Question the defaults

If something is a default, question why that is. Many people find defaults to be the safe choice. “Everyone is doing it, so I probably should to.”

Ever since I was young I’ve questioned defaults and common practices. The big ones being religion and spending money. These are two things I still question today. But I’ve always had that habit of going against what everyone else did, because I wanted to be different.

But, there are still many things which I didn’t question and probably should have: Going to college right after high school, needing to get straight As in middle school through college, having a prestigious job.

It’s interesting to look back on life and see all the missteps I took and how much my thinking has changed. Even just a few years ago I had a different mindset than I do now.

Stopping to question defaults is a good way to think for yourself rather than how society wants you to think.

One example for me is spending money on a big house. Most people get to a certain age and figure they’re around that time to settle down, but who says so? Then they figure the next move is to get a house. But why do they need one? They also want to get a decent-sized house and were told they could afford a $300,000 mortgage. But do they really want to be paying off that mortgage for the next 30 years?

For a lot of things, I opt out of the defaults because I’m already a bit weird. I don’t like to buy things, I am extremely frugal, I’m content having a 500 square foot house. So for me, buying a typical home with a mortgage is something I just don’t plan to do.

There are so many other defaults that should be questioned:

  • Marriage
  • Needing a car
  • Watching TV
  • Social media
  • Buying certain clothes

Something I try to think about is: Am I doing this for others or for myself? This is especially true when it comes to clothing. I rarely buy clothes unless I really need to. Many times I find myself looking at shoes or clothes in the store and thinking “Do I really need this?” and 99% of the time the answer is no. We like clothes because they make us feel good and they are a signal to others. And that’s typically why many of us want to buy new outfits. The most recent thing I bought was a pair of sneakers for a month-long trip. Did I by them to show off to others? No, I bought them to have comfortable shoes for walking around.

I find that many defaults revolve around big sums of money:

  • Going to college
  • Going to grad school or getting an MBA
  • Buying a nice car
  • Having a big wedding

These are many of the ways that people can go into debt. College is still a default for many high school students, as it was for me 8 years ago. But if you ask many of the students paying down big loans if they ever questioned going to college, the answer is probably no.

Tldr; If something seems like a default, take some time to question why that is and develop your own opinion on it. 

 

My favorite podcasts

Update June 2018

I’m addicted to podcasts. Anytime I’m not in the company of someone else, I’m probably listening to a podcast. I use the Podcast Addict app on my phone, a little buggy at times but it works.

Here are my favorite podcasts right now…

Made You Think
I’m obsessed with this podcast right now. Neil and Nat talk about interesting books and ideas. Two guys I’d like to hang out with, and this podcast makes it feel like I’m doing just that.

Nat Chat
Nat Eliason talks to interesting guests about their career paths and how they have gone out into the world after college by not following traditional paths.

Invisible Office Hours
Paul Jarvis and Jason Zook are just two interesting guys and they talk about interesting stuff. I could listen to a 5 hour podcast of them.

Rough Translation
Stories from other countries and cultures.

The Frontline Dispatch
I love Frontline documentaries so of course I love this podcast. The Child Marriage in America episode is well worth a listen.

The Kevin Rose Show
I’ve been following Kevin since Diggnation (my first podcast!). I don’t like all the episodes, but every once in a while he has someone interesting on like Tim Urban and Chris Hutchins.

WorkLife
I’ve read nearly all of Adam Grant’s books. His podcast is all about work like how to love criticism and faking emotions at work.

This American Life
One of the best podcasts out there still, just listen to it

Freakonomics
If you like the books you’ll like this podcast.

RadioLab
Super interest stories about so many different things: color, figure skating, a beetle

99% Invisible
Stories about the hidden design aspects of our world

Reply All
Stories about the internet

Startup
The first season followed Alex Blumberg creating Gimlet Media, a podcast company. Subsequent seasons follow other businesses.

The podcast is OK, but I’d recommend just the first season.

Planet Money
Started off covering the financial crisis, now they discuss all aspects of business and the economy.

ConversionCast
Leadpage’s podcast with interviews about different tactics to increase leads, clicks, etc.

I don’t think this is a podcast anymore, and I’m also getting tired of marketing podcasts.

Criminal
Great show about different crimes. One was about people stealing petrified wood from a forest, while another was about a murder.

Invisibilia
Listen to the one about the guy using echo location to “see” as a blind person.

Surprisingly Awesome
They take a boring topic and make it interesting: concrete, mattresses, free throws.

Not that interested anymore

Tim Ferriss Show
He always has great interviews and somehow finds people I’ve never heard of and gets me super interested in them. Lately I haven’t been liking the guests and I feel like Tim repeats himself a lot. So I don’t listen as much as I used to.

Zero to Scale
This is one I just got into recently because I heard an episode with Bryan Harris. All about the journey of two entrepreneurs where they actually talk about business, surprising right?

They stopped doing this podcast 🙁

How to look forward to the gym

I enjoy the gym. Ever since high school I’ve made it a habit to go daily just as a way to get out of the house and get moving.

Especially since I started working from home 4 years ago, the gym has become even more important to my daily schedule. I picked a time in the morning so it’s right after a big chunk of work. I can clear my head and start thinking of new ideas. And then I can come back and work a little bit more.

But as someone who doesn’t like the gym, how can you motivate yourself to go?

  1. Have a good book or audiobook and only consume it at the gym
    This is how I got through all of the A Song of Ice and Fire books (Game of Thrones) within a year in college.
  2. Have podcasts you only listen to at the gym
  3. Save your favorite show for the gym
  4. Have a set time to go (mine is around 10-11am every day)

Quality over quantity in job applications

I like going on the Jobs subreddit and browsing to see the issues people are running into when they’re looking for jobs or applying to them. There are some real horror stories like people applying to 500+ jobs and getting a handful of interviews, but no job offer. What gives?

I’m no expert on the job market, I’ve only had one experience where I had to go through job applications to find someone to fill a new position, but I do have a lot of ideas about the subject.

“I’ll take anything”

When you need money, you’ll take anything. I remember applying to Chico’s, restaurants, a law firm to be an admin assistant. I had just graduated and I wanted any sort of job. Why? I just wanted money coming in. Did I have a clear goal in mind? Nope. If these companies asked why I wanted to work for them specifically, would I have had a good answer? No.

Often, many of us are applying to any and every job posting available and will settle for whoever takes us. Ideally, you want to hone in on a handful of companies that you admire and set your sights on them.

I did this for my current job. I had been working at a small digital marketing agency for the past 3 years and I was getting tired of the way the business was handled. The work was also becoming monotonous as well. I really really wanted to quit, but instead I kept working and in my spare time I looked for new remote jobs and only applied to those that interested me. I didn’t apply to everything. I wanted to make sure the next place I worked at was a place that I could see myself enjoying. My first job (the agency) started as an unpaid internship and turned into a full-time job, but it was the only agency in town when I graduated college so I took it.

I applied to one company that specialized in copywriting. I had no experience in copy but I had a newfound interest in it. I made them a project, set up a page on this site that acted as my resume, and applied. I ended up getting the position, but they had decided not to hire anyone full-time, so unfortunately I was still stuck at my job.

The next place I applied to was an email tool that I thought was really interesting and I wanted to work on it. I made another project, resume site, and applied but I never heard back.

A few months later I found the posting for my current job in conversion optimization. It looked amazing! Five hour workdays, 3 weeks paid training in Malta, work from anywhere. I went into it thinking I wouldn’t get the position since I knew I’d be up against a lot of other people. There was no experience required and they would teach me everything. I spent a good deal of time creating a project, researching the company, listening to any podcasts they were featured on, reading all their blog posts, and finally sent in my application. Long story short I passed all 3 interview rounds and got the job!

Focus On A Few

The story above is not to gloat or brag. I want to illustrate that focusing on a few companies that really interest you could help give you a leg up on other applicants. If I were applying to 50 jobs, I wouldn’t have time to research all of them and make projects for every application. I decided to apply only to companies that felt like culture fits to me. Luckily, the company I’m at really has a great culture and amazing team mates.

So what do I suggest to anyone looking to switch jobs or find their first job? Focus on a few. Find some job postings that really spark your interest, research the companies and see if you think you’d be a good fit and that the company is a good fit for you.

Next, go in depth and find everything you can about the company:

  • Podcasts
  • YouTube videos
  • Blogs
  • Guest posts
  • Sign up for their emails
  • Books they wrote (or a team member wrote)

In your application, make sure to sprinkle in some of the stuff you’ve learned. Don’t say that you spent 12 hours researching them, but adding in a few things you heard in a podcast they were featured in shows that you did your homework. This will also help in the interview, because you’ll already feel like you know the company and can easily answer the question “Why do you want to work with us?”.

