It’s that wonderful time of year, where us university students actually have to do work.
Given this shift in priorities, this blog will be on hiatus until Sunday 24th of June.
During this time I will still be posting lifetyle reports, the latest of which will be up by the end of this week.
Apart from that, nothing. I got shit to do at the moment. In the mean time I suggest you check out Delusion Damage, In Bona Fide and In Mala Fide’s linkage is good for you posts for some quality reading material.
See you in seven weeks, friends.
You don’t need an epic and awesome blog, just make sure you write something. This isn’t even for the sake of creativity, it’s for accountability. If you record when you do things badly and when you do things well, you can focus on improvement over mere existence.
I keep track of ideas, exercise and sleep pattern in this baby. It also serves as a bin for any random thoughts that pop into my head. Once their committed to paper they no longer play on my mind. This is an important component of minimalism.
Dat sexy leather bound journal.
How guilty are you?
Wasting time is a problem that, based on this infographic, can be divided up into two categories: distraction and time filling.
Time filling is also known as busywork. Asking coworkers pointless questions, emailing, trivial phone calls etc. The key here isn’t to end these interactions but to only partake in those which add value to your life. Just don’t be an arsehole about it.
Once you’ve tackled distraction and time filling on a pragmatic level, you need to internalise these behaviours. I don’t use an information diet anymore because I don’t have the urge to waste hours on facebook. I achieved this through trial and error. Some things, such as detoxing, didn’t work for me. Other things, such as minimalism, detaching myself from consumerism, and continually striving for self improvement, did work for me.
My current experiment is in training myself to be productive by nature. We’ll see how that goes.
Try these things and see what works for you.
Here’s an idea: for one day a week, don’t look at a screen. No computer, no TV (not big on that anyway). The only screens allowed are a phone, (to make logistical social arrangements or to do something productive like run an exercise app, not games, facebook or twitter) and a Kindle.
This leaves an inordinate amount of time to do something worthwhile. Cook a meal, read a book, go for a walk, hang out. Just stay disconnected from the omnipresent distraction machine, and don’t fill the void with trivial shit.
I’m gonna be doing this starting Sunday. I am a firm believer that although technology is amazing, it can take over our lives without us noticing. By forcing myself to disconnect from it all I aim to clear my mind and chill a little. I’m predicting that this will also improve my attention span and concentration, and help me finally finish the book I’m reading (STILL on day bang).
A strict information diet wasn’t working for me, so hopefully just lowering the aggregate amount of junk going into my brain will do the trick.
Results will follow, as always, in a lifestyle report.
I recently mentioned writing a post about minimalism. I read the mnmlist.com archive and have applied a lot of the ideas to my life. I think anyone living or trying to live a red pill lifestyle would benefit from reading that blog in its entirety. There’s quite a lot to read there. It took me nearly 2 weeks so for the purpose of this post I will underline one core principle.
Minimalism is living more by having and consuming less. It is the rejection of consumerism for personal, rather than ideological reasons.
Sounds good right? Less stuff = lower expenses = less time wasted working to pay for unnecessary shit (I refuse to quote Fight Club here, people do that too much). There is one drawback however. Namely, it’s all a bit pansyish, and not conducive to having a fun and varied sex life.
True minimalists would not likely drink, take drugs, go to clubs, or make a habit of approaching strange women for sex. This is because minimalism promotes a sense of contentedness, rather than the aggressive, competitive attitude that leads to a fun sex life.
This same attitude can be a problem for people who are motivated by success and money. Stacking chips is fun, let’s admit it, but a minimalist would be content with little money – because that’s all he needs.
In short, how do we give minimalism a testosterone boost? How can you be a manly minimalist.
Before some smartass pipes up about rampant spartan homosexuality, go fuck yourself. This is my definition.
A Spartan is a warrior. Warriors fight and conquer, and in order to do so keep their mind and body healthy. The body part is relatively simple, just eat well, exercise, sleep and don’t let yourself get stressed. The mind part is where the link to minimalism truly lies. A minimalist is content and happy with himself, a Spartan is happy with himself because he knows he’s awesome. A minimalist accepts does not dwell on failure because you cannot alter the past, a Spartan doesn’t dwell on failure because he’s too busy kicking ass at something else. A minimalist and a Spartan rarely (if ever) watch TV because it distracts them from doing what they want to do, causes undue stress, lambasts you with advertisements “for shit we don’t need” (couldn’t help myself) and is designed to make you docile and stupid.
You get the idea.
This is all well and good, you may wonder, but how can a money/vagina chasing be congruent with this.
As far as money goes, I just like doing well at things. If I had a job where I got paid lots I’d probably just save the money and travel a lot, rather than splashing out on status flags like a car and a fancy house. I like the feeling of success, I don’t care about the status. Doing something well has an intrinsic value.
Sex is the same. I just like having sex and like variety. I don’t get any affirmation from having slept with whoever, I just like doing it. As an aside, this is the biggest problem with “lad” culture. A bunch of dudes having sex with girls in order to impress other dudes. Stupid.
I would not encourage everyone to adopt this in full, or instantly. Different things will work for different people, and vary according to your goals. The central principle is getting rid of anything that doesn’t help you do what you want to do, or that distracts you.
What I want to do is relatively simple:
Everything I have, use and do is centred around that list. Here are some spartan habits I’ve picked up as a result.
