Personal Budgeting + Finance Help

I can also help my dad by e.g. helping him find a better job etc. which would be more sustainable and impactful ways of helping compared to just giving him money every month. Sort of like giving a man a fish vs. teaching a man to fish.

wise words!

FIFL is not very organized or comprehensive, doesn’t start at the beginning, and isn’t focused on epistemology. Plus you’ve already read it. I think you should use it as a possible backup plan. But it could be a way of avoiding the main CF stuff without trying it or identifying a problem.

Ok maybe I can start with


Also re: not rushing into things, you’re right. I should wait on stuff and understand it well before I act. I’m still thinking I should just pay the $129 for the ToC stuff and learn that instead of Jonathan Stark stuff, but I’ll wait a bit and think about it more before deciding. I also want to find some software or method of downloading the videos instead of having to screen record them.

Also just saw this and it looks interesting too: Improving Emotions

but I’ll start small and see if any problems arise first.

IMO, start with Yes or No Philosophy Summary and Tutoring Videos (the Max videos).

PS Please use quotes of text instead of screenshots in general.

OK, will do.

2 things occur to me:

  1. If you use an email forwarding service (probs best with a wildcard: *, you can combine that with gmail’s send-as feature so that mail is automatically delivered to a free gmail account and you can set your default send-as to an email on your domain.
  2. google used to have free personal g-suite accounts; if you had that, then it continues but it’s no longer available. The loophole is that, for existing personal g-suite accounts, you can still add and remove domains. so if you can acquire one of these then you might be able to port over to it. (This is mb against ToS – not sure – but definitely ‘grey market’ type stuff. Mb not worth looking into)

But this is like ~$100/yr, so is it really worth thinking about? It’s about 0.3% of your monthly income.

Yeah realistically I just shouldn’t worry about it. I think it’s silly that it weighs on me so much, and I think it definitely stressed me out more when I had no income. Now that I have an income, I don’t think about it as much. I should clarify that when I said “Have been trying to figure out how to migrate these emails and just host on something like zoho for free instead” that was something I tried to do months ago. I haven’t tried to do that recently. I should have been clearer in my original post.

It’s not a constraint and I should focus on other areas for bigger wins first. The Big Win idea seemed to be an important part of Ramit Sethi’s philosophy, basically saying focus on the big wins and don’t worry about e.g. buying starbucks or whatever else people worry about when they are trying to improve their financial health. I think some big wins he mentioned were automating your saving and investing and making sure you set yourself up with good bank accounts and credit cards since that’s a one time negotiation to set up and will save you/make you money perpetually.

How much of your income do you spend on education? You have a lot of disposable income; investment in yourself will have faster and more relevant returns for you (than investment in assets).

Note: don’t spend money on crap education – discussing it here first would be good (ofc, there are resources within CF that are candidates, too)

Almost none right now. I used to spend more on non-fiction books that I liked, but I stopped doing that. I agree that spending more on education would be good, I just have to start doing it and possibly solve some mental blocks I might have around it. There are things I’ve seen online that I’ve considered buying but I’ve always worried that I wouldn’t get good value from the education. Part of the issue is that so many people whose content I like offer courses or other paid things, and I can’t usually tell when those things will offer good additional value to their free stuff, or when it’s like they designed their free stuff to get me to want to buy the paid stuff.

One example is Seth Godin’s AltMBA course, which looks to be some kind of high intensity feedback based peer-learning system where you’re creating something new everyday and getting and giving lots of feedback on stuff through a forum system. It’s $4,450, which seems super expensive to me. He also has less expensive versions of stuff (Like ~$500) targeted at bootstrappers/podcasters/writers etc. that are like 30 day courses where you watch some videos each day and then discuss them on a forum (This one is a 150 day thing called the marketing seminar, at $745 USD). One thing is that he believes in peer learning and lots of discussion, basically saying that you get more out of it if you put more into it. The thing is CF/FI Forums offer that value already, and it’s also true that the more I put into CF/FI in terms of time, energy, willingness to learn etc. the more I will get out of it.

I think one good starting point re: investing in myself should be the $129 Eli Goldratt Marketing Videos from ToC.Tv as that’s relatively low risk, I get a lot of content for it, and it’s relevant to what I’m trying to learn for the startup anyway. So it seems like an OK place to start. There are some paid CF materials that look good too, like the $880 course videos, but I should start with the free + less expensive stuff to see if I can actually learn it without running into roadblocks and if I actually like it first, so I’m starting with the Max Tutoring videos like Elliot suggested.

