Noisy Deadlines


The Internet is awesome because it connects computers, which can then connect people. This allows people to share information and work and have fun together. In the past, there were different ways that this connection happened, such as bulletin board systems (BBS's), Usenet networks, forums, message boards, and IRC. Some of these systems are still around today, but they are not as popular as they used to be.

We all know blogs have been around for a while, starting as online journals in 1994. They evolved over time, becoming more social with features like comments and likes. Webrings were also used to find personal blogs, and people would share other blogs on their own through Blogrolls. The experience of finding cool blogs was decentralized and based on serendipity.

When I think of the early internet, I remember forums, IRC chats, and personal blogs. These were the “social networks” of that time. They were all about connecting with people, sharing passions and opinions, having conversations, and learning from each other. Forums were especially useful for finding expert advice and detailed guides on many topics.

Blogs became more popular in the 2000s and reached more people. However, this also meant that they became part of the internet advertising economy, cluttered with ads, pop-ups, and annoying banners. Around the same time we saw the emergence (and eventual decline) of some networking platforms such as Six Degrees, Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, Orkut, and Facebook. These services began as a means of connecting with groups of people who shared common interests, or were friends or relatives.

But something happened around 2009-2010 that turned “Social Networking” into “Social Media.” The advertising economy had taken hold. Ads were everywhere online. With the rise of smartphones and social media apps, billions of people began to view themselves as potential celebrities. Comments and likes created a social-validation feedback loop. This led to the influencer economy, where users got paid by companies to promote products.

Surveillance capitalism worsened the situation by harvesting user data for ads. Social media lured users with money for “content” but also hooked them with addictive features like endless feeds, “like” buttons, and clickbait algorithms. We all know the negative effects these apps have on users’ well-being. Mainstream social media platforms are now in a bad shape, and I believe people are aware of the problems and want change.

It appears that people have become accustomed to being in one crowded place all the time on the web, but this is not an ideal way to socialize. We can bring back some of the old Internet vibe by creating smaller, more manageable groups. The first step is to establish our own spaces on the web, which are separate from the large, walled social media gardens.

After using mainstream social media platforms for years, I realized that everything I wrote on these platforms didn’t really belong to me. My content and identity were owned by mega-corporations. Bothered by this, I read books by Jaron Lanier, Shoshana Zuboff and James Williams. To my relief, I discovered that there were alternatives to the “corporate-owned” Internet, including initiatives like the Indie Web, the smol web, the federated ActivityPub protocol and so many others.

I deleted my social media accounts. I got a domain and created my blog on, a privacy-focused blogging platform that is a delight to use. I am not pressured to write to keep up with the trending topics, or to grow my audience. It's my little corner of the internet, it's clean, and quiet. It's a safe space for me to express myself and connect with others on my own terms.

There are various ways to connect with people online, such as microblogging, chatting on IRC or joining the small web / IndieWeb movements. It's important to remember that the internet is a tool, and we have the power to shape the way we use it. By taking control of our own data and creating our own spaces online, we can recreate the sense of community and personalization that defined the early internet.

I think we all deserve to have choices that suit our technical skills and tastes. The decentralized web offers choices for everyone. You can pick and choose the platforms and protocols that work for you and your goals. And I hope that as more people discover the ad-free and decentralized web, they will find more options that are rewarding and fun to use.

This text was originally published on Ctrl-ZINE (^Z) Vol. 1 – Issue 3.

Post 28/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge! #100DaysToOffload #100Days #noisymusings #internet

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

This is a series of posts with reading notes of the book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen.

My notes about the first chapter: “A New Practice for a New Reality”

The first chapter of the book discusses the problems we have today as knowledge workers. We are living in a reality with constant new demands and no clear boundaries. Work tasks can be often ambiguous, and we have to figure out for ourselves how to execute them, while being bombarded with information.

One of the key aspects of the method is to manage all of our open loops. Everything, mental or physical, that has come to our attention and that we have not yet determined their meaning, is considered to be “Stuff”. Stuff comes through life's random inputs: emails, calls, invites, demands, ideas, conversations, bills, etc, etc.