The other aspect is having few, high quality possessions. What I “own” at the moment:
For an 18 year old middle class English kid, that isn’t much. I do have other stuff, back at my parents house, but I’ll be throwing that out or putting it in storage ASAP. If I were going by Roissy’s model of bachelor pad, I’m living in the beginnings of a “man manor”. The only possessions that I keep around despite a lack of function or form are ones that hold a bit of my identity. Namely my instruments (although they have both function and form) and the chess set (a gift). I also like to keep photos and letters if there’s a good story behind them.
Despite how I am attached to some of my possessions, the key point is that they are replaceable. A Spartan/minimalist knows this. Possessions are just stuff, stuff that can be replaced and has no real value outside that which you place on it.
If I pick up any more Spartan ideas, I’ll write about them in future. Pretty soon I’ll be sorting through all my clothes and throwing out all those which I’ve held on to just in case I needed them again.
Until then dear reader.
Give it a read, it’s interesting and insightful
I really like the model Frost lays out, so I adapted it to my personal needs. The purpose of this post is to show you my information diet and how to adapt it for your own needs. My model would apply to a university student studying in the UK, but can be adapted for anyone.
This model can start at any time of the day, and so goes from hour 0 to hour 8.30. This could be 9am til 5:30pm or midday to 8:30, the same still applies. Definitions of terms will follow.
0.00 – 0.30 – Spot checks & planning.
0.30 – 3.00 – Hard focus tier 1 work.
3.00 – 4.30 – Tier 3 work, food.
4.30 – 5.30 – Heavy reading.
5.30 – 7.30 – Hard focus tier 2 work.
7.30 – 8.30 – Spot checks, light reading, review.
You probably read that and thought “what the fuck is he talking about? Spot checks? Tiers?” allow me to break it down for you.
Spot checks & Planning – 30 mins
I have a note file open on my desktop. In this there is a list of people who owe me money, along with what I’ve decided will be the days tier 1, 2 & 3 tasks and what I’m gonna read. The planning section consists of updating this list for the coming day.
Spot checks are the vice of any information addict, and must be strictly regulated. I have a folder of bookmarks called check. I’ll open this folder and blaze through everything in that folder within my half hour.
The sort of things to include in this folder are things you check every day and want to keep tabs on, that don’t take much time to read. For me this is Facebook, my uni timetable site, my uni, band, blog & personal email accounts, online banking, Twitter, BBC News and my blog stats page. Any news items that catch my eye I will open and save for light reading later.
Hard focus tier 1 work – 2h30
Tier 1 work is the most important work. Hard focus means free of distraction. No Facebook, no spotify, no email, no phone. Just me and the work. The best way to define tier 1 work is anything on an important deadline. For me this would be assignments, essays and reports. For someone studying a subject that is more reading heavy, core reading assignments would also fall under this category.
Tier 3 work, food – 1h30
Food is both self explanatory and delicious. I put this section here to allow for a respite from the hard work. I also find I’m more motivated on an empty stomach, the food being reward on completion. Tier 3 work is the trivial and mundane shit. Washing up, laundry, getting a haircut, purchasing drugs, sending (but not checking) emails, paid psychological studies, you get the idea. Tier 3 is, broadly speaking, chores. This doesn’t have to be hard focus and so I’ll normally be chilling on Facebook chat at this time.
Heavy reading – 1h00
Having eaten and not engaged my mind for an hour and a half, this is the ideal time for sitting down with a book. Heavy reading is stuff you “have” to read. This could again be course reading (haha history students), a novel, a self improvement book or whatever. I’ve already stressed the importance of reading books – this is the time for it. A good rule of thumb is that it’s only “heavy reading” if it adds value to your life. Get off Facebook for this, but feel free to read with some background music. This is also the time to blitz the archives of a blog.
Hard focus tier 2 work – 2h00
End the distractions once again, and knuckle down for a couple of hours. Tier 2 is stuff that is of high importance, but without an immediate or specific deadline. This could be course reading (I’m so glad I don’t do history), an ongoing project thats due in a few weeks, instrument practice, going to the gym or writing blog posts. Two types of task fall into tier 2: things you have to do for yourself (practice, gym, writing) and things that you don’t want to become tier 1 tasks in the future.
Spot checks, light reading & review – 1h00
Spot checks as before. Reviewing is updating your note file for the next day. Light reading is the news stories you found at the start of your day, magazine sites, your RSS feed and general reading that doesn’t require a massive amount of intellectual strain. This is at the end to round off you day of absorbing information and to sate your need to have concise, low level info blasted at you.
After this, you should only be using the internet for socialising and entertainment. You can even take it up a level and actually talk to real people. This combined with a trip to the pub will provide far much more social value and entertainment than Facebook and family guy, trust me.
Some other obvious things to mention. I don’t eat one meal a day, have breakfast before your first set of checks and dinner whenever you feel like it.
The power of this plan lies in its flexibility. I rarely 100% follow that schedule, because things like lectures get in the way. By dividing your day up into chunks you can rearrange things on the fly to suit you. As long as you have a clear definition of what constitutes tier 1, 2 and 3 work and heavy/light reading, you’ll be fine. A helpful aid is a timer (I use my phone). This information diet is not 247, I typically will adhere to it five days a week as this allows me to get all my work done and still bum around some days. Finding the balance is down to you.
There you have it, fuck around with it and see how it feels, I believe the vast majority of those who try this model will be happier for it.
Also for those of you in timetable heavy subjects (like me):
Lectures don’t count for shit in this model, but any tutorial or workshop where you work on your tier 1 assignments counts as tier 1. Similarly any workshop where you do non deadline work is tier 2.
Also if you “finish” a section early, move straight on to the next one. This gives you more free time and providing you aren’t just half assing your work will aid in your struggle to win at life.