- Two things can make this world into a paradise: SCIENCE and PROFESSIONALISM. Cultivate these in yourself and in your life. Continually improve upon your understanding of how they work. Promote these ideals by being a positive example of someone who uses them and by asking them of others. Your life will improve in so many different ways that you'll lose count.
- Don't buy into the myth that people are "born smart" or "born dumb." What a load of hooey! I've known some educators and they said in their decades of experience none of their students were "dumb" or "smart," just encouraged or not.
- Learn how you problem solve when you hit a problem that is nearly impossible. Me, I learned that I'm not that quick but I'm stubborn so I persist and work harder and for a longer time than other people my age. Go out and find a difficult problem you really want to solve, and solve the damn thing. It will help you down the line.
- Figure out your knowledge saturation point of when you're studying; timewise or similar, and don't try to study past that. Take breaks.
- Learn from everyone, even if they are teaching you by being a poor example. In particular, try to listen to people who are older than you - either their actions, or their words, or both. Those who are older and wiser tend to be really wise. Those who are older and unwise tend to be great examples of what not to do.
- Remember the 6 P's - Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
- In that vein, remember to assign yourself homework when faced with something you think it'll help with. For instance, if you need to get a driver's license, figure out how to do it before you show up at the DMV by looking online. If you need to vote for a political candidate, research all of your options until you know what each one is probably going to do. If you're going to go on a trip, make a plan for each step and some checklists for what you'll need so you don't forget anything. Never think that you are smart enough, strong enough, lucky enough or prepared enough to handle the unknown. That's a recipe for disaster.
- If you learn no other subject, learn to research. Decent avenues of research include investigating the subject in person, experimentation, university textbooks, scientific articles on sources like ScienceDaily and PubMed, and various scientific articles behind paywalls. Mediocre/sketchy avenues of research include the internet, library books, and asking friends and family (who also know how to research). Bad avenues of research include gossip, all news articles, "expert opinions," and opinions in general such as basically the entirety of Twitter and Tumblr. Beware of several supposedly science-based websites that publish studies and articles which have little to no basis in fact. Dr. Mercola, I'm looking at you. Just because something sounds scientific doesn't mean it is. I have also found that you can usually find better information in books than on websites, no matter how much effort was put into them.
- Carry a backpack, messenger bag, or purse filled with necessities wherever you go. When you buy pants, make sure they actually have tough pockets so you can constantly carry useful items in them. Specifically at the very least: wallet, keys, cell phone if you have one, a lighter and a knife. In the bag be sure to carry at the least a water bottle, prescription medication, first aid items, and some packaged food. The Boy Scouts are right; be prepared. For the record, it is actually worth it to join the boy scouts. If you can handle being with a bunch of unsupervised pyromaniacs who have "interesting" ideas.
- Good investments: Glass pyrex containers with plastic lids, for safely storing and reheating home-cooked meals. A container of some kind to store business cards in alphabetical order. A cheap notebook for writing down dates of address changes, school attendance dates, job start and end dates, and other stuff work applications ask for. A cheap notebook for writing down contact information, because phones lose your entire contacts list often. Folders and a file cabinet or something similar for family records such as medical files, rent agreements, legal files, insurance documents etc. A list of useful numbers stuck on the fridge - poison control, local sheriff, maintenance guy, etc. Pillowcases and fitted sheets. Insect screens. Caulk and Great Stuff for gaps in walls. A door sweep to keep drafts out (these are like ten bucks). A very warm, large blanket. Oil changes and transmission fluid changes for your car. Water-resistant boots. Cheap used cars found on Craigslist, particularly Hondas. Five percent of your grocery budget diverted to savings. Books you will refer to for many years. Bookshelves. Tutoring sessions. A good education. Actually, I buy 3 books at the beginning of every month since it keeps me both sane and edutained. Win win.
- Things worth learning that are guaranteed to come in handy: Cooking, other languages, survival skills, machine sewing, hand sewing, knots, driving, starting fires, camping, cleaning, car maintenance and repair, home maintenance and repair, gardening, martial arts, first aid, manners, dressing for success.
- Throughout your life, it is important to have the following: a good lawyer, a good bank, a good health care team, a good primary care physician, a good boss, and frequent access to information via the internet, libraries, or both. Do your best to find these people and keep in mind: do important business only with people you respect and can trust.
- If it has an owner's manual, a legal agreement, or a contract that involves you somehow, you should probably read it. You should also keep copies of anything legal that could be important, in a safe location such as a labeled folder in your home.
- Redundancy is good. If you have files on your computer, back them up on a hard drive, flashdrive, and/or print out the really important ones. If you have a contacts list in your phone, write it down in a notebook and see if you can also get and store their business cards. If you've written down events in a planner, it's also good to mark them on a calendar. Etc. Things get lost, stolen, destroyed, and otherwise all kinds of f'd and it's always good to have a backup.
