All advice articles are bad

Screenshot of an article published in The Guardian.

It’s the time of year where advice articles run rampant in outlets lacking in actual things to say. These articles are all bad.

Especially this effort, published in the Guardian. Naturally with something like this, the first hint you are going to read something incredibly dumb is that it doesn’t have a byline.

From there, it only gets worse.

  1. Exercise on a Monday night (nothing fun happens on a Monday night).

Exercise whenever you can, if you want. Or don’t!

  1. Bring fruit to work. Bring fruit to bed!

Eat whatever you want. If you share a bad with another person, get their consent before bringing foodstuffs into the mix.

  1. Consider going down to four days a week. It’s likely a disproportionate amount of your fifth day’s work is taxed anyway, so you’ll lose way less than a fifth of your take-home pay.

If you are a comfortable, upper-middle class white collar worker.

  1. Send a voice note instead of a text; they sound like personal mini podcasts.

This one is possibly my favourite. A lot of people have this weird, selfish idea that text is the only acceptable form of communication because they don’t have empathy and demand the world suit their wants.

In many cases getting on the blower and sorting it out is the easier solution. Do that. Get on the blower.

  1. Always bring ice to house parties (there’s never enough).

This applies to both the frozen water and bathtub varieties.

  1. Buy a cheap blender and use it to finely chop onions (it saves on time and tears).

Keep your onions in the fridge. You don’t need an appliance to solve the odd 45 seconds of discomfort.

  1. Don’t be weird about how to stack the dishwasher.


  1. Add the milk at least one minute after the tea has brewed.

Make tea (or any drink or food) however you want. It effects no one but you.

  1. Start a Saturday morning with some classical music – it sets the tone for a calm weekend.

Listen to whatever you like. Forcing yourself into performative toffery will not put you in a good mood.

  1. Always be willing to miss the next train.

Unless, of course, you are time constrained and have other things to do than sit around train stations not catching trains.

  1. Eat meat once a week, max. Ideally less.

Eat whatever, whenever.

  1. Eat salted butter (life’s too short for unsalted).

See above. Also use margarine if you prefer, or canola spread. Butter is great, but people like other things too.

  1. If you’re going less than a mile, walk or cycle. About half of car journeys are under two miles, yet these create more pollution than longer journeys as the engine isn’t warmed up yet.

Like the trains, this is tremendous if you have no other constraints on your time. And are also physically capable. And live in an area with the relevant infrastructure.

  1. If you find an item of clothing you love and are certain you will wear for ever, buy three.

Simply by more things than you need! You can afford it! Also once you find one thing you like, never move beyond that. Never seek out new things.

  1. Buy secondhand.
  2. Buy in person!

I’m a consumer whore.

  1. If something in the world is making you angry, write (politely) to your MP – they will read it.

They will not. A staffer might. Might.

  1. Call an old friend out of the blue.

Why not send them a voice memo?

  1. Make something from scratch. Works best if it’s something you’d normally buy, such as a dress or a bag.

Simply have the time and resources to do this.

  1. Skinny-dip with friends.

At least ask them first. Consent is important.

  1. Switch your phone off on holiday (or at least delete your work email app).

Do not have your work email on your personal phone. If they want you to be contactable outside the office, they should provide you with a phone. Do not subsidise your employer’s operating costs.

  1. Ditch the plastic cartons and find a milkman – The Modern Milkman has a comprehensive list.

I would be interested to see a comparison between the carbon footprints of supermarket milk and subscribing to a bespoke artisanal delivery service. My gut feel is this isn’t as wonderful for the environment as you think it is.

  1. Always book an extra day off after a holiday.

If you have the leave entitlements to do so, sure.

  1. Ignore the algorithm – listen to music outside your usual taste.

Except on Saturday mornings when it should be classical only.

  1. Don’t get a pet/do get a pet.

Eighty-five items in and finally we have arrived at a “do whatever you want” thing.

  1. Buy a bike and use it. Learn how to fix it, too.

Again this is very simple if you have the resources and time to do so and live in an area where cycling is easy.

  1. Politely decline invitations if you don’t want to go.
  2. If you do go, have an exit strategy (can we recommend a French exit, where you slip out unseen).

Why are you friends with people you don’t enjoy spending time with?

  1. Listen to the albums you loved as a teenager.

Except if you are discovering new music or it is a Saturday morning.

  1. Staying over at a friend’s place? Strip the bed in the morning.

Ask them what they would like you to do.

  1. For instant cheer, wear yellow.

For instant cheer, wear whatever you like.