Noisy Deadlines


I’m going to Montreal today for a small literary conference called “Scintillation”. I took a Lyft to go the train station and the Lyft driver was super friendly, we started chatting, and I mentioned I liked sci-fi and fantasy. I talked about my favorite books of all time, classics like “Lord of the Rings” and “Foundation”, and then he mentioned the Apple WWDC 2024. As I haven’t watched it, he said it was amazing, and that everything will change in 10 years. Our phones will be unrecognizable in 10 years because of Artificial Intelligence. We will all live in a different world.

I made some comments about how scary that future looks, with constant surveillance and being always online. But he was super excited about it, he was not scared at all. I then made a comment about Microsoft’s Copilot, which will be included in all their applications, and that my workplace is testing it out. And then I asked him if he remembered Microsoft’s failed office assistant called “Clippy”, and he didn’t have a clue!

He didn’t know that Word and Excel existed (I was shocked😱) and then I realized how old I am! I mean, “Clippy” was discontinued in the early 2000’s but this guy started using computers in 2009 or so. Oh, I felt like a dinosaur! 🦕

He also didn't know that “Dune” was a series of books written in the 60’s by Frank Herbert. He loved the new movies, which I agree. I still want to watch the last one, though.

Anyway, it was a fun conversation, continuing my trip now.

Post 15/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge (Round 2)!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #NoisyMusings #journal

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.

Journaling is a habit I started in 2013. I talk more about my initial experience here.

For some time, I was doing shorter entries, like “The 5 Minute Journal” style, where I would have a template to write daily on Evernote. That was 2017.

It was also the year I moved to Canada and lots of things changed in my life. I stopped using Evernote and moved to other tools. And when I moved away from that initial template, I wanted to write more freely. So, I started writing longer entries, “Morning Pages” style.

Since then, journaling is a part of my daily routine. During the worst of the COVID pandemic I struggled to keep it regular, but I did my best. I tried some journaling services like Journey and 750 Words. I tried using a private blog in to journal. Now I journal using Standard Notes, which I love!

I never liked the idea of using a public blog to journal private thoughts, but that's just me. My inner critic is still strong, and I must constantly tell him (yeah, I don't know why, my inner critic is a guy) to go away and just let it be. When I'm journaling, I want to be as free as possible, that's why I journal privately. I really like how the website 750 Words describes journaling:

I don't need to title my entries, or tag them, or enable comments, or any of that other stuff. This is writing, and it's online, but it's not blogging, or Twittering, or Facebook status updating. This is between you and you. — 750 Words

It's been a couple of years since I've been focusing on consolidating journaling as a daily activity for me.

I'm off to a good start in 2024 🤘:

My process:

  • I protect time in the morning, before I leave to work (it could be anytime, but that's what works for me). I plan my morning routine so that I will have 10 to 30 minutes to write. Sometimes less, sometimes more. All that matters is having this pocket of time protected.
  • I do it always at the same place: on my laptop at my home office, using the app Standard Notes. I use the Standard Notes “Daily Notebook” feature with a customized note title format. It's easy to open my notebook and go right to the note of the day.
  • I set up a timer to start writing and stop when it's over. Simple as that.

Since I started writing daily, I feel lighter. I feel like I'm living more intentionally. Days are not passing by so quickly.

Because writing is an exercise in being grateful. In remembering the good things. In learning with my errors. In forgiving myself. Daily journaling has helped me go through grief and process my emotions. It's a good mini therapy session!

Sometimes I will journal when I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work. Sometimes I just need to do a quick mind sweep in the middle of the day to regroup and move on. So, I open the note I started in the morning and just write some more (I can access Standard Notes via web at work).

And the space I have for journaling is all private. It's a space where I can write whatever, it's not to be censored or edited. It's an exercise to clear my mind, a true brain dump. I usually get ideas to write on my blog from these journaling sessions. Sometimes I start a draft in my journal, which will then be transformed into a blog entry.

My plan is to journal every day, a little or a lot, it doesn't matter. I don't force myself for it to be 750 words or 3 pages long or whatever. I just write how much I feel like that day. Sometimes it's a note saying how I'm feeling now. And that's enough.

I think journaling has now become more than a habit, it's a daily practice to nurture my mental health and creativity.

Post 89/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #NoisyMusings #journaling #journal

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 had a morning routine for years now. This routine hasn't changed much over time, and I consider it to be key to my mental health and wellbeing.