Now, I know a lot of you reading this are going to say: well, I don’t have the luxury of waiting around to get a job, I need one now! Ok, I get it, I’ve been there. Then focus on getting something now that can sustain you while you look for a great company/person to work for in the near future. You need to cover your bills and feel stable, then you can move towards achieving your true career goals.

Have you tried this before? I’m curious to hear from you if you have!

 

Optimizing my workspace

Optimize Time

Since I work from home, I’ve gotten into optimizing my workspace and workflow. I wake up at 5am and get working by 5:40 and I work until about 11am. I’ve tried waking up at other times like 6am, 7am, 8am. But I’ve realized that going to bed at 9 or 10pm and waking up at 5am is optimal for me. Even on the weekends I try to stick to the 7-8 hours of sleep, usually going to bed at 10 or 11pm and waking up at 7am.

Since it’s still dark when I wake up, I use Flux on my laptop to make the screen orange. My eyes are really sensitive so this helps a lot.

Optimizing My Space

As far as my desk, I just have a cheap-o one from Walmart that works just fine for now. I have a chair we got from someone on Craigslist for $30. But the best upgrade so far has been this stand that let’s me put the laptop up higher so I can stand at my desk. My girlfriend got it for me for Christmas because I kept saying I wanted one and never bought it.

The standing desk has changed how I work, because now I feel tired when I’m sitting! At 5am, I’m still a bit sleepy but forcing myself to stand makes me feel much less tired than if I was sitting. I have calls sometimes at 6am and I will often sit for those, and I’ve noticed that I get tired if I’m sitting and I feel much better if I stand.

It’s this product if you want to see what it looks like ($40, Amazon, no affiliate link).

She also got my a wireless mouse which is 10x better than the tiny cabled one I used before. I tried using my old one recently and didn’t realize just how small it was.

Future Plans

I’m also planning to test out those yoga balls as a chair. It looks stupid, but if it can help my posture when I sit then I’m all for it. I slouch A LOT and I’m hoping the ball can help fix that. Once I get it, I’ll experiment with it for a month or so to see how it works.

Any other things I should consider testing out? I’m always looking for ways to be more productive 🙂

 

Can I be financially independent by 35?

I think I can….well at least that’s the goal.

Let me preface by saying that when I say financially independent, I mean that I won’t need to work but I won’t be fully retired. I still plan to work once I hit my goal, but I won’t be dependent on that work. Instead, I’ll be able to live mainly off the money from my portfolio and take side work to make up the difference (I’ll talk about that a bit further down).

But yeah, so my goal is to semi-retire by 35. Now, that would be really easy if I was making $100,000 or more per year. I could easily do that with the way I save currently. But I’m making a fraction of that amount. I’m actually making less than the median for my age group, race, and ethnicity according to the BLS. Last year I made about $33,000, the year before was $28,000 (after tax). Everyone who starts FI has their own set of circumstances, so I’m not going to try and say my way is the best because I have lots of things that benefit me that others might not have (a partner to split bills with, working from home). Let’s start with what I do have going for me.

A little background

  • No debt, no car: First off, I got to go to college for free. It was mainly paid for with academic scholarships and my parents were able to cover the rest of my 3 years. I never had to pay for a car, since my dad was unable to use his when I was in high school. In college, I biked and walked so I wouldn’t need to buy a car. Now, I share my girlfriend’s car since I work from home.
  • Worked during summers: During summers, I would work at a pizza restaurant and save all my money. Then I also had the benefit of getting money because I was a dependent and my dad was above the social security age. I earned that money for about 2 years or so. My grandma also left me some money in her will as well. So all of that added up to about the amount a low wage worker would make in a year. Coupled with the fact that I had no debt, I’m ahead of most people my age.
  • Lived at home after graduation: Once I finished school, I lived at home and still didn’t need a car. I got a job right away at a restaurant, but quit and right away got an internship at a marketing agency (which is what I went to school for). Eventually I moved to another state and the agency allowed me to work remotely and started paying me above minimum wage.
  • Have always lived in a 1 bedroom and split rent/bills: The first apartment I had was a 1 bedroom in a not-so-great area, and was split between me and my girlfriend. Since I worked from home, I still didn’t need a car and we barely ate so I spent almost no money. Eventually we moved to another apartment and still split the rent. I also use my girlfriend’s car (we split gas) but we really don’t go out much besides groceries.
  • Started putting savings into Schwab Index Funds about 2 years ago
  • No health insurance: That’s a choice I make, I pay the penalty
  • Good amount of free time: My work is 25 hours a week. I have extra time to do things online and try to make extra money.

