Have you chosen your commitments well?

Commitment. The word makes us see a picture of dedication, consistency and succeeding against the odds. Everyone is committed to something, be it a relationship, a project, a goal or simply living life well. But how well do you understand the word commitment? How consciously have you chosen yours? Are you happy with your commitments? Every morning, do you look forward eagerly to the rest of the day? Or are you simply grinding out your days with a feeling of unfulfillment?

In this post, I will discuss what a commitment is, what a commitment requires of you, whether simultaneous commitments are really possible and how to identify and follow commitments that help you get exactly what you want out of your life.

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Why I won’t blog anymore in 2020

In April 2016, Priya and I started this blog, i.e. We are the living. Here, we write all articles from experience, as we try one thing after another to improve our lifestyle. Before that, in January 2016, I started Tech 101, a blog where I explain software technology by making analogies from our day-to-day life. After our all-India trip during 2017-18, we started a third blog named India 360, where we document our trip so that you can plan your own.

I am sure that many of our readers, especially the most loyal ones, have derived a lot of value from our blogs. I hope that we have touched their lives in a positive way.

In this post, I am writing to say that I will NOT be blogging anymore this year. I hope to resume in January of 2021.

Why? Read on to know more about my decision.

Continue reading Why I won’t blog anymore in 2020

Book summary: Ikigai by Hector Garcia and Fransesc Miralles

Title: Ikigai
Author: Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
Publisher: Random House, UK
ISBN-10: 178633089X
ISBN-13: 978-1786330895
Buy from: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Hector Garcia works as a computer software engineer for a voice recognition software company in Tokyo. Francesc Miralles, an author and publisher, has worked as a translator. As with Japanophiles around the world, the Spanish duo is obsessed with the Japanese ways of life. The two are most fascinated with Ikigai, a feeling of happiness and satisfaction with one’s life. Ikigai is a factor vital to Japanese’s happiness in day-to-day life and their longevity. A mutual friend brought the two together in Tokyo. Together they have written about their fascination for Japan and how to develop Ikigai in your own life. Here is the summary of the book.

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How to be productive every day

Everyone wants to get more done every day and then enjoy plenty of time for themselves, with their families and friends. But very few know exactly how to be productive.

In this post, I will list my rules for a productive day. These rules have worked for me for 5 years, since I became a freelancer. And they helped me achieve more than I ever did during my professional career with jobs.

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You forgot? Didn’t I ask you to remember?

“Oh drat!”, says Ashok, as he gets up from his computer chair. “I am printing a 12-page stock investment statement, but ran out of paper sheets at 5 pages. If I study this report today, I can plan for our investments for the coming financial year. Baby, I am going to the department store to get some A4 pages, okay?”, he says to his wife Bindia.

“Okay dear…. but, can you get some sweet corn while you are there? Let’s have some nice corn soup instead of the same boring tea in the evening.”, adds Bindia. Ashok nods at her, “Okay”, and is on his way to the store.

Later, Ashok enters his room with a stack of papers, ready to print the remaining 7 pages. While he is shuffling the papers, Bindia comes behind him and asks, “And where is the corn?” Ashok is confused, “What co….. oh drat! I forgot baby! Sorry!”.  Bindia is disappointed, “But I asked you to remember, honey. It’s not like I called you up in the middle of your shopping or when you were driving. I told you well in advance. Don’t be so forgetful, dear. So, it will be the same old boring tea again.”

How did corn slip through the cracks? Do you think Bindia has done enough by telling Ashok to get the corn before he left for shopping? Do you think Ashok is justified in forgetting because he was busy with something else?

Continue reading You forgot? Didn’t I ask you to remember?

Designing happiness in everyday life

Happiness seems to be elusive and misunderstood in today’s busy, distracted and confused world. But in reality, being happy is extremely easy. The feeling is misunderstood because contrary to what is popularly believed, happiness doesn’t just come to you. You have to work on yourself and on your environment to sustainably be and stay happy. I consider myself a very happy person in general. I am not anxiety-proof, but I have successfully fought anxiety several times and bounced back to be happy within a matter of minutes or at most a couple of hours. Here are my thoughts on intentionally designing your life to be happy.

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Are you really done when you say you are?

When do you that say you are done with something? Do you say, “I am done with lunch”, when you have eaten the last morsel off your plate or after you wash your plate and set it carefully in the utensil drying rack?

As a software developer, do you say, “And I am done!” as soon as your code works for a single sample data only on your laptop or do you say so after having run the tests and having merged your code with those of others over a version control system (e.g. GitHub), having run the tests again and then having committed all of your final changes for everyone to use?

After shopping, are you done as soon as you enter home and drop your shopping bags? Or do you consider it done after each item has been taken out of each shopping bag and put away neatly into shelves, bottles, containers, wardrobe or supplies room?

Here is my answer. If someone is having to clean up and reorganise after you, then you are not done. When you are done, there should be no mess left behind for someone else — even yourself — to bother with.

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Breaking the spell of infinite scroll

In the post Get more out of your reading, I talked about using Pocket, a tool that helps you save web articles for later reading. Pocket also saves content for reading offline, so that you don’t have to remain connected to the Internet to read the saved articles. Perfect for reading during commutes.

Recently I shifted to a tool named Shiori for saving articles to read later. Cannot help noticing a significant difference between the two. What if there are more articles saved than the size of your screen? Pocket is an app designed with modern UI. It provides ‘infinite scroll’. Shiori has a good UI, but it looks very outdated, like an Android app from 2013. It also uses the outdated concept of ‘pagination’. This outdated concept is why I respect the app in the first place. Continue reading Breaking the spell of infinite scroll

The myth of centum

“Dad, I got 98 out of 100 in Mathematics.”, says the bright child with results in his hand. The dad’s discouraging response is, “Why not centum?”

While thankfully not a precedent at my home or my wife Priya‘s, the community that we belong to, i.e. Brahmin community of Tamil Nadu in India, is notorious for its insistence on getting the perfect score in examinations, especially in a subject like maths or science where all the questions are objective and you could potentially score 100%.

While I definitely question the extremely high score standards set by the community, my problem starts with the system itself. A system which makes it possible to score a centum in examinations. If you already know the answers to every challenge in a test, what did you learn that day? Continue reading The myth of centum