Weekly Learnings Roundup (July 2, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (July 2, 2017)

Happy Canada Day and a Fourth of July everyone!

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

This Is How To Have An Amazing Relationship: 7 Secrets From Research by Eric Barker

Well written, well researched piece on relationships. The author does a great job simplifying the keys to a great relationship – and they’re all fairly simple in theory. In particular, “express appreciation frequently” and “support your partner’s goals” are two secrets that I need to work on.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

It is a simple matter of what you will do when the chips are down, my friend. When the fat lady is singing. When the walls are falling in, and the sky is dark, and the ground is rumbling. In that moment our actions will define us. And it makes no difference whether you are being watched by Allah, Jesus, Buddha, or whether you are not. On cold days a man can see his breath, on a hot day he can’t. On both occasions, the man breathes.

— Zadie Smith

“ah-ha!” thought of the week —

Keep your phone off your desk.

An easy way to increase your focus during the day is removing distractions from your immediate area. And one of the easiest ways to be distracted is by your phone. Let’s say you see a text come into your phone and you take 2 minutes to send a response. While it might seem like a 2-minute pause, the actual cost needs to include the time it takes for your brain to get back on task, which takes, according to a study, is upwards of 25 minutes.

If possible, keep your phone off your desk. Yes, disabling notifications is good but putting the phone away from your casual reach is way better.

Product I’m loving —

Inbox by Gmail

I highlighted Inbox by Gmail back in the February 28 Roundup but it’s worth bringing it back again for another review because they’ve made some key improvements that I love.

First, the Bundles feature has really made my life easier. Not only can I now categorize emails based on Social, Updates, Promos, etc., I’m able to bring them into my inbox just once in the morning to review. I don’t need to keep tabs on these categories multiple times a day and knowing they’ll arrive once in the morning at 7 a.m. makes it easier to stay focused on the right emails.

Fullscreen_2017-07-02__9_09_PM.png

Second, the Trips category in the bundles is amazing. It not only automatically recognizes when I’m going on a trip through flight or hotel confirmations, but I can also add certain emails to the specific Trip if it’s missing. This is really helpful when I’m on the fly and need to access certain information right in my email. (I’ve used tools like Trip Case which are also great but I love the convenience of this information right in my inbox better).

Fullscreen_2017-07-02__9_08_PM.png

Featured image by Jonathan Denney.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Year 30: Q2 Review

Year 30: Q2 Review

What gets measured gets managed.

— Peter Drucker

Overview

Quarterly reviews are designed for me to take a moment to reflect on the past three months. I review the data that I collected from my sleep, morning routine, daily questions, health, and productivity to identify trends or insights. The awareness that I gain from reviewing the data allows me to make meaningful changes in my life.

So often we spend so much time “doing” that we gloss over a critical part of personal growth – review and reflection. This is my attempt to build in some reflection time so I can make the next quarter even more productive and fulfilling.

Sleep

Tracker: Fitbit

Sleep is the lead domino for my productivity during the day. Without proper sleep, it is difficult to stay focused throughout the work day and have enough energy for friends and loved ones at the end of the day.

I use my Fitbit Charge HR to track my sleep. While I didn’t track my sleep while I was on vacation in March/April, I collected enough data to pull some interesting insights. The two major components I’ll analyze from my sleep is time (quantity) and efficiency (quality).

Sleep Time

Sleep Time (Q2-17)

Q1 average: 7.96 hours

Q2 average: 7.48 hours (-6.03% vs. Q1 average)

As the chart above shows, my sleep time fell across all three months of Q2. The Q1 average sleep time of 7.96, compared to the Q2 average of 7.48, equates to 0.48 hours less sleep which equates to about 29 minutes less sleep on average.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to sleep time but I think there were two major factors from Q2. First, starting in mid-April I began to wake-up between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. to accommodate more time for my morning routine. Second, it’s possible that when daylight savings time shifted here in Toronto in mid-March, the greater amount of sunlight contributed to my body needing less sleep. I generally notice during the summer months that I don’t need to sleep as much.

Sleep Efficiency

Sleep efficiency = (100*Total Sleep Time)/(Total Sleep Time + Time Awake)

Sleep Efficiency (Q2-30)

Q1 baseline: 95.52

February: 95.56 (+4 points vs. Q1 baseline)

March: 96.10 (+58 points vs. Q1 baseline)

April: 96.35 (+83 points vs. Q1 baseline)

Sleep efficiency took a significant leap in March and April. Compared to the baseline from Q1, March and April saw a 58 point and 83 point improvement, respectively.

