The Kaizen Newsletter #14 (08/27/2019)

Improve your processes using time constraints

I got lots of Cali vibes the past two weeks and feel a lot more relaxed as well (one of my colleagues actually said I looked TOO relaxed, which I'll take as a compliment), but now it's back on the grind.

One thing I always have a hard time doing is continuing all of my habits I’ve developed in Montreal. Obviously, since my days vary and that I also want to make sure I have fun, I very rarely follow them when I’m on vacation. However, the bad thing about it, is that it takes me more time to pick them back up when I get back.

One habit I 100% sure wanted to keep is working on my newsletter.

I know myself, and knew that if I wouldn't work on it, there would be very high chances that I wouldn't re-start when I got back home, or I would've taken more time to get back on it. I already had a hard time reading articles back home, imagine when I'm vacation, barely at home or in front of a computer and sometimes without internet!?

So how did you I do it?

Well I was forced to improve my processes because I was more restricted.

Usually, I would open a bunch of tabs on my laptop or phone during the week, and on either Saturday, Sunday and sometimes Monday, I would just power through them in around a day and summarize them for my newsletter.

For my main story, I would think about what to write during the week, but usually on the last day, I would also power through it in a couple of hours and then put everything together and publish it for Tuesday.

Obviously, this definitely wouldn't have worked if I also wanted to enjoy my vacation.

So let's tackle my first issue. I had to somehow be able to read articles and summarize them throughout the week at different moments instead of just one day.

  • For this, I downloaded Instapaper, an application that allowed me to store and most importantly download articles that I wanted to read. This allowed me to read articles when I wasn't driving, was taking public transport and especially when I didn't have any internet connection. Whenever I was done, I would then send it to my Notion so that I can summarize it there.

  • I know it's not recommended, but I also made sure to read and summarize at least one article every night so that on Monday, it meant I had at least 7 articles to choose from and include in my newsletter.

My second issue is kinda similar to the first one, in the sense that I also had to make sure that I work on my main story periodically throughout the week, instead of only on one day.

  • I felt this one was a bit easier, since I was in new environments, I felt that I had a lot of new ideas almost every day. I just made sure to write them down and think about them whenever I had some free time.

  • Then, whenever I would think about the idea, I was able to develop it more and more throughout the week, so that on Monday/Tuesday, I only had to review it before publishing.

So that's how I maintained my newsletter throughout my vacation, and the best thing about it, is that I can also use it back home as well!

Now, on to the newsletter.


Weekly Articles

🧠 Mental Models

For those who don't know what a mental model is, think of it as a simpler way to explain how things work. The more mental models you know and use, the better you become at thinking and solving problems. I first discovered Mental Models through Farnam Street, but was very overwhelmed by it since it had so many, and wasn't really sure how to apply them.

  • Mental Models - That is until I read Julian's blog on Mental Models. In this blog, he breaks down how and when to use mental models and also gives you examples of how he applies them in real life situations.

👑 Wait But Why

Wait But Why is probably the first time I got introduced to "self improvement". I remember googling around on how to defeat procrastination and tumbled on this post. I sadly did not defeat procrastination by reading this post, but fell in love on how to better myself and also started reading everything on the website. The main reason why I like these blog posts, is that every concept is explained in simple terms and funny/stupid stick figures making it very easy for anyone to understand.

  • Story of Us - Was super excited this morning when I saw a Wait But Why email come in, since Tim Urban (main writer of WBW) doesn't publish THAT often (which is also normal since all of this blog posts are always top quality). He actually took three years. Yes YEARS to write this post. He decided to divide this post into multiple smaller blog posts, and this is the introduction. His whole post is about breaking down today's society (like all of it).

  • The Great Battle of Fire and Light - Am I the only one who thought that it resembled a Game of Thrones title? Yeah? Ok. In this chapter, Tim tells us how we evolved into more than just an animal and that we're the only species to have a "Higher Mind" that can be empathetic, that can reason and that can use imagination. If you don't control the "Higher Mind", the "Primitive Mind" takes over which makes us become like any other animal. So it's a constant battle between both minds inside our brain.

🌎 Politics

  • The battle cry of the politically homeless - I usually don't like to talk about politics (honestly don't follow it that much), but I hate the fact that you either have to be 100% left or 100% right in public. If you're more left, then you HAVE to hate everything the right does and can never like anything that Trump does. If you're right, then you also HAVE to love guns and approve everything that Trump does. If not? Well, good luck facing both sides at the same time. It's crazy, because if I had to bet, I'd say that more than 50% of the people would be more in the middle than either extremes.


Weekly Favourites

📺 Youtube Video

  • The Rise of Asian Rap Culture with Rich Brian, 88rising, and $tupid Young - Randomly saw this video as a suggestion on my youtube feed and really enjoyed it. I initially thought that Rich Brian was a joke when he released Dat $tick, but really came to appreciate him when he released his new album, The Sailor. As a Canadian-Asian and Hip-Hop aficionado, it's just really cool and inspiring to see other Asians killing it in my favorite music genre. I then when on a youtube rabbit hole and also watched this documentary on 88 Rising produced by Red Bull.

🏯 Anime

  • Blackfox - Haven't watched some anime in a while (also gotta get on that Demon Slayer hype), but this anime looks really sick. Ninja, parents get killed and revenge? Sign me up. Comes out on Oct 5th.

🐦 Tweet

  • Really felt this tweet, as I still have no idea how to do all of these consistently. It's basically choose 2 and fuck up the rest. My thought on how to solve it? Make more money and throw it at the problem 🤷‍♂️

📝 Newsletter

  • Hiten Shah's Weekly Newsletter - One of the best product follows on Twitter. Gives a bunch of good insights and recently started a podcast as well called Tradeoffs where he breaks down popular products.

🎧 Music

Songs

Albums

🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout to my colleague Fouad for looking after my projects while I was on vacay 💪


👋 End Note

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

If you enjoyed the Kaizen Newsletter, then it'd be cool if you can share it with your friends. They can sign up here.

Feedback is always appreciated, so let me know what you liked and what I can improve on by replying to this email.

If you see any cool articles, links, tweets, stories or podcasts that you think are interesting, feel free to share as well at alex@alexhughsam.com

See you next Tuesday!

PEACE ✌🏻

Alexander