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Good Sleep

I think that some might be surprised to hear how much I sleep and how important it is to me. I average right around eight hours per day (tracked for a few months), and prioritize sleep very strongly, even over most work.

Once ten pm comes around, I have four options for things I'm allowed to do: I can play violin, read a book, work, or sleep. Computer is off at midnight every day, at which point I usually read for an hour or two, and then go to sleep.

The other night I was tired at ten, but I was really excited about my work so I tried to push through and keep at it. I was stuck trying to fix something, but I managed to try five or ten solutions out before getting in bed. At the time, it felt like a good choice.

I woke up the next morning, took one look at the code, and spotted the solution instantly. Within five minutes it was fixed. Once is a fluke, but I've noticed this pattern over and over again with work when I'm tired-- it feels like I'm working, but often I'm just spinning my wheels.

How do you know you're solving the right problem?

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

Another good question. I'm paraphrasing here, it was something like, "How do you know you're fixing the right problem if things seem wrong? In relation to habit change, improvement, changing moods - how do you know you're solving the right thing?"

My answer -

Well, I think the first thing worth saying is that most people don't fix most of their problems. I don't say that as a pessimist - they could fix their problems. But they don't. Most people don't change much after their early youth is over. If they overeat, they overeat their whole life. If they're an alcoholic, they're an alcoholic their whole life. If they work at some shitty job they hate, they work there their whole life.

I say this just to give you an idea of how hard it can be. In my experience, it takes me a lot longer than I want it to to change fundamental aspects of my character and habits. Oftentimes, it takes 6+ months of regular focus on it, if the old habit was burned in a lot. That sucks and it's hard, which is why most people don't change.

I think fundamentals are typically the way forwards. When feeling low, unproductive, frustrated, annoyed, angry, whatever - typically, the answer is fundamental stuff. Eat right, stretch, breathe, get into motion with some exercise or at least some walking, spend time in nature, spend time around people you respect, read good books, get on a normal healthy sleep schedule, take vitamins, clean up the area around you, things like that. Wash all the clothing, clean up computer/email files, shave (for a guy)/cut fingernails/cut toenails. If in a country where it's inexpensive, go get a massage. Go sit in a quiet cafe or on a beach and fully relax if very tired. Do planning/goal-setting type stuff in a notebook.

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