The Most Influential Book I've Read on Online Writing (Plus a Free New Ebook)
Reading time: 1 min The Art and Business of Online Writing by Nicolas Cole was the most valuable book I've read last year about online writing. This book plus the writing course Ship 30 For 30 and the 100 Day Writing Challenge on Listed.to is what gave me the courage to share valuable learnings and experiences on social media, for those who might find it useful. Recently, Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush (both highly successful online writers) have written a new ebook on online writing, The 5 Pi...
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The Most Important Thing Students Are Never Taught in School (and It's Destroying Their Time, Health, and Hobbies)
Reading time: 2.5 min During pharmacy school, I noticed that most healthcare students believe that re-reading lecture notes and writing notes was how students should study.  Yet, these are the most ineffective, time-consuming study methods.  Despite learning and studying being a student's job, students are never taught how to learn and study effectively. From primary to higher education, students are not introduced to the psychology of learning and effective study methods in their general cur...
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How I Wrote a Thesis as a Pharmacy Student in 7 Days by Procrastinating—and Won an Award
Reading time: 1.5 min I won an award by procrastinating.  I wrote a thesis in 7 days while taking pharmacy classes and working on my side commitments. The first day was outlining, and the last few days were spent writing. I procrastinated for a few days in between. 2 months later, I received an award for the paper. This is how I wrote a thesis in so little time and maintained high-quality writing: 1. Leverage your subconscious mind by procrastinating. On the first day, outline your paper a...
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How to Organise Your Pharmacy School & Side Hustle Projects to Make Continuous Progress, Eliminate Overwhelm, and Prioritise What Matters
Reading time: 2.5 min In my first year of pharmacy school, my task manager was an utter mess. A huge spread of incomplete projects, all competing for my time, energy, and attention. It was a dumping ground: studying for pharmacy exams, student society duties, writing papers, online self-learning courses, and daily writing, all awaiting my input. Nothing without a class deadline would ever get done. And I would rarely prioritise my own long-term wants and well-being. After experimenting for 4...
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My Sleep Paralysis Experience
Reading time: 1.5 min Yes, I did encounter a sleep paralysis demon. That day, I was extremely fatigued. I fell asleep, lying perpendicular to my bed. It was supposed to be a quick lie down, but I soon dozed off. When I woke up, I felt keenly aware of my surroundings. I felt like I could see. Everything in my room felt visible to me. But I knew my eyes were not open. I tried moving my arms and fingers- they wouldn't budge. I started thinking: "Wow, so this is sleep paralysis. Cooler than I...
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Realising How Tired We Are
Reading time: 1 min I distinctly remember once partaking in a mindfulness session with fellow students. We breathed, meditated, and did some simple yoga (by which I mean we just lazed around on fancy mats and cushions). I’ve briefly fallen asleep several times in this highly relaxed and calm state. The instructor pointed out that quite a few of us were falling asleep and noted that it was good that we were relaxed and becoming aware of our own sleepiness. The whole idea of mindfulness is t...
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Why You Should Make Purchase Decisions Slowly
Why I'm slow with making purchase decisions I'm told that I take ages to make purchase decisions when it's something I don't immediately need. Need, as in it would not seriously affect my ability to live reasonably. I would stand there for a few seconds, contemplating, or come back to it after walking around elsewhere (or after a week in case of online shopping). I might note it down on a temporary wish list. During that time, I evaluate the following: the 'utility' (satisfaction, happines...
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Scheduling Leisure Activities Dampens Enjoyment (and the Solution to This)
Reading time: 1.5 min In my downtime after returning home today, I played a game that involved moving my body. (It's Switch Sports). It's my way of keeping myself somewhat active while having fun on rest days from regular workouts. I set myself a start and end time (totalling 30 minutes) for this leisurely activity to be productive and save time for other things. However, setting start and end times for leisure activities dampens enjoyment of the activity. This phenomenon is supported by a p...
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Getting Started Takes Just Two Minutes
Reading time: 0.5 min I dreaded working on a paper today, and I've been putting it off all morning and noon. By the afternoon, I told myself to use the two-minute method. I told myself that I'd work on the paper for two minutes. If I really wanted to stop by the end of those two minutes, then I may stop. All I have to do now is open the documents and read the highlighted paragraph (that my past self highlighted for easy continuation). I had successfully put my foot in the door and started ...
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Gym Motivation: Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym
Reading time: 2.5 min In a previous post, How to stick to a habit, I detailed how I managed to initiate and concrete a habit of working out to improve my health. It involved stacking my workout time with video watching time (something I consider pleasant), and aligning exercise with my goals (maintaining good health and converting unproductive time into productive time). One study placed something similar to the test. The researchers surveyed university students for books that were “difficult...
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When Can Shiny Object Syndrome be Helpful?
Reading time: 3 min Shiny object syndrome is when one continually chases new or trendy things. I faced this phenomenon last year when I came across RemNote. RemNote was a relatively new piece of software that offers a new way of taking notes, outlining, and making flash cards that follow a spaced-repetition algorithm. RemNote seemingly solved all problems I had with Anki, an old but trusty open source spaced-repetition flash card software. One major issue I had with Anki is that it's diffic...
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Humans Are Terrible Estimators – How To Make Better Time Estimates
Reading time: 2 min How often do you underestimate the time required to complete something? Our ability to make time estimations is terrible. From how much time we require to complete a task, to how much energy we consume, we tend to be way off from reality. One study asked students to estimate how long it would take them to finish a paper under: realistic conditions (the best realistic estimate), perfect conditions (“everything went as well as it possibly could”), and worst possible con...
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Importance of Pleasantness and Convenience in Formulating Habits – Pancakes for Lower Cholesterol
Reading time: 2 min Photo by nikldn on Unsplash Pleasantness and convenience are important aspects of maintaining habits. Both of these are what makes a habit easy to follow. One makes you want to do it, and the other makes it easy to start. One recent medical study on foods demonstrated how ready-to-eat, nice tasting snacks can help individuals add healthy food items into their lives. Lifestyle modification (such as diet and exercise) comes before medication when it comes to healthca...
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Align Undesirable Actions with Your Goals – Reasons to Sleep Earlier
Reading time: 4 min I really don't like sleeping early. This is something I seriously struggle with. Time before bed is time that I have complete freedom over how to spend, whether I use it to socialize, exercise, catch up with work or study, consume entertainment, or rest. Work and study are particularly dangerous for me. Whenever I re-establish healthy, early sleeping hours, I eventually push my sleep schedule later and later into the night to finish my studies, assignments, or other commitm...
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Time Budgeting - Becoming aware of how we spend our time
Reading time: 2 min The envelope budgeting method is a where we place our available money for budgeting that month into physical or theoretical separate envelopes for different types of spending or areas of life. When we have to spend in that area of life, we take money out of that envelope. Once that envelop is depleted and emptied, no more money is to be spent in that area of life, until that month ends, and we renew the budget. When we budget our money, we become conscious of how we spend...
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Designing Good Passwords in 2022
Reading time: 5 min What makes a good password? It should be a chain of characters unknown to and not readily guessable by other humans, and It should have sufficient randomness and length such that it's not one of the trillions of guesses per second modern computers can make, and It should be easily memorable, ONLY to you. It's hard to balance the first two with the third condition. Implications: No common words or phrases should be used. Nothing publicly related to you should be used. ...
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The Five Balls of Life
Reading time: 1 min The former CEO of Coca-Cola Brian Dyson once gave a speech detailing an analogy of how our life is a game of juggling five balls. Four balls are made of glass and represent family, health, friends, and soul. One ball is made of rubber and represents work. Once we drop one of the glass areas of life, it won't return to its original form.* However, in work, we can readily rebound. The older I grow, the more I agree with this sentiment. I now think of these two things when...
