Hyperactive mode and focus mode

Hyperactive mode is Twitter, staying on top of email, messaging. Browsing and chatting on Slack, quick reading on Medium, being responsive. Notifications. Many browser tabs. Meeting after meeting after meeting. Fixing things. Hyperactive mode is reactive, immersive, lots of little shots of dopamine. Stress.

Hyperactive mode is valuable, and feels great, sometimes. But not always. It will rarely make you feel satisfied. Hyperactive mode often leaves you thinking “where did my day go?”

Focus mode is undisturbed writing, creative flow, quality. Focus mode is a flow of thought after thought after thought, channeled into products. Words on paper. Amazing code. Beautiful drawings. Focus mode is creating things and finishing things. It’s taking in information with full attention. Long reads. An insightful talk. An inspiring movie.

Focus mode is valuable, and feels great, almost always. Focus mode often leaves you thinking “where did that come from?”

But it shouldn’t be the only thing. Focus mode needs some hyperactive mode to stay in touch with the world.

Spend some time in true focus mode and some time in hyperactive mode every day. When in doubt, err on the side of more focus mode. This world will push you toward hyperactive mode all the time.

If there is a secret to professional wellbeing as a knowledge worker, this is probably it.

Day 14 – 14 days of learning Chinese

Day 14, the colors. Lots of new words to learn. The structure of all sentences was similar though, so not a lot of difficulty there.

This was the last dayI really enjoyed the challenge, and I feel like I did actually learn Chinese, although obviously at a very basic level. Not the vocabulary, but also the tones and their importance, a bit about the structure of sentences and even some writing.

From a motivation and discipline perspective the challenge worked great. Having made this public commitment really helped to sit down for the video every day, even if I didn’t feel like doing it so much, or other things in life asked for attention. I definitely recommend this method for guaranteed focus on a subject or project for a longer stretch of time.

For now I’ll leave it with these fourteen days. Maybe I’ll do another challenge like this in the future, and surely I’ll be listening to some more lessons and repeating these ones to really make them permanent. Thanks for watching and keeping me on track!

Day 10 – yesterday, today, tomorrow

Today I learned about the days: yesterday, today, tomorrow. I’m starting to get the feeling I can actually say some things! Though still a very limited set of things, of course.

Learning this lesson went relatively smooth because I listened to it a lot of times before today. Today I only needed a short practise session to master it.



Day 7 – reading, writing, numbers

Seven days down, seven to go. Today two lessons: “reading and writing” and “numbers“. There were not too many difficult new words and sentences in these lessons, so I was able to do both in one day which brings me back to a “one lesson per day” schedule. Yay!

Note that it’s not like I go from zero to complete memory of what you see in the video in one day. I listen to the audio many times for several days in advance, and try to repeat the sentences. For example, right now I’ve heard all lessons up to 14 several times already. On the day that I make the video I train that lesson to the point where I can repeat (almost) the whole lesson.


Day 6 – keeping Yoda Jewish

Almost one week has passed by, and I’ve learned a lot already! Today more “countries and languages”.


  • The words for all continents are similar. “o-tjoh” (Europe), “ya-tjoh” (Asia), “fay-tjoh” (Africa), “may-tjoh” (America).
  • When remembering longer sentences with many unknown words, it helps if you can find a sentence in a language that you know that sounds similar. For example, “Capital cities are big and noisy” (listen to the recording here). I already knew the first words “capital” and “are” (or what seems like “are all”), but the rest of the sentence? Then I realized it sounds like “Yoda Joods houden” – “to keep Yoda Jewish”. That is totally weird, which is great for remembering stuff. I imagine something like this and will never forget the sentence:"Yoda Joods houden"

Today’s video:

Thanks to Joyful Jewish for already having created the artwork for my weird association!

Day 5 – 14 days of learning Chinese

Day 5. An entire lesson again. The image of this post shows the characters for “in school”, the subject of the lesson.


  • It helped to paste the Chinese characters into Google Translate to understand which sound means what. I found that I actually did know some of the words already.
  • The Chinese names for other languages sound funny to me. I like to say them 🙂
  • The word for “to learn” is in a lot of the sentences. Also “school” and “school children” are based on it.

Here’s todays video. It includes some of the original recordings of the audio course so you can hear whether what I say is any good.

Day 4 – 14 days of learning Chinese

Another day, 6 other sentences. Boy, these were hard to remember. I couldn’t recognize many of the words, which made it hard to reproduce a whole sentence. But finally I managed.


  • “Are you here on vacation?” was the easiest because it starts with “are you here” and what came after it sounded a bit like Portuguese.
  • “Please do visit me sometime” was hard, but it helped that “you” and “me” were in the middle of  the sentence. Then it became “[weird sound] you [little sound] me [peculiar, easy to remember sound]” which made it digestible.


Day 2 – 14 days of learning chinese

Day 2 of the challenge, 12 left.


  • Various family members have multiple words for them. Grandfather/-mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt. I wonder why. Could be older brother vs younger brother, grandfather from mothers side vs fathers side, etc?
  • “2” is “arrrr” like a pirate.
  • With the males there’s a lot of “fu”, with the females a lot of “mu” and “ma”.
  • “mother” sounds almost like “Mutti” in German.
  • Five different words for uncle? Really??
  • “The family is not small” was the hardest to remember.

Day 1 – 14 days of learning Chinese

1 day of the challenge down, 13 to go. Chinese is fun!

Quick notes:

  • “he” and “she” sound exactly the same (are they?).
  • the last part of “is here” sounds like “juli”, the Dutch month July.
  • “is here” is exactly the same for I, he, we. Easy does it!
  • “all” sounds like “tão” in Portuguese only not nasal. Also close to “todo”, all.
  • “we” is pronounced like “woman”

See me speak gibberish:

Grafieken wedstrijdverloop 1eDivisie Oud Gastel

Voor de verandering nu eens grafieken van een niet-stayerwedstrijd, de 1eDivisiewedstrijd in Oud Gastel, wederom in samenwerking met Peter van Grootheest. Er waren van Oud Gastel helaas geen tussentijden op de fiets, maar desalniettemin kwamen er aardige plaatjes uit.

Klik op het plaatje om de interactieve grafiek te openen.

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Statistieken en grafieken Eredivisie Sprint Stein

Hier zijn de uitslagen uitgebreid met percentages, fietsgroepen en posities op alle onderdelen.

Dames Heren Originele uitslagen MyLaps (bron)

Ook van Stein hebben Peter van Grootheest en ik weer grafieken gemaakt van het wedstrijdverloop. Helaas zijn er geen tussentijden op de fiets en daarom slechts een punt per atleet voor het hele fietsonderdeel. Voor de rest zijn ze compleet. Klik en geniet.

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