Ignore at your own peril

Messy desk with a laptop, rulers, wires, a hammer, and a hard drive.
Messy desk with a laptop, rulers, wires, a hammer, and a hard drive.
Photo by Death to Stock

A few years ago, I was in my final years of completing university. Like many, I had big plans after graduation, all of which required competitive grades. One summer after the school year had ended, I took it upon myself to try and catch up on my studies, as well as prepare for the upcoming year.

I laid out numerous goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of the summer. I wanted to review everything that I had learned so far as an astrophysics major, as well as new topics that I would be learning the following semester…


What Every Productivity System Has in Common

Yellow sticky notes on black desk — a common sight at startups for brainstorming ideas, organizing thoughts and tracking task
Yellow sticky notes on black desk — a common sight at startups for brainstorming ideas, organizing thoughts and tracking task
Photo by Death to Stock

Over the years, I had come across and read about many different productivity systems, from Getting Things Done, the Pomodoro Technique, the Eisenhower Matrix, and SMART goals, to project management methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban.

In those same years, I had also done my fair share of experimenting with these productivity methods — jumping from one productivity method to another, often reverting back to a previous system, before finding a new system to try. It seemed like a regular cycle that would occur at least once every few months.

Eventually, I realized that a big part of why I…


How a misunderstanding of the power of habit can lead to a struggle in building new habits

A man in business casual clothing eating a jelly doughnut with jam on his tie.
A man in business casual clothing eating a jelly doughnut with jam on his tie.
Photo by Pxfuel

Ever since it was first published in 2012, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg has become something of an icon of personal development books, cited by many — including myself — in numerous blog articles on how to change or build habits.

In simple terms, The Power of Habit claims that habits are governed by a neurological loop that consists of three elements: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue is anything that triggers the routine, the routine is the action that makes up the habit, and the reward is the benefit that comes out of the…


Sooner or later, we all eventually realize that teachers are not the all-knowing, omnipotent beings we once thought they were.

When we were younger, teachers were the ones many of us turned to for answers. For some, a teacher’s word held more weight than even their own parents’. But somewhere along the way of growing up, we eventually realize that teachers are not always right.

A hand holding chalk and writing on a green chalkboard
A hand holding chalk and writing on a green chalkboard
Photo by Death to Stock

This realization may come early on, but for many, this happens most notably in high school — the rebellious years — where many students question the utility of what they are learning in school.

I don’t exactly recall any particular moment when this happened for me personally, but by the time I was in high…


A solid background with plastic squares that have a single letter on each of the squares arranged to spell “Finally Free”.
A solid background with plastic squares that have a single letter on each of the squares arranged to spell “Finally Free”.
Death to Stock

If you have ever read The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, you have probably heard of the term, “human-centred design”. In simple terms, human-centred design is about designing things for human users. This may sound like an obvious and simple task, but it really isn’t, and is often taken for granted.

In Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, they introduce the idea of “The Curse of Knowledge”. You are cursed with knowledge when you are no longer able to put yourself in the shoes of someone who does not know what you know. When you try…


Death to Stock

For years, I have always struggled with tab management on my internet browser. I had a terrible habit of always keeping several dozen tabs opened at the same time — each one seemingly important enough that I needed the tab opened, just in case.

Not only does this take up a lot of computing resources, but I’ve realized that it also takes up a lot of mental resources as well. Having several tabs opened at the same time can be overwhelming, and a big weight on your mind. …


Over the past couple of months, I developed an interest in Formula 1 racing, after YouTube started recommending videos from the Formula 1 YouTube channel to me.

It’s an interesting sport that really caters to the side of me that loves engineering and technology mixed with human skill and achievement.

The more that I learn about the sport, the more that I realize how many important lessons there are that can be learned from Formula 1 racing that reflects much of what real life actually is.

Here are some lessons that I have learned so far.

Death to Stock

You Can’t Control Everything

The only thing that…


I am a long-time fan of Todoist, and have been happily using the premium version for the past few years.

To me, Todoist is the perfect blend of minimalist and clean design, with the right feature set that suits exactly what I need.

Naturally, I was tempted to put everything into Todoist: from my long-term goals, random thoughts, to even my reoccurring habits that I like to track.

Within a few weeks of doing this though, I noticed that my daily to-do lists would gradually get bigger. …


And Are They Justified?

In the couple of years that I have been working professionally now in IT — in roles ranging from customer support, professional services, to software development — one of the most important lessons that I have learned is the following:

What assumptions am I making, and are they justified?

This seems like a simple thought but you will be surprised at how many assumptions we make on a daily basis, that we take for granted.

For example, simple or obvious solutions are often ruled out in the initial stages of problem solving, with the assumption being that they would not work. But many times, it is these simple or obvious solutions that end up being the best.

Knowing and understanding these assumptions is crucial not only in being successful in IT, but in your general life as well.


Death to Stock

As I progress through my career, I find that I am in more positions of leadership, where I have to work with a team to achieve some kind of deliverable.

This is not something that is ever really taught directly in school.

We are often given group projects, and told that we need to learn how to work as part of team, but we are never actually taught how to work in a team, or how to lead a team.

A while back, I stumbled across Jocko Willink, who had done a few podcasts with Joe Rogan.

One key lesson…

Paul Le

Lifelong learner and problem solver | hungryminds.ca

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