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Your Attention Span is Shorter Than That of a Goldfish. Or is it?
Reading time: 3 min The human vs goldfish attention span claim A claim you may have heard is that human attention span is decreasing, to the point where goldfish now have a longer attention span than humans. After conducting extensive research (read: looking at the first page results of a Google search), I generally got the following from many sources (with more or less similar wording): “Humans now have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish”. This is based on a “recent study” wh...
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Note your daily goals in your task manager
Reading time: 1 min This is what got me more productive lately. I applied this method not only to old commitments, but my current commitments as well. A daily goal to do the bare minimum every day to reach an end goal, noted as a daily repeating task in my task manager. Reminds you that you only have to do 5 minutes of a task before crossing it off. It's not overwhelming (underwhelming, really), and takes an insignificant amount of time to fulfil, giving you a sense of readiness and perceptio...
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How to easily finish up old projects
Reading time: 2.5 min I wrote this to share a way to easily finish up old projects. Old projects here refer to commitments that are 'completable' and do not have a strict, external deadline. Assess if the commitment now aligns with your priorities, and you are willing to invest time and effort into completing it. If yes, divide the goal or habit up into the smallest possible microtask, one requiring minimal time and effort. Set a goal to do the bare minimum of the microtask every day (e.g.,...
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Writing something that lasts forever
Reading time: 5 min Landscape of Thorns. Concept: Mike Brill, Drawing: Safdar Abidi, Image courtesy of BOSTI. Image retrieved from here. Conveying messages across time A thought experiment, if you will: Imagine we are octopus, beings with no vertical transfer of knowledge. How can we prepare something that can pass knowledge onto the next generation, with no altered meaning, while having no direct communication between generations? It's impossible to write or draw something to convey a me...
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Teach a student how to learn, and they will learn for a lifetime
Reading time: 2 min I was recently asked how I know so much about a particular field despite having received no formal education in that field. I responded: “[Search engine] is at your fingertips.” “If you want to know something, you can look it up.” (Preferably using good, reliable sources, and multiple sources to support a particular bit of knowledge.) An uncountable number of books, studies, videos, and articles (among others) are accessible on the internet. As long as we are willing to in...
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The best method of knowledge capture is the laziest option
Reading time: 2 min I keep a habit of writing most things down. It takes thoughts and plans off my working memory and stops it from unnecessarily popping up in my head. In the post I linked above, I noted how I used Standard Notes with Obsidian to host my thoughts and memories digitally. I stopped using Obsidian a while ago due to the amount of friction necessary to use Obsidian in my workflow, especially for capturing thoughts when I'm away from my desktop: First capture a thought, memory,...
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Loneliness rivals smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity in negative health impact
Reading time: 2 min An increasing number of studies indicate that loneliness is a significant risk factor for mortality, one which is comparable to smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Specifically, via higher risks of heart disease, stroke, dementia, depression, anxiety, suicide, poorer sleep quality, and reduced immune function. Loneliness is also linked to a higher risk of inactivity, smoking, more healthcare appointments, and a greater need for institutional care. Significance: R...
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The Marshmallow Challenge – How frequent failing increases success
Reading time: 2 min The marshmallow challenge (text) (YouTube video) is a team design challenge involving the following: "in 18 minutes, each group can use 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, and one yard of string, and one marshmallow to build the tallest structure with the marshmallow on the top." Source: Marshmallow Challenge Tom Wujec administered this challenge to many groups of people, from students, to designers and architects, to CTOs of the Fortune 50. These are the result...
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The Human Advantage – Generational Teaching and Archiving
Reading time: 3.5 min Teaching and archiving Humans have the special ability of teaching and archiving knowledge with extremely high accuracy and precision. We accomplish this via verbal or non-verbal communication, writing, drawing, and recording, among others. This allows us to pass on knowledge, skills, experience, and wisdom across many generations. This is arguably a unique advantage humans have over other highly intelligent organisms such as certain birds, dolphins, and certain primates...
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Making Things Pleasant
Reading time: 1 min I remember once hearing a story about nice-smelling soap. Disease and poor health plagued an impoverished, small community. They had typical soap and clean water, but handwashing was still an uncommon practice. An individual from the outside learned of this, and provided the community with fragrant, pleasant soap for the inhabitants to wash their hands with. With this new, nice soap, handwashing rates rapidly rose and the health of the community significantly enhanced. ...
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The Solution to Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Reading time: 2.5 min When presented with various opportunities, I find it hard to say no to them. After all, this is a way to maximize my luck and uncover further opportunities in the future. Yet, there are times when I've clearly taken too many concurrent commitments, to the point where it's hard to balance my time and workload or to not compromise on the outcomes of some commitments. I detailed the method I now use to evaluate whether I have the capacity (in time, energy, and willingness) ...
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The Infinite Library
Reading time: 2.5 min The Library of Babel is an infinite library. It consists of an enormous collection of books, each filled with text produced from every single combination of 22 letters, the period, the comma, and space. Anything and everything that can be written with its defined character subset can be found somewhere in the library. You can find a virtual English-language Library of Babel here. Its books contain words and sentences composed of every single possible combination of 26 E...
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Don't design the perfect system before using it
Reading time: 2 min Response to @Yard, My Perspective of the New Note-Taking Software Context: working on Notion and doing more 'systems building' and dashboard customization than actually working or writing in it. "But I got caught just consuming content about the app and customizing my dashboard. It distracted me from doing actual work." Designing the perfect system I previously wrote about trying to get the perfect system up before using it here. Likewise, I once fell into this trap...
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The Selection Shadow - Why we still age
Reading time: 3.5 min In this post I wrote long ago, I discussed how evolution has fundamentally not provided humans with an answer to non-infectious, chronic diseases and ageing. "However, ageing and cancer are fundamentally problems evolution has not provided us with a solution with. Ageing can be said to be a root cause for all diseases. However, our biological defence against it is arguably lacking due to our lack of evolution in this regard. Using the theory of natural selection, for us...
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How to frame avoidance goals for success
Reading time: 2 min When setting goals and resolutions, sometimes we want to decrease or avoid certain actions. These include unhealthy or unproductive habits. To raise our success in such "avoidance-oriented" goals, word them in the form of committing to a preferred alternative, i.e. an "approach-oriented" goal. For example, instead of “I will avoid eating junk food”, word it as “I will eat healthy meals for at least two of my meals every day” (specific and realistic). Eating healthy food i...
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Reducing friction to zero
Reading time: 2 min Returning home from work or education, you think about doing something you want to do regularly, such as working out. Fatigue overwhelms you and you lose all the willpower to go through with it, giving yourself the excuse of being tired and then saying you'll do it tomorrow. And then you forget about it until the next day. The way I overcome this is by reducing the friction required to start working out to zero. I now place equipment right on the corner of my desk (where I ...
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More resolutions and commitments, never less
Reading time: 2 min Very often when we set goals, start a habit, or come up with a New Year’s Resolution, we plan to add something to our lives. Whether a commitment to regularly do some sort of behaviour, spend more time doing something or do/learn something new, it’s more, forevermore. It’s rarely less. Yet, we only have so much time and energy we can expend each day. We can stack commitments and habits together to increase the enjoyment of some goals and minimise the new time input necess...
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Facts in a time of excessive information
Reading time: 2 min In our current age, information is abundant, being a tap or a click away for many of us. This torrent of media and sources makes it increasingly difficult for us to evaluate what information is factual or at least supported by reasonable evidence. I viewed a particular post on COVID-19 vaccines on Reddit some months ago. One of the replies gave a huge list of various claims about the available vaccines, with numerous sources listed beneath all of the claims. I found the cl...