While there’s a myriad of possible reasons for this improvement, one potential factor is the magnesium supplementation I started in early March. One study that examined the impact between magnesium and sleep quality showed a very high correlation between magnesium supplementation and increased sleep quality. It’s likely that I was somewhat deficient in magnesium and the supplementation of 450mg of magnesium citrate made a big difference in my sleep quality.

Important note: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the internet so please make sure to check with your physician to see if magnesium supplementation is right for you.

So far in Q3, I’ve seen this trend continue along with the same supplementation amount which suggests that it’s a sustainable change for my body. However, I’ll be monitoring carefully on how I feel in the morning to see if my body can sustain this level of sleep time and sleep efficiency.

Morning Routine

Tracker: Google Sheets

My Q2 morning routine consisted of meditation, journaling, a quick workout, reading, and researching & writing for my blog. Below are the daily completion rates over Q2.

Morning Routine (Q2-17)

Aside from meditation, it’s pretty clear that my Q2 morning routine took a hit. Across the board, most of my habits decreased significantly in their completion rates. Particularly troubling is the reading habit that was down by 40% as reading is a critical component of my personal and professional growth.

There’s probably a couple of factors here that contributed to the dip in Q2. First, in March, I was pretty busy preparing for the trip to Japan and wrapping up my work in time. That likely contributed to the significant dip in my morning routine being completed. Second, after a really strong start to the year in January, my consistency took a hit in February and really cratered in March. That’s the thing about these types of routines: it’s not how strong you start – it’s how consistent you can be across a long period of time.

It makes me realize the importance of mixing things up in my morning and keeping things fun. I think that’s why April was such a big bounce-back month. I hadn’t been doing my morning routine for almost 3 weeks and it was fun to get back into it. I need to think about incorporating strategic routine breaks in the middle of each quarter so I can come back feeling refreshed to go back to my routine.

Daily Questions

Tracker: Google Sheets

Daily Questions are five questions I ask myself at the end of the day to gauge the effort I put into my key priorities. I came across this idea in the book Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith which I highly recommend reading.

I rate myself on a scale of 1 to 4 on how much of an effort I put into fulfilling each question. The objective of the questions is to measure my effort (i.e. input) rather than the outcomes (i.e. output) because my effort is something I control. When I know I put in the investment and time into fulfilling each question, I can feel like I did what I can do. As such, each question begins with the phrase “Did I do my best to…?”

Here are the questions that I asked myself everyday over the past quarter:

Did I do my best to…

  1. Make progress towards my objectives at Actionable today?
  2. Invest in my friendships today?
  3. Invest in my relationship with Carly today?
  4. Invest in my physical health today?
  5. Invest in my emotional health today?

Month-by-Month

Daily Questions Monthly Average (Q2-30).png

It’s nice to see a steady rise in the month-by-month average of my daily question scores. A big change that I saw in Q2 was the increase in Question #1, “Did I do my best to make progress towards my objectives at Actionable today?”

Ever since I picked up the Productivity Planner by Intelligent Change it’s been a game-changer for me when it comes to my work productivity. The structure and process of the planner make it really easy to set my daily goals and track my progress. They’ve also done a great job of outlining the weekly reviews which make it easy to recalibrate projects for the following week. Honestly, I can’t go without it now and it’s a big reason Question #1 has significantly improved in Q2.

Question-by-Question

Daily Questions (Q2-30)

One area that I’d like to focus more closely in the coming months is Question #2 – “Did I do my best to invest in my friendships today?” I really enjoy company with friends but I also really enjoy my alone time. It’s an area that I could use some help finding the right balance. It could mean more catch ups over the phone instead of going out. It’s worth exploring because friendships are a priority in my life.

Health

Tracker: Fitbit & Google Sheets

The Health section of my Quarterly Review is still a work in progress. At the moment, I’m collecting data on my average resting heart rate (RHR) and the number of capoeira classes I go to every month.

According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate (RHR) for adults is 60-100 beats per minute. For well-trained athletes, that range falls between 40-60 beats per minute. A lower RHR generally means that your heart is able to pump more blood with each beat with greater efficiency and is a sign of good health.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m using my Fitbit to track my RHR. By taking a look at my RHR on a monthly basis, I might be able to spot any potential issues that might be happening to my body early on.

Resting Heart Rate (bpm)

Resting Heart Rate (Q2-30)

I’m not exactly sure why my heart rate dropped by over 2 beats per minute between February and March. It could be because of an increase in my fitness level or perhaps the better quality of sleep I started having in March. I’ve seen the average resting heart rate continue at the 60 bpm level into Q3 which suggests this is a sustainable change.

