Motto: The Desolation of Smug
This post is going to come across as snooty, maybe, but I don't care. I asked myself a question earlier today: "What are the things that you do that you're really happy about?" which quickly transitioned into "What are things you do that you think everyone should be doing?" Here are my answers. Establish a System for Passwords I used KeePass for around a year, but have recently switched to LastPass (100% for convenience's sake). Both services work great and there are many others you could choose. I have all my accounts, passwords, and important reference information in one, easy to reference place. Why you should:I've written about this extensively in the past, so I'm not going to rehash everything. We all know our passwords should be "passsword1" and we all know that we should reuse passwords between services. Using GOOD and UNIQUE passwords on EVERY service is flat out impossible without some sort of management system. There are plenty good ones to choose from: KeePass, LastPass, 1Password, a text file stored in an encrypted zip, a pen and a notebook you keep locked in your desk. Find something encrypted & secure. Also - turn on 2-factor authentication where possible. Your Google account is a good start. Your password manager is even better. Side benefits include: seeing a list of all the accounts you have open (which is very handy), the ability to securely store other information along with your passwords - such as account numbers & contact names, the ability to change passwords at will without hassle & memorization. Create a Personal Inventory I've got a list of almost everything I own costing more than $100. It includes pictures, prices, serial numbers, model numbers, dates of purchase, locations of purchase, and usually a couple of other pieces of identifying information. Why you should:Disaster recovery. If you came home from vacation to find your house burned to the ground, or was completely ransacked, or destroyed by a flood, or smashed by Cthulhu, could you tell your insurance rep what you owned? If your car goes missing, could you tell the police exactly what your VIN was? Creating a personal inventory takes only a couple to a few hours to begin with, then a minute or two each time you get something new to add to the list. After you've done it, you'll be very glad you have it. Side benefits include: Seeing a list of all the things you own (which is very handy), the ability to recall if an item you bought is still under warranty should it malfunction, a rough estimate for how much money you could have if you were really strapped for cash and had to sell everything you owned. Keep Digital Backups in Multiple Locations I've got all of my photos, music, documents, and completed video projects stored on my main PC, my main external hard drive, and in a cloud storage service. I keep my PC and cloud storage always up to date and my main hard drive synced around once/month. Why you should:Disaster recovery & high availability. Back to the Cthulhu scenario: you've lost everything you own. Your computer is gone. What happens to every photo you've ever taken? What happens to every piece of media you've accrued? What happens to that nice personal inventory you made? If you don't have it backed up in some remote location, you're out of luck. What happens if Google or Dropbox or Apple or Microsoft decide you're breaking their terms of service and lock you out of your account permanently? You'd better have a local copy of everything. More likely scenarios include disk drive failure, accidental deletion, and/or some malicious behavior. Side benefits include: Access to all of your files from a remote location, the ability to physically bring all of your files with you on a portable hard drive, and general "sleep better at night"-ed-ness. Home Media Streaming & Curating a Digital Media Library Using my phone, I can send music, pictures, movies, or TV shows stored on my computer to my television. I can have one, centrally stored location for all of my media that I can access from anywhere. If I were out in the boonies with all sorts of time to kill, I can still watch Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or do an exercise video routine. Why you should:Mostly, it's just cool. Your media no longer forced to move your media between different silos. There are tons of ways to do this - I use and would recommend Plex. The process is somewhat cumbersome to setup, but requires virtually no maintenance. Like most things in this list, put in the work once and reap the benefits forever. Side benefits include: Media security (not relying on potentially volatile physical media) & impressing people with your cool system. Cook Your Own Food Melissa and I cook the majority of our meals. I've not done the leg work to figure out exactly our ratio, but I'd estimate 75-80% of our meals are homemade. Why you should:It will save you money and keep you more healthy. On average, the food you pay someone else to make is more fried, more sugary, more salty, or more stuffed with chemicals you can't pronounce than food you'd cook yourself. Also, the $8 lunch you had probably only had $3 worth of ingredients in it and took ~10 minutes to make. Side benefits include: A connection to the food you eat, a greater appreciation for food, and attractiveness to a mate.
Don't Get Unhealthy Foods at the Grocery Store
I tend to do a pretty good job of "walking the perimeter" of the grocery store. My shopping cart has only a few boxed goods when I leave. It is usually devoid of snacky foods, candies, sodas, and frozen dinners.
