Stuff #100 - The Stuff 100

Writing Stuff (and 50+ years on the planet) has introduced me to many good ideas, and I’ve tried to capture 100 of my favourites here. Some are mine; some aren’t but all are fantastic advice for a decent and productive life.
Matt 6 min read
Stuff #100 - The Stuff 100
Hey from Dublin!

A couple of years ago, I was laid off from my job at LinkedIn. During the 10-week gap while I was job hunting, I wanted to find an outlet to deal with the anxiety of not working, and I started Stuff.

One hundred issues on, the list has grown 30x and compiling Stuff is a high point of my week.

Thank you for allowing me into your inbox.

To celebrate the 100th issue, I've compiled a slightly different list...I'm calling it the Stuff 100.

This is Stuff, I'm Matt and normality will return next week.
  1. What’s for you won’t pass you by. This is my favourite saying from Ireland.
  2. When approached while working, always smile before the interaction starts, the exchange will be 82% better.  (Pro-tip - this works on video as well)
  3. Learn to be constructively dissatisfied and challenge assumptions frequently.
  4. Hold things lightly. This goes for eggs, children and beliefs.
  5. Inbox zero doesn’t make you more productive — unless your job is to achieve inbox zero.
  6. Occasionally, enjoy the honour of picking up the tab for everyone, it is truly satisfying.
  7. Honour peoples time. Promptness is a sign of respect.
  8. Things take the time they take, don’t worry.
  9. It’s better to run towards something than to run away from something. Thank you, an amazing LI colleague for this.
  10. To make better choices, give yourself more choices.
  11. Eat together.
  12. Practising gratitude is a compound benefit on your life. Try it, start today with one thing.
  13. If you have the choice, travel by train, not plane.
  14. If you find an item of clothing you love and are certain you will wear a lot, buy two, or three.
  15. Pressure makes diamonds. There is nothing like a deadline to get things done. I am reminded every week with Stuff.
  16. Ignore the algorithm, listen to music outside your usual taste.
  17. Your calendar belongs to you. Your inbox belongs to other people.
  18. The advice you don’t want to hear is usually the advice you need.
  19. What’s seldom is wonderful.
  20. Listen to the albums you loved as a teenager.
  21. Block out 30 minutes each month to update your CV/Resume. Ask yourself, ‘does this describe me now, would I hire me today?’
  22. Respect consistency as much as you respect hard skills.
  23. Learn about De Bonos thinking hats, and then learn to quickly change them to work with other people.
  24. Maintain a beginners mindset.
  25. Go to bed earlier, but sleep with your phone in a different room. Buy an alarm clock.
  26. Be polite to rude strangers, it’s a superpower.
  27. Occasionally, take out your headphones when walking and listen to the world, especially if you are in a city.
  28. Start Saturday morning with some fantastic music, it sets the tone for a great weekend.
  29. Email is a time suck: learning to ignore urgent but unimportant emails will save you time for high-priority. high value work.
  30. Loving what you do and doing what you enjoy will accelerate progress.
  31. Feeling sluggish at work? Try the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes on, five-minute break, and repeat. (pro-tip - I write Stuff using a Pomodoro timer)
  32. The goal isn’t more, it’s 'more impact.'
  33. Be alert for the arrival of luck.
  34. Don’t be weird about how to stack the dishwasher.
  35. The most effective productivity hack: Say no.
  36. Grass doesn’t grow faster when you pull it.
  37. Spend more money on memories, not things.
  38. Learn to see what others see. Walk in their shoes as well.
  39. Sometimes the most productive thing to do, is eliminate the task.
  40. Learn to tell stories - practice by telling one joke, really well.
  41. There are few things as satisfying as a completed crossword.
  42. Start a brag document. Know what you’ve done well.
  43. Being curious keeps you young.
  44. Use your umbrella with manners.
  45. Take responsibility for your problems; don’t blame others.
  46. Give compliments freely.
  47. Don’t talk in the cinema.
  48. If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value.
  49. If the service is bad, don’t tip - but learn to give feedback.
  50. Risk ridicule - smile at strangers, talk to shop assistants.
  51. If you’re ill, please take time off - now more than ever.
  52. There is no substitute for caring.