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Are you successfully sticking to your New Year's resolutions?
Reading time: 3 min Numerous studies indicate that most people quickly give up on New Year's resolutions. Many give up well within a month. Congratulations if you are persisting- you're doing better than a high majority of others and I'll continue to cheer you on. Readiness is a significant factor in the decision to give up a resolution. We must consider the following before we make any such commitment: Are we ready to put in the effort, consistently, and keep ourselves on track when we fa...
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Fearing our first pieces of work
Reading time: 2.5 min I recently had the opportunity to go on a clinical clerkship. Although many of the things I encountered I know in theory, I struggled with applying some of my knowledge and skills to real practice. When learning things in life, we often start with learning the theory- someone telling us how to do something, and the reasoning behind it. Yet, we cannot become a master at something purely by reading, listening, or watching. You have to practice. No matter how much we read ...
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How to stick to a habit
Reading time: 3 min How to stick to a habit (and Operant Conditioning) In addition to ways of preventing ourselves from dropping habits (removing disincentives), what is an effective way of building and sticking to a habit (adding incentives)? I started to work out as I want to be healthier. I also have the following conditions: My time is limited and I don't want to commit time to working out A workout is inherently tiring and an upfront cost for uncertain future benefit Watching videos is...
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Write publicly for well-researched and thought-out writing
Reading time: 3.5 min Response to The Importance of externalizing your thoughts by Permafrost🧊Yard (@Yard) That piece primarily details the limits of working memory, and writing (publicly) as a way to overcome this and produce better thinking. "It forces you to research intensively about the subject and to also explain it coherently, but it also exposes you to the feedback people might give to you, allowing you to see your possible mistakes, to get better at the subject, and to improve your...
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The power of free and detriment of loss aversion
Reading time: 2 min What is the power of free? If you were offered, for free, a single Lindt Truffle (a round chocolate shell with soft chocolate truffle filling inside) versus a single Hershey's Kiss (a smaller, harder chocolate), which would you choose? If you are familiar with both chocolates, you would most likely choose the Lindt Truffle. Most would consider a Lindt Truffle to be of higher value than a Hershey's kiss. In an experiment (see Shampanier et al., 2007), when given the option...
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"Who am I?" - A question to ask for long-term planning
Reading time: 1.5 min In our childhood, we explore our own identity. Our guardians, peers and education guide us towards asking ourselves what we are and who we are. After taking my final class today before exams and clinical rotations begin, I asked myself: "Who am I?" That's a good signal for me to do tertilely year planning again. To look at what I've achieved in the past few months, review my existing goals and commitments, and to plan for the coming future. With any big transition, it'...
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Writing as a way to de-stress
Reading time: 2 min I find that I gravitate towards writing for my digital garden at late nights whenever I feel excessive stress. This has been the case for recent writings here. Specifically, I write about interesting thoughts and ideas, unrelated to study or work, rather than 'concerning thoughts' and tasks plaguing my short term memory (which are generally related to study or work). I really wanted to reflect on why this is the case. It's not necessarily about emptying unnecessary inform...
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It's so easy to keep scrolling on social media
Reading time: 3 min Read @Brandon, The Effect of Social Media on Blogging Interesting read. The post mentions how users of social media are unlikely to regularly visit external links (a blog), if one stops linking to the external website in their social media posts. I think there are a few factors involved: People do not like to move off the platform they are currently using, and social media platforms are designed to be that way. Social media platforms are designed with the intention of ma...
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Is Ego Depletion Real?
Reading time: 2 min I happened to write about ego depletion and did some quick research to clarify my knowledge of this concept, and found that more recent studies have indicated that there is no evidence to support this effect. Ego depletion is the reduction in willpower or ability to make decisions or exert self-control after every time you do so. It's a limited source, but recovers over time. The phenomenon I noted here on too many choices for the same type of product in supermarkets decr...
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The Hedonic Treadmill - Why we can never be constantly happier
Reading time: 2-3 min Throughout quite a few of my posts, I explored ways in which we can increase our happiness. I recently came by a notable theory, relevant to happiness. The Hedonic Treadmill The "hedonic treadmill", coined by Brickman and Campbell (1971) describes how humans rapidly return to a 'baseline' state of happiness, even after significant positive or negative events. This is illustrated by two examples by this source (Oxford Reference), on winning the lottery and accident vict...
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Making commitments publicly for accountability and for like-minded people to join you - 100 Days Of Code (kind of)
Reading time: 1 min 100 days of code (kind of) to learn Python I started the 100 days of code challenge for python 3 days ago. Currently on day 3. Python is something I wanted to learn for a long time as I think it'll be useful in the future, but I never seriously got past beginner syntax or found applications for it. Now, I found something I can follow along to start building up my skills. I don't think I can strictly commit to 1 hour every single day, but a few minutes every single day or ...
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Role of QR Codes Entailing Genetic Tests and Medical Records
Reading time: 3-4 mins Response to @MindThink, 'What If -> The Pandemic is a Distraction?' It's been a while since I visited Listed.to. This is my 100th non-unlinked post, I believe. I happened to read this post about assigning unique QR codes to every single person for mass tracking, with the examples listed being "medical records, bank account, shopping information, DNA". As someone with specialised knowledge in health and healthcare, I want to comment on medical records and DNA in part...
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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...
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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: A lack of time Or rather, my priorities in the past did not align with the priorities of the version of myself that reacted to the outcome. I prioritised v...
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Out Of The Quarantine 8: Isolation Encourages Creativity Tasks?
Reading time: 1 min 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 t...
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Out Of The Quarantine 7: UV Light Exposure and Ageing
Reading time: 1 min 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 ...
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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 rea...
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In The Quarantine 5: Would you delete haunting memories?
Reading time: 1 min 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 whe...
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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 c...
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In The Quarantine 3: Present Happiness vs Future Happiness
Reading time: 2 min 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...
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In The Quarantine 2: Gaining an hour is a delightful feeling
Reading time: 1 min 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. ...
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Quarantine Journal #1 - Stroke
Reading time: 1 min 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. ...
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Culture vs Strategy in Performance
Reading time: 1 min 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 academ...
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NFTs and blockchains for vaccines
Reading time: 1 min 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 ...
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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 yo...
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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 qu...
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Did the pass year pass quickly or slowly?
Reading time: 1 min 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 won...
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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: 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...
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A footnote that I forgot about - Why it's important to write down your thoughts
Reading time: 1 min I had a footnote to add to this post: "Surround yourself with inducers, not inhibitors", explaining with further examples and related comments. But I forgot what I was going to add. It was a thought I had while still in my waking phase and I didn't capture it immediately. Capturing your thoughts and ideas is oh so important. It allows your future self to use them. Related notes: Capturing shower thoughts - on capturing transient thoughts https://blog.memoryrepository...
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Surround yourself with inducers, not inhibitors
Reading time: 1 min In pharmacology (pharmacokinetics specifically), different medicines (or foods) can affect how we metabolise drugs that enter our body. Drugs can 'inhibit' or 'induce' an enzyme to increase the rate at which a drug is metabolised, where inhibitors slow or prevent metabolism, while inducers increase the number of enzymes present or the activity of the enzymes, overall increasing the rate of metabolism. I find this concept highly applicable to the people we surround ourselve...
