed it. I completely agree:

This article might sound like I will go head first and as fast as possible. On the contrary, I have learned that if you want to slow down time, go slower, which is precisely what I need right now: Slowing down time! I will rest more. Stay organized. Execute. Reflect. Plan ahead slowly.

Val Sopi

A quote to end on

your growth comes first be
intentional with your time
forcing things does not work
being kind supports your peace
hang out with revitalizing people
let consistency help your flourishing
remember the progress you have made
slow things down when your mood is low
people pleasing hurts your mental health
seeking perfection hinders your progress
you cannot make everyone understand you

yung pueblo

Building a blog with Neon serverless database and both NextJS 13 and Sveltekit

This has to be my longest headline ever.

Ever since I learned about Neon I’ve wanted to try it out. A serverless, infinitely scalable Postgres install?!?? How could that not solve all my problems? Today I finally had the time, so let’s do this.

What is Neon, and why should we care?

Neon is serverless, which in this case means that storage and compute (I/O of the db) is separate and scales independently. This means that when you’re not using it, cost goes to almost zero. But also when you need to scale, it can do so automatically. No more splitting databases, or manually spinning up or down database nodes!

Neon also allows us to branch and merge database schemas. So whenever we need to update what your database looks like, you can easily do so, and even test all the way to production (by letting some accounts reach the new branch probably) before rolling out the change.

This means neon is especially suited for apps that rapidly change their datasets. Startups with rapid product iterations should benefit tremendously!

Setup your Neon account

Head over to neon.tech and click sign in. Chose your preferred auth path and you’re done!

Click through the intro-carousel and hit create new project.

Pick a witty web2.0 name, something like Peachforce. Here’s a generator to help you.

Download your .env file to access your database from your web app.

Test the database

Now let’s try out the database. Head over to your Neon project and open up the SQL editor. The Db exists, but it’s totally empty. So we will want to create a few tables and add an extension for generating UUIDs. Neon has a growing list of Postgres extensions you can use, but we’ll have to activate them first.

# activates the uuid extension
CREATE EXTENSION IF NOT EXISTS "uuid-ossp";

# creates the Author table with an ID and Name
create author(
id uuid PRIMARY KEY DEFAULT uuid_generate_v4(),
name TEXT
)

# creates the Post table with an ID, Content text, Created timestamp, and foreign key link to an Author
create post(
id uuid PRIMARY KEY DEFAULT uuid_generate_v4(),
content TEXT,
created TIMESTAMPTZ NOT NULL DEFAULT NOW(),
author uuid REFERENCES author (id)
)

Why text? Why not varchar?

According to this discussion there’s basically no point in using varchar anymore. It was the text type of choice when the length of input mattered. But since postgres 9-10 or so, it really doesn’t. So unless you really know what you’re doing, just use TEXT.

Add a test author and post to your database to see if it works:

INSERT INTO author(name) VALUES ('your name') RETURNING id // returns the new authors UUID

INSERT INTO post(content, athor) VALUES ( 'Hello World!', '<add the UUID from your author>');

Then head over to the Tables tab on Neon and click each table in turn to check that your rows are added correctly.

That’s it! Your scalable database is ready to go.

Setup your Nextjs app

Why Nextjs?

If you do any development that touches javascript you probably have heard about Vercel at some point. The company is doing amazing stuff for developer experience and helping us all ship faster with their OSS projects, one of which is the most used React Boilerplate framework: Nextjs. There are already hundreds of tutorials about how to use it though, but they recently released a major change in their structure with Nextjs 13 and I wanted to give it a try.

Create a local folder for our new Nextjs project

mkdir neon-next

Even if you’ve used Nextjs previously, you’ll need to update to the experimental version. So pay attention to this next step:

// Installs or updates to the latest version of NextJS
npm i [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

Now create your Nextjs install by running the following command, if you need additional help here with npx etc, please see this guide.

npx [email protected] --typescript

Pick a name for your project or leave it blank to install in the current folder. Not actually sure why it does this, as all other np+ installs are in the current dir. I’m a little surprised both Next and Svelte attempt to create subdirectories. (If you know why they do this, please let me know.)