This year, I focused on continuing to do the work to become more centered and grounded. I started regular therapy sessions, and they helped me a lot! This journey made me understand which habits were essential to me. I knew they were important because I've been practising it for years, but what changed this year was my mindset towards them.

My morning routine habit started when I read this book “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod in 2016. It was life changing at the time, I followed all the exercises, and it stuck with me. The principle is to wake up early and focus on activities like: mindfulness, exercise, reading, journaling. I remember it was flexible, I could choose which activities best fit my needs. After years of trial and error, I ended up with my current morning routine, which includes:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Reading

These became my “keystone habits” as Cal Newport would call them, and this year I realized that if I skip them for a day or two, I suffer the consequences. They have become part of my wellness maintenance routine.

With the help of therapy this year, I understood how important they are, but I also changed my mindset. I used to think that if I didn't do at least 30min of yoga that would be a useless session, so why bother? I held unrealistic expectations, thinking that if I couldn't dedicate a substantial amount of time to each activity, it was futile. It was a complicated relationship: I felt good when I completed some of my habits, but I was constantly frustrated because “I should have done more”.

So what changed?

After some trial and error and I ended up with my “sweet spot” routine: a minimum yet impactful sequence that aligns with my schedule. I can extend the durations over the weekend or on a day off work, but I always start with:

  • Wake up, use the bathroom, drink water, get to my yoga mat
  • Yoga: 15 min yoga + 3 min savasana (the yoga resting pose). I use the DownDog app.
  • Meditation: 10 min (I use the Daily Calm meditations on the Calm app
  • Have breakfast with my partner. Read a little bit while having breakfast.
  • Take a shower, brush teeth, get dressed for work.
  • Journaling: Sit down with my laptop and do a 10 to 30 min writing session.
  • Maybe read some more before leaving if I have time.

To be able to do that, I wake up at 5am, and I'm usually leaving for work at around 7:40am. It's been working great for me! I feel I have more energy, I am less anxious, and I start the day with a sense of accomplishment.

There are days when I only complete one or two of those activities because of an early appointment, or none at all because I'm sick or something, and that's okay! I know I will get back to them next time. I try not to skip more than twice in a row.

My yoga/meditation/exercise corner

Post 55/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #journal #NoisyMusings

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 had some rough weeks these couple of months in terms of dealing with my own anxiety. I’ve had ups and downs: one week I’m thriving, the other I’m overwhelmed. The past two weeks I’ve been feeling everything is great: I’m not feeling overwhelmed, I’m sleeping well, I have no pain or aches, I’m not having racing thoughts, and I’m not drowning in worry.

In my therapy session this week, my therapist asked me why I was feeling better, and what has changed that made me feel this way now?

I looked back at my journal entries and my weekly notes and came up with 4 reasons:

  1. Journaling in the morning and protecting my morning routine: I skipped some of this routine and my days became out of focus, filled with anxiety and stress. My morning routine became my rock, I really feel out of wack when I miss it. It consists of moving my body (usually Yoga, but also stretching and body weight exercises), meditation and journaling. These 3 combined give me a push to start the day mindfully.

  2. Planning on Mondays: I noticed how important it is for me to do a longer session on Monday mornings to plan the week. I've been using Cal Newport's second edition Time Block Planner, and it's been great! Lots of space to plan the week. And I’m also changing my Monday mindset: Mondays are for planning and catching up, I don't need to accomplish any big tasks on Mondays and that's okay. This helped go through the past 2 weeks handling 5 concurrent projects at work that I thought I wouldn’t be able to manage.

  3. Realizing that I need a Work Weekly Review on Fridays: It needs to be separate from my personal weekly review, and it needs to be before the weekend, so I don't stress about work when I don’t want to. This was huge! After years practising GTD I didn’t realize that I could have 2 separate weekly reviews, and that it would make such a difference to my mental health.

  4. Having the new car situation resolved: It was a relief to be certain that I could maintain my morning routine now that we solved the issues of our morning commute. Not having to leave earlier because of the logistics of taking buses and carpooling saved me a lot of mental stress. I didn’t realize how much this worry was weighting down on me. My morning routines are the rocks of my day! Can't miss them!

So I’m basically back in my groove, writing things down, planning my days and weeks and doing my shutdown routine at work. These routines allow me to be more focused at work and allow me to be mostly stress-free.

