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, 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 13, only one day left! Today is about activities and work. I didn’t master the lesson perfectly, but some of the sentences came out kind of right. I watched some videos about the different tones of pronunciation, and I’m trying to apply that. Still a long way to go towards fluency in Chinese, but that’s not my goal (yet ;).
The months. Easy lesson because similar to the days of the week, the names of the months are the word “month” combined with the month number. It seems to me that Chinese is a really systematic language.
More numbers, now to name the days of the week. Literally translated Monday Chinese is “week-one”, Tuesday is “week-two” etcetera. Even more logical than Portuguese where Monday is “second market”, Tuesday is “third market” etc.
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.
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:
Thanks to Joyful Jewish for already having created the artwork for my weird association!
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.
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.
Let’s start a new challenge: learning to speak Chinese! I love learning languages. My mother tongue is Dutch and besides that I speak English, Portuguese, French and German (in descending order of proficiency). Time to add another one to the end of the list, albeit with a very small font.
Ha fijn, een wedstrijdje in de buurt. Vlak de druk van het behalen van punten voor het Dolfijn Clubkampioenschap niet uit, maar het was toch redelijk ontspannen. Ik heb genoten van een mooie eerste editie van de Ouderkerkerplastriathlon!
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.
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.