I think one goal I need to set is to learn to value my time. Maybe I need to set an hourly rate or something and basically decide that I would be willing to spend $ to save that time. For example, if I set my hourly rate at $15, then I should be willing to spend $15 to save myself an hour of time. Right now, part of the problem is that I am willing to spend more time learning something for free than to spend money to learn it better or faster. This hourly rate thing doesn’t fully solve the issue because I won’t always know how much time I’m wasting, and it’s kind of qualitative since I could be learning a worse version of something and not know that immediately, and when I find out about it I might not know how many hours it’ll take to fix it. So definitely starting with higher quality content is worth doing, even if it costs me more. I shouldn’t take risks on cheaper content when I can afford to just bypass those risks. I guess one way to spend time to save money that is good is posting on CF forums when I’m considering diving into some new educational content, and CF can help me see if the ideas are good/bad and whether they will help me or hurt me in the long run.

What other educational resources on the internet in general are good?

Also I forgot to post this in the original post, but maybe something like therapy or similar is a good investment if I have the money for it and have psychological problems to solve or understand better. I remember a podcast from somewhere where curi talked about it, but I can’t find that podcast now. Paraphrasing roughly, I think it was about how therapists who are more like life coaches are less bad than therapists who are closer to psychiatrists, rely on medication more/prescribing stuff like anti-depressants etc. So just talking with someone who can give a different perspective on stuff and has experience understanding common patterns of why people experience certain emotions from certain situations or childhood issues.

I’ve been averse to therapy in general because it seemed very expensive and also like it would take quite a bit of trial and error to find the right therapist, since from what I read online it seems likely that the first, second, and maybe even third therapist you try won’t be good fits (it’s just unlikely) and it’ll take talking to them to better figure out who you’re looking for, and maybe they can help refer you to that kind of person.

One weird note is that my new job offers free therapy because people who e.g. take calls in the call centre division here tend to face abusive customers sometimes and it can cause stress and burnout over time. So we’re able to access mental health professionals at any time, and employees are entitled to up to 4 hours of therapy per “incident”. Incident is pretty loosely defined, but from the initial orientation about this stuff it seems like the therapy is more goal oriented to address a specific situation/issue, and not so much about long-term or general stuff. So paying for my own therapy might still be a good idea. The inhouse therapy here always does an initial assessment where they first figure out whether they can actually help you meaningfully in 4 hours or not, and if not, they refer you to outside help that is longer term.

I think the main reasons to consider therapy would be if I can’t figure out or solve some of my psychological issues through introspection alone (or if it’s just too inefficient to do it that way). I’ve avoided it so far by basically saying to myself that the issues aren’t bottlenecks, but they could be and I just don’t know. It’s hard to know what I would be like if I had fewer hangups/worries etc. It’s hard for me to describe the problems completely, and it seems like diagnosis in general is something a good therapist can help with, but I don’t want to incentivize someone to find problems where there aren’t any.

Some stuff like that is OK. A lot of people are bad at learning and need some help. Some courses are crap but some are decent. If I had to guess, Godin has some decent stuff that does help many students some and some students a lot.

The expectations for courses like that are more like “better than a school class” not “FI quality”. They are generally aimed at fairly competent people who can afford it and who already have some good stuff going on in their life which can be incrementally improved. Selling to people who can’t comfortably afford it and are sensitive about the money is problematic in a lot of ways. The pricing is not meant to compete with the value per dollar provided by housing, food, clothes, having a phone, having a laptop, having a car, or other things that more or less everyone buys first, and mass market things like books where you could get several years of a professional’s work for $10. There are a lot of people who already bought super efficient stuff like that and still have more money and who want something that has a lower demand – more customized or niche stuff commands higher prices than stuff that tens of millions of people buy, not because it’s better but more because it’s not mass produced as much, and some people will pay for it because they want stuff that is more customized to them and they don’t have fully generic tastes.

There are plenty of people involved with a business that has millions of dollars of revenue, who are not great at most aspects of business. If revenue is $10mm/yr then a 1% increase is 100k/yr. If a 5k course has a 10% chance of getting that outcome, and is fun and probably helps a little even if you don’t get that outcome, then it’s a good deal – the expected return after one year is over 10k (double the price). And the business has the revenue to afford the course. The issue is probably more about time and attention than the course price (there are many other projects that also have positive returns that could be done instead – e.g. they probably already know a bunch of things about the business that they could spend time improving).

Plenty of people get value from those kinda courses but most of the value is not due to original, special or private knowledge that’s only available in the course. Just like people get value from classes in school which teach only things that could also be learned in many other places.

My kinda similar material (YesNo product and CF course on gumroad) is significantly different. It’s more about explaining unique insight than about dragging regular people along to learn something valuable that’s already well known and in many books. Besides original breakthroughs, I also put a lot of work into accessibility – trying to explain stuff in a way people will actually be able to understand.

