ketan agrawal

rules of thumb
Last modified on December 30, 2023

Things that are good, I think?

Holding a Program in One’s Head
Maintain continuity in life
Be part of a good community
Taking notes is good.
Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) works well for code, not people.

structure is a constraint that leads to creativity.

Like, structure prevents you from spending too much time in the “config layer.” Spend more time in the execution layer, creating. But the perennial question is, “how much structure is too much structure?”

Do one major thing per day.

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

Related to the idea of constraints supporting creativity–dead simple things, done again and again are extremely powerful.

Start simple and workable, and then unfold to something more complex.

By induction, if you can progress from complexity \(k\) to \(k + 1\), you can progress infinitely.

Over time, I’ve gotten to know the amazing beast that is org-mode . It is astounding how much you can doβ€”but perhaps even more impressive is that you can start using it to do interesting things from the first day. You can learn in 5 minutes how to create headlines, expand and collapse nodes, write text, etc. That is not hard. In that way, it is a simple tool.

This, I feel, should be part of my life philosophy. Wanna start a self-reflective practice? Make it extremely, dead, simple at first. Make it solid. Then, gradually, you can build from there. But you need that foundation to be laid down first, otherwise things are all like the kids who took caffeine or steroids…stunted growth, or premature experience.

Simple life philosophy. Simple running routine. Simple self-reflection routine. To start out with.

cc: encouraging good patterns of thinking

Links to “Start simple and workable, and then unfold to something more complex.”

how I made this website

🚧 TODO 🚧 This is a note I’m actively working on.

(I guess some of this bleeds into my ⚑️ emacs config )

The ethos behind Quotebacks is one of the reasons why I love the product. Yes, it’s a great addition to my thinking toolkit, allowing me to store quotes without polluting my note-taking and thinking system. But it’s also a tool which aims at making the Internet a more generous place. If you regularly write online, give it a try!

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

Simulate having a conversation with someone who knows their stuff.

This works shockingly well when I’m having a problem, in that it sort of forces me to be rational about things and fully express all the particulars involved (which I may not have actually done in my in-head frustration.) Like imagine sitting with someone very level-headed, and explaining your problem to them. You can even do this in text form, writing out an imaginary email to this person.

(alternatively, and maybe this should be your first resort – actually talk to someone who knows their stuff.)

Just go to bed.

sleep is really important. There’s no use in staying up until 6am twiddling with some random thing that is bothering me in a project – it’ll probably just be counterproductive, because I’m replacing time that I could’ve spent rested and productive in the morning with time that I’m spending tired and unproductive at night.

Links to “rules of thumb”

Reduce friction to getting to the things you really want.

Talk about ‴️ shortcuts – want to get shortcuts to things that I want to encourage.

You will take the path of least resistance, at least in some ways.

Good rule of thumb.