How to Change

Book Notes

Making this blog my default #

The ideal solution to any problem stemming from our inherent laziness is a single-dose solution—a default. If you can “set it and forget it,” whatever change you’re trying to create will be quite easy to make.*

“How to Change” by Katy Milkman


My goal with this blog is to make it my default for creative output. The issue I run into most frequently is wanting to work on different things in different states: podcast episodes, videos, filming b-roll sawdust for later (that I rarely use), Twitter threads, and making visuals on my iPad or Figma for all of these things.

That creates a lot of indecision.


I want the blog to be the launchpad for my work.

  • If I’m making a video, I should start with writing a blog post that doubles as a rough script or outline.
  • If I’m doing a podcast, I should start with a book notes page or from recent blog posts
  • If I’m making a Twitter thread, it should be some version of a blog post

The exception might be Instagram, where I’ll just try to schedule out different desk photos and things like that.


In any case, the default can always be:

  1. Grab a quote from recent reading or listening
  2. Write about it

If I do that day in and day out, good things will happen.

When games don’t work (for work) #

This next quote reminded me of the height of Texas Hold ‘Em hype. And having some dorm mates who would play but refused to play with money.

Most games are plenty of fun without money. Poker isn’t one of them, since adjusting bet amounts is part of the game.

These questions were designed to measure which salespeople had “entered the magic circle,” a term used to describe agreeing to be bound by a game’s rules rather than the normal rules that guide our daily interactions.

This was about a basketball gimmick to make sales more fun. (It failed.)

Maybe just swipe sales motivation ideas from The Wolf of Wall Street next time.

Change coffee shops (instead of reconfiguring your brain) #

January 1st and many many other days can act as good beginnings for fresh starts. But you can also try changing environments.

Yet, unlike calendar dates, these fresh starts don’t contradict the predictions of economic theory, because they actually change our life circumstances—they don’t just shift our perspective.

The big lesson for me: if you happen to be moving between states or countries (with a global pandemic improving, for example), that’s a great time to adjust your routines. You’ll have a fresh set of cues to work with.

If you aren’t, at least find a good coffee shop.

Tool: Change your environment