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Use What Works, Disregard What Doesn’t: Rule #77

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I know lots of people that perpetually seek out new lifehacks. They endlessly try to find ways to make themselves more creative, more resilient, and more productive. I’m all for self-improvement, but we’re all different; the tools and resources that work for you might not work for me. That’s why we should use what works, and disregard what doesn’t.

For example, I know tons of people who swear that making their bed every morning makes them more productive. The idea is that if you make your bed in the morning, no matter what else happens, you’ll have at least accomplished one thing.

Inkling on bed
Inkling doesn’t care about the bed being made.

But what have you really accomplished? You’ve made a bed. That’s what you’ve accomplished. An unsubstantial chore with no inherent meaning. Does this help some people accomplish more? Yes, it does, and if you’re one of them (or if you just like a tidy bed) by all means make your bed first thing in the morning.

However, I suspect that many people who swear by the “make your bed” lifehack actually use this as a crutch. If they don’t accomplish anything else during their day, they can say, “well at least I made my bed!”

But making your bed achieves nothing. To be fair, the actual made bed isn’t the point to lifehackers, but for me, it’s worthless. I never make the bed first thing in the morning, in fact, I seldom make the bed at all (much to my wife’s chagrin). I find it to meaningless busywork. The rare occasions when I do make it tends to be right before we call it a night, and only because Clarissa likes sleeping in a neat bed.

Inkling disregards whether a bed is made or not
Inkling absolutely doesn’t care at all about whether the bed is made or not, as long as she can jump on it.

The first thing that I do in the morning is check my calendar. Clarissa and I both use Google Calendar, and we sync our schedules, so a quick look at my calendar in the morning gives me a general idea of what’s in store. It’s practical, useful, and incredibly helpful to me.

This rule isn’t about making beds, but I like this example because I’m friends with so many people who find it to be an effective way to jump start their day. It really works for them, so they should continue to use it. It does not for me. So I disregard it.

We live in a world that is full of resources, tools, advice, and lifehacks that we can’t use all of it. There’s just too much! So don’t be afraid to try something to see if it works. If it does, stick with it. If it doesn’t, don’t bother trying to shoehorn it into your life. Disregard it.

Inkling cockroached on the bed
Life hacking and bed making doesnt necessarily make for great pictures. Enjoy another of the pup.

Of course, that doesn’t mean disregard something if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time that you try it. I’m saying that if you make an honest effort to try a productivity tool or trick, and it just isn’t for you, then let it go.

This doesn’t just apply to lifehacking; I use this for every aspect of my life. Tradition, philosophy, education, religion… No matter what part of my life I’m examining, if a certain aspect simply doesn’t work for me, no matter how hard I try to make it, I choose to disregard it.

Come to think of it, if you’ve tried your hardest to apply one of the Rules for Intrepid Living to your life, and it just isn’t working, maybe you should consider disregarding it. There is, after all, an exception to every rule.

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