Therapy is expensive because you’re getting one-on-one time with a professional. The value varies wildly. The chance of getting any kind of special, original insight from a therapist is low. The chance of getting some standard ideas that you could have read in books, but did not, is pretty high. They know some useful stuff that could be learned elsewhere but which many people do not learn elsewhere. And people suck at reading something then applying it to their own life even in basic ways, so a therapist can help with that. So, again, expectations should not be too high, like with the courses, but it can help some people (it also hurts some people – therapy is more dangerous or risky than a course on marketing).

The main thing you should do IMO (as I tell ~everyone) is try to learn CF. Then see what problems actually come up and try to figure out what to do about them after you actually know more about what they are. (Or, in the alternative, if you disagree with something about CF or its value (either absolute or relative to other stuff in life), say that and expose your reasoning to criticism.)

PS 20% Discount on Elliot's Digital Educational Products

Anon20 here (original poster of this thread), just on a new Anon account because I think I didn’t visit the site/post for a while and it went to a new account.

First off I forgot to reply to this post to thank ET for writing it. I had read it immediately, felt really grateful for it, and then just wrote nothing to indicate that, which was a mistake. I actually thought I had written a response with everything that was in my head after I had read it but I didn’t actually write anything…

I shouldn’t expect people to be able to read my mind so I don’t know why I basically assumed that I wrote what I thought when all I had done was thought it strongly and just moved on. It was so obvious to me after reading this post that I liked it but I didn’t say anything, even though I shared the ideas from ET’s last post with my dad. So I’m saying something now: Thanks for writing the post and I walked away from it thinking that I should write posts with comments/questions/problems that come up with the free CF stuff you recommended I start with, and then based on how I do with that stuff, ask for advice on what gumroad products to buy. I don’t know which parts of CF I will find most interesting or what goals I should set to use as guidelines for what gumroad products to buy. I’m OK with not getting the 20% discount because I buy the stuff a bit later if it means that I bought the right stuff instead of rushing into a decision even when I don’t know what’s the best stuff to buy. That being said, I think almost anything I buy will eventually be useful to me if I’m learning CF/FI long-term (not just 5-10 years, but more like the rest of my life, including the next 5-10 years), which I think I should be doing.

All that being said, there are some clear problems with how I am engaging with CF material and learning in general, which I will outline in my next post.

I didn’t visit CF for the last ~ two weeks, and basically came back yesterday to read some posts. I specifically read a bunch of the anon24 posts on social dynamics, primarily from the Super Fast AIs Thread (Super Fast Super AIs [ post] - #15 by AndyDufresne) and then I read all the other responses anon24 wrote to Andy Dufresne’s posts. Reading them made me kind of uncomfortable but also I wanted to read more stuff like that. It was a weird mixed feeling.

Then I read some more today and came across this part of one of anon24’s post:

I think anon24 is right about this and I felt disappointed in myself once I read it. Then I felt even more disappointed in myself when I realized that my first instinct was to go read the CF things I said I’d read and then post about them. I was disappointed about that because it made it very clear to me that if anon24 didn’t say what they said, I might have taken another two weeks to read the CF stuff I said I’d read, or maybe I would just never have done them.

In fact, this specific visit of mine to CF today (like 20-30 minutes ago) was because I wanted to make a post asking about honesty and why small lies are bad + my guesses as to why they are bad for me, even if telling small lies saves me face with my manager or whatever (I’ll still make that post and put the specific example I was thinking of there)

The point of mentioning that post idea is that I have a pattern of saying I’ll do something, and then not doing it, and then coming back later to ask about something else and acting as if the promise I made just didn’t exist. I had completely forgotten about my CF promise until I saw anon24 mention it, which means I clearly didn’t prioritize it well enough. I can do the CF posts now, and I’m sure I will eventually, but I should eventually do something about the root cause issue(s) (which I don’t even really understand but am just guessing about). Why do I say I’ll do stuff and then not do it? Should I put in some conscious effort to track all of my promises on a spreadsheet and basically only make one or two promises at a time and consciously make no more promises until I fulfill those promises (especially because my promises should start out as relatively quick things that I should do, e.g. read this article and write about any problems you face with it. otherwise just write that you had no problems and you liked it or whatever. then move on to a slightly bigger CF learning task)

I think I should do that so I will make that spreadsheet right now and finish the rest of this post when it’s done.

As I was making this spreadsheet I went to go find my specific promise to write it down and I realized I had completely misremembered my promise. I thought I had promised to read the CF stuff I linked, but actually Elliot gave me better direction and I had promised to watch the Max Tutoring videos and/or start with the Yes or No Philosophy summary. So even my memory is completely misleading when it comes to this stuff and it’s all the more reason I should add structure to my tasks and manage myself and my projects better with stuff like reminders, spreadsheets, written goals etc. I’m bad at project management but this seems like a good way to start to practice the basics of it by managing myself at small tasks and projects and staying on track, or at least noting when I go off track. and why.

