Three new experimental life hacks

Three new experimental life hacks I’m instituting today:

  • Waiting until 6 am to begin working. For a while now (year or more), I’ve been waking up anywhere between 3:30 and 4:30, and diving right into work. Needless to say, this is a recipe for sleep deprivation during the week. By forcing myself to wait until 6 am to work, I’m (hopefully) forcing myself to sleep another 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Only using Slack through the web browser. Rather than follow every community all the time, I’m only going to open each Slack organization as it’s relevant to what I’m working on. As far as distractions go, Slack is the new Twitter.
  • Using Focus to limit access to distracting websites and apps. I probably should’ve done this a while back. I’d much rather have 7.5 really productive hours in the day, than 10 moderately productive ones.

One with jet lag

Jet lag is a killer, but you can fight back.

As a kid, I remember distinctly the effects of jet lag. One trip in particular had me fall asleep on a bench along the Champs-Élysées at four in the afternoon. My family waited for me to wake back up, patiently munching on baguettes. Another had me tour around zombie-like for 42 hours because I simply couldn’t fall asleep.

The same kid who couldn’t sleep on planes for the life of him is now out in a heartbeat. Mitigating jet lag is a combination of: sleep at the right time, plenty of water and small meals, and caffeine, but not too much.

Coming back from Italy last June, I fought jet lag by running around the Coliseum late at night. I was sufficiently tired by my 6 am flight that I slept the entire way home. Given how timezones work, I landed in Portland mid-morning, drank my Earl Grey, worked a few hours, drove to Sunriver, and was convinced to do a half-marathon the next day.

Last week plus change, Leah and I flew to Tokyo. For me, it was the day following a return from New York — I had a total of 11 timezones to deal with. Our flight out was at 8 pm local and arrived 10 pm local. I slept six hours on the plane, spent a couple hours in transit to our hostel, and then slept four more hours. On our first day in Japan, we managed a full day of sightseeing.

Today, I’m back in Portland, rocking to Kyary Kyary Pamyu, and, having been up since 2 am, keeping my fingers crossed that my theory holds.

Scripting my application launch process

Every day for work, there’s several applications I always use. The other day, I put together a quick and dirty bash script for opening all of them at once.

I’m terribly inexperienced at this, so don’t poke fun, only offer good suggestions for improvement…

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
#!/bin/bash

# Open all of the requisite applications
echo ‘Opening Chrome’
`open /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Applications/Google Chrome.app/`
echo ‘Opening Skype’
`open /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Applications/Skype.app/`
echo ‘Opening Sparrow’
`open /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Applications/Sparrow.app/`
echo ‘Opening Linkus’
`open /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Applications/Linkinus.app/`
echo ‘Opening Adium’
`open /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Applications/Adium.app/`
[/sourcecode]

Two life decisions: veganism and work email

Last night, I made two life decisions: I’m going vegan and I’ve removed my work email account from my iPhone.

For the first, Annie and Jacob have been eating vegan for about a month and a half now. Jacob convinced me to switch last night when he made an amazing grilled pizza with mushrooms, onions, peppers and a tahini sauce. I’ve seen it’s possible to eat well while eating vegan, and I’m pretty sure you end up eating more vegetables too.

For the second, I’ve had a policy for a while where I turn my computer off at end of the work day at PIE. This naturally extends to not getting sucked into work email at home either — and the easiest way to do so is to remove the account from my phone.

Life hacks for a deliberate life.

The Setup: An Interview with Amber Case

I sometimes run a very old version of The Sims to optimize living conditions for two people with busy lives who want to achieve maximum happiness and self actualization. I run simulations of floor-plans and then try to find places that are similar to those floorplans. It took two years to find my current place of residence, and not only is it cheap, but I can run Sims whenever something seems odd in the house. Turns out that an errant chair or a table configuration might cause undue friction and, over time, decrease joy and happiness. It’s difficult to step outside of life and watch it from an isomorphic architecture view in 30x speed, but the Sims allows you to do that. It’s kind of my version of debugging life, and it’s another reason why I have a PC lying around. I don’t play the game unless I’m trying to figure out a more optimal living condition. I don’t use this religiously by any means, but as more of thought experiment.

Amber Case — The Setup

New kit: Fitbit

Ordered a Fitbit way back in August or September and it finally arrived today. Holy Moses. The device is sleek and brain-dead simple, and the website allows you to track everything under the sun in an elegant way. If it works well, this is the coolest thing I’ve come across in a while.

Nature’s bounty

Creativity tip: if you have a hankering for a massive salad, but don’t know what to put on it, go to the salad bar and make a list of everything available. Then, go to the veggie section of the grocery store, and buy everything on that list and then some. With luck, you should end up with a delicious mix of beets, baby corn, carrots, cucumber, chard, olives, peas, avocado, potatoes, and tofu.