61: Answer your questions

Original link: https://weichen.blog/letters/61/

Hello friend!

Thanks to my friends who asked me questions, this issue answers a few questions about time management, writing and reading, decision-making, work and life.

Can you share how your day goes? Or some routines you are willing to share~

I usually get up at seven or eight in the morning and sit in front of the computer to write. Then I meditate for 20 minutes, sometimes stretch (yoga with Apple Fitness+), and get to work. Because I work from home, I am relatively free. In the afternoon and evening, I will practice the cello for a while (I started learning it a year and a half ago), and I will go to the gym the next day. If I don’t go, I will usually walk downstairs. In the evening, I usually read articles and books, or watch videos. I don’t have to work on weekends, and my schedule is similar. Of course, I also go out to have dinner with friends, go to the supermarket to buy food, or arrange some travel activities.

I identified a few things a few years ago that I think are more meaningful: reading and writing, exercising, meditating, practicing the piano and working, and I will record how long I spend on these things every day (I used to share the specific time in the summary . distribute). I think it has a great impact on me to develop the habit of repeating one thing every day, and the important things probably need continuous practice .

Another friend asked a similar question:

Curious about your daily routine and schedule, such as when to read and how to collect materials?

The most important routine related to writing is the thinking time every morning. There is no specific arrangement, the only certainty is that the butt sits on the stool. Things that are usually done are:

  • Think about the state at the time, or what was interesting and thought-provoking the day before, and write it down;
  • Organize the fragmented ideas and reading notes of daily notes, see how they are related to the existing notes, and write down the points worth in-depth;
  • Write what you’re reading a few mornings a week.

I didn’t set aside time to read. The words of reading are often phased, sometimes there is a confusion, or there is a good book, and all the free time will be spent on it. After that, you may be more leisurely and casually read the articles you are interested in. In short, the habit I hope to develop is to make reading a default thing to do, and if there is nothing to do, read something.

When I first started writing newsletters, I deliberately collected material, but I later felt that it was too deliberate, and it felt like “confirmation bias”. The latest tweak is to turn the weekly content into a natural presentation of my usual reading and thinking.

Timing is a very different thing, I don’t know if it helps. If you have any specific questions, you can reply to me and continue to communicate.

I want to ask a question about writing. My own daily records are private, containing inspiring information, what to record learning, etc., mixed with personal reflections and emotional annotations. Because these contents do not need to be made public, I can freely write about my true feelings. When I read your newsletter, I can feel that there are many of your thoughts in it. Do you feel uncomfortable about “exposing your thoughts” and then glorify it? This “beautification” is not a pejorative, open writing will definitely be modified in various senses. What I want to know more about is what newsletter means to you when it comes to being honest with yourself.

The source of my doubts is that if I start writing a newsletter, will I not be able to express it as directly as in the private record?

This question is interesting. The specific feeling is very subtle, I try to answer it, and divide it into three small questions.

The first question was whether I would feel uncomfortable exposing my thoughts. I did at first, I remember writing the fourth issue of “The Gambler and the Good Student ” basically speaking to myself. It felt very private at the time, but I got used to it after I wrote more (because nothing happened after it was published). bad thing). Many times these unease may come from ego, and feeling the uneasiness can help you understand yourself better.

The second question is about “beautification”. As mentioned in the question, since there is a target audience, there must be differences in expression. There is one feeling especially obvious recently. I also pay attention to some social hotspots, but some words cannot be said directly for various reasons, and I don’t want to make meaningless complaints, which are often veiled. I don’t think there’s a problem with that, because for me writing publicly is not about confronting myself, I just confront myself in my journal. The main purpose of my open writing is still to be useful to readers.

Third, as for “Can’t I be as straightforward as I express it in private records?”, this size needs to be determined by oneself. But I think it’s more important to think clearly about the purpose of public writing. Here’s how I write my weekly content: I go through what I’ve read and written this week, and choose the things that touch me the most and that I think will be helpful to others. Arguably based on my private records, but certainly not exactly the same. Perhaps the question to think about is, why do you want to write a newsletter?

In addition, what I want to say is that public expression will inevitably give people a feeling of vulnerability, but this will not prevent many people from expressing themselves, but it is in the process of facing vulnerability that shapes a new self . I am reminded of a quote by Rawls: “Once a person loves, he is very vulnerable: there is no such thing as love in the world, but at the same time thinking about whether to love or not. That’s how it is, the love that hurts the least is not the best love. When we love, we risk harm and loss.” (And writing publicly is far less risky than love.)

