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Time To Write

Written: Dec. 1st, 2020 Approx Reading Time: 6 mins

I've decided to write daily blogs! 🥳

I decided just now.

However, I first thought about it two weeks ago after attending a brainpod with John Cohn—he's a maker, mad scientist, and works at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Laboratory.

Definitely check him out. This is one of my favorite talks of his: on the importance of play.

Among many things, John has been consistently writing daily blogs (his blog mentioning the brainpod TKS did with him) for years. I really admire his commitment to writing and authenticity.

I love to write but I've been in a writing slump lately. It's not that I don't know what to write about...

In fact, I have a long list of topics I'd love to write about. I just haven't been able to get myself back into consistent writing.

Taking inspiration from John and in an attempt to get my writing mojo back I decided there's no better time than now to start a daily blog.

A couple other reasons in deciding I will commit to this:

  • Having a forcing function write every day will help me train my writing muscle. Training writing muscle = becoming a stronger writer!
  • Writing daily can help encourage me to do interesting things as much as possible. I know I will have off days sometimes. It happens but I hypothesis I have is that doing this will reduce the number of unproductive days I have + increase the time it takes to bounce back from off periods. Why? I'll want to have interesting things to write about every day. Whether that that be things I did or thoughts I had.
  • Can demonstrate progress over time. Myself + others can look back and see how I've grown.
  • Have a better understanding of how I'm spending my time. I don't currently track how I spend my time. I know at a high-level, but I know I don't have a great understanding.

Now that I've brain dumped reasons this will be good for me (@ future me hopefully you can read this if you're feeling unmotivated one day), it's time to reflect on today! ⬇

Note: I haven't planned this out very much. I'm trying to train my bias-towards-action muscle and told myself just to start writing this. I don't have a structure for how these daily blogs will go. I imagine that they'll be a bit different depending on the day and will evolve (like a Pokémon) over time.

What I Was Up To Today—12.01.20.

Woke up relatively early this morning: around 9 am feeling like today would be a good day. 🌞

Think it's because I didn't sleep in and I've been sleeping a ton lately. Honestly been in a little slump for the past two weeks. Started when lockdown happened again.

Set an alarm for tomorrow —> want to start owning my mornings again! Will take ownership of making tomorrow a great day as well and not sleeping in.

Spent most of the daytime working on my online school work.

For some life context:

  • I'm enrolled in an online school and take all courses asynchronously. Currently, finishing my last year of High School.
  • I typically start off my day working on the school deliverables I'd like to accomplish until they're done.

At the moment, I'm working on a sprint through my Chemistry course. I haven't been enjoying it much, as I consider myself a biology person.

However, I've been thinking about how I can enjoy the process of completing my course. In November, I learned that not finding a topic interesting or thinking: "that's just not my thing" is often an indicator of a lack of competency.

What this means is I should spend more time seeking understanding in Chemistry so I gain more competency which will allow me to enjoy it more.

I've also started to relate concepts I'm learning in Chem to things I'm highly interested in (e.g. chemistry for climate).

After Chem, I released my November monthly newsletter.

Then I went on a walk with my mom and puppy (she's a golden retriever pup). 🐾

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My walk was the highlight of my day! I really value time in nature to ground myself and be intentional about being present. Aurora (my pup) loved the snow and I found myself smiling so much as I ran through the forest with her. 🥰

Evening Shenanigans:

🧠A brainpod with Praveen Arichandran — former Director of Growth @ Tesla, Growth Lead @ Citizen. This was a part of my Olympic-level problem-solving training @ The Knowledge Society (TKS). I'm in my third year in the Activate stream.

Key Takeaways + Notes From The Brainpod

Key themes: do things + have a bias-towards-action, the importance of having a strong vision + why, being a truth seeker

  • Lessons from Facebook: components of good management models include:
    • Trust + Alignment (calls for a strong vision)
    • Empowering everyone on the team
  • Lessons from Elon:
    • Be detail-oriented
    • Use first principles thinking
    • Have a figure-it-out mindset
    • Restraint boosts creativity
  • When wanting to work on something:
    • Ask: Is this an important problem?
      • Consider: What could the world look like in 20 years? ⬇
      • Consider Why does this matter? How does solving this problem, contribute to achieving that future?
    • Ask: Am I curious/interested or excited enough about this enough to take the next step and stick with it?
    • Bias-towards-action. Go do it!
  • Don't try to over-optimize things. Again doing > thinking about doing
  • Be a truth-seeker. Don't get too attached to an idea or being right. Do be open-minded and try to challenge your idea. Seek the truth.
  • It doesn't have to be build at all costs. While building is important. It is sustainable to balance health and work. It's important to take care of yourself and make time for things you enjoy. You don't have to choose work > everything else.

🔋Had a game plan call and did some research for a mini-challenge we've been doing in the Activate for the past week. My team is diving deep into the technical challenges of batteries and are learning about the patent process as we search for patents that could address them.

😋Fueled-up.

🔍Work session for my focus on piezoelectricity. Had a sync with my teammate Kevin. Currently, learning the fundamentals of piezoelectricity and I've been interested in understanding the base components to create piezo energy harvesting systems.

💻I've been in a work-session since then... working on my new personal website, set up a couple of meetings, more piezoelectricity research, and now I'm writing this!

On My Mind

  • Lots of piezoelectricity-related thoughts. Need to solidify many of them more. Interested in how the typical buzzer piezo device can be redesigned. Also been thinking about compliant mechanisms and how they could be applied to designing cheaper + more efficient piezo devices. Still have so much to learn about piezoelectricity and barely know anything about compliant mechanisms. Lots to dive into.
  • Build mode. My mindset right now is: build. design. do things! I've had to be intentional about catching myself when I'm thinking too much about something instead of trying to do it or when a task takes minimal time + I put it off. Doing > Thinking About Doing
  • Is using productivity systems/structures always worth it? In the past, I've used them a lot to plan, organize, etc. I'm talking Notion, Trello, daily updates, etc. What I just came to realize is that I don't know if these are helping me be more productive. I find they take a ton of time to setup and to utilize. Feels like more thinking than doing. Feels super structured. Maybe I've been over-optimizing. Think doing > thinking is the way to go.

My Good List

What's a good list? You may be wondering... It's something I was encouraged to make when I was experiencing a lot of imposter syndrome. It's a list of the good things that happened or I accomplished every day. Help me put things into perspective. 🌷

  • It Snowed! #winterwonderlandinmybackyard
  • Felt so fulfilled on walk!
  • Good Environmental Science exam mark.
  • Watched my favourite show during breakfast. Always gets me motivated to work on what's challenging.
  • Starting to enjoy the process of learning Chem + love piezoelectricity —> feeling intellectually stimulated 🤓

I'm (Especially) Grateful For...

  • Internet Access
  • Music —> my life soundtrack right now is Spiderverse, highly recommend Hide, Home, + Elevate
  • A Bed

Action Items

⭐Be intentional about seeking understanding in Chemistry and relating it to things I find interesting.

⭐If it takes minimal time. Just do it. If you've been thinking about it a lot and it makes sense. Just do it. Less thinking more doing.

⭐Work on being more concise with writing tomorrow.

⭐Look deeper into compliant mechanisms. Look into good writing practices. Re-read this.

Day one: complete. Here's to writing + building! 🥂

Your friendly neighborhood: aspiring daily-blogger,

- Astro Girl

Written by @astro_adara in December 2020.