The best return on time I’ve found is reflecting on myself. Key areas of reflection: habits, motivation, productivity, strengths and weaknesses. I’ve written about experimenting with my diet, caffeine intake and how I think.
There is an advice mill, amplified by the internet, of generic advice. As if there is a universal alchemy formula to life. A pet peeve is when people blindly copy habits or mannerisms of people they deem successful. Celebrity culture magnifies this. It’s extreme absurdity is best displayed whenever there is a new overnight success. They always get interviewed in minute detail. Nobody cared about this person’s breakfast habits two weeks ago. Now, where they shop is supposed to unlock success? The person getting all of this attention is usually still in shock that anyone cares. They aren’t different from two weeks earlier. Unfortunately, given enough time, they will eventually believe this constructed narrative.
For another example, look at writers. There are no obvious lifestyle patterns that cause success. Some were alcoholics. Others were sober and religious. Some wrote all day. Some just here and there. Some believe in semicolons and others detest them. There is no copy and paste formula for being a successful writer. Yet there is a lot of lifestyle advice about what will make writers successful.
People spend a lot of time superficially learning about others. Instead, I use that time for self reflection. That’s been helpful. The most important thing isn’t to copy routines. It’s to figure out the ones that work for me.
Not knowing one’s strengths is the greatest possible weakness. Conversely, knowing one’s weaknesses is the greatest possible strength.