Go through the installation guide, I recommend using ESLINT. But it’s up to you!

Test the install by running npm run dev

Add a .env file to the root of your project folder with the following string:

// you can copy this URL from the .env file we downloaded from Neon earlier!
DATABASE_URL=postgres://<user>:<password>@<endpoint_hostname>:<port>/<database>

You also have to add ?options=project=my-endpoint-123456 to this url string to support SSL mode in the client connection later. Remember to change “my-endpoint-123456” to your own project ID. Which you can find on the settings page of your neon project!

Add the following to your next.config.js to activate their experimental /app folder, which is what I want to test!

/** @type {import('next').NextConfig} */
const nextConfig = {
  reactStrictMode: true,
  experimental: {
    appDir: true,
  },
}

module.exports = nextConfig

Add a /app directory in your project root, so we can use the new easier-to-use data fetching in Nextjs 13.

Add a layout.tsx to the /app directory, this file is required and used to render the html and body blocks of your site. If you’ve used Nextjs before this file practically replaces the _app.js and _document.js files in earlier Nextjs projects.

There are a bunch of special purpose files in Nextjs 13 that speed up development significantly. Learn about them in detail here.

Here is my layout.tsx

export default function RootLayout({
  // Layouts must accept a children prop.
  // This will be populated with nested layouts or pages
  children,
}: {
  children: React.ReactNode;
}) {
  return (
    <html lang="en">
      <body>{children}</body>
    </html>
  );
}

After adding your layout.tsx you can remove the /pages directory which we won’t use.

Now add a page.ts to the /app directory, with the following code:

import postgres from "postgres";
import { Suspense } from "react";
import Link from "next/link";

async function getData(query: any) {
  //@ts-ignore
  const sql = postgres(process.env.DATABASE_URL, {
    ssl: require,
  });

  const result = await sql.unsafe(query);

  // The return value is *not* serialized
  console.log("backend result", result);
  // You can return Date, Map, Set, etc.
  return result;
}

// This is an async Server Component
export default async function StartPage() {
  const data = await getData("select * from post");

  return (
    <div>
      <h2>Testing SQL</h2>
      <Suspense fallback={<div>Loading...</div>}>
        <ul>
          {data.map((item: any) => (
              <li key={item.id}>{item.content}</li>
          ))}
        </ul>
      </Suspense>
    </div>
  );
}

This might seem strange. But Nextjs leverages the power of serverless edge functions to run “server side” code right in your component. Magic for developer overview!

And that’s it! Run npm run dev to test the database connection locally and print the list of posts. If your database has hibernated (fallen asleep because no one was using it) the first call might take 2s to complete. I had no timeout issues with this, and if your app is being used regularly, I don’t think you’ll ever notice.

Setup your Sveltekit app

Nextjs is amazing. But if you don’t believe React will be the future of the internet (it’s still developed by Facebook, so who knows), perhaps you’re more interested in Svelte?

Svelte is an amazing reactive framework created to show that staying close to web standards and not reinventing the wheel with custom javascript rendering can be, not just a really nice developer experience, but also faster than react!

Sveltekit is the latest release by the Svelte group to create a framework similar to Nextjs, to speed up development. I’ve wanted to try it for a while, so I’m excited to to do this test!

Create a new local directory for our Sveltekit project, if you need more instructions follow this guide.

mkdir neon-svelte

Install sveltekit

// the "." means current directory, you can also add a name to create a subdirectory
npm create [email protected] .

Svelte offers a lot more guidance on what you want to install with your project than Nextjs does. Choose according to your preference, but I went all defaults.

Choose the skeleton project template and then pick whichever options you prefer. I used Typescript and then all defaults.

