Digital Minimalism

I’m certainly not the best to talk about this topic, but I’ll just share what I did for the past months in trying to de-clutter my digital life.

First off, deleting apps from my phone. Rarely used, unused apps were all deleted. I used to keep apps that perform unit conversion or currency conversion, but since I can do that easily from web browser anyway, so I have deleted those.

For productivity apps, I try to keep those apps that can make me do more than just one task, effectively making them a 3-in-1 app. For example, I have deleted Excel, Power Point and Word and replace them with the new Office app, which is a lite version of all those 3 apps combined in one.

Reducing social media usage has always been part of my goal too. I have pulled my Instagram account to be private, and no longer spending time scrolling through the ads flooded feed. That left me with only Facebook, which I tried my very best to reduce my time on it as well.

In terms of other life matters, I have decluttered my iMac and external hard disk, a task that took me years to finally get it done. Now everything seems to be more organized. Couple with my continuing effort of reducing subscription services and unwanted apps from my iMac, things just get simpler and less chaotic now.

That leaves me with one last thing to deal with… and that’s my work laptop from my office! Okay, we’ll deal with it some other days. Till then.

I’m not afraid of dying

Yes, seriously, I’m not. Why? Well, what’s the point of feeling afraid and anxious on something that you can’t even control?

“But I want to live longer… I’m still too young to die…” as some said. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I wanted to die young, if possible. I don’t need to live my life up to 70s, 80s or 90s. Some may argue that they are working hard everyday and their life has just begun after their retirement in 50s. Some said they want to see their kids grow up, graduate, get married and have their own family.

For me, I want to live and enjoy my life now, like… now. I don’t want to save all the enjoyment until my retirement, I don’t want to pinch my happiness on unknown circumstances in the future. Like what I had always said, live your current moment to the fullest, live as if today will be your last day of life, live without regrets for tomorrow.

Therefore, it is important to balance my work and personal life, it is important to work a job that I enjoy, it is important to live my life to the best I could. If I die tomorrow, I will not feel a sense of “life is too short”, I will be able to close my eyes and smile.

Of course, the reality is, I have no control over when I will die (that is until the time euthanasia is legalized and become a norm). So it doesn’t mean I will spend all my money just to fulfil my lust for materials and experiences. I am still saving for retirement and for emergency, in case I live that long. If not, the money can always be donated to those in need.

So… here I am today, trying my best to live my life to the fullest, and I hope you are too. All the best, till then.

Talk about habit

Go My Own Way

Habit, something we are used to, and something that we do unconsciously. Some have the habit of drinking coffee every morning, some have the habit of wetting their fingers with your tongue before counting cash. We all have some sort of habit, maybe you may not even realize it.

For me, I was so used to wearing watches that even when I’m not wearing one, I’ll still be constantly raising my wrist to check out the time, and I will feel rather “insecure” for the rest of the day for some reason.

Recently I had picked up a new “habit”… I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years, and last year I had lasik for both of my eyes, so there’s no longer a need to wear glasses. However, my old glasses wearing habit still persist. There were times I tried to “take off my glasses” before washing my face, there were times when I still shield “my glasses” from water spray or rain droplets. The worse was sometimes I felt that I can see things clearer when I’m wearing glasses, despite the glasses is actually just cosmetic without any prescription.

The same goes to photography. Say you are easily drawn to something and you unconsciously groomed the habit of photographing the same thing, even worse if it is at almost similar angle or composition. Some have the habit to shoot things dead centre, some have the habit to over-saturate their photo during post processing.

I believe it is hard to avoid having any habits. The key point instead will probably be whether or not you are aware of your habit, recognize it and stop it when necessary. Maybe you can make that your “new habit” instead? Till then.

Apple Watch… 5 years on

5 years ago, Apple launched its first smartwatch to the world, dubbed the Apple Watch. In my opinion, the original Apple Watch (now called as Series 1) was pretty flop as a device itself, I remembered looking at it and I was like “there’s no way I’m gonna buy this”. As many have rightly pointed out, the Series 1 was hoarded down by a lot of shortcomings on performance and selling features that appeal to people. It nailed the design, but not the experience… just yet. Although I have dismissed the Series 1, a part of me realized that there’s true potential in it to become great, and oh boy did it became great.

