Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

November 2022: The 1% Method That Changed My Life

November 2022. After getting an overview of my expenses, I switched the internet contract for the shared apartment to a cheaper one to reduce the utility costs. At first glance, all other expenses seemed not further reducible. However, as it would later turn out, this was only because I was operating within my usual thought patterns – and that was about to radically change on this day.

It was a sunny Saturday, and I was strolling through the city center, searching for a new café. I made a brief stop at a bookstore because according to Google Maps, there should be a small café on the first floor.

I entered the store and went up the stairs, which were right by the entrance. Next to the children's book section was the café. It was small and cozy, with several guests already sitting there with their hot drinks, immersed in their books.

But before settling down there, I decided to browse the shelves of the non-fiction section, hoping to find something interesting. After all, I had resolved to read more. I combed through the rows of books and came across various titles with enticing covers: "A Brief History of Humankind," "Good Habits, Bad Habits," "101 Essays That Will Change Your Life." I would have loved to devour all these books immediately to learn from them.

But one book title particularly caught my interest: "The 1% Method – Minimal Change, Maximum Impact." I picked up the book and read the text on the back. The idea that small, positive changes in life can have an impressive effect over time fascinated me instantly. I decided to take the book with me to the café to explore it further there.

"Hello. What can I get you?" asked the young woman behind the counter.

"Mmm. I'd like a matcha latte with oat milk," I said after quickly scanning the sign with the offered drinks. My sister Lauri had recommended trying it. She loved matcha latte. So, I wanted to give this green drink a chance.

"Feel free to take a seat. My colleague will let you know when the drink is ready."

I nodded and sat down on a leather sofa at a small round table for one, placed my backpack next to me, and began flipping through the book. After a few pages, "Matcha Latte!" was called out. I picked up the drink at the counter and placed it on the table. It looked light green at the bottom with frothed oat milk on top. It smelled a bit peculiar, like fish. "Well," I thought, "no big deal, the taste will make up for it."

I stirred the drink briefly and then took a small sip. That was the moment I thought that if someone asked me about the most disgusting drink I had ever tasted, I would immediately shout "Matcha Latte!" The taste was awful. The aftertaste in my mouth felt like I had just slurped from a swamp. However, it was not at all my style to waste food. With the thought that matcha is supposedly healthy, I forced myself to drink the latte step by step. I focused so strongly on getting that green sludge in the glass down my throat as if it were my life's goal, that I completely forgot to continue reading the book. It was a liberating feeling when I let the last sip run down my throat.

Although the contents of the book remained unknown to me, the title had a strong impact on me. It had motivated me to optimize my life.

As I was on my way home, suddenly Jule came to my mind. I had been thinking about her lately, but without missing her. Instead, I became aware of how much the relationship had held me back. I would never have thought about changing my life when I was with Jule. For years, I remained the same person who had settled into his comfort zone and had no intention of leaving it. Only a radical step, the end of the relationship, triggered self-reflection and the desire for change within me. I wanted to learn from my mistakes and be better prepared for the next relationship.

While I was on my way home, I stopped by the supermarket and thought about what initial changes I could make today. As I stood in front of the vegetable section, the idea came to me to optimize my diet as well. I grabbed a bag of potatoes and a bag of onions. Since I wanted to cook chili sin carne today, I hurried to the canned goods section to get kidney beans and corn. I almost forgot the red lentils as I paused briefly in front of the candy aisle to indulge my craving for Knoppers. Since I moved, I had developed a habit of eating two or more Knoppers as dessert. A slight feeling of disappointment came over me when I continued to the red lentils without Knoppers in my shopping basket.

There was a long line at the checkout, but the self-checkout counters were almost unused. That suited me because I could pay without waiting. During the pandemic, I had hoped that supermarket cashiers would completely disappear and be replaced by self-checkout counters. Somehow, I felt sorry for the cashiers who had to spend their time on such a monotonous task. In my utopian thoughts, the profession of a cashier did not exist at all.

After scanning the groceries and my recently set up Payback card to save some money, I paid directly from my grocery account with my smartwatch. As I left the supermarket, the rain started. At that moment, I felt great. With pride, I rolled down the sleeves of my rain jacket completely and walked home with a wide smile on my face through the rain. Although I wasn't objectophiliac, I had somehow fallen in love with my new black rain jacket. It was incredibly comfortable and versatile – whether it was raining, windy, or snowy. It was definitely one of the best investments I had made recently.

When I finally arrived home, it was already six o'clock. Claudia was, as usual, in her room, and Hanna was preparing something with garlic in the kitchen. The smell was truly delicious.

"Hello, Hanna," I greeted as I took off my shoes.

"Hi, Sasha! So, did you visit a new café today?" she called from the kitchen.

"Yes, I visited Coffee Friends at Kröpcke today and had both a good and a not-so-good experience."