Now we install the dependencies we need

// installs all the general dependencies svelte and svelte kit needs
npm install

// also install the Postgres library that we need to communicate with Neon
npm install --save postgres

Test the install by running npm run dev

Add a .env file to your project folder with the following string, just like we did for Nextjs

// you can copy this URL from the .env file we downloaded from Neon earlier!
DATABASE_URL=postgres://<user>:<password>@<endpoint_hostname>:<port>/<database>

You also have to add ?options=project=my-endpoint-123456 to this url string to support SSL mode in the client connection later. Remember to change “my-endpoint-123456” to your own project ID. Which you can find on the settings page of your neon project!

Now replace the content of /routes/+page.svelte with

<script>
  /** @type {import('./$types').PageData} */
  export let data;
</script>

<h2>Testing postgres</h2>
  <ul>
    {#each data.post as post}
      <li>
          {post.content}
      </li>
    {/each}
  </ul>

Add the file /routes/+page.server.ts to automatically handle serverside calls for this route. What this means is that the code in this file will be run “server side” each time this route is called.

//@ts-ignore - some type error happens in the import that I didn't have time to look into
import * as db from '$lib/server/database.js';

/** @type {import('./$types').PageServerLoad} */
export async function load() {
	return {
		post: await db.getPosts()
	};
}

And finally add the general purpose db connector to a completely serverside function to keep environment variables secure etc in /lib/server/database.js

import { DATABASE_URL } from '$env/static/private';
import postgres from 'postgres';

const sql = postgres(DATABASE_URL, {
	ssl: 'require'
});

export async function getPosts() {
	const posts = await sql`SELECT * FROM post`;
	return posts;
}

Everything file in the /lib/server directory creates serverless functions on your host that can be used for internal or even public APIs.

That’s it! Now we have the same app up and running with sveltekit. Compared to Nextjs it’s a little more verbose with the extra server-files. But it also makes it that much harder to accidentally publish server side code to the client. Something that is already difficult with Nextjs and more so in Nextjs 13’s magic /app directory.

Publish your app

Nextjs is amazing. But I think Vercel’s hosting service might be even more amazing. If you don’t already have a Vercel account set one up.

After which you can either install their CLI tool or connect your GIT repository to easily publish our project. I recommend the CLI tool for development.

After installing, just run this command and follow the guide.

vercel

In a few seconds your project is live and the URL is shown in the terminal window. Clicking it should show you the list of posts in your completely serverless new blog!

My thoughts

This is a really quick guide, so please let me know if I’ve missed steps or you’re wondering about anything.

Neon

Neon seems amazing. It’s way too powerful for this measly test though. I have a hunch what I would use it for but I am blown away by how much time and money we would have saved at some of my previous startups.

Nextjs 13

Nextjs was already amazing. The new structure of Nextjs is even more amazing. But you really have to double check you’re not publishing any secrets to the browser.

Sveltekit

Svelte has been my preferred language of choice ever since I discovered it. I’ve long thought it would gather momentum and overtake React, at least for developer side projects, just because it’s easier to use.

Sveltekit really solves the last issues with using Svelte by giving you all the infrastructure for a project right out of the box.

That said, I think I prefer the flavour of the code and file structure of Nextjs… Maybe it’s just that I’m more used to React? I will have to try some other experiment before I feel comfortable saying what I would choose.

What I learned week 51 2022

There are two ideas in this weeks review:

  • Creating supply can actually create demand. And that leads to a moral imperative.
  • Reading alone won’t teach you much. Here’s a strategy for getting more out of your reading.

Enjoy!

Creating supply can actually create demand

Last week I discovered Jenova’s Paradox which states that increasing the supply of some thing (for example energy) creates more demand (people will find more ways of using energy).

Why is this so interesting?

Because it means that creating some products actually increases the demand for those products.