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Delayed Gratification vs Intentional Resting
Reading time: 1-2 min Delayed gratification can be defined as resisting an immediate reward with a view towards acquiring a greater or more valuable reward in the future. So much can be said about delayed gratification and it's ramifications for relative success later in life. However, although delayed gratification is generally desirable for our future selves, it's difficult to consistently and persistently pursue this practice. We procrastinate, rest, play and seek immediate reward to reliev...
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What is the preferred knowledge accumulation direction? Breadth vs Depth
Reading time: 1 min What knowledge style is preferred in our current and future world? Breadth of knowledge across a wide range of subjects and topics, or depth of knowledge within one particular subject? The library of knowledge within our brains cannot be fully comprehensive (as of this point in time). Our time is limited and the time we have to learn and commit things to our memory is limited. Humans also readily forget. This therefore limits our choice for what we learn; we can never have ...
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Life after COVID-19, and antimicrobial resistance
Reading time: 1-2 min This particular pandemic was arguably different from prior ones due to the accessibility of work and communication technology, allowing for once-difficult or limited arrangements such as 'work or learn from home' to become more widely accepted and accessible. To what extent will we undo these arrangements and the acceptability of these arrangements at the first sight of COVID-19 becoming negligible globally? We place ourselves in densely populated spaces to work, to soci...
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Project sustainability and life sustainability
Reading time: 1 min We concern ourselves with the sustainability of our projects. We should put the same amount of concern on our life practices. Both internally and externally, our actions require energy. Physically within our body, and externally in the environment. Our mental energy counts too (we mentally become tired as well as physically). We strain ourselves to the limit, straining our bodies, draining the physical and mental resources contained with us, while draining the resources in ...
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Aligning the values of your current self with your future self
Aligning the values of your current self with the values of your future self. This is a difficult thing to do. Our current self will undoubtedly try to meet our immediate wants and needs, rather than putting them off to meet the wants and needs of our future self. See delayed gratification. For example, we might procrastinate and spend time on entertainment rather than studying for an exam coming up. But perhaps that’s the wrong way of thinking- your future self should align values with your p...
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How long does it take to feel better after grinning?
Reading time: 1 min We can smile and grin to induce positive emotions and feel better. I felt down while taking a shower and reminded myself of this. I attempted it and felt better almost immediately. Definitely within 10 seconds. Perhaps it's a placebo; I expected this outcome (me shifting towards more positive emotions) and therefore my body shifted towards more positive emotions. Perhaps it's actually effective this quickly. However, placebo or not, I don't think it matters. My mood did ...
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Exam time musings: People sleep later near or during exams; Alarms for lazy selves
Another interesting observation. Reading time: 1 min Exam Time Sleep Schedules I observe that students tend to sleep later during exam period. Even students who have the best, healthiest sleep schedules (under normal circumstances) will shift their sleep schedule back by a bit, likely to generate a bit more time to study. I also do this, despite knowing that doing so is taking a time debt with huge interest. Perhaps our perceived marginal benefit from taking this time debt to have more time ...
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I jump from a task manager to a time blocker when completely overburdened
Reading time: 1 min Interesting observation (on a practice that incidentally occurred again yesterday): I jump to Sorted3 (a task manager with daily time blocking functionality) instead of using Things 3 (purely a task manager) when I become overburdened. This might be reflective of the need to block out my time to maximise working efficiency. Or that my Things 3 projects and tasks list/date assignment becomes completely cluttered and disorganized, probably as a direct reflection of how much...
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Past Paper Analysis Method for Choosing Flash Card Subjects
*Appending to this post: "Initiating Active Recall Cram Study" Reading time: 1 min* I also do what I call "past paper analysis". I view as many available years of past papers as possible (not more than 10 though, if that many are available) to get a very good grasp of exactly what topics they will test, which topics they will never test, what type of question will be asked, and what subtopic within each topic will be asked. Only subtopics that are historically (possibly repeatedly) tested or ...
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Initiating Active Recall Cram Study
Reading time: 2-3 min Across my journey through studying pharmacy, I experimented with a range of study methods including active recall, spaced repetition, question-answer (Cornell?) notes and memory recall practice, typed notes, digital handwritten notes, mind-mapping, doing / analysing past papers, trying computer-generated multiple choice questions, and flash cards along with flashcard software, including Anki, Remnote, Quizlet. For the two previous semesters, I religiously and persistentl...
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Chronic Stress and Depression may induce brain neuron death - Antidepressants may reverse this
Interesting share. Reading time: 1 min Read this study today, "Chronic Unpredictable Stress Promotes Neuronal Apoptosis in the Cerebral Cortex". Apparently, chronic depression and stress induces neuron death in the brain. This study details how chronic stress and stress-induced depression resulted in DNA fragmentation and neuronal death in rodents, possible due to the release of stress hormones and amino acids. In the same study, anti-depressant medications were shown to potentially to redu...
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I tried out a triphasic sleep schedule
Reading time: 1 min Due to having to catch up on deadlines, I had to insert sleep in between a very tight schedule, resulting in a triphasic sleep schedule during the past day and a half: Day 0: 6-7 pm Day 1: 2-4 am 1-3 pm 11-1 pm Do I feel sleepy before and after each sleep session? During the first am session (2-4 am) and first the afternoon session (1-3 pm), yes. Before morning, I woke up feeling awful, although it improved after turning the light on and letting my body balance my sleep...
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Facing Overcommitment / Overburdening - Forecasts are Inaccurate
Reading time: 1 min Not too long ago, in mid February, I said that I found my true limit on the number of commitments (with consideration to the depth of each commitment) I can take up at each time. As with all things in life, things change and are unpredictable. The degree of commitments change- some increase while some decrease. Whether it's due to other people or the nature of the commitment, it's difficult to accurately forecast things. I now encounter a net increase in the degree of my ...
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Broken snooze sleep is worse than no sleep
Reading time: 1-2 min I have a really bad habit of setting waking alarms at an “optimistic” time, early enough for me to start doing a good bit of work or allow me to prepare to go out in a chill, non-hurried manner. And instead of waking when my alarm goes off, I snooze it. Again and again until an hour goes by, and by then I really have to get up or I’ll be late. This shortens my true sleeping time by an hour, wasting time on something that just makes me more tired, given that snooze alarm b...
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Trends in how I spend my time
Reading time: 1-2 min I looked at the trends in how I use my time today. These activities seem to be inversely correlated- as one rises, the other falls: Study / assignments Life improvement activities (writing, planning, research, reading, self-learning...) Gaming / outings To be expected probably. Our time is limited. I initially had the hypothesis that my time spent gaming rises as the time I spend studying rises, and I spend more time on life improvement activities when the time I spend ...
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Smile to improve your mood, even if it's a fake one
Reading time: 1 min I'm currently going through some negative events in my life, from academic, to work, to family, and to relationships. I have to remind myself: Smile. You will automatically feel better. You can trick your brain this way. Try it the next time you feel down. Studies have indicated doing the act of smiling, even if it's a fake one, such as the facial movement forced by holding a pencil between your teeth, will lead to your brain releasing chemicals that induce a positive emot...
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Should we document and retain unhappy events in a journal?
Reading time: 1-2 min Should unhappy events be documented in your journal? I asked this question today after such an event happened. Writing and reflecting in a journal or in your daily notes is a great way to clear your mind. It's a time to offload your thoughts onto paper- to cast into ink, visible in front of you, no longer burdening your memory. It's easier to reflect on the event with a clear mind. Your emotions and thoughts come pouring out of your pen (or your fingertips on a keyboard)-...
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Recording how we spend our time; What is a meaningful activity?
