Boba Train #1: Productivity Tips, Book Recs, Focused Work, Big Tech & Murder Mysteries

Boba Train #1: Productivity Tips, Book Recs, Focused Work, Big Tech & Murder Mysteries
Photo by Katie Rainbow 🏳️‍🌈 on Unsplash

Hi 👋 folks!

Welcome to the first edition of my monthly newsletter: Boba Train.

At the end of every month, I will share things that I found interesting throughout the month. If you are interested in productivity tips, health hacks, money tips, technology, and book recommendations, I hope you will find this helpful.

Every month, I go to my favorite boba shop or some cafe nearby to do a monthly review. I want this newsletter to give off the same vibes.

That being said, feel free to pour yourself some ☕️ or 🍵 and let’s get the ball rolling.

📖 What’s in this issue?

- One new productivity resource you cannot miss
- Cool new mysteries I am fascinated by
- Reading Updates and Recommendations
- Setting a daily highlight
- Spaceboxing
- Music streaming industry
- Facebook vs Tiktok (Do we benefit?)
- My troubled Google Search experience
- My take on the tech layoffs happening

👨‍🎓 One New Productivity Resource You Cannot Miss

As my first productivity read for 2023, I read the book Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky.

It was easily one of the most actionable productivity and time management books I have ever come across. I gave it an easy 5-star.

The book packs almost 100 actionable tips to help you focus better, manage your time well, energize your body and mind, and reflect on your experiences.

If you are looking to pick up a practical productivity book, I will highly recommend Make Time.

👻 Cool New Mysteries I am Fascinated By

If you know me, you know I love a good old true crime, thriller, or mystery podcast.

I came across a few this month that I have been obsessed with. Hope you enjoy these too!

What Happened to Elisa Lam?

The Villisca Axe Murders

📚 Reading Updates & Recommendations

January 2023 has been a really productive reading month.

These are the books I finished:

  1. The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins — 3/5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
  2. Verity by Colleen Hoover — 4/5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
  3. Bewilderment by Richard Powers — 3/5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
  4. Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky — 5/5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I would highly recommend picking up Verity and Make Time.

Here are some books I started reading:

  1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  2. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Finally, here are the books I added to my library:

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
  2. Five Survive by Holly Jackson
  3. Elena Knows by Claudia Pineiro

☀️ Setting A Daily Highlight

A suggestion that I have adopted since reading Make Time — set a daily highlight every morning and time block your calendar to complete it.

I have consistently done this for 3 weeks now, and I can report back that the strategy works!

It helps me consistently move the needed on the biggest project at hand, and leaves me with a sense of satisfaction even if I cannot complete all my TODOs for the day.

🛏 Spaceboxing

I have been using “spaceboxing” for some of my most productive hours this month.

However, I didn’t know about this term until it was coined in a recent podcast episode by The Productivity Show.

The idea is simple: you have a dedicated space to do everything.

For me, to do my most focused work, I have been going to this local cafe. It’s brilliant there! They have a good selection of items, are not too busy, and have some amazing people!

I have been going to the cafe and knocking out the “highlight of my day” during my 2–3 hours focus block.

I would highly recommend y’all try this out too.

🎵 Music Streaming Industry

I never really stopped to think how far we have come when it comes to listening to our favorite music.

I still remember the days when I used to download MP3 files from the internet. 😶

Now, for a fixed monthly subscription, we get unlimited access to the whole world’s music catalog. Crazy times!

I found this podcast episode by “Decoder with Nilay Patel” where the Amazon VP, Steve Boom, talks about Amazon Music, and the music streaming industry at large.

Of course, the episode is a little biased toward Amazon Music, but it does a really good job of elucidating how Tech has revolutionized the music industry.

👪 Facebook vs TikTok

If you are interested to learn more about the juicy war between various social media platforms, you must check out this episode from the Decoder with Nilay Patel show.

In this show, a Facebook executive explains how Facebook is trying to compete with TikTok (or the other way around?).

It talks about the difference between a news feed filled with content from your friends and one where the platform recommends what they think is best for you.

It’s a really interesting listen. Would highly recommend it if you are interested in this space.

⁉️ My Google Search Experience

Very recently I was talking to a good friend about how Google has been surfacing more and more Ads on Search, pushing down organic search results further down.

It’s been very frustrating!

I also did a quick search to find that in Q4 2021 almost 70% of Google’s revenue came from Google Search. That shows how much Search means to Google, and how adding just a couple more ad slots every year can drastically increase their margins.

I will write more about this sometime later on, but for now, it’s important to note that recently U.S. Department of Justice sued Google for abusing monopoly in the Ad Technology industry.

😢 The Unfortunate Tech Layoffs

It seems like every week one or another big Tech company is announcing massive layoffs.

Being in the tech industry for so long, I have friends who are being affected by this. It’s really sad to see that.

To me, it all comes down to irresponsible hiring during the pandemic. Almost all the CEOs are coming out with statements with something along the lines of “we hired for a different economy”.

This is utterly irresponsible.

Facebook, Google, Amazon — and many more tech companies — have already announced huge layoffs.

Apple is the only company yet to announce a layoff.

And surprise surprise…Apple is the only company that seemed at least somewhat responsible with their hiring during the pandemic.

Here’s a brilliant piece by WSJ comparing these companies and their hiring practices.

Alright, folks.

That’s me wrapping up my January 2023.

See y’all again next month.

I hope you found this a valuable read and have some takeaways that you can go ahead and implement in your wonderful lives.

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