PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL

happiness

This book helps you make better life decisions

How would you like to live your 2021? This book, Predictably Irrational, will give you new perspectives to make better decisions. We’re rational enough to make good decisions when we’re calm. But we’re often irrational and forget everything that makes sense when we’re emotionally unstable. For example, I tend to eat junk food when I’m hungry, tired, or moody. I feel hungry writing this.

Try not to make critical decisions when you’re emotional

The author Dan Ariely did some psychology experiments to show that we’re prone to making the wrong decisions when gripped by intense emotion. Being mindful all the time and aware of your emotion may help. When you feel stressed out, stop making any critical decision and imagine Micky Mouse dancing and saying “I feel stressed out” in front of you. Before and during my bloody period, I’ll see Micky Mouse dancing and singing “I feel emotional” in front of me.

We’re happier when we stop comparing

The truth of human nature is that we just can’t help comparing. When choosing 2 similarly attractive options, we should have considered the decision an easy one, to save the bad consequences of not deciding. This is what I’ve learned from the book Predictably Irrational. In this case, no need to make an optimal decision! The simple answer is to randomly choose one by flipping a coin. Yes, as simple as that. Either choice is good anyway. Save the unnecessary comparison and enjoy right away!

When we buy less, we compare less. When we compare less, we’re definitely happier without decision fatigue. So, make fewer decisions if possible. The truth of relativity is that a decoy makes the target more attractive. Watch out for the decoy when you’re buying.

The Decoy Effect | The Connectere Articles % %

80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule is to identify inputs that are the most productive and make them the priority. “What we need is to consciously start closing small doors because they draw energy and commitment away from the doors should be left open,” said Dan Ariely. The key question is “What’s your 20% to focus on for a happy life?”. It’s easier to make a better choice when we’ve identified what we value the most and the 20% that gives the results. For example:

20%– Health (healthy food, workout in nature, yoga and meditation)
– Family & close friends
80%– Wealth (investment and jobs)
– Growth (reading and doing new things)

Once you’re clear about what’s important to you, it’s easy to measure what matters and avoid other distractions that steal your attention. I was greedy and I tried having multiple goals but I ended up not achieving all of them. Multitasking is not for me. I prefer to be more focused on the 20% that matters now, keeping life simple and free! Not greedy anymore. But still feeling hungry.

Happy reading!

UX WRITING

creativity

Books about UX writing that’ll make everyone’s life happier

What is UX? User experience (UX) is something we encounter every day. For example, when I want to watch something on Netflix but I can’t choose anything after browsing for a while. It’s not Netflix, it’s me. Isn’t it? But recently, the Netflix website adds a table of categories and I find it easier to pick one to watch. It’s not me, it’s UX!

When you’re browsing my blog, it’s also a user experience. So you get the idea. I would like to know your user experience while visiting my blog. I crave your feedback—positive or negative.

How about UX writing? Digital products (websites and mobile apps) need words to guide users to achieve their goals. This is where UX writing comes in. Good UX writing gives users delightful moments and helps them get what they need. Lately, I’m learning UX writing. I find it interesting as I can learn more about design thinking and psychology, in addition to writing skills.

I’ve read a couple of books about UX writing. The book Nicely Said is my fav and it’s certainly a delightful read. Reading this book is like chatting with a nice friend. With a UX mindset, you can create more effective and desirable content for your readers, making everyone’s life easier and happier.

Nicely Said by Nicole Fenton

I love the tone of voice of this book. It’s well written in a friendly and conversational tone. Just like the book title—nicely said. The book is speaking to bloggers, writers, editors, content strategists, designers, developers, or small business owners. I love its practical procedures of how to start UX writing, which serves as a handbook. Here’re the key ideas:

  1. Ask the right questions
  2. Balance your goals with what your readers need
  3. Practice and read your work aloud
  4. Good writing is clear, useful, and friendly

Strategic Writing for UX by Torrey Podmajersky

This is an insightful book for UX writers. It shows the whole workflow of UX writing with concrete examples. There’s a feedback table about usability in the book and it sums up the main concepts:

Usability
1 Accessible– Available in the languages the people using it are proficient in
– Reading level is below 7th grade (general) or 10th grade (professional)
– Every element has text for a screen reader to speak
2 Purposeful– What the person should or can do to meet their goals is clear
– The organization’s goals are met
3 Concise– Buttons have three or fewer words; text is <50 characters wide,<4 lines long
– Information presented is relevant at this moment in the experience
4 Conversational– The words, phrases, and ideas are familiar to the people using it
– Directions are presented in useful steps, in a logical order
5 Clear– Actions have no unambiguous results
– How-to and policy info is easy to find
– Error messages help the person move forward or make it clear they can’t
– The same term means the same concept, every time it’s used

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Steve is good at usability testing. He explains what a usability test is and the importance of doing it at the early stage. His observations make total sense as we always don’t have enough time. So, the content should be a no-brainer. The fact of life:

  1. We scan web pages
  2. We don’t make optimal choices
  3. We don’t figure out how things work

Still want some more deep insights and useful tools? You can also read Microcopy and Content Design. These two books are the very essence of UX writing. If you want to get a sense only, stick to Nicely Said. “That’s real nice,” I said.

