Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Productivity is a precarious game of balance. I've only recently started to focus on maximizing this enigmatic variable. Here I will share my efforts with the most success. For productivity, I believe, it is necessary to be of good mental and physical health. Additionally, good time management is required. These things are easier to quantify than productivity itself, lending themselves well to visible change.

Mental Health

Meditation is the single biggest improvement I have been able to work in this area. It has given me the ability to see clearly, to understand and remove unnecessary feelings, and to magnify the person I wish to be. It has allowed me to define clear goals, to analyze my habits daily, introduce new ones, and remove old ones. It is a time specifically allotted in my day to think, to understand myself. The payoff has been beyond my wildest skepticism's.

There are countless schools of meditation and it has taken me some persistence to find the correct one. I  began with a school which teaches to empty the mind and remove all thought. This type of meditation was not for me. Due to fortunate circumstances, I stumbled over a book: "Mindfulness in Plain English". The free pdf is available here. It is a short book, I highly recommend reading it. It is the introduction to meditation I wish I had.

The goal of these teachings is to be aware of ones own mind. Rather than shutting off all thought, one removes the self from the thinking process and watches from a distance. It is incredibly what I have discovered about myself during the first ten minutes of attempting this. It convinced me beyond doubt to keep going.

It may be hard to begin the habit of meditation. The book also offers an amazing insight to the solution of this problem. The author urges to force meditation daily, however only for a few seconds to begin. As with all habits, he argues, once the seed is planted, it is easier to expand upon the pattern of thought.

Physical Health

Physical health is also largely defined by habit. Daily decisions cause long-term consequences. Changes in habit take some time to display, and thus it is difficult to stick with something long enough to see the advantages. I can only tell you that improvements will have a significant impact on your life.

I have found that exercising twice a week bears many advantages. Most are hard to see however. They include improvements in posture, and strikingly, mood. Often the mind makes many excuses against exercising. I have found all of mine to be null and void through meditation. I have found that a healthy mind can thus lead to a healthy body, the inverse being valid likewise.

The largest improvement I have observed however, comes from a steady sleep schedule. It is impossible to expect to wake up refreshed after a long nights sleep if you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. Why people do it, is beyond me. I have found that a steady pattern of sleeping takes at least half a month to take effect, however the consequences of sleeping at the same time, 8 hours a night, are incredible.

As with meditation, these habits are perhaps best introduced by gradual change. Do one minute of pure exercise bi-weekly. Most likely, your body will even ask for you to keep going. If not, you still have planted the seed. Sleep half an hour early, wake half an hour early. Iterate weekly until you are convinced of positive or negative change.

Time Management

It has taken me long to find a good time management technique. I am currently convinced however, that at least I have found a good one to begin with.

The pomodoro technique (site) is humorously named after the tomato timer. This technique encourages setting aside 25 minute blocks of time. During these "pomodoros", interruptions are not allowed, and are actively removed. The goal is to work non-stop, highly concentrated, on a single task. A five minute rest is then granted. During this time you may not think about what you are planning to work on, or what you worked on. You should let your mind wander towards unrelated things, make a tea, or chat with a friend. Repeat the process.

I have found the five minute breaks to be crucial. It is easy to get carried away by a fun project, only to discover after an hour of non-stop thinking, that your mind has grown wary and your mood has grown stressed. These forced five-minute breaks allow for recuperation and in the end, a longer time of productivity.

There is much more to this technique than I have covered, however it is enough to try it out. Set aside 25 minutes, work uninterruptedly, and be amazed at the results. It is only half an hour, yet it could change the way you live a large part of your life. In this category, at least, it is possible to see fast results.

I am aware that techniques vary from person to person, however I strongly encourage attempting to improve yours. Discover and try new things. There is so much to gain.

I am interested in your discoveries,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Deciding to Lose Freedom

Freedom is widely perceived as a purely good thing. It is most often defined as the ability to act as one wants, lacking external restraints and regulations.

A small thought experiment will introduce my premise. You are fully free, and you are facing a decision between freedom and imposing restraints on your future self. Would you not instantly decide for freedom?

Yet, we often are happiest when we have placed restraints on ourselves. When we have decided to do so, when we have decided to allow external control over part of our lives. Marriage, for example, can be seen as a decision to restrict your future actions. Ignoring legal and financial advantages, many would nevertheless, happily decide to bind themselves to one person for the rest of their lives. The breaking of such a restriction would result in negative consequences, perhaps social, perhaps legal, perhaps otherwise. Another example could be the restriction of alcohol consumption on the self. Simply an imposed diet, an exercise routine, or a sleeping schedule, also match the criteria. Perhaps a dream of talent is supported by forcing bi-daily practice. Perhaps actions are taken to introduce negative consequences if these things do not happen.

