Monthly Archives: December 2009

Lessons Learned: 2009 – Principles to Live By

The past year has been a tumultuous one — learning to raise a child, traveling all over the place, both by myself and with my family, finishing my Ph.D., starting a company and a couple of side businesses, and much more.

This year I finally started keeping track of lessons learned, not on a per-incident basis, but in the form of ‘principles to live by’ — things I’ve noticed forming a pattern over time. I’ll preface this list by saying that these principles apply to me specifically — I won’t say that they’re appropriate for everyone. However, they might give you something to think about in terms of your own best practices. None of this is original either, but out of all of the advice I’ve read, these things have really worked for me. Without further ado:

Brock’s Principles to Live By Based on Personal Experience

  • Don’t exercise until done with work for the day
  • Don’t drink alcohol until done with work for the day – yes that includes irish cream in the coffee and a beer if you go out to lunch with people and they’re having beers.
  • Exercise regularly, both strength and aerobic
  • Get enough sleep
  • Limit caffeine consumption to the equivalent of 2-3 cups of coffee per day, and none after lunch
  • Eat enough fiber
  • Plan your day
  • Don’t plan to do any work while watching an infant/toddler
  • Plan to clean/tidy/play while watching an infant/toddler
  • Limit work hours – work expands to fill the allotted time
  • Batch
  • Emphasize the positive, deemphasize the negative
  • Don’t complain
  • Know your goals
  • Say No
  • Don’t buy it if you can rent it, unless you’re going to use it regularly
  • Don’t keep it if you’re not going to use it regularly or unless it’s very hard to get. Give it away or sell it.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt
  • Clean environment – clean mind
  • Keep an accountability partner
  • Where possible, never leave any preparation to the day of an event — things always seem to pop up that prevent last-minute prep
  • Avoid instant messaging. It makes it too easy for conversations to drag on. Use email for asynchronous and phone for synchronous conversation.
  • Act professional in business, and give the best you can at the fairest price you can. It will pay itself back quickly and repeatedly.
  • Wait for the upgrade. You don’t have the time or money to be an early adopter anymore.
  • Pack lighter. You can almost always buy something you need there.

Much of this learning has been done through and inspired by the “Think Try Learn” / Edison philosophy/platform, now at v1.0. I’ve learned some other, more specific things through that site, including how to really increase my strength and musculature quickly, and how true the “what gets measured gets managed” mantra is.

What have you learned this year? Do you have any “principles to live by”?

Hearty Friday – Red


Originally uploaded by Michael Angelo 77

This one’s early, as I’m off tomorrow and Flickr’s blogging function doesn’t let me modify the post date. I’m not sure what this is, exactly. Rubber heart? Sheep heart? Anyway, it’s probably the most anatomically-correct heart I’ve seen on Flickr yet. Happy New Year!