Noisy Deadlines


Earlier this month I took a whole week off from work and since my partner would still be working, we had no travel plans. I wanted to spend some time relaxing at home. My main goal was just to REST A LOT. I was feeling I was in the verge of work burnout and I needed to disconnect. I literally put my work phone in a drawer for the week.

I had some ideas of things I wanted to do during this week. Here they were:

- ✅Go to the Public Library to do some reading and/or a Weekly Review: I did go to a Public Library and spent some time reading. I didn't do a weekly review a the Library, tho.

- ✅Revise My Areas of Focus : I did this review in the Public Library near my house. It's something that I would look at every year or so, but I realized it's nice to look at all Areas at least bi-monthly. I'm trying to do that more.

- ✅ Do Free Writing sessions outside the house (in the Library, in a Café): I did go to a Public Library and spent some time writing there. I did not go to a Café. I don't think I'm a fan of the Café environment to do focused work, like writing. I didn't feel like trying one. Instead I went to a couple different Public libraries.

- ✅ Go for walks (or runs) in the morning: I usually go for runs and walks in the evenings. For this week I wanted to be outside early in the morning. I did go for a long walk one morning and it was glorious!

- ✅ Sit down and read for 2 hours straight: Yeah, I did have the time to do that. It took a few tries to actually be able to focus for 2 hours. It wasn't exactly 2 hours straight, as I would took a break in the middle for tea and snacks. But it was nice to know I'm capable of doing it, if I have enough space in my schedule. I was worried my ability to focus was damaged.

- ✅ Do longer sessions of free writing: I didn't do super long sessions. The greatest amount was one hour and a half at the Library. It was interesting, I usually don't have that much free time to write anymore. But I'm thinking some of those on the weekends now.

- ✅ Think about how I want to organize my blog ideas and routines: I gave this a lot of though. I created a list in Standard Notes for “Ideas”. If I want to develop an idea I start writing in Standard Notes in a folder called “drafts”. When I feel like the draft is developed enough, I copy it to and finish editing there for publication.

- ✅ Watch the GTD videos I've been wanting to watch for ages: Done! I had some webinars in my “To-Watch” list for ages, and I finally got to them.

- ✅ Do longer meditation sessions (30+min): I did some 30-40 minutes sessions. I want to do those more often.

Stepping away from the demands of work and allowing myself the freedom to explore my interests and reflect on my priorities brought me a sense of renewal I hadn't realized I was missing.

These simple moments of uninterrupted reading, writing, and meditation showed me how important it is to take time to rest. I found some solace in the stillness.

Some flowers spotted in an early morning walk.

Post 10/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

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

I was at the dentist the other day and one of the dental assistants was a Brazilian lady. We chatted a little bit in Portuguese. She's been in Canada for less than a year and she asked me what were the Facebook or Whatsapp groups I was part of. She was ready to pull out her phone and add more groups to her list. I quietly told her: “Hmmm, none really. I don't use Facebook and I only use Whatsapp for calls with my mom”. 

It was a weird moment, because the look in her face was of total astonishment. She made a comment about how it should have been hard for me to live all these years without having these groups. I told her that I survived all right, and I actually used a lot of the newcomers immigrant services offered by the government, so I didn't feel the need to search for a Brazilian local group, honestly. 

And she told me about an association that promotes parties and such for the Brazilian community here, and again, I felt super weird telling her that, as an introvert, I don't really enjoy parties. They are loud, and crowded, and... it's just not my thing. 

After I left the dentist I kept thinking about this encounter. I've been in Canada for 6 years now and I've adjusted to the local groceries products, I learned the quirks of using the public transport, I know where is the closest public library (and I know how to use it), I learned how to pump gas in my car (in Brazil there is an attendant who does that for you), I learned the best combination of layers for winter clothing. And all those lessons learned were made without using services like Facebook or Whatsapp groups. 

Maybe I took longer to learn those things, I don’t know. It was not until last year that I discovered the perfect combination of winter socks for my winter boots, for example. Lots of trial and error.

