Memory Repository 🧠

@MemoryRepository | Pharmacy Student 💊 Digital Garden | Productivity | Studying | Writing | PKM | Life | I deposit bits of knowledge, learnings and memories into this memory repository. #100Days

Work off a calendar for efficient work

Reading time: 1 min

I saw a video arguing how high-level, efficient work surrounds working off a calendar rather than a to-do list.

While I didn't see the specifics of what exactly was on the calendar, an educated guess leads me to think that they are all tasks. The person in the video time blocked his entire week out, assigning a task into every available free work hour of the day.

I do this via a non-calendar app (Sorted 3) when I have a ton of work waiting for me and limited time or when I feel completely overburdened (and/or my main task manager (Things 3) is failing me due to having too many tasks and insufficient time spent organising).

Perhaps I should try out this method for the next month and a half. I do want to get back to efficient work.

Spreading your goals and priorities too far apart, and next theme: Laser Focus

Reading time: 2 min

Well, the results for academic results came out and I did not get the outcome I wanted. Even though it wasn't unexpected.

In such cases, which ask: Why? What factors contributed to this outcome?

After reflecting on the outcome of every single course, both the strong and weak performers, my answer this time around was:

I worked on my assignments and other goals and commitments every day rather than studying every day. Many of these other commitments do align with the ideals of my present and future self. Yet, I've spread my goals and priorities too far apart, and these other priorities became detrimental to my academic priorities.

Now, I've sufficiently met enough of my other goals such that I am satisfied. It's now time to converge and focus. To exceed at a particular goal, we must be laser focused on achieving that goal.

Therefore, my theme for the next tertile of the year will be:

Laser Focus. (On academics).

To start cutting out commitments and focus on my now-main goal and priority, my academic results. A lot of other good things happened this year and a lot of other goals have been met this year but now, this takes priority.

Motivation to myself:
I've done it before. I've achieved the exact result I need now just a year and a half ago. I can do it.

To future self:
Role of imagination/framing on achievement?

Do you have a moment to talk about our lord and savior, Anki (and consistency)?

Out Of The Quarantine 8: Isolation Encourages Creativity Tasks?

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I've been focusing on rest and creative projects in quarantine. I did some designing and publishing in addition to resting and playing games, while putting off mindless tasks during my time in isolation

Out of quarantine, I focused on 'life admin' tasks (getting my life back in order in the real world outside of my quarantine room) and menial writing assignments. Stuff that does not require too much creativity.

Interesting. I can't tell if isolation encourages creativity tasks or this is pure coincidence. I wonder if it has something to do with my brain needing more stimulating when there was insufficient stimulation in my quarantine room and therefore I do a lot more thinking and idea/art generation than when I have more stimulation in the outside world.

Out Of The Quarantine 7: UV Light Exposure and Ageing

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When we expose ourselves to sunlight, we expose ourselves to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Prolonged exposure to UV exposure induces skin wrinkling and skin cancer, arguably signs of accelerated ageing (by DNA damage).

UV radiation damages our DNA, accelerating ageing via the DNA damage theory of ageing, where over time, alterations to our DNA accumulate to the point where we either experience ageing, or that our DNA is sufficiently damage so that our DNA repair mechanisms do not function well enough to have slow, normal ageing.

Because our DNA accumulates damage every day, our genome can be used to identify how long we've been born. This is the epigenetic clock.

Wear sunscreen, clothing and minimise sun exposure. Unless you reside in a place/live a life with too little exposure resulting in a deficiency in vitamin D, in which case consider some sunlight every day (a good 20 minutes is reasonable) and supplements. (This vitamin is important for our immune system. For example, vitamin D deficiency is linked to atopic dermatitis, aka eczema).

Further reading: Review article, Atopic dermatitis and vitamin D: facts and controversies*

There are studies that show a positive and inverse correlation between vitamin D deficiency and atopic dermatitis. However, the author of the review does caution about other factors that may lead to the inverse correlation. More evidence does seem to point towards deficiency is linked to atopic diseases.

In The Quarantine 6: Conscious forgetting

Reading time: 2 min

Following up on this (In The Quarantine 5: Would you delete haunting memories?).

I talked about a "what-if" scenario for deleting memories.

