Mind Your Bite #17: Everything is a trade-off

Be a more productive writer with a Zettelkasten, Everything is a remix, Pro Letter Newsletter, open-source emoji search engine, etc.

Welcome to another issue of Mind Your Bite, a newsletter sharing weekly tips and tools to help creators work with less stress. You can read a web version of it at mindyourbite.substack.com.

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Everything is a trade-off.

If you wind down with a movie after work, you miss working out in the gym.

If you're too much of a nerdy, you miss out on your social life.

If you choose to skimp the text, you miss the joy of reading.

You can only do one thing at a time. This applies to your daily life, relationship, and career.

It's not just to stop being greedy. It's also to be kinder to yourself and make room for highest contributions.

If you want to make the highest contributions in your field, you need to make trade-offs. You need to give up on the trivial many to focus on a vital few. (Borrowing some terms from Greg McKeown).

I used to think I can do it all, with writing the newsletter, the blog, learning copywriting, being a good students, being active on Twitter, creating something awesome with no-code.

I can't. Or should I say I have failed miserably.

I have faced the creative erosion.

Sometimes it’s wise to throw in the towel and admit your limitations.

Only then can you decide what’s the best next thing to do.

Here’s something to ponder from Mary Oliver’s poem:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”


Onto this week’s ideas…

The idea brief:

Let’s dive in further 👇

🚀 Productivity boost

1. Zettelkasten — How One German Scholar Was So Freakishly Productive

Most note-taking systems fall short because they allow you to keep but not to see how ideas are connected together.

That's exactly what Zettelkasten note-taking system is for:

“Zettelkasten” is a German word made up of 2 components:

  • “Zettel” which note or slip of paper

  • "Kasten" which means a box.

A “Zettelkasten” is simply a box of notes in English.

It is a method of organizing your notes in a system to "learn better, think better, publish more and be more creative". In many ways, it resembles wikipedia where each page doesn’t just show a single concept but provides access to multiple related concepts via hyperlinks.

Learn more in this post by David B. Clear on how you can apply Zettelkasten method to capture, organize and ramp up your content creation.

2. The trick for more good days: Learn your keystone habit

Why do some days feel like a breeze while other days are so hard to cope?

Turns out keystone habits play a key role in setting up a positive tone for you day.

What are keystone habits?

“Keystone habits are small wins that make the rest of your day—and life—a little easier. It’s a small action that sets you up for a chain of other actions that make you feel good.”

The more keystone habits in your routine, the more positive you feel during the day. They don’t just create temporary feel-good moments but have a domino effect which puts you in a constant good mood.

Check out this post where Kara Cutruzzula breaks down the process of finding your keystone habits and turning them into daily routine.

✨ Creativity supercharge

1. Everything is a remix remastered

A beautifully-made video essay by Kirby Ferguson which explains the origin and basic elements of creativity.

Some interesting ideas:

  1. Everything is built from the same materials.

  2. There are no orginal ideas. Each new idea is built upon the old ones.

  3. Every new creation is a remix of existing creations.

  4. Copy is how we learn. We need to master fundamental ideas before we can make things of our own.

  5. Different people with no connections can come up with similar ideas, which indicates innovation is inevitable.

  6. Simply put, creativity can be described in 3-word framework:

    Copy — transform — combine.

The whole point of this is to discard the myth that creativity happens out of the blue or is a gift from birth. What constitutes new ideas is simply the combination of our skills, experience, what we read, watch, consume, and get influenced from during our daily life.

Watch the full documentary here.

2. Disappoint them all...

"We are forever disappointing people. Everyone. You, them, anyone and everyone will be disappointed — so just disappoint them all, all the time, never stop!"

The hardest puzzle is to keep your promises to the audience while sustaining your creative fire.

At some point, you will have to admit defeat. You’re gonna discontinue a project you’re passionate about and disappoint existing audience.

But that’s the point of life. To create something meanigful, sometimes you have to disappoint people, abandon hopeless projects and move forward with something new.

A quick empowering note for creators from CEO’s Brainpan Newsletter.

💌 Newsletter Spotlight

A message from Keith, creator of Pro Letter Newsletter:

I’ve created something for you! Promise you’ll enjoy it just as much as Mind Your Bite! So… what’s the deal?

The Pro Letter is an easy to digest 5 minute read on productivity, habits, and generally doing life better. Providing you with a weekly email that makes self improvement actually enjoyable and actionable.

💡 Subscribe here to see our insights and learn in 5 minutes, for free!

Thanks, Keith 👨‍🦰

💭 Quote for thought

“Mental horsepower doesn’t guarantee mental dexterity. No matter how much brainpower you have, if you lack the motivation to change your mind, you’ll miss many occasions to think again. Research reveals that the higher you score on an IQ test, the more likely you are to fall for ste­reotypes, because you’re faster at recognizing patterns. And recent experiments suggest that the smarter you are, the more you might struggle to update your beliefs.

The curse of knowledge is that it closes your mind to what you don’t know. Good judgment depends on having the skill— and the will— to open your mind. A hallmark of wisdom is knowing when it’s time to abandon some of the most cherished parts of your identity."

Adam Grant in Think Again

Sometimes knowledge becomes a stoppage to our improvement. You become too fixed in your ways you can’t accept anything new. Like a full cup of tea can’t hold any more water. If you want to know more, there’s no other way than letting go of what you already know.

I found this quote in Farnam Newsletter.

⛏️ Creator’s Toolkit

File Move

Your files in Google Drive are a total mess? Get them in the right place in a few simple steps.


A great tool to search and paste your favorite emoji. Found this in Brainpint Newsletter.

That’s it for the week.

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Thanks a lot!

Until next time,