So it took maybe 5 min to put this together, but here it is:

There’s more I wanted to say but I feel like I forgot much of it. One thing I wanted to say after making this spreadsheet is that I don’t think the spreadsheet addresses the root cause of me not doing what I said I’d do. The goal is for me to start learning CF and see what problems come up. In this case, a problem came up before I even started learning CF, otherwise I would have just started reading or watching the stuff I said I’d read/watch. I don’t know how to introspect to identify the problem, but it might just be that I don’t think CF is that important even though I say it is. If that’s true, I don’t know why I say something I don’t back up with my actions. I should just be able to say that I think CF is not important, but even now I don’t like the idea of saying that. I want to think that CF is important but based on my actions I can’t support that I do think that…

I also think there’s this problem with me where I seem to do activity in spurts, where I might energetically read a bunch of FI/CF stuff and write about it/comment on it, but as soon as I start receiving criticism or some time passes or something, I seem to not stick with it and just stop doing it or slow down massively. It’s like a series of honeymoon phases and then no interest, and if I thought CF was really important I’d be doing it as consistently as I do my job or play videogames or something like that.

The other thing is I seem to be more passionate about this stuff when I don’t commit myself to it. I’m thinking of specific examples in the past where I committed to learning something specific in FI but then stuck with it for a day or two before fizzling out. And yet I’ve spent lots of time reading things I never promised to read (however reading those things didn’t fit a pre-set goal, so they were likely not addressing any bottlenecks or specific problems, they were just interesting/fun to read). This is bad and I think it means I’m committing to stuff before I understand why it’s good for me. If I fully understand why it’s good for me to learn CF, I’d be doing it and I wouldn’t procrastinate or forget about it, even if I hadn’t written it down in a spreadsheet. So the spreadsheet is a tool to address the symptom but I think the underlying problem might be a lack of understanding why something is good for me. Maybe the solution is to try to surface my doubts to myself in words so I can write them down and turn them into questions for CF members. That way I can have those doubts addressed consciously instead of fooling myself into believing I’m OK with what I promised and then walking away and realizing by my actions two weeks later that I clearly was not OK with what I had promised. I still don’t consciously know why I didn’t start learning CF immediately like I said I would. Why did I choose other stuff specifically? I’ll need to do some introspection, and maybe that means writing down all the things I did instead of CF over the last two weeks and checking with myself if I think consciously that CF is more important than any of those things, while acknowledging that based on my actions, CF was not more important to me than those things since I chose those things over CF.

I’m guessing I’m going to consciously beat myself up for playing a bunch of videogames and not dedicating at least 1-2 hours of that videogaming time to starting CF instead. Btw, I think I consciously believe that being disappointed in myself and beating myself up are both not good things for learning, but I’m trying to be honest with myself and you all about my emotional reactions. I want to learn not to be disappointed in myself but still objectively take the right moves moving forward, but for now I think being disappointed at least helps me e.g. write this post, and make the spreadsheet, and hopefully start learning CF and follow up on my promise two weeks late, even if I’m maybe doing it for the wrong reasons (because anon24 reminded me rather than of my own volition).

I’m also concerned that I might be writing this for social reasons, like why have I put so much time and effort (well time, maybe not effort because I’m just writing as I think and not summarizing to save other people time or editing it down to just the main points. So I might be wasting other people’s time by writing so much and not condensing it using more of my effort) into this post rather than just e.g. learning CF or something else? maybe I feel like I need to save face once anon24 called me out or that I need to address it, but I might be getting defensive and going overboard with the steps I’m taking. I want to learn to be this serious about my learning and take very concrete steps towards it without someone having to remind me or criticize me first. (e.g., why didn’t I just make this spreadsheet at the beginning of this process? I guess I didn’t assume I would drop this and forget about it, but I should have known that’s my pattern given it’s happened at least 3 specific times in the past that I can remember with FI learning)

Anyway, idk if the steps I’m taking are good enough, but I’m hoping they’re in the right direction. Thanks for mentioning my broken promise @anonymous24. I owe you for getting me back on track and maybe if this sticks and I improve how well I keep promises I make, and make better promises in the first place by understanding what I’m committing to better and asking more questions beforehand, I can point to you as at least the catalyst that helped me get there with your post mentioning me. All the social dynamics stuff you wrote was interesting and scared me a bit because it probably applies to me a lot too. I look forward to reading more of your posts and thanks for writing them.

