Everyday Systems: Podcast [ rss ]

In August 2006, I agreed to do a regular segment for the Health Hacks Podcast. Despite a brief but exciting run that involved them actually PAYING ME MONEY (yes, in some pathetic sense, I was a professional podcaster), as of August 2007, the Health Hacks Podcast is no more. The good news is you can still listen to my segments because I've rereleased them as a separate, bare bones, Everyday Systems Podcast. If I can ever motivate without a producer cracking the whip I'll even record new episodes.

On this page you'll find links to Everyday Systems Podcast audio files, approximate transcripts, and bulletin board discussions. You can also subscribe to the Everyday Systems Podcast in iTunes.

For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, Podcast = Internet Radio (more or less). Click the mp3 download or flash player links to listen.

Episode 54: State of the Systems 2020
Posted by Reinhard on 2020-12-31
How pandemic proof are the Everyday systems? A quick review of 14 systems and how they are holding up.
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Episode 53: Timebox Lord
Posted by Reinhard on 2020-12-08
A system for balancing "infinite work" with "first things."
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Episode 52: Demogorgon vs. Asmodeus
Posted by Reinhard on 2020-10-28
How to ingore both of the evil voices in your head and attain comic detachment from your psychomachia.
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Episode 51: Mantrafication
Posted by Reinhard on 2020-04-02
Reflect on what is giving you trouble with your self improvement system. Write a contract with yourself on a 4*6 index card. Record yourself speaking it. Listen to this recorded mantra every day.
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Episode 50: 2016 State of the Systems Check-In (Spiritual)
Posted by Reinhard on 2016-07-29
No S for the Soul! 14-Year Jubilee updates on 8 "spiritual" systems: Weekend Luddite, Audiodidact, Chain of Self-command, Low Smoking, G-Ray Vision, Monthly Resolution, Lawful Good Biker and The Study Habit.
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Episode 49: 2016 State of the Systems Check-In (Physical)
Posted by Reinhard on 2016-06-24
It's been 14 years since everyday systems first went online. How are they holding up? In this episode I report on the four physical systems: the No S Diet, Shovelglove, Urban Ranger, and Glass ceiling.
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Episode 48: The No S Diet Audiobook, Chapter 1 (Rough!)
Posted by Reinhard on 2016-01-29
Are my low podcast production values good enough to produce an audiobook? You be the judge! For this episode, an experimental reading of Chapter 1 of the No S Diet book. Let me know if a few tweaks here and there might do the trick, or if I had better rethink this whole project.
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Episode 47: The Heroics of Tidiness
Posted by Reinhard on 2015-12-29
Habit is powerful. But is it always the answer? Is there room for one-time, decisive actions in the realm of self-improvement? I think there is -- but perhaps not quite where you expect it.
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Episode 46: S-days vs. Cheat Days
Posted by Reinhard on 2015-11-30
S-days aren't cheat days -- in an important way, they're the opposite.
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Episode 45: Einstein's Soup
Posted by Reinhard on 2015-11-24
An Einsteinian justification for my irregular podcasting
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Episode 44: The Return of the General
Posted by Reinhard on 2014-01-08
Long term planning with index cards is back! You can now capture your entire life strategy, operations, and tactics in three index cards.
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Episode 43: Scribal Filter and medium-term task management
Posted by Reinhard on 2014-01-02
No-tech medium term task managment with index cards.
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Episode 42: Personal Punchcards Redux
Posted by Reinhard on 2013-11-26
Low-tech, high-psychology productivity tracking gets even simpler.
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Episode 41: The "What the Hell" Effect and Negative Qualification.
Posted by Reinhard on 2012-03-02
The "what the hell" effect sounds funny but it can seriously screw you up. How can everyday systems practitioners defend against it?
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Episode 40: No Solitary Snacking -- even on S days.
Posted by Reinhard on 2011-11-10
Hate your S-days because they make you feel out of control? Here's a mod to help you enjoy them again.
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Episode 39: Lawful Good Biker
Posted by Reinhard on 2010-08-13
Change your biker-alignment to Lawful Good. Be flamboyantly, comically observant of traffic rules.
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Episode 38: 14 minutes of ANYTHING
Posted by Reinhard on 2010-03-05
Looking for an exercise routine but not so into the idea swinging a sledgehammer around? Introducing shovelglove without the sledgehammer.
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Episode 37: The Mods and Tweaks Trilogy Part III: When a mere mod isn't enough
Posted by Reinhard on 2009-08-02
How to roll your own everyday system from scratch. Introducing the idea of Systematic Moderation.
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Episode 36: The Mods and Tweaks Trilogy Part II: How To Tweak
Posted by Reinhard on 2009-05-30
Still want to tweak an Everyday System? Here's how.
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Episode 35: The Mods and Tweaks Trilogy Part I: To Tweak Or Not To Tweak
Posted by Reinhard on 2009-04-29