Reading time: 1 min Read "My Life in Months 🗓️" by Alicia's Notes (@lissy93) today. The piece details how the author spent their life as a breakdown in month time units. I often wonder about how I'm spending the time I have in my life too. I therefore tracking how I spend every day. I think these methods of representing how you spend your time are good ways of condensing this information into a comprehensible form. It shows exactly what you are doing with your time and allows you to reflect ...
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Get enough calcium (and vitamin D) and exercise to prevent osteoporosis
Reading time: 1-2 min Osteoporosis is the 'thinning' of the internal scaffolding our bones. Our bones consist of a porous scaffold as its architecture. In osteoporosis, these scaffolds have weaken by thinning and have becoming more porous, meaning decreased bone mass. This is a 'silent' disease- there are no symptoms until a fracture occurs (most often in your spine or hip bone). It is estimated to affect 200 million people worldwide. i.e. it's quite common. While it's most common in the elde...
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The gratifying "rush" from solving a problem
Reading time: 1-2 min The "rush" from successfully solving a difficult problem is a highly effective process indicator which motivates you to continue working on whatever you are doing. Encountered this phenomenon just an hour ago. I was stuck on a difficult assignment (one on statistics). I could hear my head exploding when I first read the question scenario. I was stuck on it for perhaps half an hour, before I took a 5-10 minute break (see Pomodoro timer, although I don't strictly adhere to ...
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Identify your process bottlenecks
Reading time: 2 min Worked at the hospital today. Did some vaccine preparation. Just like in this, vaccine preparation is a process. In the chain of steps in the process that is vaccine preparation, from taking the vials from the refrigerator, to doing the documentation, to preparing the labels, to scanning into the hospital computer system, to preparing the syringes, preparing normal saline (the liquid used to dilute the liquid in the vial), to reconstituting the vaccine inside the vial, to w...
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Working past bedtime is taking out a time debt from your future self, paid with interest
Reading time: 2 min I put great value and importance into my time, for it is limited. Yet, for years of my (recent) life, I've been keeping this poor practice up, taking precious time away from my future self: When I have a large number of projects and tasks queued and due soon (e.g. in this scenario), I may choose to push my bedtime back, to temporarily gain more time my current self can use. The problem with this is that the 'large number' of projects and tasks usually cannot be digested dow...
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Task managers bring order, a place to start, and sets your priorities straight
Reading time: 1-2 min Due to the massive number of tasks and projects queued up, I've completely fallen behind in maintaining my task manager. (I use Things 3; not sponsored.) I have to rebuild a new temporary one, consisting of my projects and tasks organised by "do date", with a deadline date tacked on in my Standard Notes daily notes for the next week or two, to digest these down. I think this seriously showcases the role task managers play in one's life. Here are the problems I'm encounter...
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Writing forces you to read
Reading time: 1 min In writing this blog, I learned that writing really forces you to read. Reading becomes a medium through which you learn more about the underlying phenomenon in various life happenings, a medium through which you research your points and find other perspectives, and a medium through which you find different topics and bits of knowledge to connect your writing to. This is self-reinforcing, as you should write as you read or soon after you read to capture your thoughts and wh...
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Add sufficient detail to notes for your future self
Reading time: 1 min I resumed working on data analysis today for a side project. This was very true and applicable today. We had no idea where to continue and where we left off, despite me leaving comments and colour keys to mark future plans and where we left off. We then spent almost an hour getting our grasp on how to continue. My past instructions for my current self were not comprehensive enough for my current self to understand what is happening and what my past self was thinking. As ti...
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Writing down my daily packing list
Reading time: 1 min Every day, before leaving my home, I count 4, 7 or 12 items (depending on where I'm going) that I should have on me, to prevent myself from leaving and then later realising that I left something important at home. The tier two packing list grew over time, from 7 items, to 10, and most recently a new group of 12 (tier three, a mask is one of them now). This is over the 'grouping limit' of the brain, and I generally have to count the items as 7+5 rather than a group of 12. I...
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Notes have to be re-discovered to be useful to your future self
Reading time: 3-4 min Writing is a way for us to retain our memories, for our brain forgets while our notes do not. My daily note / journal entries and this blog serves as my way of recording my daily happenings, priorities, tasks, movement towards goals, concerns, interesting things, what I'm grateful for, and a knowledge bank for use in my future. However, while inputting my thoughts into this memory repository can benefit my present self by clearing my head of my thoughts and putting things...
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Informed decisions and intentional actions
Reading time: 1-2 min In medicine and bioethics, there's a concept known as informed consent. It's where healthcare professionals communicate information to patients, and the patient patients should understand the function, benefits and risks of action plans before giving authorization to go ahead. I feel that keeping this idea is important for life in general. To make informed decisions and be intentional with our actions. In the modern era, for many of us, information is vast and readily ac...
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Capturing shower thoughts
Reading time: 1-2 min What’s a good way of capturing your shower thoughts? Shower thoughts tend to be good thinking. The lack of intelligible noise (or at least the white noise) in the shower, the lack of attention and cognitive effort required to shower, and in general the lack of external stimuli makes it a good place to think. I get so many thoughts during the shower. A lot of my writing and ideas originates from these thoughts. I try to capture them as soon as possible in a written format...
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Make your work and habits public for accountability
Reading time: 1 min I think, if this blog wasn't public, there are days when I would lapse on this type of writing and not catch up due to not having enough time in my day (or rather having something else more pressing or important). We should make our work public. Show your progress. Even if no one is there to see what you published, this act offers motivation to stick to the habit and creates accountability in your work and habits. This is another way we could prevent ourselves from droppin...
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Proofread with text-to-speech for a nicer experience
Reading time: 1 min Neat tip to help make proofreading a nicer experience: Turn on read aloud or otherwise text-to-speech (TTS) while you go through your document. This works very well with long papers that would otherwise be a complete chore to go through. TTS keeps you going at a fixed rate, preventing distractions and you get the benefit of "reading aloud" in that you will catch more mistakes, but you don't have to exert the effort to actually read it out loud. And a computer won't miss w...
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Appreciating the opportunities we get - "I get to..."
I'm supposed to be on a study break right now. But I have to attend a training on administering injections. It's so easy to just groan and ask where my break went. However, we should appreciate the opportunities we get. We "get" to do things, we don't "have" to. I'm certain there are others who want to attend the training but didn't get such an opportunity. This mindset helps keep our actions intentional, and makes us more grateful for the things we encounter in our life. "I get to attend a...
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Practice is the best way to learn - How to learn Photoshop
Reading time: 2-3 min Practice Practice is the best way to learn. I propose the following to be an excellent way to pick up a particular skill and enjoy it along the way. First, determine what skill you would like to learn. Then, come up with a relatively simple project to work on. Using various resources such as videos, guides, books etc., work on the project until completion. Through this method: We can rapidly become sufficiently proficient at something, to the point of being able to w...
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"Studying" as part of this blog
Offbeat topic; about the directional of this blog. Reading time: 1 min I note "studying" as a theme of this blog, yet I don't recall ever sharing things specific to studying. I'd be quite happy to share on these topics: How I climbed my way up from being a mediocre/below-average student (in term of grades) to standing among the top of my cohort Evidence-based study methods Study methods I tried and my comments on their effectiveness/efficiency 'Studying (flashcard)' software (Anki, Remnote.....
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What leads us to drop habits - How to avoid dropping habits
Reading time: 2 min Read Tuesday 9th March 2021 by @alexturner today. "Nothing though was spoken about what can make us vulnerable to dropping habits we had assumed had become established." Discussion about what can make us drop habits does seem to be lacking. Setting habits that have too large a commitment in terms of time and effort is one. Our time is limited and we can only allocate so much time to any one thing, following our immediate (or near-future) priorities. Having too much fr...