  53. Do not be afraid of work that has no end.
  54. All management is change management.
  55. Spend good money on spectacles, shoes and beds…. you’ll always be in one of them.
  56. A smooth sea never made a good sailor.
  57. Fail we May, Sail we Must.
  58. A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for. Thats the 'sailor three' completed.
  59. Ruthlessly eliminate negativity.
  60. Overplayed strengths are as damaging as weaknesses.
  61. Over time the future is decided more by optimists.
  62. Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.
  63. Work in the open. Silos are for grain, not ideas.
  64. Learn about opportunity cost, and what it means to not do something.
  65. Build in time to reflect and be clear what works well and doesn’t.
  66. Whenever there is an argument between two sides, find the third side.
  67. It’s not an apology if it comes with an excuse. It is not a compliment if it comes with a request.
  68. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I don’t need to write this down because I will remember it.”
  69. Focus on what you’ve already completed, not just what is left to do.
  70. Taking five deep breaths really helps. Try it now.
  71. Ask for help when you are overwhelmed.
  72. You cannot get smart people to work extremely hard just for money.
  73. You can be whatever you want, so be the person who ends meetings early. Pro-Tip - if you do give time back, make sure people use it for them, not for more work.
  74. Always show others compassion. Everyone is suffering in their own private way.
  75. Your to-do list will rarely diminish in size. Tasks arrive at the velocity of infinity.
  76. Please use a password manager, and dual factor as much as possible.
  77. Sustained outrage makes you dumb. Turn off the news, stop scrolling.
  78. Every so often, search your email for the word “unsubscribe” and then use it on as many as you can.
  79. Everything has an ebb or flow. Know which is which, and when.
  80. Criticise in private, praise in public.
  81. Productivity is often a distraction. Don’t aim for better ways to get through your tasks as quickly as possible, rather aim for better tasks that you never want to stop doing.
  82. People are complicated and flawed, root for their better angels.
  83. Ever tried, ever failed. No matter, try again.  Fail again, fail better.
  84. You will never arrive - and that’s OK.  This goes for all the books you want to read, or all the music you want to listen to.
  85. Train employees well enough they could get another job, but treat them well enough so they never want to.
  86. Being wise means having more questions than answers.
  87. Repetition doesn’t spoil a prayer, or a song.
  88. Ignore what others may be thinking of you, because they aren’t.
  89. Learn how to learn from those you disagree with. Search for the truth in what they believe.
  90. Pay the insurance, drive the car back and leave it.
  91. To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just repeat, repeat, repeat.
  92. Learn how to apologise properly: quickly, specifically, sincerely.
  93. Enthusiasm is worth 25 IQ points. Hire for enthusiasm and curiosity.
  94. Accept what you cannot control.
  95. The best way out is always through.
  96. Don’t be afraid of therapy, anyone can benefit from talking to a neutral expert.
  97. Mirror the language that someone uses to describe their own identity - learn to pronounce their name, and use their pronouns.
  98. Play devil's advocate at the right time, but not all the time.
  99. If you are building a new product or process, ensure that someone in the room plays the customer, better still - bring a customer.
  100. This too shall pass.
If you received this email from an excellent friend, and would like to subscribe, please go here. If you'd like an archive of Stuff from the beginning of 2022 - it's here
My aural stuff for you this week is an ice-cool slab of Scandinavian electronica from the ever-excellent Röyksopp, with the second part of their Profound Mysteries double album.

Part two features more brilliant tunes that tread the line between dancefloor, pop and chillout and features vocal turns from Jamie Irrepressible and the awesome Suzanne Sundfør.

Listen to Profound Mysteries II from Röyksopp on Spotify here.

Stuff that someone said:

"The moments between your milestones, are not filler."   Nelou Keramati
Do you love independent writing? I recommend The Sample. Every day, they will send you a novel newsletter you might like, no obligation.
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