Summer is about to end here in Manila and we are experiencing the occasional drizzles ushering in the June rainy season. But my fever for my newfound routine has been going along swimmingly. The walking pad I bought from Shopee has been a godsend; even on days I did not hit my 8 hours of sleep, I still manage to do a light physical activity to jumpstart my morning.

Much of the brain fog has been reduced, my usage of my gadgets have been intentional, and nobody has been hijacking my attention on my inboxes lately. This gave me enough energy and peace of mind to handle the high temps and my kids’ health issues this month, and reacquaint myself with Azure and Microsoft technology tools as a whole. (I am still a Linux fan, but Microsoft released some really cool things lately that I cannot ignore as a nerd for tech!)

A few friends complained that they cannot reach me. So far, it has been manageable and not to the point where I have to go back to a lifetime of doom-scrolling and fueling my dopamine from emojis.

Now that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Linkedin are no longer my go-tos digitally, I had the following for different reasons.

Getting Things Done: Focusmate

Just this week, I managed to have sessions with a book author, an up and coming singer (ethereal voice that reminds me of Plumb!), and two teachers. Focusmate is literally productivity on steroids. They now have 25-minute and 50-minute options. Once, I tried their 90-minute one but I was really exhausting. Maybe I will revisit that when I am in the coding stage. I really have tremendous respect for the people I meet in this app; they spend a monthly subscription to get productive. Most of the sessions I have been in have really good energies, and that helps me especially in the morning when I need to build momentum.

Consistent Meditation Practice: Insight Timer

I have been lax lately, but I no longer judge myself for it. I have Insight Timer (and my smartphone’s breathing exercise option) for most of my meditation needs. I also installed Headspace before when I still had a corporate subscription from my old job. But I really fall back to Insight Timer. I was able to talk to the analytics engineer of this app a few months ago and I even proposed to work for free in order to use their data for my thesis that time. (I ended up ditching that whole prospect because I have other urgent things to prioritize this year.)

Guilty Lurking Pleasures: Reddit and Quora

I still allot around 15-20 minutes of doom-scrolling. I think I rigged my Reddit feed to just produce things I love. I uninstalled the main app, though. I just scroll when needed. Quora is also nice when it comes to looking for answers to just about anything. I have to be careful not to spend too much time on these platforms.

Keeping Track of Tasks: Monday, Azure DevOps, and Microsoft Planner

Monday has been a great help in keeping me organized. I used to write down my tasks on sticky notes, but I realized that it’s not very sustainable. With Monday, I can easily add tasks, set deadlines and reminders, and categorize them into different projects. It’s been a game-changer for me. For Microsoft-related nerd stuff, I use Planner and Azure DevOps. The tech nerd stack deserves a separate post of its own in the future.

Learning Something New: Coursera and FreeCodeCamp

I’ve always loved learning new things, and Coursera has been my go-to platform for online courses. I had been using Coursera since they started the platform as a free website resource. I am still using it now.

Bookworm Adventures: Discord and Goodreads

Book groups, meditation virtual buddies, and other special interest groups are in Discord. I also maintain my Goodreads account because that is where I log my reading challenges every year. …

Content Curation: Notion and Glasp Chrome Extension

I went back to using Glasp again because I am learning new things and I need to curate them properly for faster retrieval when I am going to use them for a project or some other thing.

Incorporating Movement: Apple Fitness

I have a smartwatch again! I use Apple Fitness and monitor my daily movement goals with my friend Ken. Ken has been critically influential. Even on those days I felt so lazy, I kept seeing notifications of his workouts. It is refreshing to have this motivation in the middle of the year (as we have a peak of this every January when people do their new year’s resolutions).

Projects over Badges: Polywork

This is something that I am still exploring lightly. But Polywork had operated on an interesting premise that it helps you find collaborators over connections that you add once and forget for the rest of your career.

I am not permanently swearing off the mainstream social media. I think I just need to redefine my relationship with my online activities and how I want to use my time. So far, I think this decision is one of the best I made in my life this year. I was able to regain so much time and energy just living off the grid, sort of.