Dino’s Journal 📖

SelfImprovement

All you need is 15 minutes a day to read a book. I'm speaking from experience. I've finished two books reading just 15 minutes a day, some days even less. Sure, you could spend more time reading. That will allow you to finish more books in a shorter amount of time. But, if you're already struggling to keep the habit of reading, telling yourself you should spend even more time reading won't help at all.

One thing I've learned from the Atomic Habits book, is that we're more likely to keep up with a habit if it is easy and convenient. The less effort it takes, the more likely we can keep up with the habit. If 15 minutes is the most you can spend reading, then by all means take it. You either spend 15 minutes or less reading, or you'll end up not reading at all.

Tags: #BuildingHabits #SelfImprovement

Discuss... or leave me a comment below.

In the past few months, I have prayed the Rosary and read the Bible more times than I could count. This is more than I've ever done during the last 10 years of my existence. How did I manage to do it? I did it by telling myself this statement as I settle down at my desk at night:

If you have time to play video-games, then you have time to pray the Rosary or read the Bible.

As you can see from the example above, I'm simply following the format for this statement: “If you have time to do X, you have time to do Y.”

At first glance it sounds like I'm only guilt tripping myself into doing said activity. It might even look like I'm only tricking myself with the use of the statement. And maybe I am. But I like to look at it a different way. It as a way to refocus on my priorities. Playing video-games is a past time of mine, but it is not a priority for me — working on my relationship with God is.

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The title pretty much says it all. This is a pretty good read for those who want to build better habits... now. Why wait to get started, right?

Link: The Secret to Better Habits in 2021

Below are some of my key takeaways from reading this.

Improve yourself with incremental acts performed consistently every day

Self-improvement is all about small, incremental acts performed consistently and intently every day. It's about doing the work that needs to be done to get better, day by day, until you finally get to see some results.

Kinda sounds like the advice Bishop Barron gave on one of his Daily Gospel Reflections — that baby steps are all you need to take to start doing God's work. In this case, it is also applicable to self-improvement.

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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.

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So, 340 grams of Watermelon is around 109 calories. On the other hand, 85 grams of Butter Pound Cake (which I have to say taste so good) is around 337 calories! It's easy to see why snacking on pastries/baked goods makes it so hard to lose weight.


Last week I remembered why I chose to go with pen and paper for my bullet journal — it was to give my eyes a break from staring at screens all day long.

My only issue with this analog approach to journals, is how to digitize the text that I wrote so that they can be searchable in the future. Sure, bullet journals have an index for tracking down specific topics. But let's face it, that doesn't even come close to being able to search text digitally.

I previously tried to get around this by publishing journal entries on this site. As part of writing those posts, the content from my bullet journal would end up in a text (markdown) file when I download a backup of this site. This benefit went away when I decided to stop writing journal entries.

Now, I'm doing a similar thing with these Weeknotes posts. This time around though, my journal entries end up in my Obsidian vault. I still have to manually type them in though. This is the part I'm trying to streamline. But I'm not sure that's even possible. It's either I ditch my analog bullet journal and go straight to digital journal apps, or just continue what I'm doing — write on my bullet journal then migrate (type up) my notes into Obsidian sometime later in the day or week.

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If you don’t know about your past, you can’t shape your future. Now go. Learn where you came from. ~ Kemal, The Protector S1, E5

You can't shape your future, if you don't know your past. This applies to most things in life — and can apply to a person, to an organization, to a company, to a country, etc... Sometimes we get too caught up in the present, that we forget to look back to the past, to figure out where we should be going or what we should be doing.

For instance, the whole human race has come so far. From barely being able to survive in the wilderness, to building out amazing skyscrapers, to even flying out to the moon and back. It would be such a shame to let all this collective knowledge and progress go to waste by only focusing on the present.

A lot of the problems we have now, have already been encountered in the past — they just look a little different. For instance, a problem with addiction to books in the past, morphed into addiction to television, then to computers, and now in its most potent form yet, addiction to smartphones. Like it was mentioned in the The Social Dilemma documentary, these are the same problems that we've encountered before. They've just taken on a different form.

But not every problem we encounter today needs to be solved by a new app or new gadget or even new technology. Sometimes, all we need to do, is look to the past for answers.

From the standpoint of personal self-improvement, you should look to the past, study it, find out where you failed and where you succeeded, and use that to figure out how to shape your future.

Tags: #Reflection #SelfImprovement

Discuss... or leave me a comment below.

This post first appeared on my dev blog at dinobansigan.com. It was published back in 01/28/2019. I've updated the post and moved it here as it was not really a software development or tech related post.


A few days ago I heard an ad on TV that said something like, “people say less is more, but more is REALLY MORE!” Obviously, the intent of that ad is to get you to spend more money. We live in a world where people are judged by their material possessions. The narrative being, if you have more, then you are living a better life compared to everyone else around you. That is ridiculous.

The older I get the more I really believe that less is more. Dan Erickson wrote a post about focusing on the “less is more” mindset. It is an absolutely wonderful read.

So often we want more. We have been trained to think more is better. More money. More stuff. More success. But this idea of getting and doing more often gets in the way of our goals. ~ Dan Erickson

Visit Original Post: Sometimes It’s the Things We Leave Out

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Some interesting reads I've come across lately...

Walking is increasingly mediated by technological gadgets worn on wrists or gripped in hands. We spend an increasing amount of time ‘screening’ the world – taking in most of life through a contracted frame that captures objects of immediate interest. To live with eyes on the screen is to be attached, stuck in the frame, taking in what is presented to us and re-presented to us again. But representation – even in fine-grained pixilation – is not experience. To experience is to perceive. When we look at a screen, we might see something, but we don’t perceive. To live life through representations is to live passively, to receive rather than to experience.

~ For the full life experience, put down all devices and walk by John Kaag


I am so grateful that I discovered the IndieWeb. Owning my content and posting my thoughts on my own site instead of a silo like Twitter gives me real freedom. I can decide how my thoughts are displayed (I like to make them available to everyone without advertising), I can edit them and they stay available for as long as I want.

~ I deleted my Twitter account by Jan-Lukas Else


People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.

~ Love People, Not Things by Joshua Becker


This post is Day 56 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit https://100daystooffload.com to get more info, or to get involved.

Tags: #Bookmarks #DigitalMinimalism #Blogging #SelfImprovement #100DaysToOffload

Discuss... or leave me a comment below.

Life is short, so it matters how you spend it.

As Seneca points out, “We are not given a short life, but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it.” A minute is long if you know how to use it. A week is plenty of time if you don’t waste it.

I thought this was an extremely good read. If you are a fan of Stoicism, you'll find much to like here. And even if you are not a fan, there is still so much good information here. The kind that you could use right away.

Reading this has made me interested in finding out more about Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. From the quotes I've read on Seneca, he seems to be this old guy full of common-sense wisdom that he imparts in sometimes hilarious fashion. Marcus Aurelius on the other hand, was like this serious, principled and disciplined authority figure. Figures, he was only emperor of Rome at some point in time.

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A great guide to help you read more books.

Link: How to read more books

If you’re one of these people, opening a book might have become something to do when you haven’t got anything else going on, which is almost never. It’s as if you decided at some point, likely without conscious thought, that even though you love books, book reading is effectively the least important thing in your life – you’ll squeeze it in, if you can.

I have a feeling that a lot of it has to do with the smartphones in our pockets. At least, that's what I struggle with from time to time.

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