Why you should:You eat what you buy - it's really that simple. You can't expect to live with a healthy diet if you are constantly tempted by the unhealthy food in your pantry. If you keep re-supplying your stash of Nutter Butters (which are delicious, btw) you will never stop eating them.
Side benefits include:Snacky foods tend to be more expensive than their meat & potatoes counterparts. You'll save money by choosing water over Pepsi, bananas over Doritos. Exercise Frequently While I still don't exercise as much as I want to or should, I do get in more than most people. Why you should:When you're healthy, everything is better. When you're physically fit, everything is easier. Exercise prolongs life. Exercise prolongs the kind of life you actually want to live. Exercise increases self-esteem, confidence, and general happiness. If you don't exercise as much as you should, you're only hurting yourself. Side benefits include: A connection to your body, a greater capacity to do physical work should the need arise, and attractiveness to a mate. Find Hobbies that Don't come with Continual Expenses Scenario: I suddenly find myself with a free weekend and nobody around. I can write code, make videos, write Columns, play videogames, cook, and exercise without spending a dollar (not including groceries and the like). Similar scenario: you're hanging out with your friends and you're not all trust fund babies and you need something to do. Why you should:If you can't enjoy spending time without spending money then you are in a world of trouble. Find things that are free to do (bodyweight exercises, card games, whatever) or things that come with a modest one-time cost that continually pay off (board games, video games, whatever) and learn to enjoy yourself without draining your bank account. Dominion, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, video production, photography, pushups, pullups, yoga, drawing, writing, Wikipedia cruising, videogames, cooking, and playing sports are all much better things to do than going out to a bar (IMHO). Side benefits include:Enjoying your life. Keeping yourself and your mind active. Bonding with friends. The availability of money for other purposes. Review Financials Every Night Well, almost every night. I will check out my list of recent transactions and ensure I can account for each item on the list. Also I will check my budgets for the month. The budget thing I am looking to lean more heavily on. Why you should:If you don't stay on top of finances you will find someday that you've been spending all sorts of your money you didn't realize you were... and maybe it wasn't even you that was spending your money. You have to be consciously aware of where you stand at all times on this regard. I feel like this one doesn't really need justification. Use your bank's online site, or use some sort of tool. I use Mint. While it's not perfect, it's the best tool I've found.
Side benefits include:Catching fraudulent purchases early. Keeping yourself and your family out of the financial gutter. Know Your Tools and How to Use Them I'm not talking about hammers and saws (unless you own them, then yeah you should know how to use them). I'm talking modern-day tools. I am approaching "power-user" status with my phone & computer. I was once told I have a great appreciation of tools, and I think that still rings true today. Why you should:The thing you are reading this on is capable of so many helpful things. If you don't understand how to properly maintain your phone or computer, you are dooming yourself to constant frustrations. "WHY IS THIS SO SLOW?!" Usually there IS an answer to this question. A lack of familiarity with these Side benefits:Knowing your tools allows you to better troubleshoot problems, combine clever orchestrations of their usage. I used my phone to create an encrypted drive on my desktop yesterday. It was cool.
I just wrote a listical. I think that means I'm going to make a ton of money now and get shared like crazy on Facebook. That's how the internet works. I'm sorry if this post came across as "holier-than-thou". It's just that I'm so darn holy.
Here's a question I'd like to ask everyone: What do YOU do in your life that you're really glad about & think everyone should do?
Here's the picture to go out on:
Games are fun.
Top 5: Things I Do That I Think NOT Everyone Should Do 5. Trash things heavy-handedly. I can't stand clutter, sometimes to a fault. I don't like not knowing all the cards I hold and what capacity or capabilities those cards give me. This has caused me to, on occasion, throw away things I really should have kept, just for the sake of having less to deal with. 4. Track everything you do. Every exercise. Every bedtime. Every step you take. Everything you eat. A list of 25 goals you try to accomplish every day. I'm glad I do this, but even I recognize it's a bit much. It's definitely not something I'd suggest for everyone. While I would encourage conscientiousness of these things, having the hard data is superfluous for most people. 3. Go months or even years without reading a book. I don't read for fun nearly often enough. My wife has been doing a fantastic job of this lately, too. 2. Have a job that involves sitting in a chair all day. 1. Kiss my wife. I do this, but I don't recommend others do the same.
“The suggested playlist was created by us and we stand by it. You will be able to lift more for a longer period of time if you listen to what we’ve suggested.”
- The Four Horsemen Workout introduction, which is hilarious and crass -