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Positive Changes during Covid 19 situation




Before I go ahead with my next stock analysis and portfolio
update, I would like to share some of the lifestyle changes and habits I have
built up over time as I grow my wealth.


I learnt about this concept in Tim Ferriss’s book ‘The Four
Hour Workweek’. It means delaying in doing a specific task and letting them
pile up until a specific point. Actually, we do apply it in some parts of our
lives, like doing laundry: we wait for the dirty clothes to pile up and then
wash them. When we do a task, there’s always a set up costs involved. To send
an email, I need to turn on my laptop, load the outlook application before I
start typing and click on the send button. When I check and send emails in
different times of the day it means multiply these preparation time by that
frequency. Contrarily, if I only do it once a day or less, I keep the set-up
costs at a minimum.

Recently, I have applied the concept of batching not only in
checking emails, but also checking my physical mailbox (weekly instead of
daily) , update my expenses tracker (once a day instead of multiple times
daily) and updating my investment portfolio in StocksCafe (weekly instead of
three times a week). I was also addicted to checking Whatsapp message whenever
there’s a notification, even while I was waiting for the traffic light to turn
green, but now I learnt to hold on to the urge to do so by
checking only at specific times of the day. Sometimes I do fall back to the old
habits but it gets better with time and discipline.

After trying it out for some time, I felt that my
concentration has improved due to minimal switching costs. Multiple studies
have also shown that, if we switch from one task to another, it takes about a
few minutes to fully concentrate on that new task, as our brain at time still
think about the old tasks.

When I am driving these days, I will put my phone in the
wireless charging compartment, lock it up and enjoy piano music.

Set Goals (daily goals, monthly goals, and 10-year goals)

 I have read articles on
new year resolutions which talks about the sad fact that gyms are always packed
at the start of the year with new faces but starts thinning out after February.
New Year resolutions are indeed hard to keep as they failed to follow through
their goals that they set since day one. I tried setting new year resolutions
to blog every week, eat healthily, but as work started piling up, I tend to do
the urgent tasks instead of focusing on my resolutions and blamed it on my busy

Since the start of circuit breaker, all my overseas trips were all cancelled and physical meetings become Zoom meetings. All the driving
around and rushing for every meeting had come to a stop and I felt very
unnatural and awkward at the start. However, having all the time at home has
forced me to slow down my fast-paced life and rethink my long-term goals. I
like the way Tim Ferriss put it: ‘Being busy is form of laziness- lazy thinking
and indiscriminate action’ I was guilty of that as I kept myself busy at work
and at home without evaluating and reflecting if I am being efficient at work
or just busy and unproductive. 

With the time I have, I started reading books which
had been sitting on my bookshelves and collect dusts for very long (books that
I wanted to read but never had time to). I began to think about what I truly want to achieve in life and made it
a priority to sit down for a few hours to set long term goals. I used Goals
Journal and 10-Year Plan by Kikki-K. These books taught me to start by defining
my core values, and to visualize my dream life and a monthly planner by setting
4 goals each month and a reward if I achieve that goal. It worked very well for
me, and I think  the concept by Charles
Dhugg on the power of Habit: Cue -> Routine -> Reward was applied. As I
began to set goals, I made some positive changes in life to fit my goals: more
sleep, exercise, meditation, intentional reading, visualization of goals every
day, gratitude journal.

Setting goals also helped me came out with the chart below
on how much portfolio value I need to attain to achieve 195k of passive income
in 10 years’ time.

After setting 10 year goal, I proceed to think of ways to
reach my yearly goal. Breaking down into daily and monthly goals of spending
few hours each weekend to read investment articles, annual reports and
investment books to brush up my investment skills and blog on a monthly basis.

To help visualize my success, I invested in a vision board,
and it helps to get me fired up emotionally to work hard and complete my daily
goals that every step in the right direction counts towards my long-term


Diversify my meaning markers

Recently I have been doing quite abit of reading and through
the book titled :Before Happiness by Shawn Achor, I learnt that to define my
core values and my goals should not be just financial success, but to diversify
my meaning portfolio. Strange but true, the more diverse your portfolio, the
more routes you have to steer to your goals. In the past, my life shrinks down
to only one thing which is meaningful- building wealth. But as I read further
into the book, I found out that if my happiness depended on one corner of my
life, I am living a pretty fragile place. Because if things don’t turn out well,
I don’t have anything meaningful to fall back on.

It took a Covid 19 lockdown for me to identify more meaning
markers to see how they are all connected to my life and my happiness should
not be entirely dependent on my wealth. So when my stock portfolio is not
performing to my expectation at times, I still be buoyed by other parts of my
life to still feel meaningful to keep moving forward. After reflecting and
diversifying my meaning markers, my life don’t revolve around work, I catchup
with friends more often, spend more time pursing my guitar hobby, playing
badminton and spend more time with my family over a phone call (as they are
living abroad)


Value sleep and keep a low information diet

The future is indeed uncertain and sometimes the problems in
life keep us up at night. There are times I can’t fall asleep despite going to
bed early and feeling tired the next day. On certain days, I slept early but
woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about work or simply too excited
about tomorrow.

 Planning my day ahead
made me realize the need to be well rested to complete the daily tasks smoothly
and forced me to make some sacrifice in order to sleep well. I began setting
some ground rules close to bedtime and stick to it. These days I put myself to
bed at 11pm and cut off screen time an hour before sleeping and spend that hour
reading books with a cup of hot rooibos tea.

Overthinking at night could be attributed to my brain
processing on what is going on in my day that affected my sleep. Hence these
days, I maintain a low information diet, which means watching less news, turn
of all unimportant notifications and deleting apps which are time consuming and
irrelevant to my long-term goals.  That
comes with a cost: missing out on shopping deals or single’s day promotion.
However, I began to get used to it as the price I paid is nothing as priceless
as a good night rest.

I used to own a bunch of credit cards to maximize the signup
bonus and compare which is the best cashback card or highest miles per dollar.
However, as my wealth grows, I learnt to simplify my life by holding on four
credit cards. While I may not be optimising my credit card strategy that way, I
get to free up that extra research time to spend quality time with my loved
ones, and be more productive at work.

Here are four positive changes that I have made, and it makes
me happier and improve my overall concentration. Circuit breaker is indeed a
trying period for many (including me) and felt that time has slowed down; but I
have learnt an important lesson that in order to go fast, I need to slow down.

What positive changes have you made during Covid 19? I would like to hear from you!

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About Kelvin

Join me on the journey to FIRE by 40! I share insights on investing, smart money habits, and achieving financial independence. Let's reach our goals together!

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