- Choose one day per week to buy necessities like groceries and household goods. In the week leading up to that day, as you encounter things you need to
buy, write them down on a list. The day before you buy things, make a list of meals you want to eat at some point during the following week, and then build
a grocery list off the meal list. Add the grocery list to the necessities list. This way you don't end up going to the store like ten times a week.
- When you return from the grocery store, prep all the food ingredients you can as soon as you can and store them in tightly closed containers in the fridge. This really reduces waste.
- Meal rotations are underrated. It will make your life a lot easier to make a written list of full meals you enjoy eating often. Be sure to add to the meal rotation often. You might also consider making other meal rotation lists to go with seasons and the time surrounding/including holidays.
- Instructables, not Allrecipes or Food.com, has the best recipes for making homemade food. Or see the Foods section of this website ayyy Foods
- Treat everything you own like it's the last of its kind you'll ever be able to get in your lifetime. Treat your stuff with that level of care.
- Cut sponges in half when you get them.
- Dilute dish detergent 1:1 with water when you get it - save an old bottle with which to do this.
- Only wash your hair twice a week
- Write down a financial plan at least once a year, including how you plan to save. Then, make a budget every week and stick to it. Include savings as part of your budget!
Within the United States: Transportation-related and Travel-related
- When driving anywhere, pull up the destination location on Google Maps first and draw a minimap on a piece of paper with relevant cross streets,
turns, landmarks, alternate road/highway names, and streets before and after your destination. This way if you don't have a GPS, or if you have one that
messes up, you still know where you're going.
- Have an itinerary. Know where you are going to drive, eat, stop for breaks, and sleep before you get on the road. Tell your loved ones about your itinerary.
- Never travel with an idiot. Ever.
- Bring a road buddy you can trust if you can. Dogs count.
- Bring water, necessities, and a cooler of food with you. Travel delays are inevitable.
- Buy polarized sunglasses and use them.
- Buy back support for the car seats or bundle up a sweater and use that even if you don't have back problems. Travel delays are inevitable.
- Chinese buffets with packed parking lots are generally going to be your best bet for cheap eats in the middle of nowhere.
- There is only one motel worth sleeping at on the road besides reserving an AirBnB. Motel 6. I've pretty much tried them all. Bed-and-breakfasts are also okay, also the Quality Inn/etc. franchise, but under no circumstances stay at any commercial motel that is not a franchise. Also never stay at a Knight's Inn. Holiday Inn and similar enormous hotels are overpriced and worse than Motel 6.
- When you need to know more about a town you are new to, head to a locally owned coffee shop and talk to the person behind the counter.
- Don't antagonize the trucks. Playing chicken with something four times your car's size is suicidal.
- Stay away from bars period, especially if you don't live in that town. Just don't go to them. You aren't missing out.
- Generally speaking when you get a spooky feeling from a place, leave, but here are more specific things to stay away from: places with bad-tempered pets, places that don't take proper care of their livestock or farm animals, places with an obviously high income level or serious wealth inequality, places where the homeless are treated poorly, places where the homeless are mostly openly drunk and beligerrent and not carrying around massive backpacks, places with children that aren't properly dressed for the weather, anywhere with too many sporty show vehicles or humongous jacked-up pickup trucks, places where you can't see any minorities, tiny cow towns with no local businesses beside franchises (unless there is an OPEN gas station there in which case it's usually fine), enormous cities with nearly vacant one-way streets and almost nowhere to park, literally anywhere near an Amtrak or Greyhound station or hub, anywhere the road rage is worse than you have ever seen before. Industrial areas are generally terrible but still slightly safer than the aforementioned. Back country dirt roads are a complete crapshoot; better to stay off of them unless you are familiar with the area. Mere rudeness from the locals is totally fine but if there are any indications of racism, bigotry, criminal stupidity or criminal activity get the hell out. If a town has a bar but not a coffee shop it's usually sketchy...
- Crappy places to stay away from at all costs: Reno, Topeka, Los Angeles, Newark, Detroit, Sioux City
- Make cleaning checklists for every room in your house, and a general cleaning checklist for when you don't have much time. It's worth it. On that note,
cleaning up after yourself as you go is way less of a hassle than accumulating mess. The acronym ABC, Always Be Cleaning, is the basic idea here but don't take it literally. Cleaning tasks that are worth doing every day: decluttering a little, sweeping the floor, making your bed, doing the dishes, cleaning one specific thing or area that's dirty (such as ceiling fans, toilet, windows, table), taking out the trash. Forget the rest if you're low on time and/or energy; these will make you feel at least somewhat like a functioning human being. Also, if you clean one thing that's dirty each day on top of doing daily maintenance cleaning tasks, your house will get clean and stay clean, as opposed to if you do a cleaning marathon once a month.
