Tools: Water

It took me a whole going into adulthood business to realize just how important water is, and I suspect that as I get older, water will become even more important for me.

It’s not just that it’s critical to survival. It’s quite critical to health in the following ways:

* A guard against hangovers. If you drink enough water while going out, your hangover will be minimal. The suggestion is to chug a 8-12oz water glass with every drink, and that’s what I do. Say at a bar, I order a beer, and also water, chug the water, then sip the beer. Do it between 9pm-3am, not have a terrible hangover in the morning. Without water tho, your hangover will be so much worse.

* Better sleep and shorter sleep requirement! I just kind of discovered it recently, and still subject to validation. If you go to sleep well-hydrated, you need to sleep less to recover your energy. It’s a time saver! Continue reading “Tools: Water”

Fitness: Jiu Jitsu

This is actually a requirement for me now, every day or at least 4 days a week. I love it and I can’t stop. Although, a friend of mine said he’s actually burned out from jiu jitsu: that he has been doing it for, like, 5 years, and he doesn’t really want to do it anymore. For me, I physically cannot stop, it causes inefficiency in everything else I do. So, it’s curious. But the bottom line on physical fitness is, you have to do it, consistently, forever. This way, you can also start being good or great at everything else you do.


It really helps me with the sleep cycle

It is almost necessary for me to continue taking melatonin; 10mg consistently each day. It helps me sleep, and helps me wake up. It adds about 1hr extra to my available time, each day. I can’t pass that up!

Structure of Information (SoIII) Part I

Let’s talk about how I structure files and data

Disclaimer: I’m a technologist so some tools I use may be a bit uncomfortable.

Continuous Backup

The idea is that losing any hardware should not cause data loss. I use Dropbox and it works great. My main folder on my laptop where I keep everything that isn’t otherwise archived, is synced to Dropbox, so if I lose my laptop (as has happened, for example, reinstalling the compiz library destroyed my OS) – I actually lose no data at all.

I’m fortunate in that I don’t really deal with large files. A media professional, for exampe, may create gigabytes or terabytes of data over a weekend, or a workweek. They have to have specific tools to address the data persistency problem. Having two copies of critical data, and continuously buying storage (terabytes of solid-state drives, 1Tb/week purchase, or monthly purchase of 1Tb of hardware space at the cost of $100/mo, etc). So, I guess one of the main things they do is continue buying storage hardware, although again I’m not an expert on this aspect because most of my data is text and I don’t deal with terabytes of generated data per week/month.

My code projects are quite simply in git, and on either bitbucket or github. It’s super difficult to lose git projects.

I also have several s3 (amazon storage) accounts for “large” (gigabytes) data that I don’t want to lose. It takes a while to upload things to s3, and it may be difficult while you are abroad, but again, you don’t lose data when you lose hardware.

You have to specifically worry about access keys. Don’t put everything in one bucket and then either lose the credentials or have them stolen. Ideally, distribute the data across multiple buckers and use IAM to manage permissions, and disable the root account – although admittedly this is more complicated than just keeping data in one place. It depends on how many people are interested in you, how likely you are to come under attack, and how valuable your data is.

Archive folder

From “cool uri’s don’t change” – it’s nice to not rename files, and always know where your stuff is. It’s nice to standardize on file naming conventions. Linux has already done it a long time ago, and individuals should be consistent with their files as well. I structure the archives as follows:

/archive/2018/Clients//{sow, done, trash, invoices }
/archive/2018/Canon//{src, raw, fin, src2, fin2, thumbs}
/archive//{Meeting_Minutes, Wacom, UIUX_Mockups, Print_Material, Legal_Screenshots, Clients, Content, Canon, WasyaCo, ... }
/archive//hunter # even though there is quick-access "/hunter/", there are archives per-year of 
/hunter/{finances, taxes, forms, job-seeking, done, trash }
/--workbench/ # current active client's files
/lib/{images, fonts, forms, games, music, mac_os_x, wordpress, ... }
/doc/{economics, mba, spanish, ... }
the same
/{done, trash, Meeting_Minutes, ...}
/archive//{Meeting_Minutes, ...}
/archive//Print_Material/{Project-1, Project-2, done, trash, ... }

I historically keep very personal stuff in folder “hunter/” – for example, a copy of my drivers license, excel spreadsheets with people’s contact into, some financial data, etc. Note how the name is not very semantic and doesn’t mean anything in particular.

