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Recently it was my 20th birthday so I thought it would be interesting to come up with a list of the 20 most important and useful facts I’ve learned so far.

This essay was is inspired by Sam Altman’s: “36 Lessons Before Age 30”. I recommend reading that too.

Time and Life

1. Time is your most valuable resource


What focus is, why it matters and how to become more focused

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Focus is an important concept. This essay explains:

Focus and Success

“Ninety percent of everything is crap.” — Sturgeon’s Law

The Pareto Principle says that 80% of results come from 20% of action. Both Sturgeon’s Law and the Pareto Principle emphasize focusing on what is important and valuable over everything else.

Most highly successful people in history have been focused specialists. For example, Einstein was focused on physics, Elon Musk is focused on technology and Shakespeare focused on writing.

Warren Buffett, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison on…


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Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

What happens to your brain when you’re stressed and what to do about it

Stress is something everyone experiences at some time in their lives.

Therefore you probably know the signs of stress already: a pounding heart, an increased breathing rate, muscle tension and possibly an upset stomach.

The Biology of Stress

Stress begins in an area of the brain near the brain stem called the hypothalamus. When we get stressed, the hypothalamus tells the adrenal glands near our kidneys to release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases our heart rate and widens our airways to increase oxygen intake while cortisol releases sugar into the bloodstream. The effects of stress can be useful as they give us an energy boost. …


How to really be productive and get stuff done

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Have you ever finished a whole list of tasks but then realized at the end of the day that you didn’t actually achieve much? The reason why is probably that you were efficient but not effective.

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration.”

— Thomas A. Edison

Efficiency and effectiveness sound similar but actually have very different meanings. Efficiency is the ability to do tasks quickly regardless of whether or not they are important while effectiveness is the ability to choose and do the most relevant tasks to your goal. Efficiency enables you to do a task quickly even if that task is irrelevant to your goals while effectiveness helps you to achieve your goals by ensuring that your time is invested in only the most important tasks. …


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Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

Understanding and optimizing productivity using math

What is work?

work done per year ≈ E x H x D

E = efficiency = average amount of work done per hour,

H = average number of hours worked per work day,

D = number of work days per year.

How to Get More Work Done per Year:

1. Increase Efficiency

Tips for increasing productivity:

About

Stephen McAleese

I like creating new ideas and learning new perspectives.

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