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Learning by Reading

As of right now, most of my posts have around 2-3k words.

This means that when I start writing, I usually go on and try to have a conversation with you, the reader.

However, that does take time for both of us, isn’t that right?

On the other hand, it’s rather a productive time, considering that I’m not talking about the latest political scandal, last night’s football match or God forbid, I even touch the topic of religion.

There’s no need to do that, unless I want to make some enemies.

And honestly, I don’t really have time for that.

I’d rather “waste” my time doing things that matter.

You might be thinking “What does that mean?”

Simply, it means that I prefer to use most of my time in “flow”.

As I’m writing this, I’m imagining myself in front of you, with each of us having a laptop or smartphone in our hand, and you can see in real time what I am writing. As I’m typing, I try to get a response from you, be it:

  • Nodding of the head
  • Approval
  • Dissaproval
  • Generating new ideas
  • Turning my experiences into new perspectives for yourself
  • Thinking what to take away from my posts

And the most important thing, taking away bits and pieces that can apply to your life, and at the same time, entertain you to some extent.

Otherwise, I would just write all day long, post an entire block of text, and unless you’d be really into personal development and constant never ending improvement, you’d probably just go an and watch Netflix or YouTube.

So that’s why I put pictures such as this one from time to time.

Christmas Wish list

But let’s get back to more important things.

What I wanted to talk to you about in this post is exactly what the title says.

Complete list of what gifts Santa sent me for improving 2019.

If you’re thinking why I’m going past Christmas and mentioning 2019 already, you are not far away from what I’ve been thinking before writing this post.

We all like Christmas, and we all enjoy it. 

However, I want to tell you another story.

This year, when I looked over what gifts I’d prefer to receive from Santa, it was things that would help in the long-term.

It took me almost an entire day to decide, because I basically started my search from 0.

I knew I wanted something that might motivate me and considering everything that made me tick, I opened the biggest resource for all of our shopping needs.

And if you live somewhere where this company operates, you probably know who I’m talking about – Amazon.

So the search commenced.

After many hours of thinking what type of things I want, and then what specific products from that category i wanted, a shortlist has been born.

And then all that had to be done is send it to Santa.

To make it even more helpful, I divided each item into 3 categories which I will cover:

  1.  Why
  2.  Life expectancy
  3.  Impact

So, without further ado, let’s look at what Santa brought me and why I asked him for these specific things.

#1 The 5 Second Journal

If you’re thinking this is just another journal, you’re not far away from it.

However, it has it’s own advantages and let me tell you why I believe that.

1. Why

This journal was made by Mel Robbins. She is quite famous in her own field and although I haven’t read her work or listened to her that much, I’m quite confident that in the moments I did, I took away some good pieces of information.

The journal has its own website. and that’s quite a confidence booster when you’d want to feel that it is more than just any other journal.

Sure, at the end of the day it might be marketing, but we do have to play with our mind and let it know that what we do is important, and other people are in the same movement.

2. Life Expectancy

This is easy to estimate.

It has a little over 300 pages, which means that is exactly the number of days I’m expecting to use it for – after I start writing on it.

The plan is to start using it on January 1st 2019, so that would mean that in around 11 months, in November, it should get its final pages filled.

3. Impact

I’ve used a planner for around 10 months now and I can say it was really a game-changer.

Technology is definitely helpful, but there are still many advantages to using pen and paper. I won’t try to make this argument since there are many resources such as this one.

The most important thing at the end of the day is to use what helps you the most. After using many different planners I find that a combination between physical and digital yields the best results – for me.

If you are interested, you can find the product on Amazon (affiliate and stuff).

UPDATE

Eventually, I returned the journal before I started using it.

After some additional research and looking over it more thoroughly, I can tell you 3 big reasons why it was not for me:

  1. It has a binder. This makes it difficult to open and close the journal without messing up at least 1 page. My last planner still looks decent after 10 months. I wouldn’t expect this one to last as long with how it’s built. 
  2. It only covers 60 days, and not 300 as I expected. That’s a real deal breaker considering it’s big but still only covers 2 months worth of journaling.
  3. It’s too pricey for what it’s worth. I knew very well that I was paying for the brand and marketing as much as for the quality of the content. However, considering that the quality of the product was quite low, it’s rather difficult to feel the “premium content” of the pages, when the “premium quality” of the actual product is lacking.

