Julia Lin

In the way that a daily habit of stretching creates flexibility when needed, I believe my structured approach to work create flexibility in my life.

Through trial and error, I have created the habits and routine for productivity. For example, focused morning work frees me up to be open to responding to last-minute issues that come up during the day. I have a set number of hours I aim for productive work… and enjoy free time with no guilt outside of those hours.

Flexibility to me means I choose my hours and live the way that works for me!

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When I’m excited, nervous, stressed or otherwise overwhelmed, I emit a noticably frantic energy. This almost always leads to a negative spiral of anxiety for myself and others. The image above reminds me that I’m driving and in control. I just need to learn to break out of the spiral pattern before pulling everyone else into unnecessary stress!

I want to increase my upper limit that I can handle before getting overwhelmed, as well as my coping mechanisms and learn to respond with stoicism.

Energy is contagious, and I want to be aleader that absorbs uncertainty and stress from others.

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I remember hearing someone once say, “Intelligence is fast rate of learning, not current knowledge”. Since then, I invested in learning faster and better, rather than just memorizing facts.

Explained in Peak, purposeful practice involves developing ever more efficient mental representations, and leads to expertise. I think of mental models as scaffolding for quickly storing new info, supporting new heights of conclusions, and improving communication of complex topics. Clear mental models also help me associate disparate ideas quickly in my favorite creativity tool — analogous inspiration.

Frameworks help me start learning, make sense of my growing knowledge base, and think creatively!

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This TED talk made me rethink complexity. It felt jarring that it only took Jon a few months to build his own home, instead of working through multiple social institutions to take on 30yrs of debt.

Many people tend to view complexity as an immutable property of a problem and…

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My ADD causes me to oscillate between runaway thoughts and hyperfocus.

I’ve learned to notice when my focus slips, and either take a break or switch to lower focus activities. Some activities that set up later high-value use of time include:

  • Writing a prioritized to do list
  • Running a calendar audit of the past week and next week
  • Bulletpointing out a written report or draft presentation

My focus is a finite resource, which depletes over the course of the day. I am often much more productive when I pause deep work, sleep on it, and continue the next morning!

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You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

One of my life goals is to be surrounded by interesting, positive people. In order to so, I put a lot of effort into cold-calling experts, following people I admire, and seeking new opportunities for collaborations.

I get energy from exploring unknown-unknowns (“unk-unks”) that don’t come with a rulebook. Rather than chase my own limited view of success, I would rather surround myself with happy, successful people.

Success to me would be enjoying my life while also having an impact on the world.

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I prefer to work with a consistently dependable person over an occasionally brilliant person. One day, I realized that means I would not work with myself, since my energy and output fluctuate unpredictably.

I can only consistently deliver on a few tasks— those based on my habits like sending calendar invites and followup emails. Now, I aim to increase the habits I can count on.

While it is hard to change my natural rhythm, I have found that I can counter this volatility by setting expectations for others.

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A basic heuristic of how I work. Even as my environment changes, I aim to maintain a balance of inputs and outputs. Inputs are consumption (reading, listening), outputs are creation (writing, speaking).

This helps me fight the anti-pattern of only talking and not listening or only reading and not synthesizing. Classification of my activities also forces me to acknowledge when I waste time on activities that are neither, such as scrolling social media or Youtube autoplay.

This intentional use of my time means I will better learn, improve, or rest.

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In 2021, I set a short-term goal of improving at writing. I shared the goal with friends and coworkers, integrated writing into my work, and took notes whenever an idea struck me.

However, I started more drafts than I completed, and approached writing and revising with dread. I had no sense of accomplishment over completed writing, because I did not enjoy the process enough to want to do it again.

In 2022, I don’t want to become “better at writing”… I want to become a writer. I’ll start with 100 words a day.

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Julia Lin

Julia Lin

Sr. Product Analyst @ Startup. Self-reflective writing. Passionate about the role of design in improving lives.