"How so?"

"I tried the most disgusting drink of all time, a Matcha Latte."

"Oh, really? Matcha is actually very healthy. I enjoy drinking Matcha tea. But now I'm curious about your good experience," Hanna said as she sliced a zucchini and I unpacked my groceries.

"I discovered an interesting book, 'The 1% Method' by James Clear."

"And what makes this book so special?" Hanna looked up from the cutting board at me.

"I haven't really read the content yet, but the title has sparked a strong desire for change within me. Today, I've already implemented my first 1% improvement, which is not eating sweets after meals," I explained, starting to peel the potatoes alongside Hanna. Mo came in and jumped onto the table.

"Mo, get off the table," Hanna commanded, nudging Mo to the edge of the table.

In my thoughts, I thanked Hanna. Although Mo was a dear cat, I always found hairs in the food, on the table, or in the pan when cooking on the stove, which bothered me a lot. I would have preferred to move into a shared apartment without pets, but it was the only shared apartment where I had received a quick acceptance.

"You mentioned recently that you're reading non-fiction now," she said, starting to fry the zucchini in the pan.

"Yes, that's right. Do you have a recommendation?"

"I received a book about health as a gift. It's called 'The Nutrition Compass.' I think you might like it. Do you want to take a look?"


Hanna disappeared briefly into her room and placed the book on the kitchen table.

After another conversation about Hanna's acquaintance on Bumble, I wished her a pleasant evening and went to my room while the stew simmered on the stove.

I sat down at my desk and began to think about possible changes in my life. As I opened my email inbox to see if I had received an appointment for the next meeting regarding my master's thesis with Prof. Jeckelmann, I noticed the large number of newsletter messages I had received over time from various websites. There were a total of one thousand four hundred seventy-four read messages in my four inboxes. The next 1% improvement immediately came to mind: organizing my email inbox.

I opened Google, searched for tips on organizing the email inbox, and came across the Inbox Zero method. This method involves keeping the inbox at zero at all times and deleting irrelevant emails directly – something I had never consciously implemented before. Important emails are archived in separate folders, and emails requiring action from me are placed in the "Action Required" folder. I grabbed a bowl of already cooked stew and got to work. ```html

First, I created the folders "Action Required" and "Archived" in my email program and started deleting unimportant emails and moving important ones to the appropriate folders. Since this took a while, I searched for keyboard shortcuts to make the deletion process more efficient. While unsubscribing from newsletters I never read anyway, I found myself almost in a trance-like state of sorting. During this process, another good idea came to me: I could consolidate the four inboxes into one by redirecting emails from the other three inboxes to a main inbox. Since I couldn't delete the email addresses – after all, I was registered on many platforms with them or had given them to contacts – this seemed like a practical solution.

Gradually, my inboxes became emptier, and after about four hours of work, I had cleared them all to zero. I moved the important emails to an inbox folder named "Archive." Then, I set up the redirection of emails to a main email address and was done. Exhausted and satisfied, I collapsed onto my bed. Despite my initial aversion to Matcha Latte, this was a successful day, marking only the beginning of my larger journey towards self-optimization through "life upgrades."

Learning: I will never wait for a crisis to initiate changes in my life. Each time, I will consider which aspects of my life I could positively transform (no matter how insignificant these changes may seem) to have more time, money, independence, health, and happiness in life.

My first conscious life upgrades:

  1. How much money is left at the end of the month depends crucially on how well I keep track of my income and expenses and how effectively I manage my finances. By using a checking account at N26 Bank, which allows for the creation of sub-accounts, I found a simple but extremely effective solution.

    All business income flows into the main account, acting as a central distribution point. At the end of the month, I automatically transfer a fixed salary to my personal account (sub-account). From this personal account, further allocation is made to separate accounts for groceries and consumer spending (sub-accounts). The remaining money in the personal account is allocated for rent and utilities.

    I keep a savings account (sub-account) ready with an amount that could sustain me for six months in case all my income sources suddenly disappear or unexpected expenses arise. This account serves as financial security for emergencies and unforeseen events.

    When shopping for groceries, I use my phone and only pay with the food account. Similarly, when visiting a cinema, I use the consumer account via my phone. This clear system allows me to manage my expenses precisely and ensure one hundred percent that I never live beyond my means.
  2. I use the Inbox Zero method – for a clutter-free email inbox and efficient email processing. Important emails that I want to keep are stored in the email folder "Archive," and all unimportant ones are deleted directly.
  3. I have unsubscribed from all newsletters that I don't actively read. This way, I receive less junk mail, saving me some time when processing emails. Additionally, email communication, especially when large attachments are involved, contributes to CO2 emissions and energy consumption. Therefore, I will ensure to make my email communication as sustainable as possible by compressing my attachments, not sending and receiving unnecessary emails.