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Do non-iron clothing cause cancer?
Reading time: 8 min Follow-up to: Buy non-iron clothing to save ironing time In the process of verifying information from writing the above piece, came across this: A quick search on multiple search engines led me to find the following in the top results: that formaldehyde is a horrible chemical used to preserve dead bodies and causes cancer non-iron clothing is soaked in it during manufacturing non-iron clothing is non-environmentally friendly To start with, these articles I found cited ...
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Buy non-iron clothing to save ironing time
Reading time: 0.5 min I was going to post this before I slept last night. But then I went deep into a rabbit hole to make sure I wasn't recommending something that would harm the health of those who read this, and to make sure there's evidence supporting that I write. We spend hours every week doing laundry. This includes time spent on ironing clothing. Buy non-iron clothing. They don't need ironing to be straight and wrinkle free. You'll save hours of your life. Also read (the follow-u...
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Balancing on the thin line of taking opportunities vs. avoiding overburdening
Reading time: 2 min You want to maximise the number of opportunities you take, and thereby the number of fails (and successes) you encounter. Without overburdening yourself. Finding the thin line between taking as many opportunities as possible and avoiding overburden is hard. Very. Especially since you don't know how worthwhile every opportunity is for your time. And since you can't tell the future, you don't know what opportunities will open up to you if you miss the one in front of you....
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Go fast, go alone; Go far, go together - Lessons from founding an organisation
Reading time: 2 min I watched the video accompanying this article, 'Building a Million Dollar Business – 10 Tips for Entrepreneurs' by Ali Abdaal some time ago, and one of the lines always resonated with me: “If you want to go fast, you should go alone; if you want to go far, you should go together”. Apparently it's a common saying in start-ups (according to the article), and an African proverb (according to a search on a search engine). Anyway, I read @Cubes Day 91, Operating system nar...
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Maximise Your Fails
Reading time: 1-2 min In your process of maximising your luck, by increasing the number of opportunities you take, you will inevitably increase the number of times you fail. There's nothing wrong with that. Thomas J Watson, the founder of IBM (the company behind the AI 'Watson'*, which managed to destroy human competitors in Jeopardy! and can provide individualized suggestions for patients to healthcare professionals, as well as Micromedex, my favourite medicines database (not sponsored) not...
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Simplicity saves time and cognitive effort
Reading time: 1-2 min I spent part of last year working on changing some of my workflows, systems and interfaces to raise the joy of productivity, to better align my wants/needs with my goals and tasks, and to become more productive in advancing towards long-term, important but not urgent goals, while keeping short-term, urgent but unimportant tasks at bay through constant digestion and completion. I look back at that time and have to say to my past self: It's okay to have a work-in-progress ...
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Note down your source for your future self when reading and otherwise consuming
Reading time: 1 min I recently went to check on a note in my notes system related to a thought I had. I wanted to expand on the note and read more on the topic. But couldn't find the source of what I wrote, nor find it via search engines. Brilliant. This demonstrates the importance of noting down your source. Do things for your future self. Should also note down other contextual things for your future self: where did you leave off? How should you continue in the future? Your future self wi...
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Imposter Syndrome - Stifling 'Luck'
Reading time: 1 min Impostor syndrome is when a person ideates that their success and accomplishments are attributed more to luck, unsustainable effort or other transient circumstantial events, rather than their capabilities. The identification of this syndrome is credited to psychologists Dr Pauline Rose Clance and Dr Suzanne Imes in 1978. I had similar thoughts recently- that I'm succeeding within my cohort due to luck and unsustainable amounts of effort. That my writing creates value by ch...
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Deadline Pressure for Insane Productivity - The Fastest I Ever Work and Write
Reading time: 2 min What is the fastest rate I can work and write at? Looking back at my history of self-initiated projects and assigned papers*, my fastest rate of working and writing tends to come to me when there's deadline pressure. Deadlines are how we can unlock exorbitantly high rates of productivity. This piece of writing leads me to think of this very interesting post by @Atorko, 'Will Extreme Longevity Harm Human Drive?' and my response to it. I suggested that humans losing the ...
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Dissertation and Thesis Length by Major
Interesting share. Reading time: 1 min I came across this some time ago, found it highly interesting and want to share it: The author of this blog, Marcus W Beck ran an analysis (well, another one in 2013) of masters theses and doctoral dissertations archived online at the University of Minnesota. I can't write better captions than the original author, so I will quote the original author: Doctoral Dissertations Page Length by Major "Fig: Summary of page lengths of doctoral dissertations ...
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2020, a Special Year for Growth
Reading time: 1 min As a healthcare profession student, I play some role in the response against COVID-19. (Stay safe.) I don't wish for such an awful event to happen to humanity again anytime soon. However, this last year (and early 2021), with special study and work arrangements, by cutting time in things such as transit, study/work idle time, (unnecessary outings and socialising time?,) I was granted more spare time than usual to work on my side projects, personal goals and other 'importan...
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The more I don't want to do something, the faster I get it done
Reading time: 1 min The more I don't want to do something, the faster I get it done, assuming that I actually get started on it in a timely manner. (Could intentionally not wanting to do something help with productivity? I wonder.) I really didn't want to write a short paper for a side project commitment today (I received the request for it tonight). I then completed a draft for it for review by my teammates within 1.5 hours of receiving the request. I categorized this as an unimportant tas...
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Appreciating Rest - Consistency is Key
Reading time: 1 min I find that I appreciate rest a lot more after a period of rushed, concentrated work, the same way I appreciate work a lot more after I had too much time to rest. Consistency is key- to consistently mix in rest between days of work, rather than large periods of one or the other. To spend a consistent minimum and maximum amount of time on something. This would likely help prevent burnout, while also preventing any thoughts of "I'm resting too much". This consistency is powe...
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Helping yourself too far into the future
Reading time: 1 min It's no secret that I try to do things for my future self. I have several writings ready for posting here. But they currently lack the context- the correct "jumping board" post to maximise its value to readers (and for readers to understand the background). I cannot use them yet. i.e. I wrote things that will be used too far into the future, and left my present "future self" (from my past perspective) hanging. This reminds me that we need to balance the time and effort we...
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Productivity by Procrastination - Tapping into the Unconscious Mind
Reading time: 3-4 min Finally following up on this. I was stewing (procrastinating) on a mega-essay due this Saturday. This reminded me of something I noted down before, on how procrastination can indirectly help with solving problems and completing large projects. There are times when I'm working on a tough assignment, I either draw blank or struggle to come up with a solution. I would put it off and leave it for a couple of days or weeks. When I return to it a couple of days prior a deadlin...
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Write to be more aware of your priorities and mental state
Reading time: 1 min Writing can be a mindful practice where you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Your immediate priorities, thoughts, concerns, goals, short- and long-term tasks become laid out in front of you. In addition to jotting down my daily happenings and thoughts in my journal/daily notes, I also track my mood (in Daylio; not sponsored). Combining the two gives me a really good idea of my past mental states, thoughts, concerns, and life direction. I use this informati...
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Avoid meetings like the plague - And how to have better meetings
Reading time: 1-2 min Finally following up on this. I'm being asked to attend meetings left and right these past couple of weeks. For over half of them, I have to beg the question: What are we meeting for? And am I actually needed? I find most meetings to be a general waste of time. Unclear goals, non-participant participants, and idle time add up to time that is wasted that I could have spent on doing something else, likely working on something that's more urgent or important to me. I ack...
