Productivity Tip: Fail-safe activities


This is no ordinary fail-safe.

Before we talk about what a “fail-safe activity” is, as practitioners of an imaginative craft, we may unwittingly procrastinate in front of smart devices. On returning to our senses, we lament at the time lost, but we find ourselves at a loss when it comes to time management.


In my spare time, I study how people remain productive, and I blogged about productivity here and here. Recently, however, I’ve found myself in a productivity slump, and my lack of zest troubles me greatly. Besides, I don’t want to feel lazy. However, I recall the adage

Failing to plan is planning to fail.


So I decided to plan what I should do when I am no longer motivated to do the tasks at hand. I categorise these activities as “fail-safe”.


For example, I need to do a huge work-related project, but I also have several writing projects at hand as well as MOOC coursework. Instead of resorting to social media when I cannot stand the boredom, or learn to forcibly “fall in love with boredom”, I create the following flowchart:




Right now…

@1 Do work-related project

YES: Keep doing
NO: Fail safe @2: Writing Project 1 for 5 minutes

5 minutes later…

YES: Return to @1
NO: Fail safe @2: MOOC Coursework for 5 minutes

… (finite time-limited choices)

YES: Return to @1
NO: Take a shower/bite/drink and then return to @1

Task completed?
YES: Replace @1 with @2, @2 with @3 and so on, and then re-run the entire algorithm
NO: Keep doing


This flowchart can help exercise self-control and keep anyone on any number of important tasks. Instead of having to focus on a single task monotonously, we can now switch to different important tasks – and not even entertain the notion of procrastination – without thinking twice. It is also more practical than simply banning oneself from accessing social media sites, as the urge to go there is not quenched. However, with such a plan, completing the task-at-hand becomes easier and less boring because you can do a variety of tasks, just as spaced repetition – the practice of memorising the same words at a certain frequency not too fast or slow – makes one learn new vocabulary more efficiently.


Planning for failure makes success within one’s grasp. The next time you’ve hit a brick wall, try this method of planning ahead. Work in the 21st century is supposed to be flexible – and fun.


Street smart wisdom

ben’s outline: our jogging speed from HH to TST -> cars -> AI -> this post.

We can’t outrun cars. Wonder if computers can beat human intelligence?

Everybody loves to talk. Everybody is talkative, even theatrical. But to befriend anyone, you must tap into one’s flow – make them talk endlessly about their favourite things. DON’T TAKE STANCES. JUST LISTEN.

But one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

So, 該摺時摺,該不摺時不摺。A time to talk and a time to shut up.

24 hours = 8 hrs of sleep + 8 hrs or work + 8 hrs of downtime = life. So, if you want to know what life you’re living now, look at what you do in each of the 8 hours.

Everybody is untrustworthy – we can’t even trust what we say.

You can test your friends’ loyalty with a secret that doesn’t harm you if made public accidentally. If you overhear one of these friends telling another this secret, he or she is untrustworthy and you may do well to distance yourself from him/her.

There was a couple who broke up because the girl only liked to hang out with guy friends, disgusted by girl friendship politics and in favour of the frankness so typical of boys. It made her boyfriend jealous. So be wary of your boy/girl-friend’s circle of friends.

Words go wrong almost all the time. Actions don’t. People keep score. They add points when you please them, and etch ’em off when you offend. If in 10 minutes you talk and talk and talk, you are bound to go wrong. But if 6 minutes or more are actions, like a movie, a show, a concert or a dinner, there is less chance of going wrong. If you lose 50% of the other party’s points, especially by talking too much, the relationship is irreparable and get a life. Invest your life elsewhere / on someone else.

Relationships follow a normal distribution. What’s right under the bell curve matters much more than what’s on the rim.


The following content is in Chinese



醒=fast processing power

叻 = fast processing power + vision

奸 = fast processing power + vision + evil (or shrewd)


但是有些人不夠別人醒,+ evil + vision, then this power is much greater than some stupid mistakes

e.g. 我是你40%醒only, then 鬥讀書 –> 分心 ==> 不可以讀書100%, so… 大學(姐)… human factor (GCA, H) make network 成功


(1) processing power (IQ): General cognitive ability, G

(2) Crystallised cognitive ability, C: 撞板撞到叻,經驗去學習–>1

H: hardworking

成績 is a function of 醒 and gaming the system => G(me) >> G(ben)

but CC: me 0 ben 0.1.

So I need: G(me) ~ C(ben) > C(ben), and H(me) ~ G(me) > G(ben)

If H(me) > G&H(ben) ⊁ CC(ben)

If G(me) > H(me) s.t. G(me) > G(ben) & H(me) > H(ben), then G&H(me) –> 1/2 effort > 3 x ben.

pretext = G(me) > G(ben)



blame the kid, blame the kid, blame the kid, kid, kid