So, mismanaged open loops will pull at our attention if not managed appropriately. I find that to be painfully true. This was my first “a-ha” moment when I read the book 11 years ago. I was keeping everything in my head, and I couldn't understand why I was feeling so overwhelmed and stressed.

David Allen explains why keeping things in our heads is NOT ideal:

A big problem is that your mind keeps reminding you of things when you can’t do anything about them. It has no sense of past or future. That means as soon as you tell yourself that you might need to do something, and store it only in your head, there’s a part of you that thinks you should be doing that something all the time. Everything you’ve told yourself you ought to do, it thinks you should be doing right now. — David Allen

I have that feeling every time I don't write things down. And, as David Allen points out, the reason why things are on my mind can be:

  1. I haven't clarified exactly what the intended outcome is

  2. I haven't decided what the next physical action step is

  3. I haven't put reminders of the outcome and the action required in a system I trust

The starting point to reduce overwhelm is to capture and organize all the “Stuff”. That way, we can start building an inventory of next actions that can be implemented or renegotiated. It requires us to define what “done” means and what “doing” looks like.

What I really like about this book is that it really goes into the nitty-gritty on HOW to capture and organize all that “stuff” (to be covered in the next chapters). And the method includes (and integrates) both personal and professional areas: it is really a full life management system.

In the end, the promise is to have “Mind Like Water” or be in the “Zone”, in a state of perfect readiness. The image behind this analogy is imagining throwing a pebble into a still pond:

How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact. Water is what it is, and does what it does. It can overwhelm, but it’s not overwhelmed. It can be still, but it is not impatient. It can be forced to change course, but it is not frustrated. — David Allen

I can say from experience that I had mornings and afternoons in which I was in the “Zone”. It's when I have a clear image of what needs to be done, I have well written next actions and my mind feels free to prioritize things and focus.

But this was just the introduction. The next chapter will go into the famous Five Steps.

Post 27/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge! #100DaysToOffload #100Days #productivity #GTD #GTDnotes

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

I have this project in mind: to re-read the “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” book by David Allen this year.

I’ve read the book twice already (first time in 2012 and a second time in 2019). I’ve probably skimmed it a couple of times to search for specific information throughout the years as well.

But I want to do a full re-read taking lots of notes. My plan is to publish some of those notes in this blog, such as:

  • My current thoughts on the methodology
  • Comment on concepts that I might have a new understanding
  • Comment on things I haven't noticed before on my previous reads
  • Note things that worked out well in my system
  • Note things that didn't work out that well in my system

This is one of those books that we always get something new out of it every time. It covers a lot of universal concepts that are meant to be almost timeless.

I hope to revisit the main concepts and do a diagnostics of my current system, identifying opportunities to make it simpler and better adapted to my current reality. I want to focus more on the process, not the tools. I also want to go deeper into the Higher Horizons of Focus (Goals, Vision, Purpose and Principles).

I will be reading the updated edition published in 2015, in the digital format.

This is one of the books that changed my life: it gave me valuable insights that I applied in both my personal and professional lives. Everything I've accomplished for the past 11 years has been on my Someday/Maybe list at some point.

I'll be using the hashtag #GTDnotes for this series of posts. Stay tuned!

Getting Things Done is not simply about getting things done. It’s about being appropriately engaged with your work and life. — David Allen

-- Post 26/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge! #100DaysToOffload #100Days #productivity #GTD #GTDnotes

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

I've been curating my media consumption lately. At some point this year I was subscribed to 21 podcasts! That was a lot and I could never keep up. Even though I didn't need to listen to ALL episodes, having this huge list made me feel overwhelmed.