On further reflection, it's not as far fetched as it might seem. For almost all of us, memory is fleeting. It's lossy and details change every time we recall it. (Every time we recall a memory, we're recalling our most recent recollection of the memory, not the first, original impression of the memory itself (or at least I remember reading around two years ago)). Most of the things we encounter are forgotten very quickly (see the forgetting curve).

Yet, why is it that some memories are hard to forget, including those that give us significant grief or otherwise sadness?

"Active recall" is a highly effective study method if you want to commit something to your long-term memory. It's the act of recalling what you want to remember, from memory. Whenever we think about (or actively recall) the memory that resulted in negative emotions, we strengthen the connections in our brain (to some extent physically and chemically), imprinting the memory in our minds more strongly.

One strategy I use to forget things (e.g. if I'm asked to or I want to) is to consciously not think about it. By consciously avoiding the topic, not letting your monkey brain reading out topic, and not specifically recalling any of the details of the event, it is possible to slowly, over time, weaken the connections in your brain sufficiently to specifically and consciously forget things.

Not letting your inner voice read out the topic (e.g. by immediately thinking about something else or emptying your mind) is important as this prevents you from recalling the topic when you're consciously avoiding the topic/details.

I say "in the" quarantine. Not really anymore. I'm free.

In The Quarantine 5: Would you delete haunting memories?

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If we could remove memories from our mind, would you or should you remove the saddest memories that repeatedly haunt you?

I thought about this for a while today and could not come to a sound answer. To an extent, I really want to say yes, I would want a particular memory to be deleted as it causes me a lot of recurrent grief and sadness.

However, we also lose the lessons learned as a result of the resolutions or outcomes from the event. Another consideration (not sure whether I agree or not though) is the argument of losing the 'contrast' between happy and sad times.

Could we still feel happiness (or at least relative happiness?) if we deleted all semblance of negative memories? I would like to say yes, although I cannot quantify this or back it up with evidence. Maybe there is sound research done on this as of current time that I am unaware of.

In The Quarantine 4: Plastic-consuming bacteria

Interesting share. Reading time: 1 min

Read this article today, after this topic came up while chatting: A bacterium that degrades and assimilates poly(ethylene terephthalate)

Ideonella sakaiensis is a bacteria newly identified in 2016, found in polyethylene terephthalate (PET, a plastic)-contaminated sediment.

It is capable of specifically breaking down PET plastic via an its PET hydrolase (also PETase) enzyme to be eventually taken up and 'consumed' by itself and other bacteria to acquire carbon to produce organic molecules to sustain life.

Interesting. Nature is evolving a solution for organisms to digest our garbage.

Plastic is a magical material with amazing properties... It's only been around for just over a century. Probably not the best to frame it as 'garbage', although excessive production of plastic around the world has resulted in plastic becoming garbage.

In The Quarantine 3: Present Happiness vs Future Happiness

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How does one optimise the balance between present happiness and future happiness?

Delayed gratification is arguably delaying current happiness in with the view of gaining further happiness in the future.

(Taking a materialistic example,)
I could, with my money, purchase an item that would grant me great utility and convenience, thereby freeing more of my time to do things I enjoy. This would increase my current happiness.

I could, alternatively, invest my money and allow my future self to have more money than what I initially put in. This would increase my future happiness.

With the first option, my future self might become less happy due to having less resources or regretting that I didn't invest my money.

With the latter option, my current self might become less happy due to not having the same utility, time or delight I would have otherwise gained with the purchase.

How does one optimise this?

But by the time our future selves experience this supposed stepped-up happiness or success, we desire more. Our achievements only ever give us fleeting happiness and fulfilment. Eventually, the delight from achieving what we desired will fade and further goals will be set.

The alternative method of seeing things is to always be grateful, happy and fulfilled with our current achievements and possessions.

Extension thoughts:

"Eventually, the delight from achieving what we desired will fade and further goals will be set. "
(Is it possible to stop this cycle?)

"The alternative method of seeing things is to always be grateful, happy and fulfilled with our current achievements and possessions."
(But then how would one seek improvement? Or rather, what will be the motivation improvement if we are constantly happy our current situation? Perhaps that's the wrong way to view it. It's to be grateful for what we have, but also look forward to greater happiness?)

