The Kaizen Newsletter #60 (25/08/2020) - Just read it

Thoughts on reading more, accountability and online summer camp

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 60th edition of the Kaizen Newsletter ⛩, a weekly newsletter where I share my thoughts, new ideas I learn and make weird connections between self-improvement, productivity, product, tech, sports, anime.

I just wanted to thank everyone that either commented, emailed me, DMed me or tweeted about the last issue. I’ve never received so much good feedback from a piece before, so I just wanted to take the time and say how truly grateful I am 🙏. It’s infinitely rewarding to receive a reply from you, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

(if you got referred to this page by a friend or are simply visiting you can subscribe here👇)


Last week, I ended my newsletter by deciding that I wanted to focus on reading more articles.

But I realized that reading more is a lot easier said than done. This is obvious, but the more time I dedicate to read means the less time I would have to write.

What I tried to do was divide my morning sessions into two. I would do morning pages half the time and the other half would be dedicated to just reading articles.

In the end, I felt that I read a tad more, but it wasn't as effective as I would've liked.

I feel that the context switch I do going from writing to reading right away was too disruptive and just felt less productive overall.

So my goal was to figure out a way to read more without disrupting my already established writing habit.

Thankfully, Cedric, author of the Commonplace, recommended that I read an article he wrote titled "The ultimate guide to reading a book a week for your career".

In this article, he recommends stopping being precious about reading which means that instead of dedicating prime time to read, we should be reading whenever and wherever you can.

I was hesitant with this at first because I'm a big active reader. I usually enjoy reading when I'm in front of my computer so that I'm able to take notes while going through articles. I type faster, I highlight passages and finish by copy/pasting all of my notes into Roam.

But this comes back to the problem I described earlier. All of this is dedicated time that I could use to do other things such as writing.

Instead of telling myself that I'll dedicate 1.5h each day to read articles, I could commit to reading articles whenever I have 5-10 min to spare. Either in-between meetings, or when I'm waiting for my coffee or even when I'm eating.

Even if you only read a few sentences or pages at a time, it'll compound throughout the day. And before you know it, you'll have 2-3 articles read.

I won't be retaining as much as if I was taking notes, but at least I have an idea of the big headlines of the article so that when I eventually go through it again, it'll be easier to highlight the important parts.

Often times, we tend to complicate things when you can go for very simple solutions.

In this case, I wanted to read more and the simple solution is to just read more. The caveat in this scenario is that you want to develop this default behaviour to start reading whenever.

Now, on to the newsletter.


🤔 Thoughts

👨‍💻Thoughts on Accountability

When you think of a camera, you mainly think of it as a tool that allows you to take pictures or to make videos. But what if I told you that your camera is also a powerful accountability tool.

I first realized this when I started filming my workouts to send them to my coach so that he can correct me if ever I needed to improve on some exercises. I wouldn't film every rep that I did, but I realized that every time I did film myself, I would suddenly stop flailing around, and also pushed myself as much as possible when doing my reps.

I knew I was going to be sending this to my coach, so I knew I wanted to make sure I did all of my reps as good as possible.

This is also why I enjoy doing online writing sessions with my friends.

The premise is very simple - we basically all hop on a Zoom call and we mute ourselves and start writing. It's something that I would do by myself, but I realized that I would write a lot more when I knew that other people were "around".

Now I'm wondering how else can I replicate this form of accountability in other areas in my life.

I'm curious, what ways do you use your camera as an accountability tool?

Leave a comment

✉️ Thoughts on Online Summer Camp

On Brandon Zhang’s recent podcast, David Perell compared Write of Passage, his online school with going to summer camp.

And for some reason, that comparison really hit me.

I just enrolled in the 11th cohort of BASB, an online course that teaches us how to organize our notes, thoughts to subsequently have better outputs.

This is the third time that I’ll be taking the course and although I’m excited to deepen my knowledge, the main reason why I decided to enroll is that I’m using BASB as an excuse so that I can “see” my friends.

I’m basically treating this course as a place where I’m able to hang out with my friends and have fun, and I believe that future online courses should be built using this in mind.

Curious to know what’s your favourite online course you’ve taken so far and why?

Leave a comment

🐦 Tweets

Love this heuristic to determine how good your day was.

Kevin Lee has been killing the tweet thread game recently and this time he shares the story of Hayao Miyakazi, founder of Studio Ghibli. It's a long thread, but definitely worth the read!

Also love this idea about getting rich and keeping wealth.

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to my good friend and mentor Alex and long-time friend Cath for getting engaged this week! Was also glad to be able to celebrate their engagement and see them as well as all my other friends. If ever you want to see the proposal, he did it on his stream. P.S. Subscribe to him on Twitch 🙌.


👋 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.

Share The Kaizen Newsletter ⛩

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