Nowadays, I have a smaller list of podcasts that I listen to regularly. I usually listen to them while doing chores around the house. They are:

  • Deep Questions by Cal Newport: one of the best productivity podcasts nowadays. It's down to earth, it brings interesting insights and brings valuable lessons.
  • Your Undivided Attention by the Center for Humane Technology: Deep discussions about how we use and regulate technology, its downsides and how can we change it.
  • Our Opinions are Correct by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders: Nerdy discussions about science fiction and fantasy with parallels to the real world. It's informative and funny.
  • Sword and Laser by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt: A Sci-fi and Fantasy Book Club. I've been listening to their episodes and following their book picks for years now.
  • Reading Glasses by Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara: Another bookish podcast. These ladies are hilarious, and they cover all types of books, all types of readers with tips on how to become a better reader.
  • Currently Reading Podcast by Meredith Monday Schwartz and Kaytee Cobb: This one was recently added to my list. I really like the format, even though they cover genres I'm not really into. Each episode they bring books they've read with interesting comments without spoilers and in a very respectful way.

Some other podcasts I listen to once in a while, in no particular rush:

  • Fall of Civilizations by Paul M.M. Cooper: Amazing history podcast. The episodes are really long!
  • StarTalk Radio by Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science and nerdy stuff. Scientists are often in the show, and Neil is the best communicator of our times. It's my favourite science podcast.
  • Getting Things Done from Vital Learning by Lars Rothschild Henriksen and Morten Røvik: Some GTD methodology discussions and interviews. Even though I've been using GTD for years, I always learn something new in this podcast.

-- Post 25/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge! #100DaysToOffload #100Days #podcast

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

These are some of the things that happened to me this week:

  • Finished watching The Witcher Season 3 on Netflix. I liked it better than the previous season. There are lots of direct references from the books by Andrzej Sapkowski (mostly from “Time of Contempt” and the beginnings of “Baptism of Fire”). “Time of Contempt” is one of my favourite books in the series, so I was glad to see the Mages Conclave in Aretuza: it was a gorgeous episode! There are huge simplifications to the politics described in the books, but it was a decent adaption. 📺
  • I enrolled in the Army Run for a 5K in September! 🏃
  • I’m still enjoying the nice weather: I went out for my typical 7K run 4 times this week 💪.
  • Still reading: “The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World” by Max Fisher. I'm at around 36% now. Chapter 2 describes in detail how Facebook aimed to increase the number of friends users had (they wanted to surpass the Dunbar limit of 150) by enforcing it through changes in their algorithms. Chapter 3 discusses the Trump election and the rise of right-wing posts, videos and groups in social media. Chapters 4 and 5 covers the rise of machine learning algorithms and how all platforms started promoting and amplifying more outrageous/radical content. And how the average user's time on these platforms skyrocketed around 2016. 📖
  • After stepping away from Mastodon I cleaned up my phone home screen, and I'm working on changing my habits towards my phone use. I noticed that by not having the email app on my home screen I don't automatically open it, so it works! 📱

Post 24/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #weeknotes

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

I was thinking about my phone usage today and how I could reconfigure my Home Screen to make it less distracting.

I already have only one home screen. I’ve always limited myself from having multiple screens to swipe to. I already don’t have any social media apps, apart from Whatsapp and Telegram, which my family still use to communicate with me. But of course there is room for improvement.

First, I thought about my main distractors currently:

1) Emails: this one has been my major distraction. Some days I will check it every 5 minutes for no reason. 🫤

2) Internet Browser: there’s a world of distraction accessible through a browser. I have all my bookmarks synced to the browser on my phone. Very tempting!

After some reflection and talking to other people about similar experiences, a clever solution is to simply remove the distracting apps from the home screen. So that if I want to use them, I have to actively search for them. That creates friction and removes the automatic response of opening them mindlessly. It creates more intentionality, which is exactly what I’m looking for.

So I removed the following apps from my Home Screen:

  • Email apps (Outlook and ProtonMail).
  • Browser (Firefox/Safari): I actually uninstalled Firefox and installed Firefox Focus instead, with no distracting bookmarks.
  • Outlook Calendar: Outlook has the email and Calendar integrated in one app (which is very annoying). I replaced it with the native iOS Calendar app so that I don’t have to stumble upon my emails when checking my schedule.
  • Whatsapp and Telegram: I only use these to communicate with my family abroad, so I thought I could use them more intentionally as well.
  • Unused apps: I had some apps I was not using any more (like Journey). All gone.