- On that note, cleaning products are fundamental to getting stuff clean instead of spending hours scrubbing. I definitely used to use just water and a rag to clean everything. It sucked. Here are some recipes for them: DIY Everything
- Cleaning/organizing tips: Use as many morale boosts as you can. Blast music, burn candles and incense, add perfume or essential oils to the cleaning products, clean with a friend or family member. Group like with like. Corral your mess by finding a container for collections of like objects so that even if it's still a mess at least it's in one place. Label all containers. Masking tape and a sharpie work fine for that. Organize everything in a way that makes as much sense as possible so almost anyone could understand it. Also, prevention is better than cure. Put everything where it belongs the first time. If you can't figure out where it belongs, create a place for it. If there is a cheap or free thing that can prevent messes, invest in it. Some examples: Small squeegee in the shower, drain sieves.
- To grow a garden in pots, get some plant pots and drip trays, some Espoma fertilizer, some Promix Organic potting soil or Fox Farm organic potting soil, and an area that gets full sun for at least 6 hours a day. A south-facing window is essential if you’re doing that indoors. Follow the directions on the fertilizer to use it. Buy plants already in pots and don’t start them from seed. When they look a little cramped in their starter pots, transplant them to a size with about an inch and a half more of root room on all sides. If you transplant them into a pot that's too big, then when you water them, most of the water will stagnate in the dirt and cause root rot, so follow this rule. Water the plants once every three to four days with enough water to saturate the dirt all the way down, but only when the pots are light and when the dirt one inch down is fairly dry. Plants can handle being overly watered one day, but if you repeat that too soon (within 24-78 hours) they’ll rot. Learn to recognize cues that your plants are thirsty, but if in doubt, water less. If you collect rainwater and use that instead of tap water for your plants, they'll be a lot healthier. Remember to clean the leaves of indoor plants Houseplant cleaning
- Growing a good amount of houseplants can boost productivity and health if you work indoors. They produce oxygen and clean indoor air of pollutants such as benzene, VOCs and formaldehyde. Actually, a close family member of mine lives in a polluted place and has asthma, and ever since I helped him start growing a few plants in every room of his house, his condition has gotten a lot better. Houseplants that are easy to grow indoors include golden pothos, sansevieria, and aloe vera.
- To propagate golden pothos, cut off a leaf of it and put it in a cup of water. Wait for it to grow roots, then gently plant it in a plant pot that has drip holes, a drip tray, at least some sunlight, and good potting soil. Water it until the soil is as damp as a wrung out sponge, then water it once every few days according to the directions above. This is the absolute easiest houseplant to grow and propagate.
- To help get things done that you want to get done instead of wasting time on stuff that doesn't really matter, it helps to make a Quest Log for your actual life. It's simple to make. All you need is a small notebook and either some colored label tabs or taped-in colored bookmarks. Label the tabs or bookmarks "Top," "High," "Medium," and "Low." In the notebook at each bookmark title the top of each relevant page "Top Priority," "High Priority" and so on. Fill up the sections with goals you wish to accomplish at some point classified by urgency. These can be short-term goals, random chores, long-term goals, whatever. When you get one done put a check mark by it. Important: label each goal with an estimated time required to complete the goal, a deadline for achieving it, and (if applicable) any resources needed to get it done.
- Another simple way to keep you focused on what you want most is to write a summarized bucket list. Make it as short as possible and as specific as possible. I found that thirteen goals were all that I needed; they covered everything. This way whenever you're having an off day you can remind yourself what to aim yourself in the direction of. If that makes any sense.
- Two other lists that will help you live well: a full, long bucket list, and a list of all the things that really make your life better. Your "bliss list," if you will. Incorporate items from these lists into your daily life as much as possible. If you aren't happy you aren't going to be very productive and that's a fact!
- One thing that really helps if you're not sure if you're spending your time well is to ask yourself what you'd do if today was your last day, then plan your day accordingly.
- Be aware of time sinks and distraction pits like social media, computer time, TV watching and whatever else is a problem. Try to plan out what you want to do on the computer (or whatever) before you actually engage with it, so that you wind up getting stuff done instead of wondering where the time went.
- Block out time in your schedule for enforced vacations and break times. Once you start scheduling your own time, you might find it hard to allow yourself leisure and that is really bad because the stress could hurt your health. And ironically, it could hurt your productivity too.
- A day planner is an important thing to have. Once you get used to using one, you'll find life goes way more smoothly. It really helps to plan things out as far ahead of time as possible. I found that a half-sized one is easy to carry around but an 8 x 11 with one full page per day might be necessary if you do a lot of stuff. I like to fill out the day planner with events, holidays, and celebrations for an entire year ahead, and add to it every few months. That way I can plan out family gatherings and the like in such a way that people actually show up. To look up the dates and times of events in the future try Time and Date. To learn about holidays and such try Brownielocks and Gone-ta-pott Once I have my holidays and such blocked in there, I add everything else. It is good to plan the next days' activities the night before or the morning of. I put my daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to-do lists in my planner as well.
