The Kaizen Newsletter #13 (08/20/2019)

Hi, my name is Alexander and I am an addict

See that piece of hardware on your desk or in your pockets? Yup that’s what I’m talking about it. I’m addicted to my phone.

That little hit of dopamine whenever you would see a new notification pop-up or when you feel your cellphone vibrate in your pockets. Doesn’t it feel good when you open your phone and see who texted you? Or who emailed you? Or who retweeted one of your tweets?

After already removing my instagram and facebook apps from my phone, I still felt that my phone consumption was pretty high, so I decided to remove the rest. I wanted to remove all of social media from my phone so that I avoid spending so much time glued to my screen.

LinkedIn? Goodbye.

Youtube? You bet.

Twitter? The hardest one, but yup. Gonezo.

The only thing I had left was Spotify, Gmail and Chrome.

Finally free, right? WRONG.

The day after, I felt that I was STILL on my phone the same amount of time. But how? I removed all of social media!

Instead of spending time on Instagram or Facebook, I switched my time to Twitter and LinkedIn. After removing Twitter and LinkedIn, I just caught myself checking my emails and surfing random web pages more often. Whenever I had some free time on my hands, I’d just grab my phone from my pocket, open Gmail or Chrome and consume. Consume. Consume. Consume.

That’s when I realized, I wasn’t addicted to my phone, I was addicted to external information.

It seems like we never want to have a moment to just think by ourselves. We’re constantly receiving input from external resources and letting it pollute our minds. Information is super important, but how can we form our own opinions if we never allow ourselves to actually process it? And that’s what I want to change.

So what am I doing to fight back this addiction and giving myself more time to digest information?

  • I deleted Chrome and instead downloaded Firefox Focus which prevents you from opening more than 1 tab.

  • I’m on vacation right now, so it’s a lot easier for me, but I’ve been out hiking/camping as much as possible and forces me to unplug as you don’t have service for a good portion of the day.

  • I dedicate a few minutes per day of alone time to just THINK with a pencil and paper (even phone is fine, just make sure to ONLY use your notes app) to write down any good ideas I find.

Action Items

Here are some things you can do as well to reduce your phone consumption:

  • Delete Instagram and Facebook for a week. Just try it. It’ll be hard for the first few hours or maybe even days, but then, you’ll get used to it.

  • Go out for a walk (if in nature, even better) and leave your phone behind to allow you to think

⏱ Productivity

  • 🙅‍♂️Tell me What You Say Yes to, and I’ll Tell You Who You Are - I always tell myself I am a lazy person, and this article made me realize that I shouldn't say that. Because if you believe that you are a lazy person, and you act as a lazy person - Well let me tell you son, you're definitely going stay that way. But what's cool is that you have the choice to define the future you. Is future Alex non-lazy? Well that's up to present Alex to decide and tomorrow Alex to decide and after tomorrow Alex to decide, etc. You can't change the past, but you can start changing yourself little by saying yes to things that will make you the person you will become. I love this quote from the article:

You’ve got to be before you can do and do before you can have. - Zig Zaglar

  • 😡The Hardest Part About Learning Hard Things - I bought his book recently, Ultralearning, so even more excited to start reading it. The main reason why you don't want to learn something is usually because you're just not good at it and it's frustrating to learn. If it would come easy to you, you would probably enjoy it more. So how do you go past that? What I love doing is really just to dive straight right in, as Scott suggest. Try to reduce the "frustration" period as short as possible so you can get to an understanding of the basics. This article goes through some other ways to ease this frustration period for you so that you can get to the fun part of learning.

  • 💻The Arc of Collaboration - Definitely my favourite read of the week. I’m a productivity nerd (or try to be), so it was definitely interesting to read about how should people think about building apps to maximize productivity and collaboration. Kevin also makes a bold claim, which I agree with, that Slack is the exception handler, when specific productivity apps don’t have a way to handle something. And that Slack usage should decrease as your internal processes improve.

  • ☀️How to Wake Up Earlier - There's no real trick to waking up earlier. The best way to wake up earlier is to sleep earlier and have a good night sleep. But how do you do this consistently and become a said "morning person"? This is what the article explores. The best way is to exercise your willpower. Whatever you do, DONT SNOOZE and force yourself to get up. Definitely need to work on my mental strength to force myself to wake up earlier.

📱 Tech

  • 🗣The Simple 7-Step Proceds to Produce 10x Content - Really helpful article as a product manager. This article is tailored to create writing content, but you can use this technique for anything involving market research. You have to find "look-alikes" of your best customer and ask them directly what do they want to read and what are their problems so you can solve it for them. The rest of the article goes into detail of this methodology.

  • 💻Learning to Code and Launch in Less Than One Year - I love short stories like these, because it just makes you believe that anything is possible - If you take the time to. This girl was able to learn how to code in less than a year, and was feature multiple times on Product Hunt as well! But it wasn't easy. She spent 300 hours to get to that point. Basically, the more consistent you are, the faster you will be able to learn.

Weekly Favourites

🐦 Tweet

  • I love these bot generated movies. This one is a Batman version. My favourite line that came out of this was the opening line: "He's sometimes Bruce Wayne sometimes Batman. Alltimes orphan."

📝 Newsletter

🎧 Music



🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout to all the new people I met in SF when visiting. Was a blast! Specifically Diane and Alvin who hosted us our whole stay.

👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

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See you next Tuesday!