Ridwan's Rough Notes

Micro Thoughts & Meditations on Intentional Living

I have been meaning to read more. Every time, I fail miserably. I understand that my default action is to watch mindless YouTube videos. But, even if I'm aware of my pattern, it is a bit hard to break it.

A few days back, I watched a YouTube video on habit formation from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, where the author was talking about Identity Habits. It means that when one takes an identity of a reader, then it is easier to implement the habits required to establish that identity.

James Clear recommends creating that identity first. Then, prove to yourself with small wins. For example, when I take the identity as a reader, I can schedule a time to read at least 25 pages a day.

As we near the end of the year, I want to schedule a time to read 25 pages a day for December. And, the best time for me is to read after writing one page in my journal.

#journal #habits

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss...

I have published my third weekly newsletter today. I feel it is good to reflect upon the week and jot down my thoughts. I’m not sure how everything is going to pan out in the future. But, it does give me an outlet to express myself.

Speaking of expressing myself, I have been blogging on and off for quite some time now. The urge to start writing again started after my father’s passing. He always encouraged me to write. Now he is not here with us but I want to honour my father with my writings. I strongly believe any good that happens from this endeavour will definitely make my father proud in the hereafter.

I purchased a Rocketbook to capture my thoughts and ideas that I may take action in the future. I'm really excited to use this notebook. The scanning feature works really well. My initial impression is that this is awesome. I shall wait for a few weeks before sharing my thoughts about it.

#journal #ideas

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I'm starting a new series of blog posts. In these posts I will be reflecting upon my day and try to pick out a few story-worthy moments, I want to reflect upon and remember. The inspiration for this series comes from Matthew Dicks's Storyworthy book. Matt recommends an exercise called Homework of Life where he spends five minutes reflecting upon the day and picking out a story-worthy moment that he would cherish and share with an audience. I liked that idea. And, having a semi-anonymous blog gives me an opportunity to share a public journal that will soon be filled with grateful moments.

Today I have taken it upon myself to fully implement the GTD system over the course of the next few weeks. By the end of this year 2021, I want to have a solid GTD system in place.

Storm Arwen has caused a lot of damage across the UK. We went for a walk at Woolston Park and encountered fallen trees. Hope people stay safe.

I tried the Stair Stepper machine at the gym. I could only manage 5 minutes on it. I kind of like it. I'm going to incorporate it into my workout routine. I guess, just 5 minutes will do for a start.

#journal #storyworthy

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I am slowly learning the GTD Methodology. It is one of the best stress-free productivity systems out there.

I was listening to an episode from the GTD Connect library on the power of writing things down and an idea for using the Tickler file.

Two things really stuck with me that I will be implementing in my life straightway:

  • Spend one minute at various points in your day to perform a Mind Sweep. Highly recommended times to perform one is:

    • Early in the morning
    • Before starting your workday
    • Before closing your workday
    • Before going to sleep
  • Add a note in the Tickler folder to spend a fiver on yourself. You can buy yourself a cup of coffee or a cupcake or whatever you want. Try to keep this practice as a recurring reminder. The surprise element will bring joy and put a smile on your face. I love this idea so much! I'm using the GTD Intentional Journal that comes as part of my GTD Connect membership. You can use your calendar for this recurring note. Hope you will try it out.

#journal #gtd

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss...

I will never get to say, இனிய பிறந்தநாள் வாழ்த்துகள் வாப்பா (Happy Birthday, Father) again.

The very first thing I do on my father's birthday is, wish him. My father was not really keen on birthday wishes. This year onward, I will get to say it.

Growing up in a Kilakarai-Tamil-Muslim household, it may be a cultural thing that we were not exposed to saying “I Love You” explicitly. It's always known. We never doubted the love and affection from our parents. However, after my late teen years, my father hugs me and say “I love you, my son or I'm proud of you, my son”. I have felt awkward when I hear him say that. Not because I didn't like it. It was because I did not know how to receive it.