The Plan

So my current plan is growing my money with my index funds and saving as much as possible. I used to live so frugally that I spent almost nothing, except on rent, food, water, utilities. Once I started traveling more, I realized that makes me happy and that spending money on it is a good thing. I could save much more if we didn’t travel, but we don’t go out to eat much, don’t drink, don’t go to the movies or spend on entertainment throughout the year.

We are also planning to buy a small piece of land eventually and get a tiny house plus two stand alone studios, or a small cabin (yes, very cliche millennial I know). With the tiny house, we expect the cost to be less than $80,000 which is much cheaper than a typical home. That will mean we don’t have the rent cost anymore. If we choose to pay in installments rather than a cash lump sum, it will probably be less than our rent right now. But I’ll still be factoring in monthly amounts to cover incidentals.

I still don’t plan to have a car. Maybe we’ll end up getting a shared car that we split.

What Now?

So right now, I’m just trying to save as much as possible and will be experimenting with a few ways to save more and make more money (I’ll put some conservative estimates as to what I hope to make from each):

  • Selling things on eBay & Craigslist: I have lots of junk at my parent’s house. I plan to bring some of it back with me when I go visit in April so I can list it on eBay. Mainly books. I also want to test out retail arbitrage (I know…I’m late to the game). ($1000/yr)
  • Continue my current job: I LOVE my job! I’m super into FI, but if I can keep my job up until the point I hit FI I would still choose to keep working. My bosses are awesome, my coworkers are nice and supportive, and the clients are enjoyable to work with. The work we do is interesting and I think it really helps out the businesses we work with. ($30,000 after tax)

Final Thoughts

Two to three years ago I had no idea what financial independence or early retirement were, I’d never even heard of the terms. I don’t know how I discovered them (most likely Reddit), but I’m so glad I got introduced to the concepts and learned about all the people that have successfully done it. It’s like the story about the 4 minute mile. For years nobody was able to crack it, but once someone did, then scores of other people suddenly were hitting 4 minute miles too. Knowing that something is possible makes it so other people know it’s achievable and they’re willing to work for it.

It’s the same with FI. I’m a big time planner and I love punching in the numbers and seeing how changing up my savings and spending can increase my chances of FI in my 30s. Just knowing it’s possible makes it that much more motivating! It’s the best way to take control of my future, and it makes me enjoy saving even more.

Energy & Schedules

I optimize the times I do things during the day based on my energy levels. It’s taken a while to figure out but I’ve finally got the hang of it.

Mornings
This is my prime time. It is silent, nobody else is awake. I get up at 5:30 after sleeping about 7-7.5 hours. I feel awake and refreshed. The first thing I do is take the dog outside so that is taken care of before I start working, otherwise I don’t like interrupting my workflow.

Work
I work from 6am to 12pm every weekday. This is the time I’ve found where I’m most refreshed and alert. Any more time than this and I start to get distracted and lose focus.

Exercise
I exercise somewhere between 10-11am each day. I’ve found that if I go around this time I have more energy. If I go later in the day at, say, 1 or 3 pm I feel more sluggish and that I’m not pushing as hard as usual. Going late at night is a no-go because I start getting tired and want to wind down around 5pm.

Coffee
I have coffee twice per day. Once when I wake up and another around 2-3 pm.

Afternoons
Afternoons are when I start relaxing. I have already gotten my work done and gone to the gym. If I need to run errands I try to do them as early as possible. Around 5pm I start wanting to really relax by watching TV, sitting outside, reading.

Outdoors
When the weather is nice I try to work outside. I find that this makes me feel like I have more energy. Being indoors makes me feel sluggish and stale. When I’m outside I’m in a different environment and my mind opens up.

30 Minute Reviews: Straps Co

In 30 minute reviews, I’ll set the timer for 30 minutes and go through one site. What I’m looking for are items that can impact conversion rate. I’ll mainly be looking at the home page, a category page, a product page, cart, and checkout pages.

Disclaimer! Since I only have 30 minutes to go through the site, and don’t have any additional research information or access to their analytics, these suggestions should all be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, they’re my opinion, but there are many suggestions I’ll make that have been tested on other sites and have provided an improvement in conversions. 