Btw, feel free to criticize my project planning on this post/thread, since I just read about that new rule in Friendly saying that’s ok if the poster agrees to it. I think some of my biggest barriers right now to learning CF (and maybe just biggest problems in life in general?) are due to poor project choice and planning, so I want to get better at that and get better at liking the projects I choose while still choosing the right ones or at least good ones over e.g. playing way more videogames than i probly need to or just “getting busy” in a generic way that isn’t really being busy but just ignoring stuff i should be prioritizing if i knew better/had noticed and addressed my underlying doubts or problems better

… Also I said I’d think more about spending the $129 on the Goldratt material stuff but I haven’t thought about it more, nor have I bought it yet. So idk, something’s wrong with me because I just drop a bunch of promises and forget I even made them. I should respect the promises I make, even if they are literally only to myself, because ultimately I should care about my own goals and progress and should hold myself accountable the same way CF community members hold me accountable. Adding that to the spreadsheet now.

I also said I wouldn’t take on more commitments but I started hosting an ARK server and have enjoyed tinkering with the mods and settings and updating it and stuff, which is clearly a commitment and another thing I’ve added to my plate when I’m already overloaded and I should really be cutting back on responsibilities/time commitments/energy commitments. So I think I have a pattern and problem of major overreaching and adding stuff to my plate without considering my goals and needs consciously.

I don’t like being so flawed in so many different ways but I’ll leave it at that or I’ll be here writing for the rest of the night. It’s best if I start working on fixing my flaws, but I think I’m more wallowing in self-pity instead, which is unproductive or counterproductive by itself, so whatever positive actions I can take are what I’ll keep trying to take to move forward and not get stuck for too long

Edit: Just skimmed over my post and realized that me saying I’ll still write the post about the honesty question is literally another promise, so I added it to the spreadsheet. I’m starting to see just how quickly I stack up promises without even meaning to and it’s a bad habit imo. Maybe this is part of general overreaching.

Here’s the updated spreadsheet, and I tried copy-pasting it this time instead of taking a screenshot since Elliot mentioned I should use quotes of text instead of screenshots. I extrapolated a bit to assume that if I can paste some excel cells here and it formats OK as a table, that’s preferable to a screenshot cuz people can then copy paste text to quote it in replies and stuff.

Action Frequency to
try to do
Reminder Date Deadline? Goal Deliverable
Read Yes or No Philosophy Summary Daily 2021-09-28 2021-09-31 Start learning CF
Note down any problems
Post about problems
or no problems.
write comments on the material
(Don’t have to read all of it to write this post)
Tutoring Max Videos Daily 2021-09-28 Don’t know Start learning CF
Note down any problems
Post about problems
or no problems.
write comments on the material
(Don’t have to watch all of it to write this post)
Think about Eli Goldratt $129 Materials
Research software to dl the videos
Weekly 2021-09-31 Don’t know Start learning marketing from people
better than J. Stark
Decide whether to buy it or not or to put it off consciously for more time to decide
Have some research done on software to download Goldratt videos
Write short CF post about my questions
and comments re: honesty and small lies
Daily 2021-09-28 2021-09-31 Keep promises
Learn about honesty
Feel more comfortable telling the truth even when it feels risky
Have the post ready, or a draft of the post
(If it’s a draft, post it and say it’s a draft so that
you don’t put off posting it. default to action)

I really like that the formatting seems decent from the copy paste and it even kept the bold in the titles!
I would like to be able to change the cell size so e.g. 2021-09-31 doesn’t wrap downward but im really sleepy now so I might mess with it later (I do not want to add the promise of me experimenting with fixing this table as another task to the spreadsheet which is the only reason I said “might” instead of “will”. Just shows how casually I say I’ll do stuff if I’m not paying conscious attention to this habit)

1 Like

Also just realized:

I started this thread saying I read Ramit Sethi’s book. But then why do I have no emergency fund? That’s one of the first and highest priority general things he recommends, and I remember watching a youtube video with him somewhere where specifically due to COVID-19 he was also recommending people fill out their emergency funds before doing stuff like investing.

The more I look at my stuff, the more holes I find, so maybe I need to start with smaller goals and finish them successfully with a 100% success rate, being very careful to expose as much as I can to my own + external error-correction. Sounds simple enough but I’ve struggled with it in the past, so I’ll follow the recommended path and do my best to learn through those things. I’ll try to take every error seriously, even if it seems minor to me, because I don’t know enough to judge whether it’s really minor or not). I’ll try to make note of every emotional problem or barrier or impulse to procrastinate etc. that I feel so that I can try to get to the root cause of my resistance if something like that exists

Edit: It looks kinda like I specifically wrote my post to avoid criticism in advance, like saying:

I’ve read Ramit Sethi’s “I will teach you to be rich” but I probably need to re-read it or use it as a reference guide to do a bunch of stuff. I only did some of the steps in the book, like setting my credit card to automatically get paid off, but I didn’t set up auto investing or auto savings so I’m not specifically getting ahead on that stuff automatically each month.