I love my father very much. I see him as my hero. During his last days, it never donned on me to say “I Love You Vappa”. When his soul departed right next to us, I stood there helpless and forsaken. I will never get to say “I Love You, My Father”.

He taught us good manners and values. We can vouch that he has embodied the words of the Holy Messenger of God Almighty (SAW), as quoted in the Book of Tirmidhi:

There is no gift that a father gives his children more virtuous than good manners.

By God's will, my siblings and I will strive to be true to the Holy Messenger's words like our father.

We Miss You, My Beloved Father. I Love You, My Dearest Vappa!

#journal #vappa

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I'm really having a tough time generating ideas for daily blogging. I'm no stranger to daily writing or journaling. Blank page or blinking cursor never scared me. But, coming up with ideas and expanding on that nugget seems to be a bit hard for me.

I really admire writers who are really good at generating and curating ideas for their writings.

One way to generate more ideas, I have started to read consistently. I do read but inconsistently. However, consistent reading did make me more mindful of my thoughts and emotions. I shall be using James Clear's advice on reading 20 pages a day.

To summarise, reading leads to idea generation, which eventually leads to better writing.

#journal #writing #reading

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss...

A few months back I read a book titled Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier. It is an incredible book on how much social media influences our psyche and behaviour.

I remember using Twitter & Facebook back in 2007 and Instagram when they debuted in 2010. Little did I know how much these apps would go on to influence our mindset and behaviour.

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around social media and its influencer-driven marketing drive. I do not exactly remember when I started to see Facebook Ads and Instagram Sponsored Posts. But, I vividly remember telling myself how big this is going to influence users.

Over the past few months, I catch myself spending a lot of time on Instagram. I have deleted and re-installed this addictive app plenty of times. But, I keep going back to it. I suppose this is the power of an addictive algorithm Jason Lanier & Tristan Harris keep banging on.

In short, I understand that I have a problem with Instagram and battle to keep my usage down. One step I have taken is to open the NetNewsWire app whenever I have the urge to open Instagram. Making this switch means, I can read or scan some of my favourite blogs. This has enabled me to read more and build an idea bank for my daily posts.

#journal #socialmedia

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss...

A few years back I came to know about a concept called Commonplace Notebook from Ryan Holiday.

We read plenty of books, articles, blogs etc and watch a ton of videos. There are plenty of informative nuggets we come across that could potentially be useful for our lives. All these nuggets of wisdom are lost in the ether of time. And, the idea of a commonplace notebook fascinated me. I wanted to keep one but I was never consistent with it.

Lately, I have been thinking about how could I use the information gathered from various sources into potentially meaningful content. Something that will be useful for me and the wider world.

Currently, I am using a notebook to capture my thoughts, quotes, paragraphs, etc. I shall be publishing a polished version on the blog never now and then.

I guess, one by one, each note will become part of a beautifully crafted digital notes garden.


Ridwan Always happy to Discuss...

Recently I have started reading Oliver Burkeman's Four Thousands Weeks.

He mentions an important productivity lesson we all tend to forget. It's about Life's Brevity.

There are plenty of books out there and thanks to the Hustle Culture, glorification of long work hours and idiotic Instagram motivational pages, we are forced to believe that “we can have it all”.

Let's be clear. We cannot have it all! We can have some of what we want but not all of it. So, to counter Hustle Culture and Burnout, let's embrace life's brevity and focus on what's truly important in our lives.

Here's mine in descending order of value-priority: – Faith – Family – Finance – Fitness – Fun

#GTD #Productivity

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss...

To serve our families, our individual health and well-being, and our recreational and creative needs optimally, many business like behaviors are required. – David Allen

I was reading David Allen's book, Making It All Work where he talks about how we can incorporate the best practices from our work life into our personal lives.

This made me pause and think about what best practices I can incorporate to handle the business of life?

#GTD #Productivity

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss...

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