The Kaizen Newsletter #49 (10/06/2020) - Uhaul adventures

Thoughts on my move, programming a new default and note-taking

This past week was a very exhausting one.

Around a month ago, Chan (my roommate) and I decided to move out of our apartment and move in with another friend of ours, Jo.

It made sense for both of us, especially $$$ wise as we would be paying less than half of the other apartment's rent. So just that alone is pretty much worth it.

The other reason was that this move also gives me some flexibility for my future. Nancy (my girlfriend) starts her job in Boston in a month and would eventually want to find my way there as well so that we can be together. Moving in with Jo gives me the flexibility to easily move out if ever I want to move to Boston.

So how did the move go? Overall, I would say pretty well! I was actually super excited because we did the move all by ourselves (with some help from NHS, Nancy and Gabriella) and I got to move around all the appliances using the straps (pretty much the only heavy lifting I've done since COVID started lol).

However, because I spent a lot of time packing and going back-and-forth to drop off stuff at Jo's place (to make our move easier), my productivity obviously dipped as well.

This also means that I had less time to write out a full story for this week's newsletter. Instead, I'll write down a few different thoughts I had from the past week related to my move on various different topics.

Productivity

Obviously, I have thoughts about productivity, right?

As I mentioned above, I wasn't super productive this past week and I was even a bit down because of it.

As you know, I put a lot of importance on productivity and put a lot of pressure on myself to remain consistent. So a dip in productivity is a big deal for me.

But after some internal reflection, I realized that it's normal and OK to be non-productive sometimes. It's not like I'll be moving every month so I shouldn't be so hard on myself if it’s only once in a while.

I also feel better after reading this interview with Tiago Forte where he mentions that he also falls off the grid and fails to follow his system.

However, I still like to reflect on the past few days and see how I can improve for next time.

I have three points on this.

  1. Be honest with yourself - When I was preparing the weekly plan for last week, I planned my week as if I didn't have a bunch of things to do for my move. I knew that it would be almost impossible to be as productive as my normal weeks, but I tried cramming everything into the rest of the days and even tried to make sure that I was productive ON MY MOVING DAY! And as you now know, that worked horribly. Instead, I should just allow myself to not be as productive during that week and remove the pressure to do so much every single day.

  2. Make sure to prioritize - This is related to the point above, but if I know that I won't be as productive during the week, I should make sure that I prioritize what I should be working on. Although my personal projects are definitely important to me, I believe it's even more important to deliver high-quality work to everyone reading my newsletter. Even though I'm not being paid to write this, I'm still hoping that you will dedicate your time and attention to read The Kaizen Newsletter. So the least that I can do is to make sure I can provide something that you can enjoy reading and learn from.

  3. Pick yourself back-up when you fall - Knowing that I would not be as productive the past week, I should also make sure that I rebound correctly the week after (this week). It's almost impossible that you follow your system at 100% accuracy, but that's where the weekly plan comes in to help you rebound for the following week.

Uhaul CX Improvements

One of the reasons why I was so exhausted on Sunday was because we only finished moving at 7PM. We could've finished around an hour earlier if I didn't end up spending around 40 min in the morning waiting in line before taking my Uhaul.

So what happened?

Well, this whole pick-up should've been way faster since I chose mobile pickup since I didn't want to wait in-line, but I still ended up waiting in line.

I have to admit that I was a bit sketched out about this whole mobile pickup, but it was actually pretty smooth. Until something at the very end happened which eventually cause the 40 min delay. What sucks is that this would easily be fixed with some small adjustments either on their mobile website and/or some adjustments in-store.

So during the mobile-pick steps, they would give you small reminders of things that you should verify and think of when using the Uhaul. In one of the steps, they reminded you that they have plastic bags to cover your mattress.

At first, I was like "oh shit! Thanks, Uhaul, I almost forgot about that!" The issue was that I was never able to add these plastic bags to my cart during the pick-up process, which meant that I had to complete it and then go grab the plastic bags inside the store.

What they should've done is add the possibility of paying for the mattress covers through mobile so that you can just go pick them up and leave. That way, I wouldn't need to in-line.

The other alternative is to offer a self-checkout option at the Uhaul station. Now, I definitely get that this is a more expensive option and might not fit the budget, but if they do, I do believe this would help their customer service.

How I see it, there are three different types of potential customers that you can have at the store. You have some customers that need a lot more help and pointers on which truck to choose for their move and require more information from the customer service. These types of customers can easily take 20-30 min to make sure everything is understood (this is what happened to me). Then, you have customers that choose the in-person pick-up which can take 10-15 min to get everything settled. And finally, you have customers that just need to buy their mattress covers (hi, that's me) and want to pay and go.

This way, the customer service workers can really dedicate their time on the first two types of customers whereas the third type of customers can go in and out which would make the business run smoother and more efficiently.

The new new

It's only been two days so far, so I'm sure I'll get more used to it, but it's still pretty weird to move into someone else's place. One thing that I loved at my (now old) apartment was that I really felt it that it was mine. I felt really comfortable doing pretty much anything that I wanted without needing to ask permission to Chan.

However, it's a bit different at this new apartment. In my head, it's still "Jo's place" and not "our place" - yet. There are subtle thoughts that I have in my head that pop-up when it's not your place.

"Can I just leave my sweater here and it's fine? Hopefully, he doesn't think that I just litter everywhere."

"I usually just leave the pan in the sink and wash it after, but do I need to do it now?"

As I mentioned, I think it's normal because I still need to adapt, but it's definitely a bit different than before.

On a more positive note, I actually love the fact that I'm in a different area than before. I'm super happy that so far, I've been able to move to pretty different areas in Montreal because I know that it just gives me way more knowledge of the city.

I still remember how I had NO idea about the west-side of Montreal until I moved to Verdun. And now I feel it's one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in the city.

This is why I'm super excited to explore this side of LaSalle (the new neighbourhood I'm in) as well.

Also, can I say how having a dish-washer is a game-changer? I think it's an Asian thing, but I've never actually had a dishwasher in any of the houses I've lived at (or if I did, we didn't use it). I got used to just doing the dishes every day. But man it saves so much time now having a dishwasher. Welcome to 1886, Alex (this is when the dishwasher was invented lol).

Now, on to the newsletter.


🧠 Programming a new default

  • When I don't know what to do or I'm stuck on something and want to take a break, that break usually becomes Twitter or Youtube. I'm thinking of doing this Couch to 1K - Daily Writing challenge by Ali Abdaal since this could force me to change my default "do nothing" mode to be writing instead of wasting time. Although I wouldn't count this as one of my acceptable forms of output, at least I am producing something vs consuming.

✍️ Note-Taking

  • For the longest time, I thought this was true. It's something that we learn in Atomic Habits as well. To make forming habits, you want to make it as easy as possible.

  • However, I realized that if I am lazy with my note-taking, then I tend to not truly put the effort to actually understand what I'm reading. Instead, I want to be concentrated when I take my notes to make sure that I am able to understand the concepts that I am reading about.

  • As Andy Matushack says, "If you want to really understand an idea, you have to grapple with it."

🐦 Tweets

  • Just found out about this thread today. A list of different podcast episodes from different black creators.

  • Love this from Kenny Beats. There was a meme going around with the picture of this kid and he found a way to contact him and send him a home studio. And the kid is actually pretty good 🔥.

  • Was able to find this post on how Elon Musk learns so fast. And then found that one of my favourite blogs, Wait but Why actually has a full blog post on this.

  • FTFY

🙏 Shoutouts

  • Once again, thanks to my bro NHS, Nancy and Gabriella for helping us move this weekend to Jo's place.


👋 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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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