It was mentioned in Issue 59 that “the first priority in decision-making is to create enough good options for yourself. Most decision-making failures come from repeatedly entangled in several choices that are not good enough.” Combined with the survey on executives in Issue 58 , Sounds like it makes sense. But how do you define “enough” good options in practice? There may always be n+1 other than n, and “make a choice directly” and “think about whether there is another way” is also a difficult decision to make.

When it comes to creating more good options, I want to remind myself to think of better ways. Because a lot of times we are doing multiple choice questions without realizing that the problem solving space is open.

For when to “make a choice directly” and when to “think about whether there is any other way”, the decision matrix mentioned in Issue 57 can be used. For big decisions that are important and difficult to reverse, more time should be reserved, and small but reversible decisions should be given more time. Decisions can be made as quickly as possible.

How long does it take to make big decisions?

It’s not a formulaic thing (otherwise everyone could be called a master decision maker), but there are three ways to inspire, called “Stop, Flop, or Know” ( source ):

1. When you STOP getting useful information.

Deferring decisions is often done to obtain more information. When you no longer get useful information, you can start taking action.

2. When you FLOP, first lose an opportunity.

The advantage of postponing a decision is to keep the options open, because irreversible decisions cannot be reversed once they are decided. But if you risk losing options because of this (for example, when it comes to finding someone who is leaving you because you are indecisive), you may have to make a decision.

3. When you have gathered a critical piece of information that makes the choice clear.

There are times when you have decisive information that makes you feel confident enough to make a decision. I think many major decisions in life are like this. Many times we already know the answer in our hearts, but we just lack the courage to take the first step.

How do you balance work and life in your daily life?

I am an ordinary migrant worker. I do things I am interested in in my spare time, but these hours are often too fragmented and short. Fragmented time will dilute the enthusiasm for the interest itself, resulting in many interests will eventually be lost.

Give a concrete example. I have built a personal website before, and in the process of actual operation, I encountered many problems. Solving these problems is a learning process for me. Learning can indeed make personal progress, but it will inevitably cause physical and mental fatigue. At the same time, the large and small things at work can also make people feel tired and tired. After a busy day at work, it is often overwhelming to spend time and energy at home to study.

For insisting on a long plan, after some unexpected interruptions, I will think: I really don’t have time to do anything today, so let’s continue tomorrow. Tomorrow I will think again: I didn’t do it yesterday, it’s better to relax myself today… This cycle will interrupt some of the plans (such as study or fitness) that I have insisted on before. After many repetitions, the enthusiasm for the interest itself will be diluted.

I was like that for a long time, more or less. I remember a lot of times when things I wanted to do, such as fitness, study, reading, suddenly aroused or saw something slapped with blood, and it would last for a period of time, maybe a few weeks or a month, but suddenly one day I didn’t realize it. Do it, then forget it completely in a few days.

There are many specific techniques, such as “paying yourself first”, setting aside time for yourself every morning before going to work, reading a book or something, and other small tips to develop habits, which are covered in “Atomic Habits” a lot of. But the biggest change for me was taking a step back and thinking about why I did those things. More fundamentally, why do anything?

Work takes up most of people’s time and energy. But work may well be a means, not an end. What is the purpose of work for you?

For me, I want joy and happiness. And I know that if I’m working 10 hours a day, I’m not happy. But if I work 8 hours and have two more hours to rest, read and exercise, then I will be happier, even if the salary is less.

This is what I want to say, we only have one life, and it is best to look at all things in life as a whole. Many people are accustomed to regard work as something they must do, and put their hobbies aside and can do it or not, but if you work less and have more hobbies, you can live a more satisfied and enthusiastic life. Why not? do it? If you have been dominated by your work for a long time, and you are very dissatisfied with your past life after five or ten years, why not try to change it?

However, it is still assuming a zero-sum game here. If you work a little more, you can only do a little less of other things, because the time and energy of a day are limited. There is an even better approach, which also happened to be mentioned in the last issue, “Our goal is not to balance, but to have each aspect contribute as much as possible to the other. Think of each aspect as an addition to the other. , not subtraction.”

Maybe start with a small trick: pay attention to your energy levels. Can you do more things to boost your energy? Can you do less or change things that consume energy?

Speaking of hobbies, can things like building a website, studying, and exercising give you energy? (Not only daily energy, but also long-term energy. We know that if you are in good health, energy will definitely be higher in the long-term.) Back to work, it sounds like it is an energy-consuming thing, is there a way to reduce consumption (such as say reducing commute time, choosing a better work environment, etc.)? So that there is more energy to do other things?

Well, the above is my answer to the questions of several friends, I hope it can inspire you too!

I will reply to every email you send me, let me know if you find it helpful to make these answers public in the future.

If you like this content, please help to share it with your friends.

See you next week,

Wei Chen

This article is reprinted from: https://weichen.blog/letters/61/
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