I guess what I'm wondering here is: Have I missed something? Should I have been in constant communication with fellow Brazilians and participating in these non-stop discussion groups? Even the lady I met at the dentist said that these groups are crazy, she receives hundreds of messages everyday. 

My gut feeling is that I don't feel I missed anything. I enjoyed my quiet days as a newcomer. There is so much information out there. And making observations and asking around has always worked for me.

It's certainly not the same for everybody. Because of my quiet nature I was okay. In the real world I always found help when I needed it. Anyway... this post was just a reflection. 

Post 08/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

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

There is nothing like a good book. And by that I mean a book that I can’t put down, not some old classics or a book that won fancy awards like the Pulitzer or the Hugo awards. Just a book that is good for me.

Now, don't get me wrong. The classics and those award-winners have their place in the literary hall of fame, but there's something magical about stumbling upon a book that feels like a perfect fit.

Just read anything that you enjoy, whatever you want to read. Don’t read to show off as an intellectual, read to have fun!

“Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet

Post 05/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

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

After 5 months, me and my partner finally finished the Dragon de Jade puzzle. It was definitely the hardest puzzle I've ever done! It is very dark, with imperceptible colour nuances in the pieces. Shades of blacks, greys, and blues, with hints of oranges/reds.

And it was the first time we had to redo the border pieces multiple times in a puzzle! Usually the border is the first thing we finish, and it kinda stays unchanged till the end. On this one the border was the last item to be finished! Some pieces seemed to go well together judging by their shape, but then other surrounding pieces wouldn't match. So we had to constantly rearrange these borders pieces.


In August 2018 I deleted my Instagram account! It’s been 5 years!

But the first photo sharing social network I ever used was MOLOME. It was around 2007-2008, if I'm not mistaken. => Edit: It was around 2011, most probably. I would upload photos from my digital camera, a Fujifilm FinePix S5000, and apply the filters to publish my photos. It was like Instagram, before Instagram. There were no ads, only likes, comments section and stickers. I remember I had a Nokia N8 phone running Symbian for a while then I upgraded to a Nokia Lumia 820.

I don't think MOLOME is still around but I have a backup of the photos I published there, a total of 103 photos. Some photos from that time:

I think I joined Instagram in 2012 or 2013. It was okay at the beginning. Then advertisements started to get more and more ubiquitous. Then a more powerful algorithm was introduced and made horrible decisions of what to show me on my timeline. And they introduced Instagram stories. It quickly became very annoying to use the platform and I was getting stressed out by it. As part of my bigger social media declutter project, I deleted my account in 2018.

I don't miss it at all. It was the first big social media service I got rid of. I knew I was addicted to it and that it was negatively affecting my mood. Life went on, I felt less distracted and I was spending less time on my phone. I stopped seeking artificial digital approval from others online. It started my process of slowly distancing myself from all the attention economy based social media.

Post 03/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

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

I got a new computer this week! 😃

My 6-years-old 15.6” ASUS VivoPro laptop couldn't hold its battery charge anymore, it was bulky, heavy to carry around and I actually hated the keyboard and the screen. It still works, if connected to power, so I'll probably use it to play around with Linux or something.

So I decided to get a new laptop and since I've had a good experience with the Lenovo Thinkpad I use at work, I got a new 14” Thinkpad X1 Carbon.

It's ultra light, I love the screen and the keyboard and I also got the docking station to get my cables better organized at my desk (I am not a fan of wireless keyboards or mice). New laptops have fewer and fewer ports nowadays. I used up all the ports available for my basic devices and didn't have any port left to connect my Kobo connector, for example.

So, the docking station solved all the problems and it makes it a lot easier for me to disconnect it and grab my laptop to go somewhere.

Here is my new setup at home:

My new desk setup with Lenovo Thinkpad X1

Because of my old bulky/no-decent-battery laptop I've been avoiding going to a café or a library to do some writing, journaling, etc. And I wanted to do that sometimes, you know, change the scenery and go work on my computer somewhere else.