Want to modify an Everyday System? It's possible -- but risky, as this episode emphasizes. Subtitled: 'In Praise of Vanilla.'
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Episode 34: S-days Gone Wild
Posted by Reinhard on 2008-05-12
Feel like over the top S-days are undoing all your hard work during the week? Here's how to diagnose and correct this problem.
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Episode 33: 2007 Annual Compliance Review
Posted by Reinhard on 2008-01-28
How well do I practice what I preach? What level of compliance is necessary for big picture success? What's the hardest everyday system? I attempt to answer these questions in my first annual self performance review.
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Episode 32: The Bigger (8x11) Picture
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-12-19
Just as your daily task list should fit on a single 3x5 index card (see Chain of Self Command and Personal Punch Cards), your life strategy should fit on an single 8x11 sheet of paper
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Episode 31: What is the best piece of exercise equipment money can buy?
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-11-12
You may think you know the answer to this already -- or at least, the answer I am going to give you. But you're probably wrong. Because it's not a sledgehammer. Or even a sledgehammer with a sweater wrapper around it. It's a timer.
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Episode 30: Introducing the HabitCal
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-07-05
The HabitCal is a free online tool I came up with to track and build habits. In this podcast I explain how to use it and why.
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Episode 29: Top 5 health and fitness books (sort of)
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-07-05
I've been asked to talk about the top five health and fitness books I've read. Unfortunately I don't think I've read that many health and fitness books in my entire life, and they certainly weren't all worth recommending. So I'm going to have to narrow it down to four. And I'll be cheating a little because one of them hasn't even been published yet.
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Episode 28: A 90% diet solution -- in 2 words
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-05-23
According to data from the Continuing Surveys of Food Intake by Individuals, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 90% of our increased calorie consumption since 1977 has come from increased between-meal eating. Calories consumed at meals have stayed about the same. If this statistic is accurate, snacking is not only the biggest problem in terms of dietary excess, it is almost the entire problem.
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Episode 27: Audiodidact (Output)
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-03-28
Talk to yourself -- and record it. Why? Autotherapy. Catch all those great ideas that would have gotten away otherwise. Nag yourself into doing impossible tasks. Keep an even-keel diary that reflects a broader range of experience. Give serious books the serious attention they require.
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Episode 26: Audiodidact (Input)
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-03-12
No time to read? Hate mindless but necessary chores? Solve both problems at once by listening to audiobooks while you do housework.
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Episode 25: Compound and Atomic Tasks
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-03-02
Consolidate well-understood routine tasks into compound tasks. Break up poorly understood novel tasks into atomic components.
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Episode 24: Put the Scale in Perspective
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-02-14
How I lost 10 pounds, overnight, without even trying.
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Episode 23: Intelligent Dietary Defaults
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-02-07
Convenience is stronger than you are. Accept this fact. But with a little planning, the convenient thing doesn't have to be too awful. Case in point: 'optimize your oatmeal.'
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Episode 22: In Defense of 'Failure'
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-01-31
Stop using evasive euphemisms. Own up to 'failure' or you become it.
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Episode 21: Extreme Moderation
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-01-25
Moderation isn't mushy. Learn from extremists by drawing hard lines -- just draw them in different places. Get the clarity of cold turkey abstinence without the sweeping deprivation.
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Episode 20: When you don't have 14 minutes
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-01-17
No time to exercise? Get philosophical. Use enlightened self-mockery, a neo-Kantian personal categorical imperative, and an existential leap of action to get you moving.
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Episode 19: Personal Punch Cards
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-01-10
How to use index cards for todo lists at the three scales of the chain of command: daily, monthly, yearly.
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Episode 18: Chain of Self-Command
Posted by Reinhard on 2007-01-03
Organize your self improvement efforts on three temporal scales: year=general, month=officer, day=footsoldier.
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Episode 17: Personal Olympics
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-12-14