But I’m pretty sure when I wrote this, and even now, I have no real plan to re-read the book or look up chapters online to try to implement his stuff. I only remembered the emergency fund thing randomly because of something I saw online, so I got lucky to realize I missed that. My approach doesn’t have a way to catch these mistakes unless I get lucky like that or someone else helps me, and I think that might be a problem with a lack of structure and rigour from my end. I’m not taking my personal improvement as seriously I take stuff like my job or even some of my hobbies where I do keep more spreadsheets and enjoy tracking stuff and reducing error rate over time/tracking things to do etc.

Yeah, I was thinking of suggesting time tracking before I got to this part.

If you don’t do X, you need some understanding of what you do instead and why. Your time usage is probably mostly automatized (and that was done in the past for different goals). You need to monitor and understand it better. After that, you could figure out what to change, take conscious control over some of it, override the autopilots and habits, and do something different (start with a relatively small habit). You basically have to maintain conscious control, by ongoing effort, until you form a new habit. One of the earlier new habits to create could be something about checking an explicit goal list, or otherwise consciously considering your priorities, on a regular basis. A routine that works for some people is to pick a (small) goal for the day every morning and to prioritize it above discretionary stuff like TV or video games (you only do those things after the goal is done). That can cause a lot of trouble if you’re avoiding the goal or procrastinating, though.

1 Like

Thanks for the explanation of the process of using conscious attention to change my habits. I was mostly going to wing that part but your explanation gives me a bit more structure and I think I can work towards that by tracking things more explicitly in writing, and then identifying habits from that, and then choosing some habits to change.

My understanding is it goes something like:

Step 1. Record stuff as accurately as I can to understand my current choices and maybe extrapolate or guess at my real current goals (not the ones I consciously think I have). This step itself I think is pretty hard and if I can get it done to a high standard, I would be happy with that start to this project. So I want to do my best to make this a high quality result (even at the risk of burning out on the project or something, I at least want to get one distinct step/part done from start to finish so that it can be judged as a whole and I can learn from it)

Step 1.5? - Analyze the info gathered to identify habits, if any analysis is needed. maybe it’s fairly obvious if i record the details right, i don’t know yet

Step 2. Once I’m satisfied that what I’ve recorded is accurate (and I can run it by the CF community to weed out biases or contradictions that I don’t spot myself), I can pick some small habit to try to change. Idk how hard this is… I think if the habit is small enough, this part of step 2 might be easier than step 1, because step 1 requires conscious attention to record everything and keep doing that until satisfied. I also need to do it to a high level of detail because I won’t know in advance which details are important.

Then repeat step 2 with bigger and bigger habits until I can change everything to be who I want to be? Maybe unrealistic that it scales forever? I imagine maybe there are diminishing returns eventually or I have to become way better at philosophy to scale past a certain point or something. Anyway, not important (I don’t consciously expect/want answers to these questions unless they are good value for you personally to write about. I don’t want to be a burden or make implicit promises/offer implicit value that I don’t end up delivering on, at least not until I can redeem myself and be more consistent at doing what I say I’ll do or what I imply I’ll do. Maybe subconsciously I do want to waste people’s time or mislead them or ask for help and then do nothing with it, but hopefully I’m working towards changing that with this project)

I have a problem with this, especially more strongly in the past. There have been times I’ve just avoided some specific thing I knew I had to do for very long periods of time and it became a ridiculous pain point and it hurt just to think about the fact that I wasn’t doing it, but the irony is that if I ever managed to just sit down and do it, it was rarely as bad as I had built it up to be and I just felt an immense relief after just doing it. I’m trying to think of a specific example, but when I was in a really bad financial situation just looking at my bank account was scary and I avoided it for months on end, so that led to me paying interest and fees on credit cards and stuff when I didn’t necessarily have to. Same with e.g. doing my taxes or making a call to some agency to clear something up (calling in to resolve something with some government agency or company has always been hard for me, especially if I feel like I messed something up, and I could put it off for months until it just gets worse and worse, both psychologically and also in reality since the other side is assuming I’m evil or malicious and might escalate the issue or whatever).

At the very least I want to be able to develop the self-awareness to write down what I’m avoiding so that other people can comment on it, and I think what’s helped me in the past is when people close to me have pointed out that the thing I’m afraid of really isn’t that scary, and they helped me do it once or take one step towards doing it, and then I was able to finish it because it just wasn’t that bad. The more i procrastinate or avoid something, the worse and bigger it gets until it causes way more pain than it should ever be worth.