And I did it! I packed my laptop in my backpack, I didn't need to worry about battery charging and I spent a couple hours at the Public Library typing away!

Writing at the Public Library!

#journal #journaling #tech #noisymusings

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

Sometimes one small change to our routines leads us to take action. For me it was a change in my morning schedule. That happened because my partner (who was more of a night owl) started a job that requires him to be on site at 7am. So now he joined me in being an early bird (my usual wake up time was 5:30am – 6am). We are both waking up at 5am now! This was great for my morning routine! The result is that now I have 30 minutes free before leaving for my work.

One of the things that I've always struggled was to find time to journal. I tried mobile apps, notes apps, journaling before bed or on my lunch breaks. But it was always unsustainable, and I never had more than 10-15 minutes to write. I was either too tired to journal before bed or I had no time throughout the day. And I've been thinking about writing (including blogging more) for months!

So I saw this 30min pocket of time in my mornings. I remembered a book I read during the pandemic about writing practice and also some articles about morning pages, which I will get to in a minute.

My realisation was that using my mornings to write was the best use of those 30 minutes. These were the steps I took to make it happen.

Finding a reason and a method

I went back to the book about writing practice. The book is: “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg. Re-Reading this book was the catalyst: I noticed this pocket of free time, connected it with my urge to write more and a technique to follow... And voila, a space for writing practice was born.

Natalie Goldberg describes a simple practice: set up a timer for any amount of time you have available, and start writing. Whatever it is on your mind, just write. Don't worry about punctuation or grammar. Don't edit, just write. You can choose a theme, a topic, anything, or write whatever you feel like in the moment.

Another popular method is the Morning Pages, described by Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist's Way”. The practice is to write 3 handwritten pages (equivalent of 750 words) every morning, every day. Stream of consciousness writing. You can burn the pages later.

I prefer the practice described by Natalie Goldberg because it's more flexible. She actually encourages us to go back and re-read our entries to extract some ideas and good pieces of writing. I highly recommend her book. It's is a delightful read. She connects writing with mindfulness Zen practice, which pretty much aligns with my feelings on writing.

“When you write, don’t say, “I’m going to write a poem.” That attitude will freeze you right away. Sit down with the least expectation of yourself; say, “I am free to write the worst junk in the world.” You have to give yourself the space to write a lot without a destination.” — Natalie Goldberg

How am I doing it

I prefer to type using a full sized keyboard. So my steps are:

  1. I sit down at my home office desk

  2. Open up my notes app (Standard Notes) and go to my Daily Notes folder to create a new note

  3. Set up a timer from 20 min to 30 min (how much I have available that day)

  4. Start writing whatever comes to mind until the alarm goes off.

I'm not hard on myself. I will miss some days, but I strive to do it most days.

My timer beside my keyboard

The results

For me it has been a little cathartic experience (in a good way).

Just by having this space to pour out my thoughts into text reduces my anxiety. I never thought it could be that simple.

It's like a mindfulness practice. Because I'm in the moment, transcribing my thoughts. And by transcribing them, they loose power. Worrisome thoughts are not worries anymore. They become fleeting thoughts. It has been a powerful tool to use with therapy. My days are lighter!

For me the important thing here is writing privately. It wouldn't work for me if I was publishing these entries on the internet. It is an intimate mind dump. It is a space to throw it all out. It is not pretty, or logic or even coherent. But sometimes there are good things in there that I will use to write a blog post, for example.

By having these morning writing sessions I have more headspace for ideas. Writing ideas. Life ideas. Fun ideas. I am reading better. I'm feeling less anxious. I'm not writing to please anybody. It's just for me. And it's wonderful.

#writing #standardnotes #journaling #journal #mindfulness #NoisyMusings

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

I’m reading the book “Homo distractus: Fight for your choices and identity in the digital age” by Anastasia Dedyukhina, and I enjoyed the section that discussed our society’s increasing sense of lack of time.