All these reflections led me to also rethink my GTD tools (more on that later)😉

Post 44/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #journal #productivity #noisymusings

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 read this blog post by Sylvia this morning and I really liked the idea of having a list of things to remember every day.

I went back to a document I have called “Purpose and Principles” that I wrote as part of my GTD system. In this document, I have a list of my Core Values and a mission statement. Inspired by the blog post above, I updated my list with my:

♥ Things to Remember Every Day

  1. Stay calm and remember to breath.

  2. Wake up with mindfulness (yoga and meditation).

  3. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (— by Michael Pollan)

  4. If overwhelmed, take 3 deep breaths and do a mind sweep!

  5. I won't judge anyone (including me!)

  6. Be curious about the world. Read books.

  7. Sleep is essential.

  8. Move your body a little bit every day.

  9. Say NO! Avoid over commitment.

  10. Celebrate progress 🙌.

I copied this list to the start of my daily physical notebook and I will also put a copy of the list on my whiteboard at home.

Post 35/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge! #100DaysToOffload #100Days

#NoisyMusings #journal #notes #GTD

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.

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.

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.

A while ago my book club was deciding what the next sci-fi read was going to be, and we decided to use an online random number generator to choose from our list of book suggestions (that were numbered from 1 to 46).

It turns out the randomly selected number was 9, which corresponded to “A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe” by Alex White. A member who has read it before mentioned that it was Science Fantasy. So we pondered: “Should it be classified as a science fiction or fantasy read”? This dilemma sparked conversations, particularly because we like to alternate our monthly picks between sci-fi and fantasy.

The definition of Science Fantasy, as complied by Wikipedia is:

Science fantasy is a hybrid genre within speculative fiction that simultaneously draws upon or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy.

Pretty broad, huh?

So some might say that Star Wars is Science Fantasy, while others will think that Star Trek can also be Science Fantasy, and not good old hard Sci-Fi.

I wasn’t familiar with this sub-genre, but the description reminded me a little bit of the 80’s movie called Krull” from 1983. There are swords and lasers. And magic, or magical things happening. It’s an interesting mixture of medieval and space themes, because there are also aliens!

And then I reminded myself that I have read a Science Fantasy book before: the classic “Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern #1) by Anne McCaffrey, first published in 1967. This one has dragons, and magic and space travel. I only read the first book, but it is at least a trilogy.

Looking at all the books I’ve read, I can probably spot only 2 or 3 books that are clearly Science Fantasy. And from the reviews I wrote back then, I’m not a super fan of this sub-genre. But I remember when I was a kid I loved that movie Krull, and I also loved its soundtrack (which I still might have in MP3 format somewhere).

So, do I like Science Fantasy or not?

I guess for me it depends on the tone. I’d prefer a fantasy book, set in a medieval-ish inspired world that has some advanced technology in it, rather than a full-on sci-fi book with spaceships and some magic. The book I mentioned above (“A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe”) is in the latter category and the magic in it disturbed my suspension of disbelief. I had to disregard the magic elements to enjoy the story (which was fun, by the way!).

In our book club discussion, we discovered the complexity in categorizing works that draw from both futuristic technology and mystical elements. There was no final consensus. And the guy who only reads sci-fi, for instance, hated this sub-genre. It’s not for everybody.

Science Fantasy is a thing. It’s one of those interesting genre mashups and I think it’s hard to do it well (based on my personal preference). It’s that unique intersection between science fiction and fantasy, where the boundaries blur and possibilities are limitless.

Post 12/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #noisymusings #books

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.

Focus is a choice. At all times.

Distractions are there all the time, no matter what. So what can I do to get through the chaos of each day? How can I identify what is essential?

Things to do to focus everyday:

1) Look at my Calendar. Do I have meetings? Appointments? What do I need to do to prepare to those events? Write it down. This is one of the focus of the day.

2) What do I absolutely need to get done today? It might be something on my next actions list. It might be something that's been bugging me for days. It might be something that has just showed up in my mind. Choose 1. Add to the Focus⭐ list.

3) Then choose to focus on these 2 things.

It is up to me to make a conscious decision and prioritize and engage with tasks. Focus remains within my control, as long as I eliminate bursts of distraction (such as notifications, news, social media).

Post 11/100 of 100DaysToOffload challenge!

#100DaysToOffload #100Days #noisymusings #focus #productivity

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.