I’m OK with trying this and seeing how it goes, especially after I feel like Step 1 is solid and I’ve either recorded enough data to account for most variance or situational one-off commitments (like 2 weeks or a month of time tracking), or I’ve just built a habit where implementing Step 1 is automatic and I can keep tracking my time without much cost or without feeling like it’s a burden to do. I think I can get to that point if I do it enough and see some tangible value from doing it. To that end, here’s today’s time tracking log. I noticed i was inconsistent with levels of detail and sometimes went too detailed and others probly not enough detail, but I hope it’s a good enough start to improve upon. Tomorrow should be better because I’m hoping to record stuff right after it happens rather than trying to remember some of it and use browser history and discord messages to approximate time like I did for most of today’s log. The notes column contains info that is usually not too important or relevant to others and mostly just for my own sake, but sometimes they can give context if something seems weird, like why i had such an exact time for some entry or how i determined it.

Monday Sept 27 Start Time Finish Time Duration Activity Notes
Timezone is PDT
12:00 AM 1:30 AM 1:30 Playing Ark with Friend This started at like 9 or 10 pm the previous day, not sure
1:30 AM 1:50 AM 0:20 Made some food and ate it I think it was two slices of toasted jalapeno bread, 3 deli turkey slices to finish the bag, and grated jalapeno monterey jack cheese.
1:50 AM 2:15 AM 0:25 Tried to sleep - failed
2:15 AM 2:32 AM 0:17 Watched some more of Ep 1 of Foundation 1x speed
I had already watched 30 min or so of Ep 1 the previous evening
2:32 AM 2:45 AM 0:13 Wrote a discord post for the startup re: game genre research Exact start time based on browser history
2:45 AM 3:54 AM 1:09 Finished Ep 1 and Ep 2 of Foundation Exact end time cuz I wrote a discord message to Ark friend who recommended the show
3:58 AM 4:21 AM 0:23 Got on CF to read stuff Browser History shows which posts I read: (Cropped at 4:15 to protect privacy but it goes to 4:21)
4:21 AM 5:32 AM 1:11 Read some more CF but also wrote some long replies in this thread Rough estimate from the x hours ago indicator on CF posts + Browser history
5:32 AM 5:53 AM 0:21 Not sure… Browser History shows some reddit and email checking Just two website visits in this 20 minute period, so maybe I lied down and tried to sleep too
5:54 AM 5:56 AM 0:02 More CF reading but very short Based on browser history
6:00 AM 7:00 AM 1:00 Lay in bed listening to some J. Stark videos while trying to fall asleep Roughly think I slept around 7:00 but not 100% sure.
Could have fallen asleep 15-20 min earlier.
7:00 AM 7:57 AM 0:57 Finally slept
Work Hours
8:00 AM 10:00 AM 2:00 Logged onto work laptop for work and participated in training. Based on Browser history: I also checked email, New World game steam page, reddit, and CF threads in this period.
Clicked some of ET’s latest TikTok links re: sexism and fraud and the world is going to shit bro. Vividly remember that earring fraud attempt and the person
who tracked a bunch of ROI and meetings
10:00 AM 10:15 AM 0:15 Work break - Played some ARK and read some Primal Fear (Ark mod) wiki pages
10:15 AM 12:15 PM 2:00 Work training while playing some ARK during downtime/slow times in training.
12:15 PM 1:00 PM 0:45 Lunch break from work. Showered and learnt how to iron a shirt from my dad (asked him for help) I wanted to iron the shirt to prepare for a remote workshop at 2:00 PM
Also got on Zoom to set up my webcam settings and stuff there
first time using PC webcam
1:00 PM 2:00 PM 1:00 Work Training
2:00 PM 5:00 PM 3:00 Futurepreneur Rock your Business Plan workshop. Requested two hours off work to attend the event. Link to workshop
Link to Slides
Learnt basics of marketing, positioning, picking a niche,
How to write a business plan and validate a product
Some specific stories and examples of local startups that were funded
by Futurepreneur and did well
5:00 PM 5:15 PM 0:15 Took a break, walked around a bit, microwaved some popcorn and put 3 frozen chicken bites on stove.
Read Elliot’s reply re: time tracking.
The 3 frozen chicken bites were the last ones left
otherwise I would have made more
5:15 PM 6:00 PM 0:45 Created columns/rows and filled out this spreadsheet while eating the popcorn and chicken bites Had to end by 6:00 because I have to show up at 6:00 for an amateur
league of legends team match tonight at 6:30 (we are to show up 30 min
early to discuss draft and strategy and stuff)
Amateur League
6:00 PM 6:18 PM 0:18 Pre-game discussion with amateur League team Browsed Reddit a bit cuz the discussion wasn’t full intensity the entire 30 min.
Most ppl seemed quiet/afk while our manager did most of the brainstorming, and even he had major gaps in his speech, so mostly quiet gaps.
6:18 PM 6:33 PM 0:15 Created lobby and began waiting for other team to show up to start drafting. More active discussion during this phase, less afk/quiet people
6:33 PM 6:42 PM 0:09 Started and finished draft. Best of 3 series
6:47 PM 7:22 PM 0:35 Game 1 Finished
7:22 PM 8:15 PM 0:53 Game 2 draft + game finished
8:15 PM 8:38 PM 0:23 Game 2 Draft finished
8:38 PM 9:04 PM 0:26 Game 3 finished We won (: 2-1. Final game was very cleanly played by our team.
9:04 PM 9:45 PM 0:41 Replay review/post-mortem of the game we lost + general team discussion afterwards
9:45 PM 10:04 PM 0:19 Wrote reply in CF thread Personal Budgeting + Finance Help and shared this time log.