Fast forward to present, the Apple Watch Series 5 has waterproofing, sound level detection, built-in ECG, built-in GPS and compass, cellular network onboard, edge-to-edge screen, always-on display… it is indeed the perfect companion and the most personal computer device Apple has ever built. In just 5 years, Apple has moved the needle of smartwatches so much that made other competitors scrambling to play catch-up. Stories about how Apple Watch has changed lives (and even saved lives) have been circulating across the internet. In fact, Apple has even surpassed most of the traditional watches to become one of the highest selling watches in the world.

Personally, I have been using the Apple Watch Series 3 for more than 2 years now. I’ll admit I was a skeptic initially. Who charges their watch on daily basis! It’s an expensive gadget to upgrade on yearly basis! But once you get over it (you are charging your phone on daily basis anyway?), you will start to enjoy it, like really. After 2 years of usage, I have been enjoying wearing it day in and day out. It tracks my workout, alerted me on abnormal heart rate once which prompted me to went for a health check (everything turns out to be fine and will continue to monitor my status), get me moving throughout the day and get me notified on all the important alerts that I wish to see. And after 2 years it is still working flawlessly, and hopefully maybe it will last me through the third year as well before I even consider to upgrade.

Can I go back to live a life without one? I wonder.

Of course it is not all rosy. Sleep tracking is not available, tracking could be more accurate, the aluminium used could be of better grade to withstand more abuse, more monitoring features are always welcome and so on. So it will be interesting to see what’s next from Apple for the coming generation of Apple Watches. Should everyone buy one? Absolutely not, even if you are iPhone user. It really depends on what you need, some active users might better off getting themselves a dedicated and rugged watches from Garmin or Polar, which are built for outdoor adventure and runners. Those who just want something super simple and cheap that work across multiple platforms will find themselves happy with a Fitbit.

For me and a couple of others, Apple Watch has been the best product from Apple for the past decade. I’m looking forward to see what else Apple has planned for this personal computer that sit on my wrist all day, and let’s see what will the future look like in the next 5 years. Till then.

One year later

It’s been a year since I changed my job. Started off as technical support engineer in air-conditioning industry, moved on to after market services and sales within the same industry, and finally, one year ago I decided to make another move, but this time to product management and marketing at a completely different industry.

Looking back my one year journey, it has been a bumpy ride, really. When I handed my resignation letter a year ago, I wasn’t sure what my future would hold. There were job offers from the same industry, there were job offer for the same role as sales, there were even job offers to go up the rank as assistant manager or manager. Ultimately, none of them resonated with me and eventually I declined them all.

“You are making a huge mistake.” Often, this is the answer I got from people around me. Seeing from his or her point of view, I don’t deny their conclusion. To most of us, career has always about climbing the corporate ladder and earning every extra dollar possible. What I decided to do in the end defied their norm, or perhaps even disappointed some.

Instead of growing in the same industry, instead of climbing the ladder, I decided to take a pay cut to land myself here in a completely new and different role, and in a completely new industry to me as well. As crazy as it may sound, I felt that I am not ready to manage people yet at this moment of time. I wanted to explore a little more on what other industries have to offer. I wanted to know about jobs other than engineer and sales. I can be better, and I wanted to be better too before I take my next step.

So here I am, one year later in my new role and company. Is everything good and rosy? Of course not. There are much to learn, much to relearn, and above all, much to put into practice from all the learnings I made, be it from my past job experiences or from my master studies. I do questioned myself often if I have made the right choice, but I would soon brush off the thoughts and keep pressing on.

No one knows for sure, not even myself. Perhaps time will tell, we’ll see. It’s interesting to see what the future has to offer, for now, all I can do is try my best to work my best and prepare myself for the unknown future.