Having your time back

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, I decided to delete a few apps that are known to be colossal time-sucks. So I said goodbye to Facebook, Twitter, and uhm, Tiktok.

As I write this, I must say, I don’t miss them. I don’t miss the red notifications that light up when a new message or an unread post comes along. I don’t miss checking my news feeds for any news or updates from friends and friends of friends who are all part of my echo chamber. I don’t miss the loud chatter on Twitter and the artificially driven…


How and why trust is important at work and in life

Steve made a lot of mistakes. He was not the best manager one could have. But later in his life, he realized important lessons about people.

One of them is about trust.

Trusting people to know what to do is a factor in the success of an organization. If you end up micro-managing, telling people how to do things, then there’s a problem.

People generally don’t like being told what to do. That’s a natural behavior. But it is critical to let them know why or what.

Trust is a two-way street. Trust is the bond that makes all relationship…


Looking back at 48

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. Friedrich Nietzsche

When you’re my age, you’re thinking of three things: family, work, and, sleep.

More than a year into the pandemic, my family kept me sane, in checked. They fed me. Entertained me. Challenged me.

They gave me purpose. They are my purpose.

Meanwhile, at work, it’s been insane. Screen time was up. The volume of work increased. I spent more time in two to three hour meetings, listening in front of a computer. Face time was down to a minimum. Working from…


How do you judge creative ideas?

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. –Scott Adams

Every waking day, I have to make decisions between bad and good creative work.

The decisions are based on some loose definitions on clarity, “being on brief,” and one that evokes action.

Written work is easier to judge. Grammar? Check. Length and format? Check. Does it communicate what you wanted? Check. Will the intended target audience understand it? Check.

Key visuals or artworks are tricky. I admit, I’m a wordsmith. I know little of visual communications.

But with experience, I have developed an eye for a catchy artwork that will match copy.

I do have some criteria in…


A short review of The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

Book cover from Goodreads.com
Book cover from Goodreads.com

It was good until the last two chapters.

Naval’s Almanack is only that–an almanack of his aphorisms.

If you follow him on social, this book is a collection of his tweets.

Explained, expanded, expounded, sometimes, exaggerated, this guide contradicts itself.

Preachy towards the end, Naval subscribes to discovering the original sources of ideas.

But the book is not an original.

It’s his own reflection on Homer’s Iliad, on Buddhism and meditation, and Richard Feynman on Physics.

He says he is not religious.

He’s spiritual.

Happiness is freedom from, and not freedom to do what you want.

Answering the question of…


Social media has no context

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

(Author’s note: This is from today’s Sub). Subscribe here.

Social media liberates.

It made everyone its own media.

Mass media has gone viral. Reaching millions in a single tweet.

You don’t need an army of writers. It’s just you–plus a reliable Internet connection and a smartphone.

You no longer consume media. You are creating more by the minute.

Social media obliterated some news media. Because news is finding you. You don’t go searching for it.

News happens fast. It breaks on Twitter.

You don’t have to wait in line to react to news. You can comment, fire an…


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. –Adam Grant, New York Times

You’re a hamster in a wheel.

Laboring, waiting for the day to end.

You stare at the screen on some days.

Working from home, you feel disconnected. Screenburned, that is what you are.

Hours in front of a screen, you hear people talk.

Their voice resonates from your headphone. They also work from home.

In a group chat with colleagues, a remark makes you smile.

Snarky, that one.

You respond with a laughing .gif. …


I can only read so much, so writing some for now

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

If you can’t code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts. — Naval Ravikant, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Everyday, I deal with words. I edit copies one sentence at a time. These words are written to sell or inform. They target customers who are busy and distracted, also bombarded with messages from brands–just like the one I work for.

Writing for me is a job. It was a vocation when I was chasing stories as a beat reporter. But after 20 years, I pivoted to corporate. Here…


A personal reflection on the year that was

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Time flew. I’m still reeling from memories of a lockdown. But today was quite different — or that was at least what I was thinking. Admittedly, I’m struggling to find words of late, save for the lessons I have learned in 2020.

“Well, life is short!,” you tell me. 2020 reminded us of our fleeting time on Earth, our mortality, our limited and borrowed time, our purpose in this life.

Indeed, 2020 pushed us to ask over and over, “Why is this happening?”

Then, I came across Psalms 90:12, which says, “Teach…


Avoiding some common mistakes to help you get over the anxiety of teaching online

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

“We can’t hear you, sir!”

Those were the first few words I heard from little speaker sitting right beside my computer screen when I started my online class. I immediately panicked. I checked my settings on the computer. I unplugged my earphones and plugged them back. Then I asked back, “Can you hear me now?” Nothing. Few seconds, and a voice came booming from my speaker.

“Sir, I think you’re on mute!”

That was when I realized I made the first mistake in doing online classes. Always check if you’re audio is good.

For seven weeks now, I’ve been holding…

Erwin Lemuel Oliva

An ex-journalist. Teacher. Dad. Loves Guitar & Books. Writes when inspiration hits him.

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