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Self Improvement

109 STASHED IDEAS

Many of us feel overwhelmed with technology and the pressures of remote work. This can be distraction, Zoom fatigue, burnout and other forms of digital sickness.

We need to be in the state of digital flourishing, assessing our digital wellness and taking action by using technology in the right doses.

This involves:

  1. Reflecting on how we use digital technology.
  2. Being aware of where our attention goes.
  3. Aligning our use of digital technologies with our motivations and values.
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@cmary510

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Self Improvement

Digital Wellness: The Ideal State

We need to know how to balance the way digital technologies are embedded in every aspect of our life and turn towards digital wellness where we:

  • Connect in meaningful ways with our loved ones and colleagues.
  • Find flow in our work, living in harmony with our digital and physical environment.
  • Enjoy great relationships both online and offline.
  • Use technology intentionally, not being addicted to it.
  • Learn how to manage your digital privacy.
  • Savour the pleasant experiences in the real world.
  • Have a sense of self-efficacy.

Most of the jealousy, envy and angst one feels is due to comparisons with others, especially if the relationships one experiences are fickle and shallow.

Unfollow unnecessary people and exit from groups that don’t add value or meaning to your life. Do not let digital, pseudo or virtual relationships erode your real, precious relationships.

Continuous device usage (smartphones and laptops) has given rise to backaches, neck pain and bad posture.

You should not squint or hunch while using your devices and make sure that the screen is at horizontal eye level.

Trackers, wearables and other devices with continuous data recording are getting a lot of attention.

We can now track our physical health metrics with the help of step counters, blood pressure or heart rate sensors, and harness the power of these health-focused digital devices using quantifiable data about ourselves.

Our physical environment has to be organized and comfortable, free from chaos.

A decluttered workspace with clear boundaries between work and family, especially the working hours in which you can be contacted needs to be posted so that you can give your full attention to your personal life and relationships.

Phubbing, or phone-snubbing is increasingly common, where we snub the person talking to us in person in favour of the incoming text message on our phone.

We should provide our complete attention to the person in front of us, and if someone phubs us, we can let them know right there.

  • Digital productivity requires us to find a work-life balance, enhance our focus and minimize any distractions.
  • Getting distracted from work due to a phone notification keeps us distracted for a few seconds, but eats up an average of 11 minutes to get our full attention back to work.

It helps to put phone notifications off, especially the sports updates.

By listening to our minds, we can come up with innovative, authentic ideas and judgements that combine the outer world with our inner world.

Just two hours alone in a week with our pen and notebook, and our thoughts flowing will have a substantial impact.

The way to minimize bad decisions, focus on things that matter, think independently, and have a life of freedom is: Sitting in solitude.

Thinking takes time, space and energy and we don’t do ourselves any favours by being constantly distracted or interrupted by the world. If we give ourselves fifteen or more minutes of uninterrupted time to think, we become better at decision making.

We can make use of a morning ritual where we are alone with a good book, a pen, a journal, just letting the thoughts flow.

We can also try spending a weekend alone, or doing something completely opposite of what we usually do.

Social isolation in large doses increases the probability of physical and psychological problems like heart disease or depression.

Short-term aloneness is beneficial and for that, we need to first figure out how our life is going and how can we fit in solitude time in our day.

Jesse Livermore

“Keep stress at bay—act in all ways to keep the mind clear and your judgment correct: Going to bed early, eating and drinking lightly, taking exercise, standing upright at the stock ticker, standing while on the telephone, and demanding silence in the office. I spoke to no one on my way to work and kept silent about my stock market actions.”

We try to use willpower to move past the million distractions that come in the way of us and our goals. It isn’t very effective. There is a shortcut that does not require heroic self-control and willpower all the time.

One can try implementing the Ulysses Pact, or a commitment device, which is a way to hack your behaviour in order to resist temptation. Example: Keeping your phone switched off or locked up until you have completed a certain task.

Successful People And You

Consistent success cannot be attained by anyone without practising goal-aligned behaviours on a regular basis, and the good news is that consistency can be acquired and controlled.

There can be many factors that make highly successful people different from many of us. Natural ability, luck, access to various resources, genetics and environment, all play a big role in making someone famous and on top of their game.

If we focus too much on the destination we lose the flavour and the fun of the journey. Our brain gets tired of waiting for the reward and craves something in the present moment. The reward is also not completely certain, making it a zero-sum game.

The solution is to reframe your outcome as a learning goal, focusing on the mastery and fresh new skills you gain along the way. Example: Instead of learning coding languages for a degree that can land you a job, focus on learning the actual languages to improve your skills, enjoying the challenge of learning something new.

Too much friction diminishes the probability of our doing the desired task.

If our new habit requires a lot of effort, mind and energy, we are less likely to do it. If we want to paint, for example, and the colours and canvas are nowhere to be found, kept away in closets or the garage, we are less likely to start painting, due to the added friction.