Happy reading!

food journal

HAPPY GUT

happiness

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY GUT?

What have you been eating while staying at home? When eating at home and working from home during Covid-19, colorful meals seem a happy gut choice. As the saying goes, we’re what we eat. So, why not eat healthy food that makes us happy. From the book, Happy Gut, what makes our gut happy is sugar-free and gluten-free whole foods. Meanwhile, yoga and meditation are a big plus to get a stress-free gut.

Simply put, HAPPY GUT = HAPPY MEALS + YOGA! That’s how I sum up the key ideas from the book. The first part of the book talks about the science and biology of how the gut works. If you’re into the details, check it out. I’m more into the actual work that leads to a happy gut so I did an experiment to see how happy my gut could be. Will my gut be happy after a new diet?

First, I homemade happy gut meals that are made of sugar-free and gluten-free whole foods. To be honest, I have no fancy cooking skills. As long as the food is boiled until cooked with oil, salt, and pepper, I think I’m done. Dicing the veggies, making them warm, and adding seasoning are my cooking skills at their best.

Second, I did mindful eatingfocusing on the food only and being grateful. No TV, no radio, no cellphone, no chatting, or any other entertainment. I stopped doing everything but eatsmelling the food, watching the food, tasting the food, chewing, and swallowing. This makes me think I’m no different from a cow chewing slowly in the countryside. The only difference is I’m inside and it’s outside.

Third, I tried to drink a cup of water at least 30 mins after a meal as suggested, for not diluting the stomach acid. But I did take a sip of water to rinse my mouth when I finish eating, for the sake of not having bad breath. Too much detail here. I better stop. Anyhow, the key point is I drink between meals, not during meals.

OK, how do I feel and how does my gut feel with the new diet and yoga practice or workout? I pay attention to my gut feelings and I have noticed these changes:

1 Less brain fog after meals

2 My stomach feels less full and gets hungry soon

3 My waistline is the same

Overall, a happy gut diet makes me feel good as I can think with clarity most of the time! Also, I’ve made sure the food is colorful so it looks happy and boosts my good mood. I didn’t follow the exact recipes or the supplement suggestions from the book Happy Gut as they’re complicated to me. So I keep the main concept of gluten-free and sugar-free whole foods and make a simple version.

For dinner, I choose low cabs green veggies, and meat. As dinner looks repetitive, I have no photos for the record. But I have snapshots of breakfast, lunch, and snacks in my food journal. Total gluten-free is a challenge indeed because I eat gluten food by default. So I cheated one day. Scroll down to see if you can find which day I had gluten. 😛

Day 1

Breakfast: blue berry + chia seed
Breakfast: blue berry + chia seed

Lunch: sweet potato + tomato +cucumber
Lunch: sweet potato + tomato +cucumber

Snack: boiled egg + cucumber
Snack: boiled egg + cucumber

Day 2

Breakfast: apple + chestnut
Breakfast: apple + chestnut

Lunch: pumpkin + chicken breast + mushroom + cherry tomato
Lunch: pumpkin + chicken breast + mushroom + cherry tomato

Snack: boiled egg
Snack: boiled egg

Day 3

Breakfast: oat + goji + black sesame
Breakfast: oat + goji + black sesame
Lunch: sweet potato + garlic shrimp + mushroom scramble egg + cucumber
Lunch: sweet potato + garlic shrimp + mushroom scramble egg + cucumber
Snack: banana
Snack: banana

Day 4

Breakfast: orange + date
Breakfast: orange + date
Lunch: Wonton (gluten!) + cherry tomato + cucumber + broccoli
Lunch: Wonton (gluten!) + cherry tomato + cucumber + broccoli
Snack: hummus + bell pepper
Snack: hummus + bell pepper

Day 5

Breakfast: weird coconut milk + dragonfruit
Breakfast: weird coconut milk + dragonfruit

This drink’s color and taste is so gross! I swear a lot while forcing myself to finish half. And the coconut milk makes me sick!

Day 6

Lunch: fried egg + zucchini + pumpkin + bell pepper
Lunch: fried egg + zucchini + pumpkin + bell pepper
Snack: apple
Snack: apple

Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame (my mum prepares this for me every morning)
Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame (my mum prepares this for me every morning)
Lunch: avocado + shrimp + mushroom + cherry tomato
Lunch: avocado + shrimp + mushroom + cherry tomato
Dinner: fried rice with pork + avocado + bell pepper

Day 7

Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame
Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame
Lunch: salmon + avocado + cucumber
Lunch: salmon + avocado + cucumber
Snack: Macadamia nut + pecan
Snack: Macadamia nut + pecan

AND MORE

A happy mind will help our gut to stay happy too. From time to time, practicing yoga and meditation to declutter the thoughts in our mind will make a positive impact. Solve for happy!