I keep folders “done/” and “trash/” in pretty much every folder. I’m used to having them and they’re not an eye sore. Trash can be destroyed at any time, and “done/” can also be destroyed, but I keep it for archiving and if I need it in the future. Since folder names have rolling date in their names (e.g. “archive/2016/meeting_minutes/201602_meeting_minutes/done/”), it’s not just one big folder “done/”, it’s multiple such folders and you can keep track of your datas somewhat easily.

I don’t like spaces in filenames. I use underscore (_) for spaces pretty much everywhere.

If something is important, capitalize the folder name. If it’s not important, don’t capitalize it. A capitalized folder name often means I spent significant time on it, it’s a standalone project, I’m collaborating with other people on it, or something else significant.

Don’t be afraid to reuse the folder name on several occasions. For example, I have multiple places where I keep forms such as NDA’s, and multiple folders “meeting_minutes/” and “hunter/”.

Perceptual Control Theory

A Book Recommendation. This book by William Powers offers a complete basic theory of psychology – and a very interesting one at that.

Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) is both the name of the theory and the name of a book by William Powers. I have found it immensely interesting and intuitive, a good way of explaining why people take actions that they do. This book definitely takes a spot on my shelf of recommended reading. Buy in on Amazon.

Minor Personal Tools

These tools take less effort, time and commitment than Major Personal Tools.

Tier I

  • Instead of typing to sort your thoughts, record yourself on video, then transcribe the recording. There are services that will do the transcription for you, if you are lazy or don’t have the time.
  • Recording yourself on video and playing it back allows you a glimpse of your outward appearance, if you need to correct it (e.g. if you rely on it professionally).
  • Try to wake up at 6am every day. Use melatonin to converge on a proper sleep cycle.
  • Record diary of per-hour activities; monthly diary tallies. In my continuous backup / workbench I have the file YYYYMM_doing.txt, that’s the per-hour tally of tasks today, and list of things to do; and the file archive/YYYY/sow/YYYYMM_done.txt, that’s a longer file with tallies from every day, segmented by month.
  • Keep a continuous backup / workbench. Refer to the article Structure of Information III.
  • Record quarterly goals; quarterly finance.
  • Go out twice a week (if you’re single or don’t have a family). Doesn’t matter what “going out” is, as long as it’s a physical (rather than digital) activity not work-related in the evening-time.
  • Keep a small calendar on your desktop and mark off successful, productive days.
  • Use to make people book appointments or calls with you. Limit your availability on that platform to 2 hours per day.

Tier II

  • Enable people, enable them to have fun. If they feel empowered in your company, you will benefit
  • You are a professional at what you do for 6 hours a day. (But can you do it for 10 hours a day tho?)
  • What is the hardest thing to do right now? Try doing it. This breeds good work ethic, and the one true purpose to which to aspire: being personally impactful and getting shit done.
  • In order to be good at something, you have to do it at least twice a week. You cannot be good at it if you to it less regularly. Once you’ve established this one, in order to continue improving, you have to do it every day. Then to be really competitive, you have to do it for 6 hours a day.
  • It’s not specialization that is required; but competitiveness. Unfortunately you cannot be competitive without specializing.

Major Personal Tools

Some of the tools that I continuously use and revise to achieve even better productivity

The Major tools, as opposed to Minor Personal Tools, require a greater time commitment to use.

The calendar

Very important. Mark off successful days on the calendar. Do not mark an unsuccessful day. Mark off tasks that were done on this day. I call list of done tasks sow (statement of work), although the term is actually misused here. (A statement of work outlines deliverables; since what I have succeeded in accomplishing on any day isn’t a deliverable,¬† maybe “sow” is a wrong word to describe it.)

Communication Channels

I am strict on what channels of communication are opened to whom. I use Slack extensively; for real-time business communication. Alerts are implemented in slack. I have multiple slack channels, one or more per project/client. My primary communication channel is email. I have three: business, personal and one more that’s a test/discard email.

Email is extremely important. Slack is important.

  • dropbox gives me continuous backup
  • boilerplate for dealing with HR: rejection letters, continuation letters, inquiry letters
  • accounting: basic accounting documents
  • the bezel on my watch, the pomodoro technique
  • on lying: being able to lie is important. Unfortunately I’m not very good at it. I should practice.
  • on travel: it clears my head, it’s what I live for, but it introduces panic. When I’m back, it takes forever to acclimate.