The Kaizen Newsletter #20 (10/08/2019)

Why you should make time to be bored

Nowadays, it's impossible for you to be bored. You're ALWAYS distracted. You have gazillion ways of occupying your mind thanks to social media, video games, music, tv shows, movies, blogs, books. And all of that is now accessible everywhere you go 24/7 thanks to your little gadget that you have in your pocket.

Remember when you were a kid and used to play pretend? I remember very clearly going super saiyan 2 being Gohan and killing everyone with kamehamehas. Or how about finally catching that Bulbasaur you've always wanted and being the very best that no one ever was? Or maybe that was just me.

What I mean is that we used to use our imagination A LOT more when we were kids because we didn't have all of these smart-gadgets that we now have.

Is this necessarily bad? Definitely not. I mean there's a TONS of positives of having access to everything through our phone.

Meanwhile, it also means that nobody actually has time to sit down and process their own thoughts.

And what happens when you don't have time to sit down and process their own thoughts? Well, from this study, it seems like insomnia has been increasing in recent years.

Coincidence? I think not.

Let's dive-in on Tyler's (a fictitious person I just invented) day-to-day for a second.

  • When Tyler wakes up, immediately, he'll take his phone and see if there were any messages sent to him while he was sleeping and respond to them.

  • He then opens Instagram and FB and scrolls a bit before rolling out of bed.

  • Tyler goes into the shower and puts on some music through his Amazon Echo.

  • While eating breakfast, he scrolls Twitter/Emails and watches some Youtube videos before leaving the house.

  • Tyler is a bit more environment-friendly and decides to take the bus to go to work. Which is perfect, since he can put on his favourite podcast from Spotify during his commute.

  • At work, he'll put on his favourite focus beats playlist so that he can power through his day.

  • On the way back, he has time to finish the podcast he started earlier this morning.

  • After an exhausting day, Tyler is excited since he can finally sit down and start binge-watching the new Netflix show that just came out.

  • Finally, it's time for bed so Tyler closes the TV and heads to his room. He once again scrolls through his Instagram until he decides to put his phone away and closes his eyes.

But Tyler can't fall asleep. Why?

Well, he starts thinking about how he messed up his presentation at work in front of his boss and co-workers.

Then he starts thinking about the cute guy he saw on Saturday night, but seems to have ghosted him and is wondering why.

Then he starts stressing because he needs to think about what to buy for his grocery list for the following week.

And finally, he dozes off at 3 AM.

Now, this might be a tad exaggerated, but I'm sure that for EACH line, you were able to think of one of your friends that does that. So it can't be THAT far away from the truth, can it?

Since people never take the time to just do nothing, you have no way of processing your thoughts and the ONLY time where you do, is right before you go to bed.

So guess what happens? Well, ALL the thoughts rush to you at the same time. Thought after thought after thought afterthought.

That's why it's important to find the time to be BORED.

I like to use food as an analogy. Whenever you eat something, your body needs time to digest it and it’s the same thing with information. Give your brain time to digest it, if not your brain will always be full and clouded.

The more you take the time to be bored and process your thoughts, the clearer your mind will be.

Will it cure your insomnia? Probably not right away, but I'm willing to bet that it will help you.

Need help on where to start?

My favourite way of being in my thoughts is by taking a walk. No music, no phone, nothing. Just go outside and start walking. You get to do a bit of exercise and at the same time, you can just go through your thoughts.

If not, during my commute to work, I sometimes just turn off the radio/Spotify and just think while I'm stuck in traffic so that helps as well. Another way I like is by just writing stuff down in a journal/notepad.

Action Items

  • Take 20 minutes out of your day and go for a walk. Bring NOTHING with you that can get you distracted. And before going out, tell yourself one issue/problem that is bothering you and think about it during your walk.

Now, on to the newsletter.


Weekly Articles

📱 Product

  • How to craft user interviews for breakthrough insights - We're currently doing interviews at work to better understand how our users are using our product. This article was really insightful on what to do and what NOT to do in an interview. The two best practices I got from the article were to avoid using leading questions (basically avoid assumptions when asking a question) and to ask the Five Why's to really understand what their problem is.

✏ Writing

  • Five Writing Tips - If you aren't subscribed to Alex Danco's email newsletter, then I would highly recommend it. He recently re-branded his newsletter and it's been even better since. This week he decided to release a bonus article on some writing tips, so I obviously had to read it. What I love about these tips, is that they're not all super generic. One new tip I got was to use "Meanwhile" in our essays, instead of the usual "And" or "However". Using "Meanwhile" forces you to think of parallels which give your arguments more depth.

💻 Tech

  • Disruption Theory is Real, but Wrong - In his most recent newsletter, Alex Danco talks about the Disruption Theory, which basically states that individual businesses that are modular will eventually disrupt incumbent companies that are integrated. However, he adds a twist to it arguing that it's not individual business but rather business ecosystems than disrupt incumbents.

🍎 Health

  • Vegan and Plant-Based Diets Worsen Brain Health - Apologies for the clickbait title. This article argues that being on a vegan diet can be bad for your brain health since you might be missing an essential dietary nutrient called Choline. Choline is used for your brain to regulate memory, mood and muscle control, but is even more important for pregnant woman, since it's critical during fetal development. You can find low-levels of choline in nuts, beans and some vegetables such as broccoli, but is primarily found in beef, eggs, dairy products, fish and chicken. Obviously, you can just take extra choline in multivitamin form, but it's usually best to get it from whole foods.

👑 Wait But Why

  • Idea Labs and Echo Chambers - This chapter JUST got released, so sadly haven't been able to go through all of it yet, but will definitely be back next week with a summary. If you haven't started this series yet, start here.


Weekly Favourites

📄 Newsletter

  • Two Truths and a Take - I mentioned it earlier, but I definitely urge you to subscribe to Alex Danco's newsletter if you are interested in the tech scene. I admit that his articles are a bit hard to weird since you really need to understand all the jargon he uses, but every time I read one of his articles, I learn A LOT (mostly because I'm googling all the terms I don't get haha).

🐦 Tweet

🎧 Music

Haven't had time to listen to the Summer Walker album YET, but will definitely go over it this week. Also if you're thing is slow beats/R&B definitely check out my friend's playlist on Spotify. He tries to update it every day.

Songs

🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout to my good friend LP who I grabbed a coffee with on Saturday! We haven't seen each other in a while, so it felt good to catch up. He's also a new subscriber so welcome 🙌


👋 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