A relevant note:
Aligning the values of your current self with your future self

In The Quarantine 2: Gaining an hour is a delightful feeling

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Something that gave me delight during my quarantine experience:

Thinking that it was an hour later than it actually was. This results in a sense of delight of suddenly getting another hour to do whatever I want.

If only this also conveniently applies when I'm looking to not procrastinate: "Hey, I finished my work early, and suddenly I gained an hour of free time!"

No, I'm not sick. Calm down.

Quarantine Journal #1 - Stroke

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Unfortunate event. Family/relative experienced a stroke.

Took 1.5 hours from symptom start to hospital admission.
Blood thinner drug (likely tPA, alteplase) administered as treatment, with poor response.

Please be familiar with "FAST".
This allows patients at risk to be rushed to the hospital as quickly as possible, for time is the deciding factor for stroke prognosis.

Culture vs Strategy in Performance

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A lecture I recently attended noted the following:

Organisational culture is x8 more influential than strategy in performance variance.

Perhaps this demonstrates that attitude towards studying is more important than the strategy of studying.

Studies have indicated that some study methods are more time-effective than others at committing items to memory. I wonder if studies have been done to indicate any cause or correlation between attitude towards academics and academic outcome. I'd like to think there is and I haven't looked them up yet.

I would like to think attitude is important in success in life as well.

Upon further inspection of the x8 statistic, I couldn't find a source to back it up. Brilliant.

Did a bit of reading on this "Corporate culture and organizational performance"; don't think it discusses strategy though.

NFTs and blockchains for vaccines

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The application of NFTs and blockchains to vaccines is certainly an interesting concept.

Readily keeping track of logistics, storage conditions, manufacturing quality, identifying unregistered/counterfeit vaccines, adverse reactions and distributing information across healthcare providers and health authorities via this technology would likely result in better safety and efficacy for the end users of the vaccines.

Modifying and delivering faulty information would be more readily visible.

Some companies and health systems seem to already have piloted this.

I wonder what the implications and consequences of this are. Should do further reading.

Write down your readings if you think they are potentially anywhere remotely useful

A reflection. Reading time: 1 min

I realize that I occasionally discuss gratitude in my writing, but never really went into details about what benefits it brings. There's a statement (and associated statistic/study) floating around indicating that consistent gratitude will raise happiness to the same degree of doubling income.

I wanted to look into this today but I forgot the source and am having trouble finding the relevant statistics and conclusions from a reliable source.

Note down what you read, or at least the source, as long as you think it'll be anywhere remotely useful in your future.

(For future self to look into.)

Extension thought: Increase the number of events you take part in to lengthen perception of time

Reading time: 1 min

Based on the logic that we perceive time based on our memory of events, we might be able to slow our perception of time (at least for our future selves when we look back) by:

  • Engaging in more events
  • Doing more in life

This is limited by our memory of those events, so as an extension:

  • Capturing events and memories as 'permanent memories' via writing, pictures, videos, recordings, etc. (and backing them up as appropriate)

Although, this might make time fly by more quickly for your present self by committing to too much.

This should be done without overburdening yourself.

Did the pass year pass quickly or slowly?

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To some extent, we perceive how quickly time passes in accordance with the number of significant events that occurred to us or the number of significant events we participated in.

During COVID-19, some may perceive the past year to have passed slowly due to numerous significant events or hardships encountered.

Some may perceive the past year to have passed quickly due to few significant events occurring after social distancing measures became accepted as a reality.

I wonder what others think.

We perceive decades to pass faster as we age, but only until our 50s

Reading time: 1 min

We often hear about how time seems to pass more quickly as we age.

This study, "Age effects in perception of time" suggests that the older we get, the faster we perceive the most recent 10 years of our life passed, but only up until our 50s.

Some theories for why this is include:

  1. Each passing year contributes to a smaller fraction of our life. As a child, each year consists of a large proportion of our life, whereas when we're older, each year contributes only to a small fraction of our life.
  2. We perceive time in accordance with our memory of the events of that period of our life. More memorable events occur when we are younger, whereas life in our senior years are more monotonous. This makes events later in our life less memorable, and therefore we perceive it as less events happening, and therefore time passes more quickly. (And also, our memory deteriorates as we age.)