I kept the other apps that are mostly utilities (authenticator, password manager), notes (Standard Notes), to-do app (Nirvana), health apps (includes my yoga, running and meditation apps), reading/book related apps, etc. I don’t consider those apps sources of distraction, and I like having them easily accessible.

This was my first try at cleaning up my phone home screen (before / after):

Cleanup: Before (left) and after (right)

I’ll see how this goes! I’m mostly curious to know how my email usage will change after this!

Some References:

Post 23/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #productivity #digitalminimalism

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

Blogrolls have been around since the early 2000's, and they used to be a great way to discover other blogs. Since the current landscape of social media has not had a positive effect on me lately, I've decided to curate a list of links to other blogs that I find interesting and worth sharing.

I believe blogs have a lot more to offer compared to quick and short social media updates. I enjoy reading thoughtful, long-form posts from people that I have chosen to read, in contrast to the truncated brain candy that seems to dominate the internet these days.

My list contains mostly personal and independent blogs that I've often stumbled upon through other people's blogrolls. You can check my blogroll here.

Also, checkout the amazing Ye Olde Blogroll: it's a curated list of fine personal & independent blogs that are updated regularly, indexed by theme.

If you have a personal blog and want a reader, please email me!

I'd be glad to add it to my blogroll.

Inspired by Vova’s blog “I’ll Read It” post.

Thanks! 🤗

Post 22/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #blogroll #internet

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

  1. Torn (The Unraveled Kingdom #1) by Rowenna Miller, 480p: This was not the book I was looking for. The blurb mentions it is French Revolution-inspired in a fictional world with magic. The magic system is interesting: a few seamstresses can cast charms into their stitches, making charm protected garments. The protagonist, Sophie, is one of those expert seamstresses and has her own business. Her brother, Kristos, is a revolutionary that wants to overthrow the monarchy (hence the French Revolution inspiration). But the revolution didn’t seem convincing. It was a bit of a slow burn towards political revolution from the POV of someone who is connected to it (Sophie) but doesn’t really want to get involved. Sophie was so reactive and her lack of agency annoyed me at times. There was not enough texture in the story to make it a compelling revolution inspired story.

  2. Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore, 356p: I’m truly enjoying these historical romances with a modern twist. In this one the main character, Annabelle, is a bluestocking in 1879 studying in Oxford, who joins the suffragette movement. They are fighting to get the “Married Women’s Property Act” amended, so that women can keep their own property after marriage. Annabelle is tasked with getting the Duke of Montgomery to back the cause, and romance ensues! It has a rich plot with believable political background. Beautiful romance story with a strong female character.

  3. Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly #1) by Gail Carriger, 180p: a stand-alone romance novella set in Gail Carriger’s steampunk universe. Lady Preshea Villentia, a deadly, accomplished assassin, is hired for a job in a country house party. The plot is simple, so the story is self-contained, and the focus is the romance between Lady Villentia and Captain Gavin. Delightfully entertaining and cute.

  4. Time Surfing: The Zen Approach to Keeping Time on Your Side (Stressontknoping #1) by Paul Loomans, 176p: This book discusses how we can concentrate on doing our work intuitively. The approach suggests using to-do list as merely checklists to see if we are forgetting something. The author says he doesn’t even use lists anymore, unless he’s very busy. I liked the idea that we have to face the “gnawing rats”: all the things in our lives that we put off and which then start to “gnaw” at us. He suggests we visualize the next actions of what is worrying us, identifying what we find difficult or scary to make the solution real, and leave it to our intuition to carry out the task later. Also, lots of good ideas: do one thing at a time, give things your full attention (no multitasking), take short breaks often to recharge, practice mindfulness. Some of the ideas were familiar to me, but he manages to present them in a fresh and simple way. The illustrations are gorgeous!