Another significant component of my physical health comes from practicing capoeira on a weekly basis. Below shows how many capoeira classes I attended in Q2.

Capoeira Classes

Capoeira Classes (Q2-30)

Q2 wasn’t exactly where I wanted to get my capoeira class attendance level to. My objective is to make it to a minimum of 8 classes per month which is a goal I fell short of each month. That being said, being away for a few weeks in March and April definitely threw my rhythm off a little bit. And momentum matters in something like capoeira where techniques learned in one class need to be practiced in subsequent classes to be learned and perfected.

Productivity

Tracker: RescueTime

I collect my productivity data with RescueTime (RT). RT tracks my daily online and offline activity and categorizes them on a scale of very distracting to neutral to very productive. It also calculates a Productivity Pulse that indicates how productive my day was based on the ratio of productive hours to total hours worked.

Productivity Pulse (Q2-17)
A quick caveat here. Due to a change in the categorization of one of my activities in RT, the April figures look to have shifted significantly. The actual Pulse for April is likely closer to 80.

Q1 baseline: 77.7

February: 79.0 (+1.67%)

March: 78.1 (+0.51%)

April: 87.1 (+12.10%)

As you can see, there were improvements across Q2 with my Productivity Pulse. February and March were both fairly consistent while April saw a significant increase. This was in part due to a change in the categorization of productive activity in RT. As you can see in the Productive Time vs. Total Time Logged below, the Productive Time for April increased by 0.7 hours compared to February and March.

Productive vs. Total (Q2-17)

The difference between Total Time Logged and Productive Time is very interesting. In an ideal world, the entire workday is “productive” but it’s a big challenge to maintain focus throughout the day. So seeing this gap helps me see how productive my day really is and areas that I can potentially improve.

For example, what do I do for the average of 1.3 hours a day that aren’t classified as Productive Time? How can I better understand my habits and unconscious routines so I can reduce that gap? Do I generally “max out” at ~5 hours of “productive time” each day?

Although I may work an average of 6.2 hours per day, my productive time is 4.57 hours per day. That means that there are certain activities or hours that really drive the productivity of my day. So making sure I take advantage of that time is crucial in making sure I get the most out of my day.

In Q2, I’ve been experimenting with a new tool called The Productivity Planner that helps me map out the most important task to get done everyday and use the Pomodoro Method to get it done. It’s already paid big dividends for me and I’m excited to see what the aggregate impact for Q2 will look like.

Learnings from Q2

All in all, here were some of my key learnings from Q2 that I plan to apply in Q3.

General

  • Begin to craft out a strategy for improving and expanding this blog to reach more people.
  • Continue to track consistently in Q3. Leverage the law of large numbers to identify baselines and trends.

Sleep

  • Continue to supplement my diet with 450mg of magnesium citrate to ensure higher sleep quality.
  • Adjust my sleep schedule to fit my chronotype. Based on data collected over the past 6 months, my body naturally goes to sleep around 10:40 – 11 p.m. and wakes up around 6:30 – 7:00 a.m.

Morning Routine

  • Find ways to keep my morning routine fresh. Add a different exercise to my morning workout, try a different type of coffee, switch up the order of the routine, etc.
  • Plan out a strategic break (e.g. a weekend away) from the morning routine in the middle of the next quarter.
  • Experiment with a morning routine that matches my sleep chronotype. Start the day with a quick workout and cool shower.
  • Don’t put so much pressure on my morning routine. Consider cutting it down a little bit and shifting some aspects to other parts of the day.

Daily Questions

  • Experiment with a different time for my research/writing for my blog. Evening writing could work out better.

Health

  • Create a strategy to make it to 8 capoeira classes each month and make that my baseline.
  • Visit my Family Doctor to do my yearly physical.
  • Visit a Naturopathic Doctor to gather more data about my health.
  • Invest in a smart scale to track data such as weight, body mass index, lean mass, and body fat percentage.

Productivity

  • Ensure I still hit at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night. Even with a higher sleep efficiency, 7.5 hours is what my body still seems to need.
  • Continue to use the Productivity Planner to prioritize my most important tasks each day.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 25, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 25, 2017)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

6 Healthy Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Toxic by Mark Manson

Lots of valuable gems in here for anyone in a relationship (or looking to be in one). The first point “Letting Some Conflicts Go Unresolved” is a counter intuitive one. In his research of thousands of happily married couples, John Gottman (who’s basically the godfather of relationship research) highlights that “the idea that couples must communicate and resolve all their problems is a myth”. There will always be persistent disagreements and annoyances; it’s the couples that can let go of them that do the best in the long term.