The perception that there’s not enough time to do things comes from the increasing amount of information we have to deal with today. Emails, text messages, news updates, endless social media feeds…etc.

And the apps designed to distribute all this “content” make us believe that it’s important to “share” all this information, as fast as possible, even without truly understanding the message. The author explains:

“Sharing information, encouraged by social media, is another example of how tech design creates the sense of urgency and the lack of time in our minds. The faster we share, the more rewarded we are by getting our likes or shares.” — Homo Distractus, Chapter 4: The Time Crisis

So, it seems social media spaces are now this crazy noisy place, where everybody is shouting something, trying to get attention (rewards), without even knowing what they are shouting about:

“By sharing whatever captures our attention, and not what we know is credible, we just contribute to the overall noise making ourselves and others even more overwhelmed.” — Homo Distractus, Chapter 4: The Time Crisis

And that just creates more noise… it’s overwhelming. It's too scattered, it's too noisy, too random. This “Always Keep Up” method of being online is draining (thanks ~loghead for the term) and I can’t stand it anymore (I’m looking at you, Mastodon!).

#noisymusings #socialmedia #internet #attentionresistance

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

I went for an eye exam last week and my optometrist told me my eyes were too dry and she suggested me to blink more when I’m working at a computer. She told me to get a post it, write “BLINK” on it and put it on my monitor so that I would automatically blink more when starting at my screen. Ok, great!

But I really want to talk about overwhelm. Some days I’m feeling totally overwhelmed at work. I get paralyzed, I can’t plan my next actions, I compulsively check email, or news, or whatever, I forget to take notes… I’ve been talking about this my therapist and one of the things she recommended was practicing identifying my overwhelm symptoms right when they start. For me the signs are racing thoughts, inability to focus, higher heart rate, headache and an overall feeling of unease.

And when I notice those signs, I should start my Overwhelm First Aid Kit routine. Inspired by the “BLINK” post it, I created one with my overwhelm emergency checklist and put it on my board, so that I can easily look at it and calm down.

The steps are:

  1. STOP! Take 3 deep breaths.

  2. Step away: get up and look out the window, get some water or tea.

  3. Notice body sensations: what am I feeling right now? Naming the sensations helps them slow down.

  4. Mind Sweep: WRITE! Helps getting thoughts out of my head, because they are bombarding me.

  5. Plan and Resume: After I calm down, create a plan of what to do next.

  6. FOCUS! Close distractions and start working on the next action.

  7. Celebrate my progress 🙌.

I had an overwhelm incident at work yesterday, and I took a long time to identify it and snap out of it. I had unconsciously tensed my body and clenched my jaw, and by the end of the day I had a sore neck and shoulder.

Now I am more aware of when overwhelm starts creeping in and hopefully this post-it will help me get out of it sooner.

#journal #overwhelm #mentalhealth #noisymusings

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

My partner tested positive for COVID-19 and he has been feeling awful for 4 days now but no fever. I'm still testing negative, but my throat is sore, and I feel a little weak and slow today.

We are both isolating ourselves, I'm working from home. We cancelled our plans to visit some friends in Montreal this weekend.

I'm glad my partner and I are not having any serious symptoms, thanks to the (four) booster vaccines :)

This is the first time during the whole pandemic that we got in really close contact with the virus, I guess. Neither of us has ever tested positive or had symptoms before.

I feel like switching to Holiday-mode this year feels harder than usual for some reason. I will be on vacation next week, so I plan on going for some winter hikes. And also: read a lot, being cozy under blankets with a cup of tea. Watch some shows that have been on my @to-watch list for a while. Do longer yoga sessions. Journal whenever I feel like.

I guess it’s been such a busy year for us, we’ve completed a bunch of long-term projects that started 3-4 years ago, which is nice. So many things happened, good and bad, and it has been a little overwhelming.

I really need time off. I hope I will get into my end-of-year reflection mode and find some stillness.

And here some snowy visuals (I love the snow that accumulates in tree branches, looks like cotton candy)

#health #covid #journal #noisymusings #winter

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