Day 199: September books, goals, habits

Second month of bullet journal went well. I feel I’m getting a better sense of the system that works for me. Will implement some changes for October. But first let’s recap September.

Books read: 6

Atomic Habit (2/5): while it is a highly popular book, I didn’t find it very useful to me as personally I don’t have problem with discipline and consider myself with good habits, so I didn’t learn much about new things. Maybe this would be a good book for a beginner into self-discipline and habit forming.

Deep Work (5/5): I love this book. I find it powerful to understand the why, how, and what of deep work. I even did a 5 parts series about it on my main takeaways. I constantly remind myself that it’s about quality and quantify, and choosing to do things that I can bring the biggest value. One key concept of deep work is whether you could delegate the work to a fresh colleague graduate to do it. That’s a good parameter and I implement daily. If a task can be done by my research analyst, then I’ll delegate and supervise.

Little Book of Hygee (3/5): I finished this book in one sitting because it’s short, cozy, joyful book, like sipping a warm cup of tea/coffee in the middle of the winter by the firework in a raining day.

Daybook (3/5): Definitely a book that I wouldn’t otherwise pick it up if not recommended by someone. It’s about the artist life, so different from mine, yet there are things that we are common. Self disciple, hard work, keep going even when it’s hard, and the flow state of mind when doing something we are passionate about.

Doughnut Economics (4/5): A total new concept for a conventional economist and policy practitioner. I find the ideas innovative and sensible but the book doesn’t show much evidence, rather anecdotal stories. Also, a big flaw of the book in my view is its neglect on human nature which are shaped by incentives and society system. Following up on the last point, because those fundamentals questions were not answered, the book doesn’t provide a way forward, so leave the reader think this is just a wishful thinking, although thought provoking and probably some truth.

Big Friendship (5/5): I picked up the book as a gift to my best friend’s birthday because of the title. But then as I read it, I really love it. It opened my mind into thinking deeply about friendship, so important in life yet we don’t invest enough nor think about it enough. Highly recommended for anyone in 30s and 40s, I think our appreciation to friends does change as we age, and this book feels like a reminder of what it means to have deep friendships.

Shopping expense: 550

Books: 190

Birthday gifts (hubby and Sofia): 410

Clothes for me (bras): 50

This is an usually high month for shopping because it was Sofia’s birthday and I’m planning for hubby birthday in December. Otherwise most of shopping expense is in books or necessities.

Habits tracked

  • Steps (daily avg): 20300
  • Screen time (daily avg): 46 min
  • Work hours (daily avg): 8 hours
  • Miles run: 170 miles
  • Yoga: 12 sessions (10-20 min per session)
  • Sleep (daily avg): 7.1 hrs
  • Mood rating: 4 out of 5! pretty good.


  • Sofia birthday: success!
  • Journal before bed: maybe 1/3 of the time. Most of the time I’m too tired by then.
  • Mindfulness: some slippage when work got hectic but in the last week of the month, I got back into morning meditation and yoga and felt back on track.
  • One date per week with hubby: mostly failed. We did go out for walk, groceries shopping, or pick up books at school for the girls. None of them were intentionally as dates, but they were nice.
  • Birthday surprise to my BFF: success!

What I loved

  • Sofia’s birthday party
  • Evening walks with the girls and chat
  • Slow Family Sundays
  • First mani/pedi in 6 months
  • Twice a week jog with Sofia
  • Back to office

Plan for the non work Friday

  • Plan for October in my journal
  • Go to decatlon to buy essentials for our trip
  • Choose recipes to make
  • Craft for 1-2 hrs
  • Read 1-2 hrs

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