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Listed.to Multi-person Digital Gardens
Reading time: 1 min I'm thinking Listed could be a good way to form multi-person digital gardens. Digital gardens are a set of informal notes and blog posts that link to other notes within the same system. Some examples include: Andy Matuschak's working notes Maggie Appleton's digital garden This blog (kind of. I do try to integrate posts with past and future posts...) I find that these gardens tend to be purely tended to (hah) by the original author, with links to various resources for c...
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Human Longevity (Short version)
In response to @Atorko, Will Extreme Longevity Harm Human Drive? Reading time: 2 min I originally wrote a longer, 'raw thoughts transcribed' version for this. If you’d be happy to indulge in my unsolicited healthcare-related spouting, it's here, hidden from the main feed. This is the shortened version. (I realize some things I shortened too much; the full version is available above for context.) In my opinion: On longevity (life expectancy) The notion of extreme human longevity (life expect...
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Choosing between fork roads: Clinical Practice or Research
Partially personal topic. Reading time: 1 min I'm facing a fork in the road I have to decide on in a couple of days. I have the opportunity to engage in clinical practice for a year, or engage in research for a year. Which should I go for? We can't experience everything in life. Our time is limited. What we can do however, is enjoy what we chose to do and learn from them. Although, given that there's some time until that officially starts, I want to try to find an opportunity to experience ...
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Current Commitments and Future Satisfaction
Response to @Cubes Day 75, Nothing We all bury ourselves in, frankly, an absurd amount of commitments. We think our work now will build up to happiness in our future. We bury ourselves in work now, so that our future selves can do less or enjoy more. Yet, our future selves always want more. The immediate satisfaction our prior selves experienced upon completing a task or acquiring something is lost over time. Indeed, doing nothing is an amazing thing to do. It's time to rest and think, someth...
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Variation in the rate of task appearance leads to overburdening
Reading time: 1-2 min Assuming that we always complete everything on time, the average rate at which we complete tasks at is equal to the average rate in which tasks appear for us. Given this, why do we become overburdened at some points in our life, while having plenty of free time during other points in our life? The study of processes within operations management could answer this. The variation in the rate of task appearance leads to 'queuing' of tasks. A sudden influx of 3 large project...
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Tertilely Year Planning
Reading time: 1 min Some people set 'new years resolutions', goals for the year, (likely overly ambitious and immediately fail after a month and a half) to work towards for the foreseeable upcoming 12 months. (That is where small, unambitious but sustainable changes and environmental cues help.) I set goals and life directions that span across 4 months. So approximately 3 times a year. I find this to be a reasonable length that fits my life. It balances enough time for significant achievement...
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Emptiness, and Important but not urgent
Reading time: 1 min Feeling real empty after ending a massive deadline rush. I had 4 assessments in the past 2 days. Almost the entirety of the time during the recent weeks outside eat, sleep and hygiene was distributed to work and study. Now that they're over, this sudden lack of immediate goals, tasks, and deadlines left me with a sense of emptiness and lack of direction. Time seemed to have slowed down (quite an interesting phenomenon, how we experience time). These short-term deadline ta...
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'Too busy' or 'don't have time' to do something
Reading time: 1 min Following the same philosophy of using a particular set of vocabulary to define my mindset, I avoid saying "I'm too busy" to do something" or "don't have time". I think that's a poor mindset to hold. Rather, I'd say "I chose to do something else". I find this to be generally true for many situations: It's not that I'm in a situation that makes it truly impossible to do or attend something. I can go, as long as I sacrifice the time I could have spent on something else. Rathe...
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Time Tracking - 10% of my time is unproductive consuming time
Reading time: 1 min I keep a fairly detailed record of how I use time through BlockyTime (not sponsored). Before I sleep, I record my approximation of what type of activity I did, and at what time I did it. Activities include: Sleep, Eating, Cooking, Transit, Cleaning, Outing Events, Home Events, Chatting, Writing, Study, Assignments, Work, Gaming, Watching Videos, Reading, Exercise, Side Projects, Learning, Rest/Chill, etc. I've been keeping this up for over a year now, although my categori...
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Write down what you consume, or lose it
Reading time: 2 min Everything we consume is lost to time if we don't write it down. Humans readily forget. Every book, article and paper you've read. Every video and documentary you've watched. Your memories from interactions with other people and your life happenings. To me, these are precious things my current self can save for my future self. By capturing these in my combined notes system, they enter a box of ideas I can reach into. My written memories and thoughts can then be re-discov...
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Stroke and Time
Offbeat topic. Reading time: 1 min Interesting stuff I want to share I was digging through my combined notes system to find ideas on what to write about and I came across something I noted down some months ago, out of interest and surprise: Every time a person suffers from a stroke, they lose 1.2 billion neurons (for reference, our forebrains will more or less have 22 billion neurons) undergo accelerated ageing by 36 years. For every second a stroke is untreated, they lose 32,000 neur...
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We choose to do things - Role of Wording
Reading time: 1 min Wording is important in establishing your mindset on things. On this blog, in most cases, I choose to use a 'self-deterministic' choice of words: I choose to do something; I don't have to do something. It's a simple difference of 'choosing' to work vs 'having' to work. I think this has several important benefits for well-being: It affirms that you are in control (even if you think you are not; helps convince yourself) It encourages gratitude for the opportunities you ar...
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Block out your time to increase productivity
Reading time: 1 min When I’m seriously time crunched and asking myself how I can possibly finish everything in time, I start blocking out my time. I cram an optimistic completion time estimate for each task into a list, note what time I will start each task at, then try to follow it. The goal is to minimise the time I spend on each task, for work tends to fill the time allocated (see Parkinson’s law). However, humans tend to far overestimate how quickly they can finish things- even our worse...
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Modify your environment to modify your behaviour
Reading time: 1-2 min Your environment plays a significant role in determining your behaviour. Cues in your environment can encourage or inhibit actions. For example, if you want to eat less junk food, place them out of sight, in a cabinet far from the position you typically stay at. This increases the friction to getting the item and eating it. As a result, you'd only open the cabinet to get it only if you really wanted to eat junk food. It’d be out of sight otherwise and you won’t have enoug...
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Search your desktop, don't dig through folders
Reading time: 1 min Name your files properly and use search. It's much faster to open a file through opening search with a keyboard shortcut followed by typing in a file name, rather than clicking through folders to find files with random or insufficiently descriptive names. (Provided that you type quickly.) I organise my files on my desktop with a naming system, allowing the above quick-search method to work for me. I know exactly what things are called, or rather I can guess intuitively su...
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The Cross Section of Purpose - Finding Ikigai
Reading time: 1 min Finding something you love and can be paid for is a gold standard to achieve in life. Ikigai is broad concept of purpose; why we do what we do. I recently came across this concept again and feel like it should be shared: By Mark Winn in Toronto Star We should pursue to find something that fulfills all 4, possibly in this order: What the world needs What you are good at What you love What you can be paid for Idealistic, but isn't that what visions are? By doing somet...
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Say No Unless Certain Yes
Reading time: 1-2 min If overwhelmed, say no unless you are certain yes. I happen to be slightly overwhelmed with the amount of studying I push myself to do, the number of assignments I have, the number of side projects and work/volunteering roles I took up, and with maintaining my relationships. I am borderline overcommitting. I've now found my true limit in how many responsibilities I can take up at the same time. I'm at a point in time where I have to say no to new commitments as a default...
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Spending time with my family and partner - Is that procrastination?
Reading time: 1-2 min I chose to spend my past 2 nights barely sleeping to rush some important presentations and papers (with a pressing deadline). I spent a few days in the past week or two spending time with my family and with my partner. And a day playing video games and watching videos; traditionally 'unproductive' happenings. Obviously, pulling out a couple of days for the sole purpose of not working or studying would have its consequences on my task and project queue in the following wee...
