Ridwan's Rough Notes


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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... or Reply via email

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

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss... or Reply via email

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... or Reply via email

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... or Reply via email

I was searching for some inspiration for my next blog post. Thanks to Google, I came across this 100-day writing challenge. It does sound interesting to pursue this challenge.

The author recommends taking 10 – 20 minutes to empty your mind on paper. I do like longhand writing. However, at this point in time, I shall stick with my Obsidian workflow.

Unknowingly I was sort of doing my morning pages for about 10 – 15 minutes for about two weeks now. I have listed some topics I have written in my half-awake state:

  • Why Micro.blog does not have an option to schedule posts? If it was available, I could make Micro.blog my home for long-form posts.
  • Write.as or Blot? Apparently, this topic occupied my mind for 4 days straight. I'm still undecided!
  • Write, schedule and post one blog post a day.
  • Get more sleep.
  • Enjoying workout and treadmill / outdoor walks.
  • Revisiting the principles and best practices for GTD implementation.
  • Time management and overwhelm.
  • Building a reading list for 2022.
  • Build simple morning and evening rituals.
  • Relationship issues (no wonder)!

I enjoyed reading my previous entries. It helped me to pause and reflect. I wish to continue this practice as I strongly believe in the power of journaling & regular reflection.

#journal #writing

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss... or Reply via email

You Need A Budget or YNAB is a budgeting tool I came to know about back in 2019. After plenty of trials, I decided to subscribe in 2020 for USD 84 per year. My personal finance was sort of a mess. I was scouring the Internet for budgeting tool that's easy, available on the web and cross-platform. YNAB checked every criterion that I was looking for. I fell in love with the app.

Even though the app did very little for non-US customers (like automatic bank transaction sync), I was more than happy to pay the full amount.

Honestly, YNAB taught me how to budget my income and plan my true expenses.

In 2020, I had to make an emergency trip to Tamil Nadu, India. YNAB helped me to pool in the monies from different categories without any hesitation. Thanks to YNAB, I had saved up enough cash buffer to handle the emergency situation.

Today, I woke up to a pop-up stating YNAB has increased their price to nearly USD 100 per year from December 1, 2021. I was not happy at all. I wanted to get a feel for what Reddit & YNAB Forum thought about this price increase. They were fuming. My price increase was around 18%. Legacy customers grandfathered at USD 45 per year saw their price increase around 100%. These folks went crazy!

What really frustrated me more than the price increase; is how this entire debacle is being handled by the YNAB management and its founder Jesse Mecham. There is radio silence from the YNAB founder or the app's corporate team. They are not even responding to customer grievances on their official support forum.

All I wanted to say is, I'm happy to pay for services that I really love. But, YNAB is offering very little to its non-US customers and expects us to be OK with the price increase. It is wrong and they are just taking the mickey. At the moment, I'm indifferent to YNAB. I will not be renewing my subscription. It's time to explore alternatives. Bye YNAB!


Ridwan Always happy to Discuss... or Reply via email

I really enjoyed reading Derek Sivers's blog posts on the Thoughts On Journal. This will be a great idea to incorporate into my daily routine. Rather than spending time on infinity pools like Instagram or Twitter, I can start jotting down my thoughts in Obsidian and use it as a base for drafting future blog posts.

#journal #writing

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss... or Reply via email

I was listening to Carl Pullein's The Working With podcast episode with NLP expert Damon Cart where the duo discussed how words affect our mindset and behaviours. Halfway through the conversation, they were talking about how much the “news” affects our mental health without us being aware of its effects on us.

I remember watching a YouTube video where Denzel Washington says, if you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read it, you are misinformed. I have to agree with Denzel. I jokingly say, the BBC starts their news bulletin with “Good Morning / Afternoon / Evening” and go on to ruin it. One cannot blame the news outlets. In the hyper-competitive market for viewer attention and the need to be first, there is no news reporting based on facts and figures (with a little room for human biases), just sensationalised opinions of the news outlet and what is good for their agenda and the bottom line.

As an observer of the news, I have found that the “triggering” words and phrases used to describe despicable acts committed by an individual or a group of individuals with higher melanin pigmentation are different from the group or individual with no melanin pigmentation. Human beings are meant to fight amongst each other. It's how we try to gain an illusion of control and survive against real and sometimes made-up dangers. But, it doesn't have to be that way. And, not all is doom and gloom.

When one realises these hyper-sensational headlines, crooked politicians and crony capitalists are just using borders and nation-states for their own benefits, we start to see ourselves as global citizens. There will always be bad people. But, we do, at times, see beyond borders. And, that is the world we all need to strive for.

#journal #humanity

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My Write.as account is up for renewal in December and I was thinking about how to better use this service. I have a Micro.blog account for my daily short posts and photo uploads. I have used Micro.blog as my main blogging platform but I want to schedule my long-form posts and read them in one place. For this reason, I shall be posting anything with a title from my Write.as account.

I have a few ideas I want to explore using the Write.as platform. They are:

  • Sharing one learning a day.
  • Interesting quotes, anecdotes, passages from books I'm reading or read.
  • Book reviews.
  • Commentary, musings and thoughts.

If you have suggestions on how to better utilise this platform, I welcome them.

#journal #writing

Ridwan Always happy to Discuss... or Reply via email