It might be a good option for someone who is looking to try something new for a shorter period of time, but if you’re like me and you want to write in a planner or a journal for an entire year, this is probably not the right choice.

#2 Xiaomi Mi Band 3

You surely know about fitness bands.

You surely know of Xiaomi.

This may not come as a surprise, but let me tell you my reasoning for wanting a Xiaomi fitness band.

1. Why

To be honest, what I wanted was an accessory for my right hand.

The left hand is already taken by a watch – probably forever.

So that leaves the right wrist quite open to new possibilities.

Hence, why I started to search for some jewelry. The problem was that jewelry is more of a vanity and confidence booster, with nothing else to add.

The other option? Something that could actually help, if used properly.

This is where smartwatches and bands start entering the conversation.

And that’s how Xiaomi Mi Band 3 became the 1st option.

With a good price to quality ratio and the fact that it’s manufactured by one of the fastest growing technology companies, it was more than the initial jewelry I thought about.

2. Life Expectancy

This is hard to estimate since it will more or less last until it won’t work or I will have something that could replace it.

Realistically, I expect to use it for at least 1 year, but preferably 2 years.

I’m not such a  big fan of smartwatches either way, so unless there’s anything that could happen to it, I’m not looking forward to any new purchase or gift such as this. 

3. Impact

It’s early to say too much about the band itself.

As an accessory, it’s doing its job.

It looks good, it feels good, it fits good.

I’m expecting it to have a positive impact because I don’t plan on having it distract me with notifications.

That, together with stressing over things such as Heart Rate or Sleep Quality, could be the only things that do more harm than good. 

Having it makes me more conscious about both time and health.

It basically shows that I am not moving too much at times, and it can vibrate at specific times when I need a reminder to do something.

Overall, I’m expecting it to have quite a long-term positive effect. Only time will tell.

If you are interested, you can find the product here.

#3 Sandisk Ultra 64gb Memory Card

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise for anyone, since it’s quite a basic item nowadays. 

Unless you have a device that doesn’t support it, you definitely know how important it is to get rid of that possible anxiety when you’re out of space.

1. Why

Coming back to what I was saying, who doesn’t need a memory card?

If you have a device that can read it, the why is simple to understand.

In my particular case, I have a Canon digital camera that takes photos and records videos that really take up more space than you’d like to, so this is quite a necessity to get rid of that “memory anxiety” I mentioned earlier.

2. Life Expectancy

Unless I break it in any way, I expect to use it for as long as it will be in my possession.

That might mean more than 5 years, unless I will really need to upgrade it.

3. Impact

My current SD card has 32 GB – so this is basically double.

That should remove some worries about having any kind of memory problems while shooting photos and more importantly, recording videos. 

Since I’m planning to move toward video in the future, this should greatly impact the efficiency of creating content. No promises just yet but that’s something I’m considering and starting to experiment with at a slow pace.

You can find this exact SanDisk Memory card here.

#4 Gyvazla clip-on microphone

The microphone is the dark horse in this list.

I’ll tell you why.

1. Why

Using a microphone is usually a helpful thing if you are trying to record something.

When we call someone or we have a video call, we usually don’t use such a microphone because our smartphones and laptops can handle it easily.

However, since I’ve mentioned earlier that I’d like to create some video content in the future, you might understand where I’m going with this. 

Video cameras have their limitations and although I might not need it in this exact moment, I’m planting the seed early, by getting what may help in the creation process.

2. Life Expectancy

This could be the trickiest to estimate.

If I don’t protect it properly, I can expect it to break on my next flight.

Being aware of this, I’ll probably take good care of it and I’m expecting it to last at least 1 year.

3. Impact

Just like with the memory card, I don’t expect to feel its impact right away, but I do expect to get a confidence boost in using my voice more.

