📚Noisy Deadlines

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”– D. Adams
@Fedi

Last year I started using The Storygraph to track my reading.

The Storygraph is a new-ish service and what I like about it is the simple-clean interface, no ads, no annoying notifications, the “next-up'“ feature, and the team developing it.

For every year we get a Reading Wrap-Up, similar to the “My Year in Books” from Goodreads.

It was interesting to see that 26 books were part of a series. I’m getting more and more into series and I’m enjoying “spending time” with the same characters in their worlds. They become good old friends. My favorite series from last year were:

Another cool piece of information was to know the average time I spent with each book, which was 12 days. Not bad, I think.

And I love seeing all the covers of the books read at a glimpse. You can see the whole list here.

So far I’m enjoying The Storygraph!

#books #reading #readinglist

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

… to pick up a hold and I’m greeted with this Groundhog. 🤓 Yay, more days of reading!

#noisymusings #journal #reading

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

New year!

I’m trying to read as much as I can. And by that I mean replacing all the other “reading” I do on the internet with reading… books. Some books were more challenging than others, but I was able to sit down for long periods to focus on reading. It’s a good mental exercise.

1. The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt #6) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 698p: This is probably my least favorite book of the series so far because it starts slow and introduces a whole new world (under the sea) and lots of new characters. It was heavy on worldbuilding for the first half and I wasn’t that interested in this new city, with its politics and economy. But in the end, it was a fantastic read, the last part of the book compensates for the slow start. It was nice to follow closely Stenwold Maker and his exceptional strategic skills to avoid an unprecedented war between sea and land peoples.

2. Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke, 304p: Super interesting, it’s an explainer on how dopamine works in our brains and the duality between pleasure and pain. It’s a good introductory book to the subject. A takeaway for me was that a good strategy to break an addiction pattern might be total avoidance of the thing I’m addicted to for at least 3 weeks. It might not work for everybody and not for every intensity of addiction, but for me, it works.

3. Nemesis Games (The Expanse #5) by James S.A. Corey, 536p: I read this book after seeing the TV series, which is very unlike me. I remember the TV adaptation was great, and the book is even better. This might be my favorite book in the series. The pace of the book is just perfect with POV chapters for each one of the Rocinante crew members: Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos. It’s a different setting as well because they are not inside Rocinante for a change, and they are not even in the same places for most of the time and that just shows how good these characters are.

4. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty, 400p: I loved the premise of this story: 6 astronauts that wake up in a generation ship to find their past clones dead and must investigate who is the murderer. So it is a good mix of closed room thriller/mystery and sci-fi. I liked the format: chapters alternating and revealing the background of each character. And with every chapter, you discover new things, and the characters’ past and motives get more complex as you go. It was interesting, it got me engaged to the end. I didn't want to put down this book. The ending felt a little bit too rushed and convenient, but the ride was super fun.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

After spending more time on changing apps than I'd care to admit, I finally realized that it was turning into something of a hobby, and I'd be better off picking something, accepting its limitations, and trying to make it work.

Over the past few years, I've been plagued by the “Feature chasing” virus.

I promised myself to stick with one productivity system after testing out several tools in 2018, then I rediscovered GTD with the Nirvana app in 2018, I jumped between Nirvana and Todoist, I kept using Nirvana for a while in 2020 only to get back to Todoist at the end of 2020, used it for a while throughout 2021 and got a little annoyed with the number of new features and updates the app was getting.

After 7+ months of tweaking Todoist tags, flags, and filters to conform with GTD I concluded that the hassle was not worth it. While Todoist offers some cool things like the perfect calendar integration and the natural language input, the way it manages projects and sub-tasks is still clunky (to me).

I am project-oriented so I usually have 10 to 20 active projects at one time. And their status can change on a weekly basis. That means if a project becomes “inactive” or “on-hold” I want to easily change its status and not have any next actions related to it showing up on my daily lists. I solved that in Todoist by creating separate folders for “someday/maybe” projects and used filters to exclude those from my active lists. It worked for the most part, but the process of moving projects/folders in Todoist has not been smooth for me.

