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My to-do list addiction as a high leverage meta-habit

Over the past 4,093 days I’ve completed 43,736 to-do’s.

Creating my to-do list habit 11 years ago when I was deeply struggling to understand my place in the world, and then re-committing to it mid-PhD (even more strugs) a few years later was one of the primary moves that pulled me out of the downward spiral I was in and put me on the path I’m on today.

Since then I’ve completed an average of 10.7 to-do’s/day. After switching to Todoist and starting my company ~three years ago, I’ve completed an average of 21.2 to-do’s/day. And over the last three months since going through CBTi (and also doing a round of ketamine therapy + beginning somatic therapy) my daily average has increased to 30.1 to-do’s/day, which is some of the clearest evidence I have of the efficacy of these interventions.

My to-do list is one of my most valuable keystone habits and it plays a pivotal role in nearly every aspect of my life. The reason for this, I believe, is that used correctly a to-do list can become an incredibly powerful meta-habit—i.e. a habit that makes it easier to create other habits.

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How to sleep

Welcome weary traveler…

This is a collection of slightly-less-than-obvious sleep advice that’s actually worked for me.

I had poor sleep for my entire life until figuring out most of the below—the result of which is that I now feel that I have agency over whether or not I sleep well. Which has been life changing.

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Some of my favorite poetry, vol. v

tags: poetry

O Me! O Life!

Walt Whitman

O Me! O life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

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Some of my favorite poetry, vol. iv

tags: poetry

Not Anyone Who Says

Mary Oliver

Not anyone who says, “I’m going to be
    careful and smart in matters of love,”
who says, “I’m going to choose slowly,”
but only those lovers who didn’t choose at all
but were, as it were, chosen
by something invisible and powerful and uncontrollable
and beautiful and possibly even
only those know what I’m talking about
in this talking about love.

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Suffertember V

Amazingly, this is now the fifth year of Suffertember!

Last year was the most successful yet as both Suffertember Co-Founder Westley Dang and I were living in The Archive, and almost two-thirds of the house joined us, including friends of friends like the lead guitarist of Linkin Park(!). We started off with a 6 AM run up a local hill (SF is a fantastic city for masochists) which was made only slightly more difficult by the thumbnail-sized chunks of ash falling from the air. After the run, we did Ab Ripper X in a big circle in the backyard and then made breakfast. It was a great morning.

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