The Musk

Learnings & Meditations on Focused Living

I have been reluctant to post for quite some time. The resistance is natural. After much deliberation and push, I plan to post in this weekly reflection format.

I intend to share some key highlights from the past week and what I have learned and reflected on. I don't have a set format for these posts. However, my target is to reach 26 posts. So, let's start with the fifth issue.

  • 🩺 I have been suffering from shoulder pain, which was affecting my grip strength and mobility. And calf muscle pain that was affecting my ability to walk. I went to the A&E, and after a series of tests, the symptoms might be due to muscle stiffness. I'm still struggling with it, but it is getting better. I'm looking forward to the physiotherapy session in the next few days to alleviate my pain and restore my strength.

  • 🥡 My diet is messed up. I couldn't cook much, so I ate takeaways and processed food. Now that I'm getting better. I want to start eating clean and get back into my exercise routine.

  • 📔 I'm thinking deeply about journaling and how to better use apps like Day One and Standard Notes. I have been using Standard Notes for nearly two years now. It has been my go-to note-taking app. I have tried many, but I always go back to Standard Notes. Day One is a great app designed for journaling. But I'm still sceptical about privacy because of who owns the app, i.e. Automattic. I want to give Day One another go inspired by Daniel Pink's Pinkcast episode on writing down one noteworthy thing at the end of the day. Also, a similar exercise is called Homework for Life by Matthew Dicks.

Thanks very much for reading The Musk Newsletter – Issue 005.

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Welcome to The Musk Newsletter – Issue 004.

Here I reflect upon the previous week and possibly share an article I read, a podcast I listened to, a video I watched, a photo I shot along with my thoughts and commentaries.

Let us start with the fourth issue.

Week 48 (29/11/2021 – 05/12/2021)

This week was one of the craziest weeks. It was a roller coaster ride. There were few health concerns in the family. I’m so pleased and grateful that the recovery is coming along pretty well. I’m thankful to the people who have helped our family.

Personally, my focus was not at its point this week. Too many things were occupying my mind. I feel that it is causing a lot of stress in me. However, the only way I know to manage is to turn to the Creator and reflect.

I am still thinking of how to move this newsletter forward in terms of content and format? Maybe I will stick with this format for 6 more weeks and tweak it from Issue 011.

This Week I Learned

I learned that finishing your thinking when stuff shows up in terms of determining the outcomes and next-actions is an essential part of stress-free productivity.

Favourites of the Week

To Listen: I really enjoyed this conversation with BJ Fogg on how to build tiny habits, improve our digital life and deal with digital distraction.

To Read: An interesting Twitter thread on how noise affects productivity. I prefer to have a bit of an ambient sound in the background during my focused work sessions.

To Watch: I just binged on Our Yemeni Kitchen YouTube channel. Very simple recipes. More importantly, it is so calming to watch.

Photo of the Week

I got this laptop stand for £7 and this got to be the best purchase of the month!

Quote of the Week

I often head a blank page, “What's on my plate?” and jot below all the things I currently have to get done or give attention to.

From The Pocket Notebook Book by Ray Blake.

One More Thing

I have re-subscribed to the Calm app. I really like their sleep stories. I found a lot of benefits when I learned and practised mindfulness. I want to give this another go. If you are interested, do check the app out. It’s brilliant!

Thanks very much for reading The Musk Newsletter – Issue 004.

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Welcome to The Musk Newsletter – Issue 003.

Here I reflect upon the previous week and possibly share an article I read, a podcast I listened to, a video I watched, a photo I shot along with my thoughts and commentaries.

Let us start with the third issue.

Week 47 (22/11/2021 – 28/11/2021)

The week brought some good and bad news from the family. My sister was diagnosed with Dengue fever. She was tested straight away and it was at its initial stages so basic treatment was offered. She is now recovering steadily and gives me peace of mind. This is the kind of situation I feared the most after my father’s passing. I’m slowly learning to take the responsibilities of looking after a family but I do not know if I’m doing it correctly or not.

Apart from that, I went to Liverpool for a two-day work event. It was really good. A key takeaway from the event was leadership does not always happen at the top of the organisation. Top management may have authority over the strategy of a business. But, leadership is personal because leaders always start with a why?.

This Week I Learned

If you got a delivery from Amazon over the weekend and you are going to be out and about. Schedule the delivery during the weekdays or get it delivered to your nearest Amazon Locker. This way you can collect it at home or pick it up from the Locker at your convenience.

Favourites of the Week

To Listen: I just love this composition from Yuvan. His music touches your soul. Listen with your headphones to feel the music.

To Read: On slow blogging. I like that idea. I believe it is better to write daily but publish at least once a day to get into the practice of shipping your ideas.

To Watch: I remember watching Amin's guitar video a few years back and was just in awe of this strumming skill. Watch it and enjoy the music.

Photo of the Week

Fallen tree in our backyard. Thankful no one was hurt. Storm Arwen has caused a lot of damage across the UK. Stay safe and stay home.