I just think Todoist is cumbersome for projects. Maybe if I stopped using projects and not linking next actions to projects I would like Todoist better.

But I use projects. A lot! I quickly tried Microsoft To-Do using hashtags to filter next actions by projects but at some time point, the hashtags became pretty messy. And they weren’t good placeholders for my next actions. I totally lost control.

I still prefer the way Nirvana handles projects: it's built in the system.

So I'm settling back down with the Nirvana app. I think it conforms with how my brain works. It covers the GTD method elegantly with simplicity.

Reasons why I prefer Nirvana:

  • Nirvana has that .txt simplicity. I think having an extremely colorful to-do list manager was distracting to me. I like some colors, so I added a few emojis to Nirvana’s tags and I’m happy with it. (Note: not all emojis work in Nirvana, I’m not sure why, but some do).
  • In Nirvana, I can actually add a due date to a project and mark it as complete. I love this!
  • The projects list is way more organized. It's clear to see what is active and what isn't.
  • Someday-Maybe is managed in a much better way with its native functionality.
  • To read more: I talk a little about how Nirvana works here.

A snapshot of some tags I keep in Nirvana

So I’ve experimented a lot this past year…

… and I’ve read a lot about GTD and productivity. I used to receive weekly news and articles about productivity tools and I decided to let go of all that. Consuming productivity content was making me anxious.

I was induced to keep trying new tools...

…Experimenting with different methods…

…Spending whole weekends tweaking an app…

…And it wasn’t working. The perfect tool was never there.

There was a book that helped me a lot last year: The Getting Things Done Workbook by David Allen and Brandon Hall. It’s an action-oriented guide based on the GTD principles and it made me realize I was overcomplicating everything!

2021 was a year I learned a lot about myself. I developed a better sense of how my brain works and its preferences. And I concluded that the GTD workflow still aligns with me. I rediscovered Nirvana, a simple tool that I always enjoyed.

I also set up an Excel spreadsheet to help me organize what GTD describes as “Higher Horizons”:

  • Horizon 02: Areas of Focus
  • Horizon 03: Goals
  • Horizon 04: Vision

And in this same spreadsheet, I have a tab for my quarterly/monthly Planning.

I will write a future post about this spreadsheet. It’s working beautifully! 😍

#GTD #Nirvana #Productivity

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

About a year ago I deleted my social media accounts. I thought I had done it long ago. But, no, it’s been a year!

So, what have I learned?

  • The only thing that worked for me to stay away from social media was: total disconnection. Delete them. For real. After I deleted my accounts I thought many times about re-creating them but I also remembered how annoying it was. And how distracted I used to get. So, it was important in the first week to remember WHY I deleted them in the first place.
  • I didn’t need to do this all by myself, relying on my willpower alone (I tried, never worked). I used technology to fight technology. For the first few months, I used the app Freedom on all my devices to create a barrier. And it worked. The secret for me was being able to stay away from social media long enough to get my brain back to a “baseline” with no constant dopamine-induced activities. I started to feel my brain working differently 1-2 months in.
  • I started going out for long walks. Looking back now, it was not an easy time: the COVID-19 pandemic, dead of winter in my region, short days, and freezing temperatures. But it was the only thing I could do to fill in the void. I had to be outside. I learned that snow pants are awesome and that it’s okay to walk around with a headlamp (there are no lights on the pathway by the river, where I used to walk).
  • After deleting social media I still had the urge to scroll something. Anything. I would scroll through my email inbox. But it was finite so sometimes I would open a news portal and just scroll. I was not interested in anything that was there, but I needed to SCROLL. This behavior lasted for some weeks. Then I realized how pointless it was.
  • Sometimes I feel like I want to scroll something, even today. I still use RSS feeds so that became my “scrolling” thing. I paired down my feeds with only a small number of blogs I regularly read. So it’s a manageable list now, I scroll but it’s not an endless pit of junk anymore
  • I now feel repulsed by any website that is too “social-media-like”. Or that has too many ads. I avoid them all.
  • If I have a question about something I’ll go to Wikipedia first to find the answer. I feel like I’m 13 years old again going to the library and opening up an Encyclopedia to search for an answer.
  • I read better. I can read a book non-stop for an hour now. But that happened only recently. It took me months to be able to just sit down and read for more than half an hour without fidgeting or grabbing my phone.
  • I learned that it is important to embrace boredom. The best way to train it for me is to go out for walks, with nothing in my ears. No music. No podcasts. Just my breathing and surrounding sounds.
  • I decreased my podcast consumption. A lot!
  • I learned that I don’t enjoy audiobooks that much. I hear that one of the advantages of audiobooks is that you can read while doing something else. I tend to prefer to do one thing at a time. I can occasionally listen to podcasts while doing the dishes or cleaning the house, for example, but not books, especially if I’m enjoying it. When I’m reading something I need to pay attention and focus and reflect. Audiobooks don’t go at my mind’s speed, I guess.

