Just Do It

The “just” part is the hard part. Ego depletion may not be real (another), but it certainly seems so for myself. Recently when stressed, I made lots and lots of bad decisions earlier in the day than normal.

These tactics are essentially my own strategy for getting in gym almost every day:

  1. Chaining: Add it as a step to an existing routine. For me, after work, I go home, change, and go to the gym. The other day, I picked up something from the store and other things to the point the gym was near closing by the time I realized I had not gone. This also makes it a struggle to go on weekends, which I maybe manage one of the two, but the weather has been so nice I sometimes go for an hour walk instead.
  2. Precommitment: Making the decision in the moment could go either way. The intentions are better way before the moment. I lay out the gym clothes on the bed prior to going to work, so I’d feel compelled to move them to not following through. (I really do not like the partner example in the post because a friend has flakey partners who often fail to show.)
  3. Reward yourself: For me it some bread in the post-workout meal. If I go, then I allow myself to eat some bread. If I fail to go, then I don’t allow myself any.
  4. Reduced barriers to training: This is just looking at when I do not go, figure out why and change the environment such that I am more likely to go. And even look at occasions when I almost did not go.

Learning Tech

I learned electronics as a kid by messing around with old radios that were easy to tamper with because they were designed to be fixed.

Lee Felsesnsteinin The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

The story I tell about how I ended up working in information technology is about having a computer all my life as a child, breaking it, and most importantly knowing that I had to fix it before my parents found that I had. The typical takeaway is that I was intelligent, talented, etc. But, really that reveals the wrong assumption.

More correct takeaway is by this point in computer history, people designed computers to be fixed. The above quote suggests radios were initially custom built, which made them expensive to fix. To accomplish mass production, modular components make it easier to assemble but also as a side benefit easy to swap failed parts. Computers followed the same path but not only on the hardware side but the also software. Modularity to software is how we can patch, install new software, change settings, etc to fix issues.

Even today, I see people look appalled that smartphones can be successfully sold without an easy way for the owner to replace the battery or a microSD slot to add storage. We like to be able to fix our stuff. Maybe it is our Do-It-Yourself cultural biases at play.

Making things fixable lowers the bar to tinker with it. Tinkerability makes something more accessible to learn where, when, how, why it behaves the way it does. Those experiences in turn make a user self-taught into a power user and eventually into a computer administrator who really is just a power user given the keys to offlimits parts.