Quote of the Week

Good leaders provide enough management oversight to give a clear and coherent idea of vision and purpose, but not to the extent that they micromanage. They ensure employees have the information they need to make good decisions, and then step back to let the good decisions happen.

From Personal Kanban: Mapping Work & Navigating Life by Tonianne DeMaria Barry and Jim Benson

One More Thing

I have been toiling with the idea of cancelling my subscription. I have subscribed to and the thought of maintaining two blogging platforms was tedious. However, I have decided to retain my subscription. This will be my main blog where I shall slowly build a personal knowledge journal of my thoughts, commentaries and reflections. will be my backup where I will be consolidating all of my posts irrespective of content. will be like a digital garden. I envisage it to be some sort of an online commonplace notebook. Hope you will check them out.

Thanks very much for reading The Musk Newsletter – Issue 003.

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Welcome to The Musk Newsletter – Issue 002.

Here I reflect upon the previous week and possibly share an article I read, a podcast I listened to, a video I watched, a photo I shot along with my thoughts and commentaries.

Let's rock and roll!

Week 46 (15/11/2021 – 21/11/2021)

I started this newsletter after mulling over the idea for a couple of weeks. It felt really good to start something that I look forward to.

I'm still unclear how I want to take this “newsletter” thing in terms of format and structure. But, I had an innate feeling of just doing it without any expectations. This strategy has always worked out for me.

When I graduated from University just before the 2008 recession, I struggled really hard to find a job in the Engineering sector. I might have applied for more than 300 jobs! Rejections took a toll on my mental health. But, I always knew that there will be something out there for me. I was headhunted for a job that I loved to bits. I guess this newsletter will lead to something better in the future. As of now, I know that it nourishes my soul.

Favourites of the Week

To Listen: If you are looking to binge on a truly brilliant True Crime podcast, give Swindled podcast a go and thank me later.

To Read: I'm a big fan of Matthew Dicks's blog. In his blog post on Burger Stupidity, he explains how ¼ is not greater than 1/3. And, let's be honest here! Fractions are hit or miss with most people. Me included.

To Watch: I really enjoyed watching Noah Kagan explaining the Law of 100. The gist is to stick with whatever you want to do for 100 attempts. Inspired by this approach, I want to try out publishing this newsletter for 100 issues which equate to 100 weeks or close to two years. I guess anything could happen for a target of 100 issues. Hope you will follow the journey.

Photo of the Week

I had pancakes for breakfast. It was delicious!

Quote of the Week

When you consciously track all your commitments, that same integrity will force you to discriminate and say no, because you’ll be more aware of your capabilities.

From Ready For Anything: 52 productivity principles for work and life by David Allen.

One More Thing

I got mentioned on a podcast!

Fellow microbloggers, Jean & James were kind enough to read my blog post and talk about in theirWeekly Review Podcast. The duo starts to discuss my blog post from 10:33 onward. Hope you like it.

Thanks very much for reading The Musk Newsletter – Issue 002.


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Welcome to The Musk Newsletter – Issue 001.

Every Monday, I'm planning to reflect on the previous week and share my thoughts, commentary and learning from my daily life. I'm calling my newsletter, The Musk.

Ever since I started using Obsidian, I have kept a daily note of my thoughts, reflections and things as it happens. This is similar to Ryder Carroll's Daily Pages. This single habit has helped me to quickly review my days without much effort and helps me to capture anything that is potentially meaningful for me.

Some of the things that I'm planning to include are an article I read, a podcast I listened to, a video I watched, a photo I shot along with my thoughts and commentaries.

Let us start with the first issue.

Week 45 (08/11/2021 – 14/11/2021)

This week was a roller coaster ride. Relationships are something I struggle with and need a lot of helping hand. It has taken me a while to accept this sticking point in me. I have lived most of my adult independently. I grew up with a stammer and always felt like an outsider in any situation. Reviewing my weekly entries has shown me that the one thing I need to implement is to approach my key relationships with love and patience.

Speaking of love and patience, I spent my Father’s birthday on 10th November without him for the first time. Just when I was sort of getting out of this emotional struggle, on 14th November, I got the news that my maternal grandfather passed away. After trying to console my mother who has lost her husband not too long ago. I reflected on the life's brevity in my Obsidian journal and pondered on this verse of the Holy Quran:

God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear: each gains whatever good it has done, and suffers its bad- 'Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make mistakes. Lord, do not burden us as You burdened those before us. Lord, do not burden us with more than we have the strength to bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Protector, so help us against the disbelievers.’ – Chapter 2, Verse 286

May God Almighty accept my grandfather's good deads and forgive his known, unknown and secretive sins. Ameen!

One thing that really inspired me in the past week is a Tamil film, Jai Bhim. We watched it on Amazon Prime on 12th November It's an excellent film on how power, money and most importantly casteism conspire together against Tribal people. This film helps in identifying who is a caste supremacist and who stands for social justice. If you are interested, watch the trailer here.

Finally, a photo of Lamb Briyani cooked by the wife on 12th November:

Quote of the Week

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Unknown

Thanks very much for reading The Musk Newsletter – Issue 001.


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