With Alexa getting more and more popular, it’s clear that voice is here to stay. We might not use our voice as efficient as a radio or podcast host, but as with everything, you get better while doing (or using) it.

Since it’s a gift from Santa, I better use it or he’ll come next year and take it away.

You can find the product easily right here.

#5 New Huion 1060 Plus Graphics Tablet

This is the pricier item from the list, but it’s also more unique.

Compared to the other gifts, it’s the only one you can’t really substitute.

Only graphic tablets can do what they were built to do.

The only substitute to the Huion graphic tablet would be a [insert competitor name] graphic tablet.

With that out of the way, let’s breakdown its ins and outs.

1. Why

There are a few reasons I could instantly list:

  • I like writing
  • I like drawing
  • I like using a lot of papers

So, I’m basically drawing and writing on a lot of physical papers. I’ll be honest, there’s nothing that can compare to that, but at the same time, most of those papers, are used only once, never to be checked again.

That’s quite inconvenient.

Many times, I put things on paper in an unique way. This helps me visualize a problem, a solution or just a list of things.

I don’t like to force my mind or even rely on it to always remember exactly what is the best way of doing one thing.

If I’d have a folder with all of those “drawings”, as I call them, I could instantly get inspiration or remember things that can help me in the present.

You surely had one of those days when ideas were just flowing masterfully.

Since most of those moments come in writing or drawing for me, the freedom that pen and paper give, is something that I really haven’t been able to replicate.

And this is why I’d expect a graphic tablet to at least somehow replace the slightly ineffective paper in some aspects.

2. Life Expectancy

I’d say forever and ever.

But joking aside, I’m not a designer per say, so you wouldn’t even expect me to buy something like this. 

If it works well and I start learning how to use it properly, it should easily last a couple of years.

You might think, what does a couple of years mean?

Well, I would say that it can be from 2-3 years to 5-6 years.

By that time, technology might advance more than enough or I would  be able to upgrade the graphics tablet to something even more productive.

3. Impact

As I said, this should replace something that I do pretty much daily, and that is writing on a lot of pieces of papers.

The only thing that I have to do in order to use it properly is to understand how it works and become more efficient with it.

After a couple of minutes of testing it out, I can tell you that I feel like I just opened Paint for the first time in my life.

You can pretty much see everything that is available right away, but it’s not until you find out what you can create with the tools you have, that you understand what is possible.

If it can give me a 5% increase in productivity, that is more than enough.

Most of the things we buy usually take away from our productivity and attention, so this would be quite the achievement. In the last couple of years I’ve always asked for plain old money and not taking the time to think what could impact my life positively, since 

Surprisingly, the tablet has seen a price slash and you can find it discounted on Amazon, and this happened suddenly just 3-4 days before Christmas, which came as a surprise to both me and Santa.

And if you’re thinking what might be the difference between knowing how to use such a tablet and not really knowing what to do it, I will just show you one picture.

If you haven’t seen it before, it basically shows the work of one artist, depending on how much time he has available to finish the drawing. It shows the difference between drawing Spider Man in 10 minutes, 1 minute and 12 seconds.

Credits to Mo Selim.

Final Thoughts

After all, only the 5 Second Journal didn’t make the final cut.

Having a planner or journal is definitely helpful and I’m going to use one in the next year just like I used in the past 10 months, but I will go back to the basics and use a simple one that I can find in any shop.

All that a planner needs is simplicity and making life easier, not more complicated. 

At the same time, the Mi Band 3 is an everyday companion and the Huion 1060 tablet should become a loyal friend, if I start understanding how to use it at a more intermediate level.

The 64GB SanDisk card and the microphone don’t have an instant impact, but for their price, they can have an immeasurable impact over the long term.

If any of these gifts has sparked any new idea of what you might need, want or you might give someone in the near future, you can let me know in the comment section down below. 

With that, I’m ending this post by wishing you a happy gift giving, now or in the future – because we all go through these wonderful times of the year.

If there’s anything on your mind, don’t be shy, you have the comment box down below ⇩⇩⇩ Promise I won’t bite ⇩⇩⇩