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The 10 Foundational Practices for a Good Life | Scott H Young

Track every purchase

Write down whenever you spend money on anything. A spreadsheet can be used to track your spending.

The good life is easier to attain if you're able to budget for it, such as using saved money to buy books.

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Good Rituals for Focused Work
Good Rituals for Focused Work
  • A good ritual should be accessible most of the time you plan to work. If you focus best in a library, but it is closed on weekends when you need it, it is not a good ritual.
  • It should assist with getting into work, not adding steps that turn it into a procrastination tool. _If you first need to meditate for ninety minutes, then drive for two hours to a log cabin before you start working, it is not effective.

Good rituals can be done quickly, on-demand, and help you get into focus. Pairing a consistent routine with focused work can help to direct your mind into a state of productivity. But rituals can also prevent you from moving into focused work and instead become a tool for procrastination.

Using Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Wearing headphones can block out some of the ambient sounds and create a subtle barrier to being interrupted.

Regular headphones with some sounds playing will also do the trick. But researchers found listening to music with lyrics caused a decline in performance while white noise wasn't found to have the same impact.

The Distractions We Can Control

For any focused work session, we should prevent the distractions we can control.

  • Allow only a select few emergency channels to go through and interrupt you. Turn off all other notifications on your phone and computer.
  • Ensure your email inbox is closed.
  • Pack your phone away to minimise the impulse to check your phone.
  • Schedule short focused check-in times for essential emails.
Spare capacity and growth
Spare capacity and growth
  • Avoid thinking of spare capacity as the lack of things on your calendar. Since we’re never really doing nothing it’s rare to see people talk about cultivating it directly.
  • The amount of progress you’re able to make depends on your spare capacity. Without time and energy to invest in your personal development, your life will stay as it is.
  • Spare capacity is a neglected topic; people don't usually talk about cultivating it directly. You see articles about how to do something in only six minutes a day, rather than expanding your capacity so you have more than six minutes to do it.
Factors that determine spare capacity
  • How much effort/time is needed to sustain your current lifestyle.
  • How ambitious you are.
  • Material circumstances. Wealth, unsurprisingly, gives capacity.
  • Work flexibility.
  • Family and relationship obligations.
  • How many things are non-negotiable for you.