Make your goals fun, important, and attainable with Personal Olympics.
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Episode 16: Monthly Resolution
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-12-06
A month is a much better granularity than the more typical yearly resolution we make on new years, because you can estimate better on that smaller scale, and recover and reset faster. And it's long enough (over 21 days!) for some habituation to occur, even with a slip up or two.
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Episode 15: Season's Warnings
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-11-29
Limit your celebratory eating to the holidays themselves. Adjust your expectations so that your goal is mere maintenance. If you screw up, don't wait till new years to get back on the wagon.
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Episode 14: Top 5 Arbitrary Numbers
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-11-22
One thing that every self help guru can agree on is that you have to have an arbitrary number in your system. It is a little weird that the most rational concepts we have available to us -- numbers -- are so irrationally inspiring. But it clearly is the case.
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Episode 13: Strictness
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-11-15
Strictness builds habit faster. Dumb down what to be strict about with fence around the law. Avoid punishment and reparations.
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Episode 12: 21 days and Negative Tracking
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-11-09
Use the full habit traffic light for 21 days to build your habit, then switch to more efficient negative tracking.
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Episode 11: Habit Tracking with the Habit Traffic Light
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-11-02
Need to keep track of something? Keep track of behavior, not results, with the Habit Traffic Light. Mark each calendar day with green for success, red for failure, yellow for exempt (S-days). It's cheap and keeps you focused on what you can control.
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Episode 10: Habit Friendly Behaviors
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-10-26
How to identify behaviors that are easily automated into unconscious habit.
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Episode 9: Habit Management
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-10-18
Want results? Frame your goals in terms of behavior. Results goals are just wishful thinking. Automate conscious behaviors into unconscious habits.
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Episode 8: Glass Ceiling
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-10-11
Smooth out dangerous and humiliating binge drinking into moderate and pleasurable moderate drinking with a 2 drink a day glass ceiling.
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Episode 7: Weekend Luddite
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-10-05
For every labor saving device there seem to be at least two time consuming devices to soak up all that freed time again. As T.S. Eliot put it, we are "distracted by distraction from distraction." Weekend Luddite is a system that addresses (at least in part) this problem of distraction management.
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Episode 6: Urban Ranger
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-09-27
Reimagine yourself so that walking becomes the most important, the most exciting thing you could possibly be doing.
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Episode 5: Shovelglove Time
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-09-20
14 minutes is one minute less than the smallest unit of schedulistically significant time. No calendar has a finer granularity than 15 minutes. No one ever has a meeting that starts at 9:05 or 9:14. You have no excuse not to do this. Time-wise, it doesn't even register.
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Episode 4: Shovelglove Sledgehammer Workout Overview
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-09-13
Take a sledgehammer and wrap an old sweater around it. This is your "shovelglove." Every week day morning, set a timer for 14 minutes. Use the shovelglove to perform shoveling, butter churning, wood chopping and other motions until the timer goes off. Stop. Rest on weekends and holidays.
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Episode 3: No S Diet Rules
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-09-05
Last week I gave a high level overview of the no s diet to give you a sense of how something this simple could possibly work. This week I'm going to zoom in a little to a smaller scale and go over each of the rules in a bit of detail.
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Episode 2: No S Diet Overview
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-08-30
A life altering diet plan in 14 words. How can something this simple possibly work?
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Episode 1: Everyday Systems Overview
Posted by Reinhard on 2006-08-30
Five years ago, I had all the usual self improvement problems. I was fat. I smoked too much. I drank too much. I exercised too little. And I diddled away all my free time in front of the computer. Low self esteem, that problem I guess I didn't really have, beyond what can be expected of a fat, slothful, drunk who wastes all his free time. So I came up with a bunch of simple, common sense self improvement systems to fix these problems. And they worked...
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By Reinhard Engels

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