Essential Stuff to Start A New Life With (what's yours?)

And here I am. I just had an idea in the morning and spent 1h30 writing about it. And I’m still in pyjamas and have done nothing today!

List of essential stuff for a new life

I’m sometimes pondering with the idea of the essentials I would need in my backpack to start a new life. The list of life-hacks that I’ve built over time that would make my life super easy if I had to start from 0 again.

I’m travelling for the first time in 3 days, so I’m thinking that it’s a good time to reflect on what I would need to start a new life in this new country!

Criterias for essential-ness

  1. Reliable
  2. Good risk/benefit ratio
  3. Good cost/benefit ratio

Software :computer:


These are the software that I use to manage myself.

  1. Beeminder (of course!)
  2. Complice (task-list that is much more than a task-list)
  3. Basecamp (project managment)
  4. Tutanota (safe mail and calendar)


This is the bare minimum that I would need to get work done.

  1. VSCode
  2. Huge Hetzner server (50€/month)
  3. Any 14" laptop with 8GB of RAM (put Linux on it, and connect to the Hetzner server to code)


  1. Obsidian
  2. Anki

Essential behaviors :mantelpiece_clock:

Having software and hardware is nice, but what about concrete actions? Here, I’m listing the behaviours that are essential to my life. I’m using Beeminder to enforce some of them.

  • having an evening routine
  • making sure that all my inbox and my SMS is to 0 periodically
  • taking a bit of time each day to review it in a notebook; what mistake did I make?
  • gratitude journaling
  • working deeply on something every day
  • turning off phone and comms when possible
  • avoid interruptions!
  • seeing friends
  • taking multiple short walks
  • randomly reaching out to friends

Essential books

I’m not including non-fiction, but they are sure essential. They just depend too much on the person.

  1. The Lean Startup
  2. Shape Up

… and tons of others I forgot about but that are still in my head.

Books change your personality, so it makes sense to not pick only books about work, or you’ll just become a boring worker person.

The Essentials of Biohacking – brains edition :brain:

Disclaimer: do your own research, don’t take random stuff online because the risk of randomly hurting you is real. Do tons of research, checks, ask other people for experience, etc… And ideally, ask a qualified professionnel.

Of course, to enjoy your new life, you need to have healthy brains!

After trying tons of (sometimes fishy) stuff, I’ve found what works the best for me.

You can classify brain biohacking into two wide categories:

  1. Stuff that makes your brain grow in the long-term. (“healing compounds”)
  2. Stuff that makes your brain efficient in the short-term (“exploitation compounds”)

With time, you end up finding what works best for you.

Here, I’ll keep the essentials; the one that are almost guaranteed to have an effect.

(and also, I’m hiding this in a details box because this is both a super-long tangent and somewhat-dangerous information)

warning: proceed at your own risk. While I'm super enthusiastic about this subject, I'm not a doctor and while I try to not stay stupid stuff, I'm not 100% confident!

“Healing compounds”

There are many of them; their common point is usually that they increase the “brain derived neurotrophic factor”, which is a set of hormones that signal your brains that it needs to develop itself.

The acute effects are generally a “brain-fluidity”. You feel like you can access ideas more easily.
Long term, the difference with stimulants is that instead of draining your soul, you feel replenished; colors are more intense, dreams are more vivid, you don’t feel as anxious as before…

The drawbacks are that they are:

  1. Super costly
  2. Hard to source safely
  3. Hard to take (intranasal or straight-up injection – there is a learning curve…)

So, here are my essentials!

  • Cerebrolysin :crown: → tons of human studies, super powerful, almost no side-effects
  • Semax → nice acute effects, can destroy sleep if taken incorrectly
  • 4’-DMA-7,8-DHF → awesome acute effects but destroys sleep and not well researched

“Exploitation compounds”

So you’ve got a brain, but cannot use it? Even if you know that you are starting a new life and you are super motivated, you’d rather scroll on Instagram?

“Exploitation compounds” make you able to make the most of your existing mental capacities.
However, they will slowly decrease your health bar: your heart doesn’t like it, you might feel burned out and there are risks of your personality changing.

Paradoxically, this is what most people look for… Quick fixes are always more popular than long-term investments.

Here, it’s better to take the lowest one on the list and climb your way up, since there are drawbacks: addiction, tolerance, personality change…

  • Dextroamphetamine → most effective one, but not the safest!
  • Methylphenidate → best effectiveness/safety ratio
  • Modafinil → super safe, super effective, but inconsistent and can ruin your sleep
  • Coffee, Nicotine gums, tea → you will start to depend on this if used for many days in a row.

What are your essentials :eyes:?

People here always have the best ideas, so I’m interested in them! Whether it’s software or a book recommendation :slightly_smiling_face: