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…


Thoughts during a lockdown, again

Image from a government daily report on COVID.

Last Saturday, September 11, the total confirmed number cases of COVID-19 was 26,303–the highest-ever recorded cases in the Philippines.

Yesterday, Sunday, it was at 21,411.

These numbers despite the continuing lockdown in Metro Manila and other areas since August.

I also am seeing more (in my social news feeds) of hospitals overwhelmed, reporting “full capacity,” and understaffed, as nurses and doctors leaving or deciding not to renew their contracts.

Some good news, however, came from the #ManilaLGU, after it announced that 12 to 17 year olds can now register for vaccinations.

Coping with this resurgence of cases is hard for…


Reflecting on the first six months of the year 2021

screenshot from LinkedIN

It’s that time of the year when you do 1–1 with each team member, asking each of them, “How are you doing?”

Six months has passed. It’s time to look back at their “progress.”

Before you jump into the discussion of OKRs (objective-key results) and problems they were supposed to solve, you begin with small talk.

How are you doing?

I’m okay. A team member answers.

No, really, how are you doing?

You probe.

The next reply might be totally different.

It is a question that aims to invite an…


Things I learned from a book about America dealing with a pandemic

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Real leaders rise up during a crisis.

Focused on how America–and Donald Trump–responded to the biggest global event in the year 2020, the Plague Year is a retrospect of why America responded the way it did.

It also answers questions on why.

Why did more Americans die?

Why did Trump believe that masks were an option?

Why did American public health experts failed to stop the contagion early?

To write this book, Lawrence Wright conducted hundreds of interviews. He also did a deep dive into history.

(Pandemics are…


Thoughts on language and style in sports writing

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

–Rita Mae Brown

The Summer Olympics is happening soon in Japan. Preparations are up. Athletes are engaged in exhibition games. The Japanese government is locking down policies on safety protocols for spectators.

Language professionals–journalists and writers–are also getting ready.

The Associated Press (AP) published its AP Stylebook Online Topical Guide covering the 2020 Tokyo Games. It contains facts and figures about the upcoming global sporting event that was postponed last year due to the pandemic.

The guide contains essential…


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

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…

Erwin Lemuel Oliva

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

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