Spend A Fiver Just For Yourself

I am slowly learning the GTD Methodology. It is one of the best stress-free productivity systems out there.

I was listening to an episode from the GTD Connect library on the power of writing things down and an idea for using the Tickler file.

Two things really stuck with me that I will be implementing in my life straightway:

  • Spend one minute at various points in your day to perform a Mind Sweep. Highly recommended times to perform one is:
    • Early in the morning
    • Before starting your workday
    • Before closing your workday
    • Before going to sleep

  • Add a note in the Tickler folder to spend a fiver on yourself. You can buy yourself a cup of coffee or a cupcake or whatever you want. Try to keep this practice as a recurring reminder. The surprise element will bring joy and put a smile on your face. I love this idea so much! I’m using the GTD Intentional Journal that comes as part of my GTD Connect membership. You can use your calendar for this recurring note. Hope you will try it out.

November 18, 2021 journal GTD

The Musk 001 - First

Welcome to the Musk Newsletter, Issue 001.

Every Monday, I’m planning to reflect on the previous week and share my thoughts, commentary and learning from my daily life. I’m calling my newsletter, The Musk.

Ever since I started using Obsidian, I have kept a daily note of my thoughts, reflections and things as it happens. This is similar to Ryder Carroll’s Daily Pages. This single habit has helped me to quickly review my days without much effort and helps me to capture anything that is potentially meaningful for me.

Some of the things that I’m planning to include are an article I read, a podcast I listened to, a video I watched, a photo I shot along with my thoughts and commentaries.

Let us start with the first issue.

Week 45 (08/11/2021 - 14/11/2021)

This week was a roller coaster ride. Relationships are something I struggle with and need a lot of helping hand. It has taken me a while to accept this sticking point in me. I have lived most of my adult independently. I grew up with a stammer and always felt like an outsider in any situation. Reviewing my weekly entries has shown me that the one thing I need to implement is to approach my key relationships with love and patience.

Speaking of love and patience, I spent my Father’s birthday on 10th November without him for the first time. Just when I was sort of getting out of this emotional struggle, on 14th November, I got the news that my maternal grandfather passed away. After trying to console my mother who has lost her husband not too long ago. I reflected on the life’s brevity in my Obsidian journal and pondered on this verse of the Holy Quran:

God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear: each gains whatever good it has done, and suffers its bad- Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make mistakes. Lord, do not burden us as You burdened those before us. Lord, do not burden us with more than we have the strength to bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Protector, so help us against the disbelievers.’ - Chapter 2, Verse 286

May God Almighty accept my grandfather’s good deads and forgive his known, unknown and secretive sins. Ameen!

One thing that really inspired me in the past week is a Tamil film, Jai Bhim. We watched it on Amazon Prime on 12th November It’s an excellent film on how power, money and most importantly casteism conspire together against Tribal people. This film helps in identifying who is a caste supremacist and who stands for social justice. If you are interested, watch the trailer here.

Finally, a photo of Lamb Briyani cooked by the wife on 12th November:


Quote of the Week

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Unknown

Thanks very much for reading the Musk Newsletter, Issue 001.

November 15, 2021 musk

I Couldn’t Wish My Father, Happy Birthday

I will never get to say, இனிய பிறந்தநாள் வாழ்த்துகள் வாப்பா (Happy Birthday, Father) again.

The very first thing I do on my father’s birthday is, wish him. My father was not really keen on birthday wishes. This year onward, I will get to say it.

Growing up in a Kilakarai-Tamil-Muslim household, it may be a cultural thing that we were not exposed to saying I Love You” explicitly. It’s always known. We never doubted the love and affection from our parents. However, after my late teen years, my father hugs me and say I love you, my son or I’m proud of you, my son”. I have felt awkward when I hear him say that. Not because I didn’t like it. It was because I did not know how to receive it.

I love my father very much. I see him as my hero. During his last days, it never donned on me to say I Love You Vappa”. When his soul departed right next to us, I stood there helpless and forsaken. I will never get to say I Love You, My Father”.

He taught us good manners and values. We can vouch that he has embodied the words of the Holy Messenger of God Almighty (SAW), as quoted in the Book of Tirmidhi:

There is no gift that a father gives his children more virtuous than good manners.

By God’s will, my siblings and I will strive to be true to the Holy Messenger’s words like our father.

We Miss You, My Beloved Father. I Love You, My Dearest Vappa!

November 10, 2021 journal vappa

Generating Ideas

I’m really having a tough time generating ideas for daily blogging. I’m no stranger to daily writing or journaling. Blank page or blinking cursor never scared me. But, coming up with ideas and expanding on that nugget seems to be a bit hard for me.

I really admire writers who are really good at generating and curating ideas for their writings.

One way to generate more ideas, I have started to read consistently. I do read but inconsistently. However, consistent reading did make me more mindful of my thoughts and emotions. I shall be using James Clears advice on reading 20 pages a day.

To summarise, reading leads to idea generation, which eventually leads to better writing.

November 9, 2021 journal writing reading

Social Media Is Addictive

A few months back I read a book titled Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier. It is an incredible book on how much social media influences our psyche and behaviour.

I remember using Twitter & Facebook back in 2007 and Instagram when they debuted in 2010. Little did I know how much these apps would go on to influence our mindset and behaviour.

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around social media and its influencer-driven marketing drive. I do not exactly remember when I started to see Facebook Ads and Instagram Sponsored Posts. But, I vividly remember telling myself how big this is going to influence users.

Over the past few months, I catch myself spending a lot of time on Instagram. I have deleted and re-installed this addictive app plenty of times. But, I keep going back to it. I suppose this is the power of an addictive algorithm Jason Lanier & Tristan Harris keep banging on.

In short, I understand that I have a problem with Instagram and battle to keep my usage down. One step I have taken is to open the NetNewsWire app whenever I have the urge to open Instagram. Making this switch means, I can read or scan some of my favourite blogs. This has enabled me to read more and build an idea bank for my daily posts.

November 8, 2021 journal social media

Commonplace Notebook

A few years back I came to know about a concept called Commonplace Notebook from Ryan Holiday.

We read plenty of books, articles, blogs etc and watch a ton of videos. There are plenty of informative nuggets we come across that could potentially be useful for our lives. All these nuggets of wisdom are lost in the ether of time. And, the idea of a commonplace notebook fascinated me. I wanted to keep one but I was never consistent with it.

Lately, I have been thinking about how could I use the information gathered from various sources into potentially meaningful content. Something that will be useful for me and the wider world.

Currently, I am using a notebook to capture my thoughts, quotes, paragraphs, etc. I shall be publishing a polished version on the blog never now and then.

I guess, one by one, each note will become part of a beautifully crafted digital notes garden.

November 7, 2021 journal