Do you remember when we used to complain about how long was the month of January? As we approach the mid-year and with everything that has happened in the world, even this memory feels outdated? I have stopped counting the days since the beginning of the lockdown and, although I’m technically still free to go out in the sun, I still can’t find the light out of this tunnel. So I just learned how to live in the dark, until the situation gets better. Anyway, here's what I've been up to in May 2020.
🐚 May 2020, in a Nutshell
May in itself was a nice month, I think I learned a lot, mostly about myself and the way I work, I realized what matters most to me and what doesn’t. If you’re in a hurry, here are my highlights and low lights of the month.
- School results: I received my results for the 2nd session at Uni, and I passed all of my classes with better results while being less stressed and in lockdown
- I made quite a lot of change in my ecosystem (for productivity) as I completely reorganized my Notion setup. Oh, and Notion Personal Plan has become completely free for everyone! I’ll talk about it further down below.
- Zombieland: This month was pained with its load of insomnias and body pain, making me feel like a zombie at times.
- Remote learning continues: My university (like most in Montréal) has decided to give most class and school activities online except for exams and labs for the session of Autumn 2020.
Changing as the world changes
If I can’t change the world, I must learn how to change myself, in the world. I’m betting it won’t be a surprise to anyone to know how much the current situation has a destructive impact on both the mental and the physical health. I’ve never been that much of an extrovert so I’m managing, yet human beings are by nature social creatures. We need interactions, just as much as we need sun, and exercice to be healthy. But we can’t change the current situation (especially as apparently it will continue for a little while), we can only learn to change inside it, to make the most of it.
So that’s what I’m trying to do the most these days, I’m not trying to perform or to compare myself to other people who “seem to do more” than me, I’m just trying to make the most of every day by prioritizing my own health. Doing activities and projects which make me feel happy and creatively fulfilled.
Being creative in May 2020
💌 Posts & Newsletters
Although I feel like I wrote a little less this month, I still tried to exercise my creativity every day. This month, in addition to my weekly newsletters (you can subscribe here), I published some posts I’m rather confident and happy about :
- The joy of leaving footprints
- How to avoid Creative Block
- Begin with the end in mind
- Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
🧠 Building a second brain in Notion
But what really was the highlight of this month in term of creativity for me was the way I completely reorganized my Notion setup. If you don’t know Notion, it’s basically a very modular (lego-like) app, where you can pretty much do or put anything. I’ve used it for approximately 2.5 years and it’s one of the reasons I’ve been so productive and regular on the blog these last few months. But in May 2020, I pushed things way further, I basically created a single source of truth for everything I learn (read, watch, discover), create (posts, newsletters, code, etc.), organize (travel, school, business, etc.). I would love to give you more details in upcoming posts, please tell me in the comments if you would you be interested in that (?).A part of my second brain, using Notion
Learning and discovering
Pretty much as usual, this month I had three books in three different genres on my bedside table (or rather on my kindle/audible) :
- Le Signal by Maxime Chattam
- Outliers, by Austin Kleon
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
As well as How to do nothing by Jenny Odell that I DNF’d for the time being.
As I mentioned in my newsletter How to do nothing, this month I’ve been experimenting with doing less, with just enjoying moments as they are without feeling like I have to be productive or “do something” every hour of the day. It grounded me a bit and taught me how to be more present at the moment, whatever I’m doing. Like whenever I’m reading, reading, or doing something I love, do it fully without feeling like I should do something else or worse, compulsively check my phone for Instagram or Twitter.
Well although I gave less time to my own creative coding pursuits this month, I did learn quite a bit about the basis of Object-Oriented Programming in C++ as it is my class for the summer. It can be a real pain at times, but so far, I still feel like I love what I do.
What I loved in May 2020
Well, it probably won’t come as a surprise, but the app Notion itself was one of my main highlights this month. Besides personally improving my workflow, Notion itself was a lot in the news this month as... their “Personal Plan” became completely free for everyone! I also loved diving into the process and thoughts behind the product and the team in these two posts: How Notion Uses Notion and Meet Ivan Zhao, the designer/founder that is making “the missing half of Slack”.
🎶 Music-wise, I loved
💬 Blogging and lifestyle-wise, I loved
- Found a lot of value reading The Power of Routines from thoughtsnlifeblog,
- I'm not directly a part of the book blogging community, but my friend Marie wrote this post "How has book blogging changed in the past 5 years", reflecting on the emergence of social media and the slow fading of blogs, and it made me think a lot.
Thank you once more for reading! I hope May 2020 went well for you. What would be one of your highlights from this month, in any field?
Last updated: a year ago