Summer is over, and it’s now back to school season. In the midst of an unprecedented crisis… the idea of summer seems like a long anecdote, barely a comma to make us realize half of the year went by already. Although I had originally planned to visit my island in July before the beginning of the crisis, I decided to stay safe, in Montréal, for the summer. So, without further ado, here is what I’ve been up to in August 2020.
☀️ August 2020 in a nutshell
August 2020 was a calm and interesting month.
Usually, I have a hard time being on vacation (whether travelling or not) because I always feel like I need to do something every minute of the day to “make up for the time I’m given”. By then, either I overwork myself and miss the point of vacation or I don’t do anything and feel miserable about it 🤷🏾♂️. This time, however, I tried time as it was and deal on a day to day level with my intuitions and energy level.
I did my best to enjoy the few days of calm before the start of the new semester year, I went out a couple of times with friends, read books and watched movies, but most of all I listened to my heart. By accepting what is in each moment and trusting my intuitions, I realized about my priorities, my values, my core. For the first time in years, although I didn’t do anything particular, I felt happy. Really happy, and I still do.
📖 On learning in August 2020
In August, I felt rather disconnected from my usual routines, so learning was a bit more chaotic than usual but, I still managed to discover many things. I’m particularly happy as I opened both my mind and my heart to things that I could never have learned in books. Besides, I got rather inspired, discovered some topics that I would love to dive into (like Cognitive Science) and greatly increased my list of books to read 😅.
Books I’ve been reading in August 2020
Here are the books I’m currently reading and those I recently finished.
— Currently reading:
- Le Signal | by Maxime Chattam
- The first 20 hours: how to read anything… fast | by Josh Kaufman
- Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal | by J.K Rowling
- Isaac Newton | by James Gleick
I also paused a couple of other books I was reading but couldn’t connect with at the moment.
— Recently finished:
Skills I learned last month
Vacations are usually pretty dry on the skill learning front, but for this occasion, I still managed to learn & improve myself on some fronts.
— I started using Anki & learned about Spaced-Repetition 📱
If you don’t know about the app, Anki is a very powerful tool for spaced-repetition and active recall, available on all platforms. Although it’s not the first time, that I heard about Spaced-Repetition (I’ve been using Brainscape since high school), I had never valued it that much.
With a very well crafted algorithm, Space Repetition helps you remember anything almost permanently by optimizing the rate at which your brain tends to forget things. If you actively try to recall something right before your brain forgets it, you’re more likely to remember it for a longer time. Repeat that at increasing intervals and you will remember it almost forever.
If you are interested, here are some of the resources I’ve been using to learn about the tool:
- 🎥 Learn Anything With Flashcards | Ali Abdaal (on Skillshare)
- 📰 How to remember anything forever-ish | by Nick Case
- 🎥 Anki Tutorial (High Yield) | Rachel Southard (on YouTube)
- 🎥 Using Latex to create Anki Flashcards | Michelle Krummel (on YouTube)
- 🎥 Study with Me + Anki Flashcard Method | by Ali Abdaal (on YouTube)
As I will learn more in the future and actively use it in my learning, I might write a post on my system using Anki and the Spaced-Repetition method.
— Improving my ability to speak and understand Spanish 🇲🇽
One of my main goals at the moment is to improve my Spanish. Before next summer, I would like to be able to
- Speak confidently with a native speakers about simple to medium topics
- Write medium-length texts in Spanish without feeling like my brain is overheating
- Understand fast paced dialogues in movies/shows as well as being able to read books about various topics in the language.
In August, I have been improving my practice and earning some confidence. I feel less afraid to practice it with native speakers or even just for myself… I figured that I should rather do mistakes and correct them rather than never to learn and improve at all 🤷🏾♂️.
Every day, I try to practice and learn about the syntax, even if just for 5 minutes. At the moment I write this post, my current focus is on earning new vocabulary about “daily topics and obvious fields” quickly (like colours, anatomy, animals, fruits & vegetables, housing, and things that are most likely to come up in “small talks”). While reading Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal, listening to podcasts or watching videos on YouTube/Netflix, I write down all of the new words I discover to add them to Anki later.
✊ On creating in August 2020
Although I wrote less than planned, I still pushed out some content this month (blog posts and newsletters), including some of my best posts.
- 📖 Book Notes | Outliers: The Story of Success • by Malcolm Gladwell
- 🌿 Lifestyle | On changing mindset
- 🌿 Lifestyle | Stop overthinking, time is your ally
- ⏰ Productivity | How I use Notion to learn and to create effectively
August 2020 also marks the switch to Substack for the Newsletter.
🌟 Content & Ideas I loved last month
— On lifestyle, learning & mindful living 🌿
- 🎥 Claire: The Documentary | Claire Wineland
- 📰 It’s rarely pointless. | Yath Prem
- 🎥📖 The first 20 hours — how to learn anything | Josh Kaufman
— On productivity ⏰ & creativity 🎨
- 🎥 My creative workflow with Notion | Ali Abdaal
- 📰 How Anne-Laure Le Cunff Wrote 200 Articles In One Year | Dan Shipper
- Why I don’t believe in fake engagement in blogging (+ tips and tricks to engage and build genuine connections!) | Marie @dh_books
— On business, work and entrepreneurship 🚀
- 🎥 This is how you get true job security | Matt d’Avella
- 🎥 5 Things I’d Tell My 19-Year-Old Self About Running a Business | Thomas Frank
- 📰 How to Make Career-Defining Decisions, Terror-Free | Roxine Kee
Let’s chat 💬
What about you, how did your August month go? Did you go on vacation, if so, where? I want to know everything!