Some people do a regular “digital detox” for a short or long period of time and then get back to whatever they were avoiding without letting it turn into a compulsive behavior again. Trying to use social media in moderation never worked for me. This technology evolves every day with new ways to hook us up and maybe I don’t have the energy to fight it all the time.

I’m happier now 😎. I love the Internet, but only some (quieter) corners of it.

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #internet #noisymusings

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Every start of the year I like to think about my reading goals: Will I challenge myself to read more? Do I want to dive into a new series? Do I want to finish a series I’ve already started? What are the books I already own that I look forward to reading?

Last year (2021) I read 45 books surpassing my goal of 42 books, which was way better than expected. I had a busy year that mixed working from home challenges (in a small 1 bedroom apartment), new responsibilities at work, buying, renovating, and moving to a house, and the overall anxiety-inducing COVID-19 pandemic.

I feel 2022 will be better overall. I feel calmer and I think I built some resilience to deal with anxiety-induced situations. I don’t care about social media and endless feeds anymore and that frees up some time. So, for this year I will challenge myself to read a book per week, on average:

📚 Reading Challenge 2022: Read 52 books

These are the reads I’m looking forward to:

Series:

  • The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher (#7 to #17)
  • The Expanse Series by James S.A. Corey (#5 to #9)
  • Shadows of the Apt Series by Adrian Tchaikovsky (#6 to #10)
  • All Souls Series by Deborah Harkness (#1 to #3)

1. Nemesis Games (The Expanse, #5) by James S.A. Corey

2. The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt #6) by Adrian Tchaikovsky

3. Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke

4. Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity by Felicia Day

5. Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy #1) by Tade Thompson

6. Nightfall (Blood Magic #1) by L.H. Cosway

7. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls #1) by Deborah Harkness

8. The Book of Life (All Souls #3) by Deborah Harkness

9. Shadow of Night (All Souls #2) by Deborah Harkness

10. The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga #1) by G.A. Aiken

11. The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars) by Gail Carriger, G.L. Carriger

12. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

13. The Humans by Matt Haig

14. A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers

15. The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O'Meara

16. The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

17. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

18. The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2) by John Scalzi

19. The Last Emperox (The Interdependency #3) by John Scalzi

20. The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

21. Fire Logic (Elemental Logic #1) by Laurie J. Marks

This is not an exhaustive list, just a handy list I can go to when I’m not sure what I want to read next. I will also be reading the books chosen by my local Book Club.

🎉 Happy new year!

#Books #Booklist #ReaderGoals

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Record of Blood (Ravenwood Mysteries #3) by Sabrina Flynn, 522p: This one gets into Ravenwood and Atticus Riot's past with flashbacks and we find out more about the death of Zephaniah  Ravenwood. The background is a mystery revolving around a series of slave girls murders, sex trafficking, and the underground of 1900's San Francisco. The best about this series is the characters.