Book that I’m enjoying —

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

An incredibly well-told chronicle of the gene. From the original discovery of the gene by an obscure German scientist to the DNA double helix by Watson and Crick to the current possibilities of gene editing, this is a fascinating look at the most important building block of all living things. There are massive implications in this book on the future of humanity. It’s a hefty read but worth the exploration.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.

— Kristin Hannah

Product I’m loving —

Webber Naturals Magnesium Citrate Powder

In a previous Weekly Learnings post, I highlighted the impact that magnesium supplementation has had on my health and particularly my sleep. (In an upcoming post, I’ll share how my sleep efficiency increased by 83% likely due to adding 450mg of magnesium to my diet). Webber Naturals is the one that’s been working for me but there are a lot of quality options for magnesium citrate that are affordable. Make sure you add it to hot water so it dissolves properly and dulls the strong berry flavour.

Featured image via Pexels.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 18, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 18, 2017)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Trickle-down workaholism in startups by David Heinemeier Hansson

A piece by the founder of Basecamp, David Heinemeier Hansson (aka DHH), that has caused a fiery debate in the VC and startup space. Some argue that workholism is a part, if not a requirement, in the startup world. DHH argues the opposite and has great points to back it up.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Life always gives us

exactly the teacher we need

at every moment.

This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath.

Every moment is the guru.

— Charlotte Joko Beck

“ah-ha!” thought of the week —

Track your sleep for 30 days.

Something that I do on a daily basis is track my sleep. I use my Fitbit to create awareness of my sleep time and sleep quality. Whether you have a wearable tracker, app, etc., it’s worth spending 30 days to develop greater awareness.

In particular, observing what time you’re going to sleep over the course of 30 days will give you a rough idea of when your body is naturally going to bed. Your body’s natural clock will fit into one of four “chronotypes”. Based on your chronotype, you’ll have ideal and less ideal times to do certain activities.

By creating that awareness of when your body naturally goes to sleep, you can start building your unique schedule around it. You can also take this free quiz to find out what your chronotype is or dive into The Power of When by Michael Breus which provides a detailed look into the power of leveraging your chronotype.

Product I’m loving —

Uni-Ball Vision Needle Ink Pens

My favourite ink pen on the market. It’s a bit more expensive than your regular Bic pen but the performance is far superior. It writes super well on my Moleskine and Productivity Planner. I don’t go anywhere without one (or two).

Featured image by FWStudio.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 13, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 13, 2017)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Putting off the important things? It’s not for the reasons you think. by Oliver Burkeman

This article hit home for me. The reason why I put off an important project or task is not because I’m lazy – it’s because I feel the need to have everything lined up before I start. It’s what the author calls the “Importance Trap” which means “the more an activity really matters to you, the more you start to believe you need focus, energy, and long stretches of uninterrupted time in which to do it – things that, you tell yourself, you likely lack.”

It’s the reason why the Pomodoro Technique works so well for me. I reduce complexity and say to myself, “I’ll sit down for 25 minutes and see where this goes.” Making it a little easier for me to overcome the “Importance Trap”.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel on Audible

I recently discovered Esther Perel, a relationship expert, on a Tim Ferriss Show podcast episode. I really enjoyed her take on relationships and what can break them and what can maintain them. She has a new show on Audible (for free) in which she records conversations with real-life couples about their marital issues. It’s fascinating, educational, and very real. Anyone in a relationship should listen to this series even if it makes us a little uncomfortable.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

The simple act of being completely attentive and present to another person is an act of love, and it fosters unshakeable well-being.

— Sharon Salzberg

Featured image via Pixabay.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 4, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 4, 2017)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Just Move the Chains: Daniel Pink on the Science of Staying Motivated by Heleo

Daniel Pink shares his personal story on how he got started, how people stay motivated, what to look for in hiring salespeople, and the best thing to do when starting a new habit. Great piece if you’re a fan of Dan’s work and research.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

The Relationship Episode: Sex, Love, Polyamory, Marriage, and More (with Esther Perel) on The Tim Ferriss Show

A great episode on relationships featuring psychotherapist Esther Perel. The New York Times has called her one of the most important game changers in sexuality and relational health today. After listening to this episode, I’m planning on checking out her new Audible series Where Should We Begin which features real couples in candid conversation with Esther.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.

