Barn owl in a field
Barn owl in a field
Credit: Andy Chilton

100+ ways to approach learning, communication and goals

I’m thankful to be surrounded by colleagues and friends much smarter than I am both at work and outside of work.

As with any advice, your milage may vary. Here’s things I’ve learned about learning, communication and goals:

  1. If it doesn’t take too long to start/finish something, just do it.
  2. Be ok with being a beginner again. It’ll be uncomfortable.
  3. Believe that “anything can be learned”. Even if it may take time/effort if it doesn’t come naturally, it’s possible to learn it eventually.
  4. Aim for competence, not genius. There are very few actual geniuses. …

Over the last few years, the sense of mounting loss and fear of losing touch with one’s past has been a resurfacing concern.

There’s an underlying fear about losing my “better” qualities/memories of the past in the presence of today and the pressures of tomorrow. By writing, I capture and retain who I’ve once was — the beliefs, tastes, values or passions that were important in the moment. This makes the inevitable passage of time more palatable.

If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of art block, here are some things I learned about working through the troughs of the creative…

Person with backpack in front of moving train
Person with backpack in front of moving train
Credit: Fabrizio Verrechia

How the pressures of increasing productivity diminish meaning

During this pandemic, the competing message that somehow you’re supposed to “take it easy” while facing the unspoken threat of layoffs/unemployment can be confusing.

On one hand, staying put can afford new opportunities. If we’ve have a surplus of time from not having a daily commute, for some, that might mean that we’ve gained an extra hour in a day. We might spend more quality time with family, pick up new hobbies, explore neglected interests/side projects, etc.

On the other hand, the feeling of constraint can be a pressure cooker on one’s existing responsibilities. …

On coronavirus, compassion and recovery

There is a famous story of the pond from Peter Singer, a well-known (albeit controversial) philosopher.

It goes like this: imagine you are walking to a class past a pond where a child is drowning. Singer asks: do you have any obligation to rescue the child? Most people say they do. The importance of saving a child far outweighs the cost of ruining one’s clothes and missing class.

Young girl sitting in front of pond
Young girl sitting in front of pond
Credit: Daniel Clay

Singer asks: Does it make a difference that there are other people walking past the pond who would equally be able to rescue the child but are not doing so? …

As explained by a wildlife animal documentary

The relationship between modern humans (“Homo Sapiens”) and their environments are vast and complex. We at the Institute of Workplace Facilities and Happiness (IWFH) are pioneering new efforts into the observation of postures that humans have taken up while subject to restricted movement, increasingly sedentary habits and significant stress.

While this is still an ongoing area of research, current studies have started to notice patterns in the data — five major postures are seen to be widely adopted among the diverse population.

Credit: Tj Holowaychuk

The century-old tortoise posture is known for its distinctive elongated neck and large clumsy hands. …

Three ways to make virtual events worthwhile

When it comes to transitions over the last year, I feel for conference planners. It must take a herculean effort to translate in-person events to a fully virtual event in the midst of a pandemic.

Conference crowd
Conference crowd
In-person gatherings are not exactly 2020 friendly | Credit: Headway

One thing I’ve noticed is that purely virtual events tend to exacerbate existing conference problems. Minor tech problems are now critical, communication is harder, networking can be more awkward and engaging with the speaker next to impossible. …

Person using laptop with phone in hand

Three simple steps to be less addicted to your phone

We spend an increasing amount of time online, on social media/entertainment or even checking notifications on our devices to our own detriment — whether it’s doomscrolling or getting stuck in a YouTube or Wikipedia spiral.

As many things in life have shifted to screens due to day to day life this past year, it’s even easier to be complacent and waste time on your phone (or device of choice) for no particular reason. Given that being online might be the only avenue for connections, work, education, learning, hobbies, no wonder we’re spending more time in front of a screen —…

Man distressed in front of laptop
Man distressed in front of laptop
Credit: Sebastian Herrmann

Use this list to help you understand what that meeting really means

The shift to remote work may have caused a boom in scheduled meetings. Whether you’re stuck in back to backs all day long or just feeling confused, here’s a handy guide to help you see what’s coming up.

Pre-meeting = A meeting to get all the buy-ins before the actual meeting

Debrief = A meeting to figure out the real decisions after the actual meeting

Retro = A meeting to discuss past meetings

Kickoff = A meeting to plan for future meetings

Status update = A reoccurring meeting with the same people

Webinar = A sales pitch disguised as a…

Joanna Ngai

UX Designer at Microsoft, illustrator, green tea drinker | UX for Beginners

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