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Showing posts from January, 2021

Six-hour workdays for focus and productivity

Sometime in 2018 I experimented with a strict 6-hour workday. I negotiated this with my manager who at the time said it was worth the experiment. The idea would be for me to be at the office by 10am and be out by 4pm. This didn't preclude me from continuing to work while I was in the train, or at home. It was an experiment where I can remember some good and bad parts and this is a post looking back at that time. Ruthless prioritisation The first thing I needed to do as an individual contributor was to ruthlessly prioritise all the tasks I have to accomplish. This meant I had to put a budget on the amount of time I'm spending doing certain things. Additionally this meant I needed to remove  all unnecessary meetings from my calendar. This was defined as whether it was something I was needed to make a decision on anything. Being an individual contributor at the time the answer it turns out for most meetings in my calendar was "no". Some examples of things I've stoppe

Picking up a hobby: Fishing

Fishing has been one of those quintessentially human activities that our ancestors have been doing since... well, for a long time. We all know that we need water to live but after discovering how good the creatures that come from the water taste when cooked (or raw) it turns out we figured out that it's worth trying to catch these creatures for sustenance. It's interesting to note though that it's called "fishing" not "catching" as someone said sometime ago because catching the fish is not guaranteed -- otherwise it'd be farming, harvesting, or akin to raising cattle. There's a number of surprising things that came to me once I started doing this activity and I thought I'd write out a few of those in case you were looking for one too. NOTE: Before going out on your first fishing trip, be sure to read local laws and regulations. In NSW where I'm at, you need a valid fishing license and must be familiar with the restrictions on where fishi

Mental health

2020 was a somber year for me and I'm sure it's the same for a lot of people. As if the global pandemic wasn't enough bringing in the isolation, restriction of travel, and a general sense of change to everyone's way of life -- it was made harder by wanting to keep a semblance of a regular life. I still worked, albeit from home, trying to maintain the same level of productivity as I did before all the change was imposed upon everyone. I still tried to keep up my hobbies like playing video games and supporting some streamers I follow -- what I lack in time to play it seems other people appreciate the financial support I can offer to do the gaming instead, so I and others can live vicariously through them. It wasn't easy and it didn't help that I seem to be really hard on myself. Personally, there were some daemons that I've had to tackle on my own and some that I've had to ask for others' help. It's been a struggle to keep an even keel while everyt

Encrypted messaging

One of the things I miss about social media (after not having been on Facebook for a good number of years now) is the convenient mechanism for communicating with friends, family, and acquaintances. The trade though isn't worth it for me -- my attention being used to fuel algorithms for targeting advertising with the side effect of amplifying messaging that I rather not have occupying my psyche. I haven't completely distanced myself from social media though -- I still use Twitter mostly to follow folks that challenge my perspective and augment my frame of mind. For a while I used Keybase but phones and a laptop later I've kept forgetting to actually use it for messaging. Unfortunately I've been locked out of my account and I'm waiting for a reset to happen. I used to have a WhatsApp account but I didn't find much traction with that in my family nor acquaintances. Not having Facebook (as I've deleted my account) made it extra hard to be involved in group messa

Help wanted: writing resources

I'm currently fleshing out a fantasy setting for a series of short stories rattling in my head that I'd like to get out into the world. However, it's the first time I'm even trying to do this, so I need your help: are there any good resources for world-building and writing guides that have been helpful in your projects? So far I've been really enamoured by Brandon Sanderson's world building and Patrick Rothfuss' storytelling. I suspect those two are at the pinnacle of the trade and I'm probably not going to do myself any favours by trying to live up to what they're doing, but I'd still like to give it the good college try. Are there any resources (forums, books, guides, blogs, or courses) that I should be taking if I want to do a decent first take at this? This is probably better as an email to friends and maybe some random folks (or maybe even a tweet) but why not a blog as well?

Its been a while

 It's 2021 and it's been a while since I wrote here. 2020 has been a challenging year for me and the family and if you're still subscribed and still reading, then thank you for sticking by me. We're doing well and we're doing the best we could given the situation in the world even today. I still believe that things will get better and while we're in the down part of the cycle of life, I'd like to think that the rise is coming soon. Of course nothing will ever really be the same though I'm holding out hope that it will only get better. The past year has given me an opportunity to think about the projects I've been holding off on and after much reflection and disconnecting with my most recent vacation, I've found that there's one project that I'm very excited to start working on and share with you: I'm going to be writing more. Not only writing on this blog, but I'm also dabbling on writing other things too. As soon as I have some o