— Pema Chödrön

“ah-ha!” thought of the week —

Examine and eliminate your chequing account fees.

About a year ago I decided to consolidate a few of my financial assets into my chequings account. I had a number of Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) that I had been saving for a specific purpose (e.g. education fund, emergency fund, etc.) I did this primarily to keep my savings separate from my chequings account so that the money didn’t get mixed up. The return on investment was probably around 5% for about $1500-$2000 I had invested total. So about $80-$100 per year.

At the same time, I was paying $15 per month for my chequings account. Like most bank accounts, they had an offer to waive the monthly fee if I had a balance of $4000 in my account. However, I didn’t have a monthly balance over that limit so I was paying $180 per year in these fees.

I was basically losing $80-$100 (i.e. return on investment – chequings account fee) per year by not consolidating my assets into my chequings account.

I know that this really depends on how big your investments are so you want to make sure the math works. But for many young people building their assets in their 20s and early 30s, it’s worth watching out for these types of fees. Most banks offer to waive the account fee with a minimum asset balance so it’s good to take advantage of it and making a goal to hit to save money and build up a “buffer” in your budget.

For those curious about how I’m now handling the “mixing” of my everyday expenses and savings, I recommend checking out You Need a Budget. It’s the best budgeting tool that I believe is out there that helps you organize your savings in place and build up your financial assets. In terms of long-term savings like retirement or down payment savings, I use Wealthsimple as my low-cost asset management tool.

Featured image by Carl Heyerdahl.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (May 28, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (May 28, 2017)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment by Martin Seligman and John Tierney

An interesting look into the latest from the world of neuroscience and human behaviour. The authors share their thoughts on how humans, and our inherent ability to think about the future, is the key differentiator between ourselves and other species. A collective belief in the future is what allows us to develop things like language, culture, or technology. Individually, those who are stuck in the past are often depressed and by rewriting our past we can give hope for our future.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

Transcript: Dr Rhonda Patrick on Exploring Smart Drugs, Fasting, and Fat Loss from The Tim Ferriss Show

I know I shared this episode in my Weekly Learnings Roundup (May 14, 2017) but it’s worth revisiting. Firstly, the link above is to the transcript version of the podcast episode. Since Dr. Patrick goes so fast in dropping knowledge that it’s helpful to have the transcript handy. Second, I wanted to post her top six recommendations for living a healthier life. It’s worth exploring further by listening to the episode or experimenting with each recommendation for a few weeks.

#1 – Eliminate refined sugar from the diet to the greatest extent possible.

#2 – Practice time-restricted eating and eat generally in accordance with your circadian rhythm.

#3 – Do everything in your power to maximize vegetable intake, possibly using the micronutrient smoothie method as a way to jumpstart the habit.

#4 – Enlist your physician in helping you monitor your vitamin D blood status and then attempting to titrate your dose to an above 30 ng/ml range, possibly trying to land between 40 and 60 ng/ml.

#5 – Try to get some form of meaningfully vigorous cardiovascular exercise, at least 30 minutes, a few times per week.

#6 – Get bright blue light during the day, as early as possible, and avoid that same blue light as much as you can in the evenings.

In June, I’m planning on adding in an element of #2 – time-restricted eating – into my daily habits. To make things easy as a beginner, I’m just going to make it a universal rule to stop eating by 8 p.m. each evening. I’ll be monitoring how I feel and any visible effects of this change over the course of the month.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Every minute can be a holy, sacred minute. Where do you seek the spiritual? You seek the spiritual in every ordinary thing that you do every day. Sweeping the floor, watering the vegetables, and washing the dishes become holy and sacred if mindfulness is there. With mindfulness and concentration, everything becomes spiritual.

 Thích Nhất Hạnh

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist

Product or service I’m loving —

Instapaper

My favourite app for saving and reading web-based articles. It basically pulls the text from the article and arranges it into a minimalist format for easy reading. It’s easy to add highlights for future reference and you can also setup custom folders to organize your articles if you’d like. This app is particularly helpful if you visit websites like the New York Times or Harvard Business Review that cap your articles after a certain number per month (since Instapaper saves the article separately).

For IFTTT users out there, Instapaper can be linked to other apps. For example, when I see an article that I’d like to read later, I schedule a tweet through Buffer with the hashtag “mustread”. Once the tweet goes out later in the day or late in the week, I’ve setup an integration with Instapaper which sends any article with that hashtag to my Instapaper account. End result? I have a running list of the articles that I’d like to read throughout the week.

Featured image by Lorenzo Carafo.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.