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It's okay to procrastinate and not work sometimes
Reading time: 1 min When you're not working or procrastinating and a voice at the back of your head is bugging you, say to yourself: "It's okay to not work sometimes. It's okay to take a break." This means you are resting intentionally. You're actively using this time to rest your mind and body to prepare for your next productive session. To maximise the use of this time, we should let go of anything bugging us. Write it down in a trusted system and empty it from your mind. After all, how can ...
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Spending your time with all the time in the world
Offbeat topic. Reading time: 1 min How would you spend your time if you had all the time in the world, given that you are able to remain at your current age? I would like to think that I would take better care of myself. Spend more time doing healthy things to ensure my body can stays functional and can keep my life going, even if the damages that cause ageing or the damages ageing causes cease. Would you work harder? Doing more in something like receiving education would provide more long-te...
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Write down what you want to accomplish each day for better productivity and focus
Reading time: 1-2 min I find that a good practice to increase productivity and work towards ‘intentional living’ is to write down somewhere up to 3 things I want to complete each day. Those few things should have the type of nature that if you complete them, it wouldn’t matter if you do nothing else that day because you already did the most important thing in your mind. The benefit of doing this is that you set good, clear goals and tasks to work towards soon after you wake up, and your mind ...
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Progress Indicators are Important for Motivation
Reading time: 1 min I was watching a recording of a lecture which I chose to not attend. The video progress bar happened to be broken. The bar doesn't move towards completion even though I was playing and digesting a good chunk of the lecture recording. Earlier on in the video, I got a wave of discouragement thinking that I spent so much time for so little progress, not noticing this issue. Just past halfway through the video, I finally noticed that the progress bar was broken, indicating th...
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Maximise Your Luck
Reading time: 1-2 min To some extent, we can control the rate in which lucky events occur to us. Getting a particular job, position, award, relationship and other opportunities can be considered 'luck' based. However, we are able to maximise the chance for a good outcome by going for as many opportunities as possible, so that we maximise our surface area for catching what we consider 'lucky' events. By taking more opportunities, participating in events, getting to know people, taking a risk an...
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Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation
Reading time: 1-2 min I encountered the problem today of not wanting to work on something assigned to me with a deadline imposed. Yet, I wanted to instead write on my blog. I think this is a good illustration of 'intrinsic' vs 'extrinsic' motivation. I write the blog with 'intrinsic motivation', doing it for the satisfaction of doing it rather than an external reward. I do this to share knowledge I think should be shared, and to build my own written knowledge database. In comparison, tasks a...
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It's Okay to Switch Apps
Reading time: 1 min We might fall into the pit of trying to figure out a perfect system for our productivity and workflows and the perfect app for each aspect of our life e.g. note taking apps, to-do list apps, calendars, time schedulers... And we end up putting time into experimenting, planning and designing a perfect system. But that misses the point. The most important thing is the consistent practice of using it and its accessibility to you at any point at your day. e.g. to simply write...
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Single-task, Don't Multitask
Reading time: 1 min Single-task, don’t multitask. Multitasking actually decreases productivity while giving the perception of increased productivity. Multitasking by itself is not literal 'multitasking', but rather rapid switching of our attention between active tasks. To do so, we have to 'switch context'. context switching generates wasted time e.g. via finding the right tools and materials, app opening time, attention switching, deciding what to do next etc. Your brain also pays the toll:...
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Choosing What to Wear and What to Buy Generates Decision Fatigue
Reading time: 1 min Choosing between products, such as choosing clothing and what to wear is exhausting because of 'ego depletion', or 'decision fatigue'. You are making an active choice and that choice temporarily decreases your ability and willingness to exert your active choice again too soon. Your ability to make choices is decreased. This is why shopping can be exhausting even if you did nothing particularly physically demanding. Interesting side notes: supermarkets find that having to...
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How to Beat Procrastination - Getting started is always the hardest
Reading time: 2 min Getting started with doing something is always the hardest. Getting off your bed to do some exercise. Switching from watching videos to work or study... These are things I definitely struggle with. The 'activation energy', the motivation required to start on them is tremendously high. A strategy I have of beating this is to tell myself to spend 25 minutes, or even 2 minutes on something. An amount of time that is completely insignificant and very easy to do. Or, to do a v...
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Just open the email, don't waste time prioritising
Reading time: 1 min How do you empty your email inbox? I used to click through my email categories and choose the most important email based on my skimming of the topic. I found this to be detrimental to productivity. By wasting time on prioritising and choosing, less time is spent on actually on reading the email (or skimming and pressing next if it's not useful). Our ability to make decisions is limited and takes time to recuperate. By prioritising emails, I chip away at my decision making...
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Don't always go for the cheapest option - Time, money and opportunity cost
Reading time: 1-2 min In economics, there’s something known as opportunity cost. It’s what you could have done with the time and resources you spent to do something else. For example, you could either: purchase an item at a nearby shop for a hefty price or purchase the same item at half the price at a shop that takes an hour to travel to. Which would you choose? Purely based on the monetary cost of the item, it would make sense to go to the shop further away. After all, you save on half o...
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Weigh the cost of something with time, not money
Reading time: 1 min We should weigh the cost of a purchase with our time, not money. We tend to trade our time to acquire money. As we are unable to acquire more time, is arguably a more limited and valuable resource than money. Given that for many of us, time is the source of our money, we should weigh the cost and worthiness of a purchase with the hours we have to spend to acquire that amount of money to make the purchase. This practice can give you a better idea of how much you actually ha...
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Your current writing can be used in the future
Reading time: 1-2 min By writing, you build your database of written memories. This is knowledge in written form you can retrieve and reuse in the future for future projects. In the process of preparing this blog, I dug into my database and surprised myself with the amount of thinking and creativity I demonstrated, the resource base I built up from prior reading and viewing, and the many useful thoughts and scattered pieces of writing that can be reused. Before I integrated my combined notes ...
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Allowing yourself to forget allows rediscovery and for new connections to be made in the future when you need to
Reading time: 1-2 min Forgetting things and allowing yourself to rediscover them in the future is essential to generating inspiration, processing ideas and distilling the essence of information you are taking in. There are case studies on people who have perfect memory, to the point of being able to recite books they read many years ago. This is not the solution to better thinking (as much as I want easily memorise the massive volume of information from studying pharmacy). The drawback of per...
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Write for Better Thinking and Less Mental Exhaustion
Reading time: 1 min By writing things down, you empty your mind of unnecessary information and rely on your notes and writing for storage of knowledge and information. Then, your attention and decision making ability (which is finite and takes time to restore) can be more efficiently applied to actually generating valuable thoughts and ideas. Rather than mentally choosing what information to remember, mentally choosing what to do next, mentally choosing what you will have to do, write things d...
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Your Brain Forgets; Your Notes Cannot
Reading time: 1 min Your digital notes database cannot think, but will never forget. Your brain can think and connect, but readily forgets. Combine the two and you have a system with thinking (processing and connecting power), along with memory and retrieval (via search and links). Apply the idea of 'emergent properties' and magic happens. With it, your ability to think and make connections between thoughts and ideas is enhanced. Laying everything down in front of you allows you to view wri...
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Why I write everything down
Reading time: 1-2 min Just over a year ago, I started the habit of writing down my life happenings. From activities, major tasks that day, achievements, thoughts, emotions, relationship developments, noteworthy things I read... I'd throw them all into my note taking system, consisting primarily of Standard Notes in conjunction with Obsidian. Standard Notes acts as my daily journal and my daily thought and memory dumping ground. Obsidian is where I expand on some of my notes and thoughts afte...
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