- TV is decent enough, but never underestimate books. Set yourself loose in a library or cheap bookstore as often as you can.
- You can learn anything. Normally, when you're out of college (or not yet in college) and simply want to really get good at or understand something, you might think it would be a great idea to spend every spare moment at the library and online to find the best information, plus spend lots of time experimenting with your newfound knowledge. Better to use these study habits instead, particularly number 11: How to Study Like a Harvard Student. You can give yourself the equivalent of a college education if you are motivated enough. That said, it is unwise to focus on more than five topics at a time - personally I do three. It is also arguably inefficient to restrict yourself to only one topic at a time. For cheap books and resources check these links: Various educational tips Also, in general for anything you want to learn, if it's specific enough, Youtube probably has something that'll teach it to you for free. Can't hurt to check.
- Eight more study tips to add to the list: 1. think deeply on what you will do with the knowledge once you get it. If you don't have an excellent reason "why" you are learning something, you are doomed to cram and purge. Always attempt to take as many things as possible from what you are learning and figure out how they could be useful in your life. For instance, my reason for learning medicine is "doctors in the US suck so much that my family is going to suffer and die if I don't learn this." Wa la. 2. do not rely on your memory to be infallible; write down your notes somewhere and refer to them often. 3. without real life experience of some kind you ain't learning anything. APPLY the knowledge you learn for pete's sake 4. Advance, and the understanding will follow. Don't get discouraged that you don't understand a word of what you're reading. Of course you don't. You're new to the subject. Keep immersing yourself in the subject until it starts making sense... and then keep going. 5. Study less, but study better. Simply getting more done in a day because you can isn't going to help you in the long run. Focus in on one small part of the material and don't just read it - take notes, do the practice problems, write insights in a journal of insights. School often forces you to rote memorize concepts quickly in order to pass an exam. This doesn't do anything for your long-term understanding. Dare to be slow. If you're being pushed to progress faster than your understanding will allow, then either take a semester off to study at your own pace or get a C this semester and repeat the class later. Don't waste your time trying to graduate faster if you aren't actually learning anything. 6. Double-space your notes, skip writing on the back side of each page, and "waste" a lot of paper. Trust me, cramming more into one page isn't eco-friendly if you can't decipher it. 7. Burnout is not going to help you either. Long-term success relies on how good you are at relaxing and taking breaks between work periods. If a subject you previously tackled confidently is now your worst nightmare, take a semester off. You can attack it with a vengeance later. Wisely taken breaks earn you degrees as well as good understanding of a subject. 8. Make studying more pleasant. Listen to music. Use some aromatherapy by putting a small amount of essential oil on your bookmarks, in the shampoo you use, or on a cotton ball stored with your school materials. Use the stress relief tips listed elsewhere on this website. Sip on tea, herbal tea, or coffee. Take breaks every couple hours and walk outside, then come back. Study with friends. Study at a coffee shop. I've even heard of people studying the afternoons away at Perkins.
- Mastery of any given skill or subject isn't something you get by being a weekend warrior. Even a tiny bit of effort done every day is far better than exhausting yourself trying to do everything in one go and then recovering for the next week. This applies to lots of stuff: weight loss, muscle building, learning math, understanding how to properly communicate with a friend, learning to swim. Physical fitness is probably the most obvious example of this principle. However, this also defines the difference between mastering any given skill or subject and just having surface understanding. Disciplined commitment to daily work on something worthy will prove to be a good investment in the long run.
Essential oils that help with focus:
- Basil - note: not for topical use
- Bergamot - note: not for topical use
Credit for essential oil ideas: Titania Hardie, Enchanted: Titania's Guide to White Magic, Ch. 4, pg. 54 Amazon
- Exercise is very underrated. After much research I have concluded that 2 hours of outdoors light exercise and an optional 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day is necessary. Even if it's just walking.
- 6-9 servings of vegetables per day, especially dark leafy greens, is also underrated. You can get a lot of vegetables via green smoothies.
- Healthy foods that will help with more than you'd expect: 2/3 c. red wine per day, habitual drinking of good quality green tea or coffee, plenty of onions, home-fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, seaweed, seafood, plenty of garlic, 2 squares of dark chocolate per day.
- A hot Japanese-style bath every night can help with all kinds of stuff. To try it out, fill a bucket with cold water. Then take a shower with a washcloth and soap, then rinse it all off. Then, fill the tub with hot water and soak for about 20 minutes. Drain the tub and then dump the bucket of cold water on yourself. Dry yourself in front of a fan.