For this journal entry, I'm not going to reorder my thoughts/notes like I normally do. These were basically copied off my journal and pasted here in the order that they were written down. I think it's as close as you can get to actually reading my journal. But the main reason I'm doing this, is to lessen the amount of time it takes for me to publish a journal entry. So here goes...
“We lost!”, my son said as he finished 10th place in a Mario Kart race. He said this happily by the way, in a way that only a child could ever do. This is what we lost when we grew up. We lost that childlike innocence. We lost the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child. We lost the ability to be happy in any given moment like a child could.
I noticed that I write down notes with the expectation that I'll be publishing them in the future. This causes me to write longer, fuller sentences in an unconscious attempt to make my notes ready to be published with minimal editing.
I think this bogs down my note taking process. Instead of writing down notes for the purpose of referencing them in the future, I write down notes with the purpose of stringing them all together into a future blog post. I think that if I stop writing “ready to be published” notes and instead go back to writing notes just for myself, that will make my digital garden a lot easier and less exhausting to maintain.
A heavy influence on why I write down so many notes, and with so much detail in them, is this idea that if you have to re-read a source twice, then you didn't take down notes correctly. So in the past, I would feel like a failure if I had to re-read a book, because it meant that I didn't take down notes correctly.
This idea, if memory serves me right, came from the book “How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers” by Sönke Ahrens.
If you're not familiar with the PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) space, this book is recommended reading for anyone wanting to get into Zettelkasten or PKM in general. And so of course I read it and tried to incorporate what I've learned from the book into my note taking process.
This idea though, of not having to re-read source material because you took down notes correctly the first time, goes against another idea I ran into recently from James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) — that idea is to actively re-read books. James argues that great books are worth re-reading. And you know what, I agree with him.
One of the results of practicing digital minimalism, is that I have more time to think. The problem is, I’m finding that thinking is hard without being able to write my thoughts down.
Where to write it down, is not as important as being able to write it down.
Processing thoughts and ideas, while trying to keep everything in my brain, is hard. I could spend a good amount of time thinking about something, then my brain will switch gears and think about something else, and I lose most of what I thought about prior to the new idea popping up.
That's because we can only hold on to at most, four to seven items in our head at any time. Which means our brains are not designed to think through or remember multiple things at once. It also means that if we try to keep everything in our head, we will be taxing our brain. It is not an efficient way to think. And so, I have to write my thoughts down.
Trying out a new format for my Weeknotes post. One thing I discovered during my latest digital declutter was that I did not look forward to writing my Weeknotes posts. It's not because I don't have content to put out. It's because sometimes, there's too many to choose from. It then becomes exhausting to me, to decide what gets included and what doesn't. Then there's the editing part which sometimes takes over an hour to complete.
So, my aim with the new format is to make writing Weeknotes posts quicker. I want to spend no more than 30 minutes writing one. — This post still took close to an hour to finish, damn.
The new format is simple. I start with the highlight or highlights of the week. Followed by at least one thing I've learned during the week. Then lastly, at least one interesting read during the week. And that's it.
Let's see how this goes then.
Highlight(s) Of The Week
The main highlight last week was getting our 2nd dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
I had to take a sick day the day after, because I was not feeling well. The side-effects of the 2nd dose of the Moderna vaccine are pretty rough. It felt like I had the flu, minus the fever. I felt really tired. I had body aches everywhere. I had chills all day. I felt hot and cold at the same time. It was tough.
A great read on applying the Inbox Zero approach to tackling emails.
It is a pretty long read, but I think it's worth your time. Especially if you have overflowing email inboxes like me. If you find yourself doubting whether it's worth your time, I suggest scrolling all the way down to the “Fifth, practice making triage decisions” section. In there you will see how everything comes together. It will give you a good idea of whether this approach will actually work for you or not.
I've decided to start publishing software development specific posts on this journal. Previously, they would go into my dev blog. But nowadays, I feel like that's too much work — maintaining multiple websites that is. So, in the interest of simplifying things, for 2021 at least, software development posts will start showing up here.
While I've already had this idea in my head for the past few months, I was also inspired by this post from Angelo.
Trying out something new here. I'm so far behind on my journal entries, there's no hope of catching up soon. So, I'm going to give weeknotes a try. The idea is to list what I've been up to this past week or so. What makes this easier for me is that these notes have already been typed into Obsidian. All I have to do is copy paste them into a post. And so before exhaustion kicks in, I'm going to get started...
Working with Obsidian and building a personal knowledge base has me on a high. I've been writing so much today (this week), it's crazy. And all this writing was done offline. If that isn't “writing for myself”, I don't know what is. I may be getting tired of writing blog posts, but apparently, I'm not tired of writing.
This leads me to thinking that this might be a better way to pass down my journal entries to my kids. Plain text files should hopefully outlive me. I don't have to do it through an online journal or a blog. I can just pass off my collection of text files to them.
It's interesting that, I am using a blog/journal, to post on social media to let my friends know I'm still alive. The problem is that the feed on social media runs on an algorithm. That means, my post might never even show up for my friends before they stop scrolling. Which means, what I'm using social media for, is actually not working for me.
For a week or two before I started my digital de-clutter phase, I was trying to figure out which pocket notebooks to get. The idea being that they will take the place of my smartphone if I needed to take notes. The idea on top of that was to reduce my smartphone usage even more; by not using it to take notes. And by not using my smartphone to take notes, I won't even need to pull it out of my pocket or drawer or wherever it is at, thereby lessening the chance it will distract me during the day. When I finally tried it out in the real world, the results surprised me.