Site: Strapsco.com
Industry: Watch Straps

Homepage

  • Slider should be removed. Pick one image and keep it.
  • Need a CTA. What’s the most wanted action on this page? I don’t know
  • No value proposition! Tell me who you are and why I should buy (Preferably above the fold)
  • I like the categories below the slider. Best sellers is a good fit. Should look at analytics to see if new arrivals and women’s bands are really that popular that they should be called out on the homepage.
Categories on the home page- Is women’s bands really that popular?

 

  • Make these category image buttons look more like buttons
  • Email sign up offer is weak
  • Footer provides important links that are easy to find

Sitewide

  • Navigation has too many links (Click maps can help determine which are clicked and which aren’t)
Navigation has a lot of links, are they all necessary? Content menu above also has unnecessary links

 

  • Why have shop and then all the category pages also?
  • Test which category is most popular and put that first
  • Can’t click the overall category page
  • The content menu page has irrelevant links (Blog, gallery, size, FAQ)
  • Cart button does a good job of notifying user when item added to cart
  • Buttons on cart are easy to understand, checkout or view cart
Quickcart

 

  • No live chat, there should be something so people can ask quick questions
  • Search bar should be made more visible

Shop Page

  • Default sorting on page seems like A-Z, wasting space by not showing best-selling items
  • Page seems like it’s more for browsing, but doesn’t do a good job of allowing for discovery
  • Filters on the side are mixed with product categories

Leather Watch Bands

  • Left column includes filters and product categories, should just include filters
Product categories and filters are mixed on the left column
  • Test which sorting option is best
  • All prices on first page show a clearance, visitor may not believe that every product is clearanced and distrust the prices

Product Page

  • Adding an item to cart shows a notification, but the notification doesn’t go away
  • Copy is not benefit-rich

 

  • Don’t offer drop downs for size and color when there are less than 5 options for each
  • Clicking the color option shows the wrong colored strap in the thumbnails
  • No repeat of shipping, return, warranty info in description or near add to cart

Cart page

  • Price doesn’t update automatically with quantity change
  • Shows shipping costs (yay!)
Cart page

 

  • Update cart button stands out more than checkout button
  • Update cart should be lower in the visual hierarchy
  • No info about returns or warranty
  • Checkout button should stand out more
  • Coupon area is nicely hidden

Checkout

  • One step checkout- Should test about using multi step because one step can appear overwhelming
  • Test making credit card area look like a credit card
  • Paypal is made the default payment, should be credit card
Payment area of checkout: Paypal shouldn’t be default. CC logos are distracting. Might be hard to see that Credit Card payment is an option.

 

  • Move the payment logos lower down
  • Labels are inside the fields, they should be on top
  • Make name all one field
  • Phone number should be optional or removed (unless you absolutely need it)
  • Add “Opt in to newsletter” underneath email address
  • Try geolocation using IP to input visitor’s country and state
  • Card Code should offer more info (in case people are confused as to what this is)
  • Test hiding the second Address line, people who need it will find it, people who don’t need it may be confused by it
  • Clicked checkout and input only 1 number into credit card field. Only saw an error on the credit card page, none of the other required fields that I hadn’t even filled out
  • Error messages pop up only after clicking checkout (ie. Entered a bad email with no @ and saw a pop up error, but it went away)

 

DoorDash Review

I don’t see DoorDash lasting for a long time, my prediction is that the company fails within the next 2 years. We’ve used the service a few times. The first time we had a coupon for free delivery so we figured why not try it out. The food was correct and the driver came on time. The next time, my girlfriend used it while I was away. The driver took two hours, even though the restaurant is less than 10 minutes from our place, and the food was cold. The driver also couldn’t follow the instructions to find our apartment and blamed that (although the other driver found us just fine) and she didn’t follow the instruction to not ring the doorbell (we have a loud dog and wrote for the driver to knock and not use the doorbell). The doorbell issue was made worse because the driver made a comment that sounded like she did read the instructions.

My girlfriend wrote to the company to ask for a refund. They gave her the refund as well as DoorDash credit. So yesterday we decide to use up the credit since it was enough to pay for two meals. If we didn’t have this credit, I would not have placed an order because the site was so buggy. The site was so bad, we couldn’t order on desktop at all.

Here are a few screenshots of what happened.

The checkout on desktop would not let us delete items in the cart or show the correct items. This is showing that 4 items is costing over $13. 

In this first screenshot, this is the desktop checkout menu on the right hand side. We couldn’t see what we put in the cart, and it kept showing the wrong items. We’d click remove and the items would go away and come back. Sometimes the cart showed 4 items, sometimes 0, and sometimes it showed an order price that didn’t match those items. We tried a Windows computer, a Mac, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and incognito modes. I deleted my cookies as well. Nothing worked!

