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My Daily Routine

For most of my life I operated without a daily routine. I would have an idea of what needed to be done every day, and how I should be living my life, but there was little consistency between my days. Around a year ago I started working on building a daily routine, and I've been surprised to find that I like it more than running free. I prefer it because I can focus my decision-making on important things, rather than minutiae, and I can optimize my routine as I go, rather than starting from scratch every day.

I generally wake up between nine and eleven in the morning, usually pretty close to ten. I don't set an alarm because I've noticed that being well slept is one of the biggest influences on daily performance. Waking up an hour earlier by alarm can reduce my ability to focus by half. Not worth it.

As soon as I wake up, I set a timer for five minutes and I meditate. I've only been doing this for a month, and haven't noticed any benefits yet, but I expect it to be a long term investment, not a short term one. The five minutes goes by fast.

Immediately after meditating, I weigh in on my withings scale, brush my teeth, and put water on for tea. Usually I drink Samovar's Green Ecstasy, but I've been drinking Breakaway Matcha's 99 and 100 recently, and I'll occasionally drink a Taiwanese Oolong. I drink tea early because the blend of caffeine, theanine, and whatever else is in tea, helps me focus. I can actually feel the difference when I don't have tea. The effect wears off after a couple hours, but it's a nice way to jump start work early.

Compound Interest and Moments of Clarity

On Mental Models

Everybody knows (at least in theory) about the power of Compound Interest. The idea is that with a long enough time frame (usually 15+ years), even tiny differences in interest rates can make a huge difference.

Of course, this applies to any parts of your life that compound. It just happens to be very measurable and visible with money.

But think about your job skills. If you consistently get a 1% higher ROI every year, it's going to make a huge difference in the long run. Say you're a software developer, and you increase your skills by 1% more than the average software developer. For the first few years it might look like you're wasting your time. You're spending all this extra time and effort on gaining that extra 1%, and you don't have much to show for it (a 1% improvement). But if you compound this over a career of 20 years, the end results will be dramatic. You will be much more skillful at your job than the person who only improved with an average speed.

This is nicely illustrated in The One Thing by Keller (which I'm STILL reading). He uses the analogy of a chain of dominoes. Tipping over a small one will knock over a slightly larger one, then another slightly larger one, and so on.

What I don't like about the metaphor is that this isn't how most long term things work - you don't set up everything in the very beginning, then tip a small domino and everything else just falls into place.

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