  2. Wild Seed (Patternmaster #1) by Octavia E. Butler, 306p: A hard read, not because of the writing style, but the theme and the underlying metaphors: slavery, discrimination, power abuse. It's weird and disturbing, there weren't any lovable characters for me. I wasn't sure if it was sci-fi, magical realism, or something in between. I was hoping the main character, Anyanwu, to have more active powers. She was powerful but at the same time powerless to deal with Doro's influence. It was a disturbing read at many moments for me, not really my cup of tea. The writing is excellent, tho.

  3. Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher, 464p: I had lots of fun, Harry Dresden faces impossible situations and deals with vampires and succubus. There is a family reunion, and dogs and weird things happening to Dresden's powers. I want to continue reading to see what happens.

  4. Effortless: Make It Easy to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown, 256p (AUDIO): This one was a good read for the end of the year. It's a very light read putting together various ideas to make our lives effortless. My main takeaway was asking myself: “How am I making this harder than it needs to be?” or “How this could be easier?”. It was a nice reminder that it's possible to turn around our mindset and see the bright side of everything.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I love the first day when snow falls and covers everything in white. It happened today here, which is surprisingly late for my region. I often witness first snow at late October or early November.

It was a lovely day with temperature at around -5C and I finally went for a walk with my partner to explore the trails near our new house.

Having access to trails at walking distance was one of the reasons we moved to this house. I’m glad I finally had time to just walk and enjoy the weather.

#winter #snow #outdoors #journal

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt #5) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 692p: I thought the first half of it dragged on a little. I wasn't too interested in what was going on with the Refek agents and their mobilization to have the Scorpions attack Khanaphes. The interactions between Thalric and Che are what interested me the most. Thoto was so annoying. I almost wish he was killed at some point. The mystery of the Masters in Khanaphes kept me engaged with the story, but in the end, I didn't get Ethmet, the First Minister. Was he really in touch with the Masters at all? He seemed just like a puppet, repeating old sayings. And why the Masters were dormant? And why after they woke up, found Che, let her go, and then went back to sleep? What was their goal? It seems like this mystery is the backdrop of what this series is really about.

  2. From the Ashes (Ravenwood Mysteries #1) by Sabrina Flynn, 233p: I was longing to read a good detective's story and this was perfect. It has that Sherlock Holmes feel but in San Francisco in the 1900s and with an ex-gambler-turned detective (Atticus) and a strong and fearless female character (Bel) who defies everything about society's norm. And it was very cool to know the author was inspired by real people and news published back then. It's a great mystery with amazing descriptions about life in San Francisco in the early 20th century.

  3. A Bitter Draught (Ravenwood Mysteries #2) by Sabrina Flynn, 376p: More mysterious deaths and this one starts with Bel investigating a strange case of an apparent suicide. Atticus is also investigating a series of murders and then the plot becomes more complicated and the two investigations intertwine. Atticus and Bel form a great duo, it was a delight seeing them join forces to solve the mystery. I will read the next in the series.

  4. I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel, 160p: I liked the first few chapters but then at some point, it felt too focused on the joys of storing and organizing physical books rather than reading itself. It had some fun moments but I wanted it to end soon because, yeah, I’d rather be reading something else.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross, 272p (AUDIO): A good advice I got from this book is to use the third person voice to address my thoughts: “Hey, do you think worrying like that is useful at all? It’s better to focus on the here and now.”

  2. Salute the Dark (Shadows of the Apt #4) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 459p: It’s war. The Wasp Empire advances, some win some lose. This book is full of action, dramatic battles and has the best romantic duo fight ever.

  3. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry's Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry, 416p (AUDIO): Excellent audiobook! Stephen Fry did a great job putting all those myths together and his storytelling is great. It was a delight to listen to it.

  4. Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells, 168p: this series is so cozy to my brain. I enjoy following this artificial construct thought process. And this one has a murder mystery. How not to love?

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

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