Freedom of people are lost through such decisions, however, it has not stopped them from achieving their dreams. It has guided them, it has provided consistency and removed impulsiveness. It has set a framework for the future self.

We are often so quick to judge those which give up their freedom, yet exactly such myopic vision prevents us from seeing advantages in restriction. We are scared of truly deciding, of truly living.

It is like the horse (桂馬) in Shogi. Every turn, the horse has the decision of two open moves. Taking one removes the possibility of ever taking the other. Yet, the horse steadily moves forward after every decision, and upon reaching the other side, is granted a more flexible set of motions.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Love and Distance

Note: Read this blog selectively. This post is about love and distance. It's a post with the purpose of expressing my emotions and feelings. If that's not your cup of tea, don't drink it. Don't waste tea. Seriously. =)

9814 kilometers, the blink of an eye, enough to bind the heart for a lifetime. As the snow melts, and flowers break their spell, I breathe in. I remember this smell, the smell of freedom and energy, a combination of rain and sun. A lonely snowflake kisses my nose, only to loose its form, but never it's nature. Leaves whisper, as the wind relays their message. The sun shines through the trees, and I remember.

Sitting under a tree, careless. I felt the warmth of a breath, and the rhythm of a heart. We shared a universe, and it was ours. I remember, simply walking, with a familiar hand to hold. I remember watching as the birds flew by above, my mind joined them, and reached for the sun. I remember kissing in heavy rain, perfectly content, knowing that a dry place would take five steps to reach. I remember holding each other, listening to the ocean with closed eyes, being one with nature, feeling calm, as if time stood still. I remember going out in the middle of the night to buy ice cream, her head in my lap, and reaching for the stars, on a lonely wooden bench by the river. I remember her shock when the koi threatened to eat her, hearing sparrows chirp as a gong rings in the distance, her face.

I imagine her face, completing mine. I imagine the smell of her hair, the look in her eyes, the taste of her lips, the feeling of her soft, small hands. I yearn to see her paint with concentration in her eyes, to see her read with wonder, to see her cook with her weight on one leg, to see her be. I yearn to share my experiences with her; days of snow, days of rain, days of wind, days of sun. Hiking, cycling, swimming, walking, discovering, breathing, being.


I breathe out. I let go. An infinity of sensations leaves me.
They return in my next breath.

I don't ask for much, yet I ask for everything.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


It's been three years since I've posted anything, and a lot has changed.

Why did I start blogging again?

The aim of this blog is to provide me with an outlet for my ideas and thoughts. Perhaps I get to enjoy the company of people like you, reading my blog, and perhaps you decide to contribute, or perhaps you learn something, or perhaps, you enjoy run-on sentences as much as I do. Whatever the case, I believe more good will come out of publicizing my posts, than bad.

I decided to continue my old blog, rather than start a new one. While some of my old posts may not reflect who I am at the moment, I believe it is healthy to accept who you once were. If I separated the new me from the old me, I believe I would not be doing that.

My Current Situation

I finished high school, quite well, I might add, and entered a university. I just started my second semester, after having an admittedly disastrous first one. While I'm trying to get as much out of university as possible, I'm mainly going through it for future security.

For the past 9 years, half of my life, in fact, I've lived in Japan. After graduating from an international school there, I moved to Switzerland (my home country) for my Bachelors. Currently it is in Software Systems, however it could change into one of Business Informatics with a strong focus on Economics. Frankly, I will, as I did with my choice of university, pick the one allowing me for more freedom of my studies. This includes free time, and course choice.

I've found that I learn a lot faster by myself, at least at this stage. I wouldn't be surprised that this will stop being the case at some point. I just began learning Ruby and Rails simultaneously, and I'm amazed at the power and speed at which one individual can accomplish things. I'm aiming to acquire these skills as quickly as possible, while not sacrificing too much of my university performance. It is a pain to walk the line, but it is necessary.

My Future Situation

In three years, I aim to have graduated university, with a well rounded portfolio in my hand. I have many planned projects, and I hope I get to share them with my dear readers. If, with luck, one of those projects turns out to be sufficiently profitable, well then, I might consider my alternatives to higher education.

The goal of my life, is to help as many people as possible. How I go about accomplishing this, I have yet to figure out, but as of now, I aim to gather as much power and information as possible. I owe it to those not granted with the chances I have been granted with.

I welcome Discussion,