Appearing Superhuman Volume 7
My weekly newsletter is a compilation of things I found interesting, challenges I’m taking on, and the automations, processes, and habits I’m using to ‘appear superhuman.’
The World is Open for Play
6 minutes | Nerdwriter
The beloved Robin Williams had an idol by the name of Jonathan Winters. This short video explains Jonathan’s great influence on Robin and his passion for keeping things lighthearted and fun. It’s a funny video, but it’s also a good reminder not to take life too seriously.
How to Be More Productive by Working Less
15 minutes | Mark Manson
It took Mark Manson 18 months to write his best-selling book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. In this article, he admits that he wrote the majority of it in the last three months of that stretch. He argues that writing that book taught him a ton about being productive and how getting things done isn’t as linear as we were led to believe in school. His main point is that working more often produces diminishing returns.
His ideas remind me a lot of Parkinson’s Law, which states, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Whether it’s your day job or a side project, perhaps you’d be better off limiting yourself to 1-2 hours a day. Better yet, create some sort of “hard stop” that forces you to stop at a specific point. My golden hours are between my morning workout and when work starts. I have a finite amount of time, and I often do my best work in that window.
Slow TV Map
If you were into last week’s Slow TV round-up, you’ll love this link I just found, which lets you pick Slow TV videos from a map. It makes me want to play City Guesser.
Self driving is here. But not like you thought.
13 minutes | Cleo Abram
Cleo is a former Vox journalist and producer of the Netflix show, Explained. Naturally, she’s a whiz when breaking down complex topics in an interesting and engaging way. I haven’t missed a single episode since her new YouTube series dropped a few months back. If you like this, definitely check out her videos on F1, dog ages, anti-aging drugs, and the artificial womb.
Quote I’m Revisiting:
“There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want to get things done, and those who don’t want to make mistakes.” — John Maxwell
Song of the Week:
Halcyon + On + On by Orbital: Spotify & YouTube – If the song sounds familiar, it’s because it was on several movie soundtracks, including Mortal Kombat, Hackers, and Mean Girls. No matter how often I hear it, I never seem to get sick of it.
Recipes of the Week:
Post birth, we were eating a lot of takeout and prepackaged food, which was super helpful at the moment, but I was itching to get back to cooking this week. Here are a few dishes I’m raving about:
SRIRACHA DEVILED EGGS
These hit the spot in a big way this week. I’ve never been a huge deviled egg fan, but I think I just needed to make them myself instead of trying other people’s versions. I loosely followed this recipe below, but I added some bacon crumbles, diced red onion, freshly ground pepper, and cilantro. They’re a little high on the fat side, but only have 1 carb, which is perfect if you’re on a keto or low carb kick like me.
POBLANO CON QUESO TACO
Every week I pass the peppers at the grocery store without much thought. From time to time, I’ll grab some bell peppers or maybe even a jalapeno, but that’s about it. After finding this recipe, I’ve added the poblano pepper into my rotation. This is a must-try recipe if you have a gas burner or grill.
Process of the Week:
I often wonder if I’ll know when I’m living the best years of my life.
If you ask anyone in their 50s or 60s when the “golden years” were, they’ll probably tell you it’s in your late 20s through your 30s. Maybe into your 40s as well.
You’re full of energy, you have ideas, and you’re far enough removed from school that you likely have enough coin to fulfill many of your dreams and desires.
I’m teetering on my mid-thirties, and I find myself wondering if I’m maximizing the good times or if I’m spending too much time working long hours, hustling on side projects, or just doing things that don’t energize me.
Make no mistake, we all do things that drain our energy. It’s a part of life.
But we can also trade some of our hard-earned income to do less of that stuff, so we’re free to do more of what invigorates us.
Naturally, this has me thinking a lot about opportunity cost and how I can make better decisions about how I’m spending my money. I need an easy framework for decision making and that requires a little bit of math.
THE SIMPLE MATH
To start, you’ll need to know how much money you earn each year and plug that into one of these fancy salary conversion calculators. Then toss in how many weeks of vacation you get per year.
Let’s say you make $70 per hour for the following examples. Let’s also say you’re not spending more than you earn and have a decent cushion of ‘disposable income’ you can tap into.
Now, let’s look at an example:
Is it worth spending 2 hours every Sunday picking up dog shit, mowing the lawn, weed eating, and blowing the driveway clear?
That depends. If someone does that for $45, you just got back 8 hours a month. If you have the kind of job where you can work more to earn more, then the math here is simple:
$45 x 4 weeks = $180
$70 x 8 hours = $560
That’s over 3x the earning potential, and you don’t have to do yard work. Compound that over 12 months or a few decades, and that’s a good chunk of change.
Or you could use similar math to get more of your time back if you don’t want to maximize your earning potential. In the example above, you could work just 2.5 more hours a month to cover the cost of hiring a landscaper and still net 5.5 hours a month. That’s time you can spend with your kids, go to the gym, or pick up an old hobby again.
Once you start thinking this way, you realize just how valuable your time really is, which puts you back in the driver’s seat when it comes to maximizing what little time we have.
WHAT TO OUTSOURCE
Once I started thinking this way, I began applying it to just about everything. Yesterday, my wife said we could pick up our newborn pictures for free or pay $15 to ship them. That’s a no-brainer — ship them. The time and energy it takes to get in the car and drive half an hour one-way is worth the shipping cost alone. And that doesn’t even include the gas and wear and tear on my vehicle.
Obviously, you don’t want to automate the things you enjoy doing. For example, I’ll probably never invest in a dog walker because that’s one of my favorite parts of the day. But even just going over this now for a few minutes, I can think of several things I’d consider letting go of:
- Meal prepping – I love to cook, but if you take half the cooking off my plate each week, I’d probably enjoy it even more when I do get around to it.
- Deep cleaning – I’m one of those rare birds that likes tidying up the house each day. On the other hand, I don’t love washing the windows or deep cleaning the bathrooms. I could hire a cleaning service to do those things regularly and feel really good about that.
- Car wash subscription – I don’t mind cleaning my car, but getting one of those unlimited subscriptions would definitely save me a few hours a month.
I think you see the pattern and how they can add up to considerable time saved. I’d highly suggest perusing through a list like this for inspiration on what you can take off your plate:
Better yet, download one of these apps to take it a step further:
My favorite for this is TaskRabbit. You get quotes alongside the task and pictures of the people who will do the work alongside reviews and how many times they’ve done the task.
It’s worth the time to figure out your hourly rate, take stock of the things you could outsource, and get a couple of quotes.
What’s one thing you spend an excessive amount of time doing each week that you could either eliminate through automation or outsource to someone else?
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