Waking Early : Day 2

Attempted Sleep Time: 1:00am?

Actual Sleep Time: Unknown

Wakeup Time: 7:15am, 7:30am, 7:45am

Out of Bed Time: 7:50am

Mini-Failure – Day 2, aka Doomsday

Last night, I got a phone call from an old friend and ended up chatting until 11:30pm. It messed up my night schedule, but it was good to catch up so I’m not complaining.

In bed, I usually read a novel to clear my head before falling to sleep. I heard that if you don’t fall asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow then you’re not sufficiently relaxed and/or tired to sleep. Currently, I’m reading Dostoevsky’s House of the Dead

. My goal is to eventually read all of Dostoevsky’s novels.

So, anyway, I don’t know what time I actually went to sleep, but my guess is around 1:30am.

My alarm went blazing at 7:15am. My body was worn out; debt with the sleep bank is pilling up. I kept falling in and out of consciousness until finally 7:50am.

Tonight, my graduate seminar runs very late, and I won’t get back home until 11pm. I’m a little worried that I’m not getting sufficient sleep, and I was planning on hitting the gym today. Is it cheating to take a long nap?

Oh well, off to brew some tea.

Waking Early : Day 1

Attempted Sleep Time: 12:00am

Actual Sleep Time: 2:45am

Wakeup Time: 7:04am

Out of Bed Time: 7:16am

SUCCESS – DAY 1, aka The Hardest Day

On cue, I couldn’t sleep last night and spent a good hour thinking about future projects and plans while in bed. By 12:40am, I declared defeat and went on my computer to practice memory lessons (a future post on that). Two hours later, I was sufficiently tired to sleep.

I actually woke up before my alarm clock went off. But, boy oh boy, did I lay in bed thinking I could sneak in an extra 20 minutes of sleep. I’m only shooting for 7:30am after all, right?

I finally got out of bed in order to drive my mom to work. I was back home for the weekend, and someone destroyed her car in an accident three days ago. So, I definitely had the motivation and reason to get up.

By 9am, fatigue and dizziness hit me like a load  of bricks, and I napped on my floor for 20 minutes. I tried to meditate at first, but after 10 minutes, I was just too exhausted. Driving back to DC was difficult until I got some coffee in me.

Overall, I feel okay at best. Definitely can tell my body would love some more sleep but that would screw up my entire sleep schedule so I’ll have to brave it out.

One interesting note is that it’s always easy to wake up and get out of bed if I have a legit (usually social) reason. I only got 4 hours of sleep, but my body knew to wake up at 7am anyway.

Become an Early Riser 5 Days Challenge

early rising challenge

Stepcase Lifehack has issued a ballsy early morning riser challenge to the self improvement community. I accept!

When: March 22 (Monday) to March 26 (Friday)

Time: 7:30am

Where: I hope it’s my bed…

Each day, I’ll post my wake up time and how it’s going.

I’ve always wanted to be an early rising. However, I’m afraid that my  creative hours are after 11pm. Also, I’ve had many days of insomnia the past months thinking about my future plans so this might become very interesting.

My strategy is multiple alarms (is there a way to do free wake up calls?), shower, and tea. Also, no television or computer usage after 10pm.

At least, I will have much more motivation to keep going now that I’m publicly sharing my victories and failures.


Spring Design Alex: Best Ebook Reader Released

Named 2010 Best Ebook Reader @ CES

Spring Design Alex is the best ebook reader on the market now. I don’t know who came up with the lame name, but it’s absolutely gorgeous and mesmerizing.

Like Barnes & Noble’s Nook, it has a 6 inch electronic ink screen on top of a 3.5 LCD screen. They call it an iPod Touch + Kindle. Electronic ink means that reading the text is like reading an actual book. The 3.5 LCD screen is used for navigation and normal computer tasks. If the 3.5 LCD screen is too small, you can sync both screens together. It’s also powered by Android, Google’s rapidly dominating OS for gadgets and smart phones. That means any Android application can be run on this ebook reader. Not only does it let you carry thousands or millions of books (supports pdf files!), you can also browse the internet, check your email, and listen to music. I would much much rather have this over a iPad, netbook, or Amazon’s Kindle. This thing rocks!

Ebook Readers are the future! Books like newspapers are on the way out. They weigh too much, they take up too much space, and I can’t search them. With this ebook reader, combine an entire library of books weighing over 50 pounds into a tiny device weighing only 11 ounces, 4.7 by 8.9 by 0.6 inches. That’s smaller than a regular book! I could go on vacation with just a backpack of clothing, my cellphone, and this device. No books, no mp3 player, and no laptop.