Post 21/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

I was listening to Cal Newport’s podcast episode 262 and in the final segment he commented on a video by Better Ideas about overstimulation. The video discusses social media addiction, internet addiction and its relation with dopamine. Inspired by the video, Cal Newport then suggests some solutions to the problem.

In summary, his advice to combat online overstimulation is simply:

Don’t use things that cause overstimulation!”

The reasoning behind it is to avoid giving opportunities for our brains to fire up the dopamine response. Dopamine is released when we anticipate doing something pleasurable. So if we get used to reaching out for something entertaining all the time, we will be constantly seeking that stimulation. And nowadays, there are infinite ways to get that dopamine hit at our fingertips instantly.

Cal Newport makes an analogy with smoking: to get rid of this addiction, the end goal is to quit smoking. The solution is never getting used to a regime of smoking less or controlling when and where you smoke: the solution is to actually quit.

So he suggests we remove sources of overstimulation from our lives:

  • Delete all social media! Simple as that.
  • Don’t scroll online news. Subscribe to one or two interesting newsletters instead, or listen to one podcast with daily events if you need to keep up to date with news.
  • Videos and YouTube: YouTube can be a good source of information if used well. Install AdBlockers and Distraction Free extensions for YouTube to eliminate the automated recommendation feature. Another tip is to watch YouTube on a TV in your living room, like you would sit down to enjoy a movie.
  • And the most important tip is to replace all the distractions with high quality entertainment: movies, music, books, high quality videos, documentaries. The more we consume high quality content, the less we will enjoy junk information. We will eventually lose our taste for shallow content.

From my experience, this approach works. I’ve deleted major social media accounts years ago (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter) and nowadays, I don’t miss those services. I’ve recently tried to use Mastodon as a lightweight alternative to social media. Even if Mastodon is open, decentralized and have no algorithmically generated timelines, the model still mimics Twitter, and I was feeling similar FOMO effects using it.

So, I’m keeping away from Mastodon for 30 Days. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to use it without feeling distracted. I might eventually delete my account. We’ll see.

Post 20/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #journal #noisymusings #attentionresistance #socialmedia

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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

Yesterday I was super distracted at work. Looking back, I think it’s been going on for the past couple of weeks. I’m having this twitch of reaching out for my phone every moment of a small pause. Let’s say I’m calling someone, and those seconds when I’m waiting for the other person to pick up, I look at my phone, trying to check something. It’s an unconscious behaviour. It’s kinda scary to notice it and then realize it was automatic: I had no conscious choice over it.

I’m getting better with my phone: deleting the Discord app made it way less interesting. But I still have that urge to look up things online. I feel like I’ve been conditioned to do that, even when I don’t need it.

Throughout the day I find myself opening the browser. I might be in the middle of a task and something gets unclear or fuzzy, I get frustrated and open a tab. I look at my bookmarks. I keep on switching tabs, checking my bookmarks. I keep waiting for something interesting to happen. Waiting to be entertained.

So I need some time off. One website I’ve been visiting more and more during the day is Mastodon. Similar to the Discord app on my phone, Mastodon is one of the main drivers for my behaviour. Even though Mastodon doesn’t have algorithms and I’ve curated my timeline for it to be less overwhelming, I still have this illogical urge to check it.

I think it has to do with the “Twitter-like” format. Information is too scattered, it's too noisy, too random. This format of short asynchronous messages creates the illusion of cool things happening all the time. It inherently generates FOMO. This “Always Keep Up” method of being online is extremely draining to me. So I guess these micro-blogging formats are not for me anymore.

I’m not deleting my account yet, but I will not use Mastodon for 30 days and re-evaluate. I’m logging out from all my devices and adding the address to the blocked list on all my browsers.

I’ll keep on blogging here. I will still read my RSS feed, which is highly curated and I don’t get FOMO from it.

I’ll check how I’m doing in a week and observe if other sources of distraction will replace Mastodon.

Post 19/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #journal #noisymusings #attentionresistance #socialmedia

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a account or Reply by email

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