I spend a lot of my time researching different things in depth for various projects, and as I come to write more on this blog, these are tidbits that either don’t warrant a full article or can be distilled in an easily digestible bite-sized form. I aim to update this regularly…
Experiment with many options in a category – when you find something you like, stockpile. This goes especially so for things like pants and socks, but also for non-perishables like toothpaste. Wait until a sale hits (I use Keepa to automatically alert me of price reductions on products I’m ‘watching’) and buy a year’s worth. The inconvenience of storage and lack of flexibility is made up for by the convenience of not having to think, match socks, or run out of toilet paper.
Behave with integrity. Not only is everything monitored on the internet in some way, but word gets around. Screw friends or business partners and not only will it catch up to you but more than likely it will become public knowledge (with ‘public’ generally being defined as the number of people knowing having a direct correlation with the severity and impact of the indiscretion).
Stick with brand names where possible. Unless you have the time to research (or enjoy doing so), brands guarantee you won’t have a bad experience. It may not be an exceptional experience, or anything surprising, but it won’t be bad. The bigger the brand the less bad your choice will be.
Have 6-12 months of personal runway in cash in a separate bank account. Your life will become infinitely more pleasurable once you realise you have a monetary cushion and can make decisions from a place of financial security. I’ve seen too many people make bad choices because they wanted/needed a little extra cash.
To that point, use the budgeting software YNAB. The very act of tracking your spending in categories will psychologically encourage you to reduce your outgoings. Even better if you use it to budget and project into the future with goals and financial targets.
Get good at what you do for a living. “Passive income” is for people who don’t have the capacity or stamina to work hard and don’t enjoy what they do. Build something you can be proud of.
Buy cheap non-stick pans and treat them as if they weren’t coated. It saves so much effort and they can be replaced at low cost when the Teflon starts to wear. Same with things that aren’t dishwasher safe but take a long time to clean.
Never trust someone obsessed with privacy. Either they have something dark to hide or it’s a sign of incredible insecurity.
Never buy expensive wine, and always buy it with a screw-top. Wine snobs generally travel so deep down into the minutiae that their tastes and recommendations have no correlation with a novice’s palate. So much of wine is about perception that often times the only way to tell if a wine is ‘fake’ is to check the label, not the taste. In every study I’ve seen, price alone has the strongest influence on whether a wine will taste ‘good.’ Vineyards actually prefer to cap their bottles, it keeps the wine fresher and tasting just like it was when it came out of the barrel – corks allow air to pass through, dulling the flavours, but giving the impression of a more expensive bottle and thus a better tasting wine.
Keto probably isn’t for you. It results in identical fat loss to low-fat and low-carb diets, and the research is in on high saturated fat being incredibly negative for dozens of biomarkers. The Keto diet can even put as much as 30% of the population at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease because of how their genes indicate they process and handle such high amounts of fat inefficiently. Stick to a paleo or Mediterranean diet, the latter has been proven to reduce inflammation, the incidence of heart disease, and increase lifespan (which the keto diet has only been shown to do in rodent models).
Ignore the latest thing for longevity. If it’s really effective, starting three to five years later once the studies have been performed and protocols established won’t kill you, and you’ll have saved months of your time and thousands of pounds researching and trying these baseless fads.
Find a signature fragrance and wear it liberally. Something casual that can be dressed up.
I like Green Irish Tweed by Creed and Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford. People will remember you and associate you with a particular (wonderful) smell.
Be incredibly suspicious of people who champion a minority position and their motives. Cryptocurrencies, conspiracies, vegans, male feminists, and so on.
For actions or tasks you’ll repeat often (or for the rest of your life potentially, in some cases) learn the best and most efficient method as early as you can. Try to do so from professionals who do that task routinely (e.g. learn to clean a toilet from a professional domestic cleaner).
Cheap but freshly roasted and ground coffee is substantially better than expensive coffee that’s been sitting in your cupboard for ages. If you give a shit, just buy a subscription but stop going on about the nuances between varietals — it all tastes roughly like coffee with hints of something.
If you’re interested in tasting drinks, try whiskey or beer where the changes between regions, distillers/breweries, and ingredients can vary dramatically. An Islay single malt tastes very different from a blended Japanese whiskey, and a sour beer made with fruit in the mash tastes almost completely unlike a session IPA.
Set up a pension and deposit 10% of your earnings every month tracked to the S&P500. You’ll retire with several million in the bank even if you’re earning a median £25k salary. Far more if you’re earning well and more again if your employer matches a portion of your contribution.
Max out your ISA every year as a priority. Track it to the stock market in a low-cost fund. If you’re below 30, saving just £400 every month will mean you’re a cash millionaire before you retire.
When presented with two options, choose the one that brings about the greater amount of luck or adventure (also known as MacGill’s Razor).
Cultivate great taste. Taste and integrity are the only things that separate people online now that outsourced labour is more available and cheaper than ever. People with short-term thinking are getting easier to spot.
If you’re having trouble with batching / chunking / time management in general, play Overcooked with a loved one and get a little good at it. The more you repeat a process the deeper it becomes ingrained and the gamified batch processing the game forces you to do (whilst focusing on the deliverables) is incredibly helpful in forcing that thought pattern to become a habit.
The easiest way to turn dead time into alive time (where ‘dead’ is defined as entertainment, and ‘alive’ is constructive or educational, pushing a particular goal forward) is to take notes on what you’re reading, watching, listening to. Even if that’s just highlighting passages in a book and creating an index of your own, keeping a media diary, or taking notes on a podcast you’re listening to, it turns entertainment into education.
Multivitamins probably don’t do anything (article summarising studies), but you should take one anyway. Ignoring that they might fill any holes in your nutrition, taking one daily has a self-reinforcing effect, whereby the conscious act of taking a pill (or 4) every day in an effort to improve your health will have both a positive placebo effect as well as a cascading effect on other choices you make during the day.
Roaming mobile data is a killer in areas not supported by your mobile provider. I’ve found in places like Canada that Three doesn’t have free data roaming, Airalo has a great digital sim service that allows you to buy 10Gb of 4G data for ~£10-15 depending on the country.
Buy 3m (or 5m) iPhone and USB-C cables and run them from the plug socket through your couch so you can charge your phone and laptop without having unsightly cables all over the place and always within reach.
Hire experienced professional accountants and solicitors. They’ll pay for themselves many times over and help you get the result you want.
Blender Bottles make the only protein shakers worth bothering with. All others are awful.