Since I only slept an hour yesterday, I’m going to try to go to bed now (10:07 PM) and see if I can fall asleep. I want to try waking up early and doing some CF/philosophy then, since I remember reading your idea that mental energy is freshest after sleeping so that can be the most productive time to do learning and intense thinking. I also want to try New World, which comes out at 5 AM PST tomorrow, but I am not rushing to do that and I’ll aim to do one of my CF promises tasks first.

I’m worried that once I sleep and wake up, my motivations will change (I think you wrote about that somewhere too, like the idea of people having an energetic, involved discussion or debate that they seem to enjoy or prefer doing, and then falling asleep and basically dropping it ~forever once they wake up), so I want to take some step(s) to mitigate that. I’m going to close all the windows on my PC except a single browser window that only has the CF promises spreadsheet open, so when I wake up that’s the first thing I’ll see on the computer and hopefully it will take actual effort to ignore it and do something else instead of actually do some CF thing. I could also just open another window on the other monitor with all the CF promises links (Max tutoring videos, Eli Goldratt stuff, and the Yes or No Philosophy Summary). I think doing this also fits that routine idea of deciding to do one productive task before playing videogames.

Btw I already read some of the Yes or No Philosophy summary that day that you suggested it, but I didn’t write about it. I should have, but anyway I’ll start over and aim to communicate whatever progress or lack of progress I make so that it’s all transparent and open to criticism.

I will assume that if I write nothing here, then I’ve basically done nothing (from your perspective) and effectively that I’ve also done ~nothing for myself really because all I did was read something rather than actually following my project + goal of trying to learn CF and seeing what problems come up and to keep going until problems come up so I can note them down and address them with the CF community’s help.

Here’s the rest of my time log upto now (8:21 AM). I’ll check back in after work hours.

10:05 PM 11:59 PM 1:54 Slept
Tuesday Sept 28 12:00 AM 7:21 AM 7:21 Slept
7:22 AM 8:19 AM 0:57 Wrote this CF Learning Project Thread, Read some of Yes or No Philosophy Summary, and also read some related threads while writing it Logged into work at 8 AM but mostly didn’t pay attention to training until 8:20 AM
8:20 AM -8:20 Work / Training

I feel good about at least prioritizing the thing I said I’d prioritize first in the morning, which was the Yes or No summary. I think I took too long to do much on it though, and my time was ineffectively spent in terms of how much I read and wrote, but I’m OK with that because I’m just starting out and I think I should keep my expectations fairly limited to the specific goal and not expect to do high quality stuff in every area just yet. In this case, if I can just stay on topic and prioritize what I decide to prioritize ahead of time, I will consider that a success. Later on I can start to judge how I spend that time and ways to more effectively learn in the same period of time. I also didn’t expect to end up sleeping over 9 hours, but it felt good and I’m guessing I needed it since I only got 1 hour of sleep last night. I thought I’d wake up earlier and have more time to work on the CF stuff, but I also didn’t want to set an alarm since I was OK with sleeping more if I needed it.

That’s a lot of detail on time tracking. That might be good at first for a week but probably won’t be sustainable long term. Make sure you don’t burn out and then quit entirely – instead, when you want to, you can reduce the level of detail so it’s easier.

It’s really important, if you have a problem, to try less rather than giving up entirely. Sometimes people reach a breaking point before they make any change, so it’s too late to try less because they’re already fed up with it. Don’t do that.

People do this with other stuff like diet, exercise, meditation, learning math or anything, or trying to form any new habit they think is good. They overdo it at first in a burst of energy, find it’s disruptive to their regular life, and then quit entirely without ever trying doing it at a low level like 10min/day. Similarly, with CF, it’s uncommon for people to do 30min/day sustained for a month, but people should do that. The consistency over time should be the priority goal, not a big burst of doing a lot at the start.


Yeah “habits over heroics” is a lesson I feel like I’m just finally starting to get