One solution is to game your environment to facilitate certain good habits, triggering the desired behaviour. It’s also a good idea to automate certain behaviour patterns by using phone notifications or reminders.

  • Consistency has a side-effect: Feeling bored. As the brain is wired for novelty, it provides us with seemingly unpleasant feelings and emotions, and the problem is that we take those seriously.
  • Instead of fighting over the frustration, boredom or despair that arises in us, we need to ignore it and spice up our routine with variety.
  • Changing small details and techniques(like changing your exercise route or routine) helps us infuse some exciting variety into our mundane tasks.
  • It also helps to stay calm and relaxed.

The brain loves rewards, which it associates with novelty and happiness. If one focuses on the reward that comes when completing a task, it becomes enticing, and doesn’t take much effort. If one focuses on the challenges or on the effort required to complete the task, it becomes a pain.

Your direction of focus is the reason most new year resolutions fail, and also why you can’t wake up at 5:00 am.

When we decide to write more often or go to the gym every day we are setting vague, undefined goals, that are bound to be dismissed by the mind.

Setting up bold, clear and intentional statements makes us want to implement them. Example: I want to spend 30 minutes jogging at 7:00 am with this playlist on.

We all have a mistaken belief that happiness can be bought by money, and that more is always better, or that success at the cost of integrity is a great bargain.

Living well means shifting our focus from external stuff we feel will bring us happiness, towards our own behaviour, judgements, pursuit and preferences. Working over our own inner worlds and behaviour is a kind of inner engineering which is deeply fulfilling, and is beyond material wealth or popularity.

Ancient writings describe varied spiritual exercises that encourage behavioural change, promote good habits, and generally change one’s way of thinking.

Example: Set a period of some days or weeks in which you will be content with very little food of the cheapest variety, along with coarse, uncomfortable clothing.

These exercises prepare us for a sudden change in fortune, and remind us to not be too attached to the superficial luxuries of life. We are subsequently encouraged to adopt an attitude of gratitude.

Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious and unsocial. All of this has afflicted them through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil what is wrong; and I have reflected that the nature of the offender himself is akin to my own…

The Daily Discipline Of A Lifetime

Philosophy, for the deep thinkers, was a daily discipline that put an end to the anxiety and suffering.

Great men like Socrates, the many Stoics, Epicureans and many others knew about the fundamental flaw in our judgement that is the reason for our misery: Valuing superficial things like money, prestige and material comforts.

  1. Changing Handles: Everything has two handles and you can choose which one to grasp. If your brother has wronged, you, you can look at it in two ways: 1) He wronged you. 2) He is your brother.
  2. Adding Or Subtracting: If you want to make someone rich, do not add more to what he has, but remove his desire to want more.

Shifting our focus from the external to the internal is no easy task, and this was anticipated by ancient philosophers. Many of them understood that living in accordance with this philosophy requires continuous effort.

Like the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, one has to mentally prepare themselves for the challenges that might be faced by them each day. This can be done by certain spiritual exercises, guidelines that ready the mind and encourage an attitude of compassion.

Freshly boiled water acts as a solvent to the coffee molecules. The molecules that contribute to the acidity and sweetness tend to extract more quickly than those that contribute to bitterness.

An under-extracted cup that wasn't brewed long enough makes the coffee taste too sour. An over-extracted cup makes the coffee taste overly astringent. The correct timing depends on your device and coffee you're using. The size of your grounds also influences the timing. For beginners, the classic French press is recommended, using very course grounds and brewing for eight minutes. Medium to medium-fine grounds works best for pour-over devices.

High-quality coffee is more expensive, and spending a bit more means your coffee is more likely to be ethically produced.

Coffee producers have historically been exploited, and even fair trade prices are not always enough. Where possible, buy your coffee from roasters who purchase their beans ethically.

Milk and sugar are often added to coffee to balance the bitterness of flavours. With the right high-quality coffee, you may not need these extras.

The more coffee you use, the stronger your cup will be. A ratio of between 1:15 (1 gramme of coffee to 15 grammes of water) and 1:17 is good to start with. Then experiment to discover what you like best.

Coffee brewing

In years passed, coffee drinkers didn't know how coffee was produced or brewed. Coffee was cheap, tasted bitter, and was purposed for medicine or fuel. But over the decades, coffee has been elevated to craft level.

Filter or drip coffee can taste smooth and sweet like chocolate or taste fruity. The expansion of flavours is partly due to new roasting techniques. Roasting at relatively low temperatures for a shorter time tends to bring out the flavours of the bean itself and where it was grown.

  • Coffee stays fresh only for a limited time. The person making it must know how to brew it properly.
  • Even the best beans brewed the wrong way can produce a bad cup of coffee.
  • To enjoy coffee, look for places with lots of information about their coffee displayed, and/or staff who can answer your questions about the coffee.
  • To brew at home, you're best off learning how to brew well by hand, using a kettle to boil water and one of the dozens of manual coffee devices available on the market.

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