Juan David’s explores this idea in his newsletter and comes up with two inspiring effects:

The main reason one must do what one loves doing is that supply creates its own demand. Therefore, we have a moral obligation to ourselves and to the world to create and be what we can only achieve. Neglecting that is the greatest disservice and dishonor to you, your name, and your entire existence.

Juan David

Mind. Blown.

Scratching your own itch might actually be creating the very demand you need to build the project or life you want to lead.

He also shares this provocative statement:

This is also the reason why market research is bullshit. When you’re doing what you want, the demand will be created.

Juan David

Which I think has at least a kernel of truth, but I’ll have to explore it further.

Reading alone won’t teach you much

Recently I read How to live on 24 hours a day (and I highly recommend it) which has a few good ideas about how to manage your time and energy. This week I was surprised to realise that current entrepreneurs are discovering the same ideas as Arnold Bennet.

The second suggestion is to think as well as to read. I know people who read and read, and for all the good it does them they might just as well cut bread-and-butter. They take to reading as better men take to drink. They fly through the shires of literature on a motor-car, their sole object being motion. They will tell you how many books they have read in a year.

Arnold Bennet – How to live on 24 hours a day

Basically, do not just plow through books unless you’re doing it for fun. If you want to learn, you need to reflect. Or even better:

When I’m consuming non-fiction content, I try to write down specific experiments I can try that put the things I “learned” into practice.

Jakob Greenfeld

A genius way to make sure you’re doing something actionable with what you’re reading.

Isn’t it fascinating how we as a society keep rediscovering some ideas? I find this happening a lot personally as well.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading!

What I learned week 50 2022

Becoming more productive increases the amount of work to be done. This is a counter intuitive effect called Jevons Paradox.

“In the 1800s, most people thought a more efficient coal engine would lead to less coal burning; an economist called Willam Stanley Jevons argued the opposite. As the cost of using coal drops—because of the increased efficiency—he expected demand to increase. Jevons observation turned out to be correct and has since turned into a formal theory called Jevons Paradox.”

https://getmatter.com/email/16276741/?token=16276741%3AKQscdXA6jA9kA08mODIeNzwl2Ec

This effect applies to our day to day as well. If you work more efficiently, you’ll end up having more work. Once we know this, we can use it to our advantage: add a little friction to working too much, and remove friction from whatever you want more of in life. Want more family time? Remove friction from that, and add it to anything else.

Example from my own life: I want to spend more time doing experiments. So I’m gonna block time to do experiments in my calendar, and go to a coffee shop for that time without my work laptop. Making it much harder for anyone to interrupt me, including myself.

What I learned week 49 2022

Being prepared

A few years ago I signed up for a cruise from Colombia to Portugal. I wanted to cross the Atlantic. There was just a couple of things stopping me: I was in Sweden. I was unemployed. I had no savings.

But it all turned out fine. Partly I think it’s because we are capable of so much more than we think. And partly things are so much easier with clarity of focus.

“The ultimate form of preparation is not planning for a specific scenario, but a mindset that can handle uncertainty.”

James Clear

I miss having that mindset. To rely on myself to solve it. Whatever it is.

Making progress

Making progress is difficult. Sometimes progress means finishing a project. Sometimes it means starting something. It might be worth asking yourself which sort your next task is before starting. After reading this, I know I need to.

“In some areas of life, value is unlocked by starting. Even a five-minute workout or a short walk can reset your mood and benefit your body. In other areas, value is unlocked by finishing. It does you no good to build a bridge halfway across the river. You need to complete the project to realize the value. Do you need to start or finish? Are you building a body or building a bridge?”

James Clear

Being someone worth remembering

Being someone people remember means doing things that stick out. Dare to take more space. Be more of whatever you want to be. It will be scary, but the world needs more individuals.

When people say that a movie has a great character, they mean it was someone especially shocking, funny, or honest. To be a great entertainer, you need to be larger than life. Push your outer boundaries. Show your weirdness. Bring out all your quirks. The world needs that.

Derek Sivers