It took a good 30 minutes trying to get the site to work and finally I messaged them on Twitter although they didn’t have an answer.

 

DoorDash checkout. The subtotal is correct but the summary of items is completely wrong

We tried clicking checkout to see what would show up. Of course, the incorrect items in the checkout were the ones we couldn’t delete. But the subtotal was the right amount for the items we actually wanted. We didn’t feel confident placing the order on the desktop.

Now, feeling frustrated by this buggy site, I download the app as a last ditch effort. Luckily the app didn’t port over the desktop cart items. I went through and ordered. One issues was that the service fee on the desktop showed $0.39 and on the app it showed over $1.

Suffice to say, we won’t used DoorDash again. I’d rather go out and get the food than deal with annoyances like this.

I also don’t like that you tip the “Dasher” before they show up. My girlfriend gave her driver a tip through the checkout, and she showed up late and acted upset that she didn’t understand the instructions to find the apartment. The app/desktop should allow you to tip after a driver has arrived. We tipped the driver in cash for yesterday’s order because he followed the instructions and arrived really fast.

I’ve read a ton of reviews where people place orders and it went through, but nobody ever picked up the order and they never received a notification. The whole model relies too heavily on contractors who don’t feel connected to the company. Therefore you end up with some bad apples that ruin the experience for people that order. We’ve already had 2 bad experiences, and that’s enough for us to stop using the app.

 

Productive vs. Efficient vs. Effective

Since starting my new job, I’m at a great new company doing conversion optimization for eCommerce sites, I’ve been learning a lot about productivity and efficiency. But I’ve also learned about effectiveness. Yes, these are all just different words covering similar topics, but it was important for me to learn about what they mean.

Productive vs. Efficient vs. Effective

Everyone talks about wanting to be productive. They want to get stuff done.

If you’re being efficient, you’re getting stuff done in a limited amount of time with limited resources.

When you’re effective, you’re being efficient in getting the right stuff done.

See the differences? It took me a while.

Efficiency is what we want to be striving for. It’s about getting the right things done in limited amounts of time.

If you’re productive, you could have done a ton of things in one day and felt happy about it. Maybe you mowed the lawn, spent 2 hours learning how to fix the broken window, and spent 2 hours cleaning. But was that stuff really the most important to get done?

Effectiveness is about getting the important things done. Sure, cleaning, mowing the lawn, answering emails are all stuff that needs to get done eventually. But maybe it’s not the most important or worthwhile thing to get done right now.

5 Hour Workdays

At my new job, we have 5 hour workdays with no lunch break. That 5 hours is pure work. When you’re given a limited amount of time to work, you figure out what’s really important and what needs to get done. Rather than check email all day, I check it once in the morning and once before I finish.

It’s nice to have the restraints because then you can really use the 80/20 principle to get the right things done. When I had 8 hours to work, I felt like I had way too much time. Sure, there were some days when 8 hours didn’t feel like enough time. But I’m sure I could have been just as effective at my job if I were provided just 25 hours a week. I wouldn’t have gotten 100% of things done, but I would have gotten the most important things done.

Of course, there are some times where I need to do more work because I just get a lot of tasks all in one week. It’s more about spending the right amount of time to tackle a project or task, rather than trying to fill up a full day just because you can.

Tools & Tips

Tomato Timer
A simple 25 minute timer I use for Pomodoro. I do 10 of these blocks each workday.

Taking Breaks
It’s important to take a break if you’re stuck on something. Getting out of your work environment can help you think of new solutions.

StayFocusd
This Chrome extension helps block distracting sites.

No Email
Don’t have email open all the time! Check it at certain times of the day.

Travel
This isn’t a tool you can use daily, but it’s something you should do once or twice a year. This is travel where you get out of your comfort zone or go to a new culture. Having these experiences can really help motivate you or change the way you think and view things.

Sleep More
In US culture, it’s cool to not sleep. I don’t understand why, but you always hear people talking about how they only slept 4 hours or something crazy like that. Sure, there are times where you will run on little sleep due to an emergency or something out of your control. But when you can control it, have a set sleep schedule. I always go to bed between 10 and 10:30 PM and wake up around 5:30-6 AM. On weekends I go to bed around 10-11 PM and wake up at 7 or 8 AM. I find that sleeping in too much makes me more tired, but having a set schedule leads to a more optimal day.