I’m trying my best to wait a month or two before ordering one. I want to see whether the price drops from its current $399 price tag and how well it’s received by fans. The Spring Design Alex is definitely on the top of my Minimalist Buy List.

** UPDATE **

Yesterday, Endgadget put out their review of the Spring Design Alex. I especially like the fact that they included pictures and a table of the ereader along with other ereaders:

Spring Design Alex 4.7 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches 11 ounces
Amazon Kindle 2 5.3 x 8.0 x 0.36 inches 10.2 ounces
Barnes & Noble Nook 4.9 x 7.7 x 0.5 inches 12.1 ounces
Sony Reader Touch Edition 6.9 x 4.8 x .4 inches 10.1 ounces

Overall, they don’t like the fact that the Alex doesn’t have 3g internet access, Android apps are still limited, and there’s no way to purchase new books. Spring Design is planning a whole series of updates in the summer for these problems, but it’s not a big deal to me. I plan on getting Sprint’s 4G Mobile Internet, and I don’t purchase new ebooks. I spend a lot of time reading RSS feeds and PDF books. Nevertheless, I have started to think that purchasing a cheap netbook and a Nook/Kindle might be better. I refuse to purchase any Apple products like their iPad.

How to Become a Minimalist

In the past, every time I stepped into a professor’s office, I was in awe of all of the books filling every nook and cranny. I felt like I had stepped into an intellectual temple. So, I was delighted every time a professor gave me a free book. I quickly grew my own temple of books.

When I moved to Washington DC, I became fascinated with style, a regular GQ model. I kept buying new clothing. Except, I continued buying quantity over quality. Now, I own 6+ pairs of jeans, only 1 of them fits perfectly.

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need…The things you own end up owning you.  It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything
– Fight Club

It’s time to get rid of all the shit I don’t need.

I made the easy decision to become a minimalist. Why?

  1. Less stress and worry about losing, cleaning, or fixing things.
  2. More money to invest long term and to buy quality, expensive items.
  3. More happy from memorable experiences rather than buying a new toy (proven study).
  4. Non-attached to possessions. My identity is based on my character, not what I own.
  5. Flexible to quickly move, travel, or change.

So, how am I becoming a minimalist right now?

  1. I’m selling most of my books on Amazon (already got 2 sales in 3 days 4 sales in 4 days) and donating the rest to PaperBackSwap (free book swapping club, highly recommended).
  2. I’m packing most of my old clothes for ebay, donations, or storing at my parent’s home. I’ll start listing some on ebay this weekend.
  3. I’m buying more stuff.

Wait! What?

Yeah, I’m buying more items. That is, I’m buying high quality, durable products that will be frequently used. *Note: Do not ever go into debt (minus mortgage and student loans). Don’t buy shit unless you actually have the money to pay for it in full.

True example: My first junker car was a $1,600 1990 Nissan Stanza which repeatedly died over 8 months (my first car). That’s $200 cost per month. Whereas, I’ve driven my $5,000 car for over 5 years meaning $83.33 per month. And I’m still driving it so it’s getting cheaper and cheaper. (a used car always makes sense over a new car, financially speaking)

Over time, purchasing long-lasting quality items makes more sense. By buying less quantity, you can buy higher quality but less items. Also, there’s no impulse buys. Since quality items are very expensive, I must weigh each purchase very carefully.

For example, this LifeSaver Water Bottle costs $150. However, it produces fresh, clean water out of almost any water source including muddy, bacteria filled water.

A normal water bottle costs $1 – $3 (my campus, jesus christ). So, after half or quarter of a year, I’ll have gotten back my investment. Also, I have the freedom to go anywhere and have clean water. I could be in a disaster area (Hurricane Katrina & Haiti Earthquake) and not have to worry about clean water. It comes with a 2 year warranty and great for the environment. It’s the last water bottle you will ever need.

I don’t own one….yet.

This is my first week as a minimalist. Soon, I’ll be able to fit all my possessions in my car.

Think about all the things you own. All the books, clothes, gadgets, and accessories. It’s a lot, I know because I own a lot of stuff too. When was the last time you used them? Now, imagine how great it would be if you no longer had to worry about them, or even better, the feeling of joy by giving them as a gift to someone in need or a friend? (books with personalized messages make great gifts. They are the only item that appreciates in value as a used gift.)