diary general announcement


Happy New Year and Good Health

As much as 2022 started with good vibes (covid seemed behind us, starting the blog, new projects…), the giddy feelings all came to an abrupt end in February. An unfortunate accident with my bicycle on the way to work resulted in a badly broken elbow and, a couple of weeks later, the world woke up to the abject invasion of Ukraine. The good year wishes didn’t last very long, did it?

Life Goes On and Has So Much to Offer

Nevertheless, obstacles remain just that; obstacles. We stumble on them but we get back up, learn from them, and push forward. After a mentally costly surgery, my arm is on the path of full recovery and mental health keeps its steady ascension from the gloom of 2020.

I am now back on the daily blog and have so many projects to start, share, and thrive on. 2022 may have stumbled a bit in this first quarter but there is so much more to live for; I’m very excited about what’s coming 😀

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So, how has the beginning of 2022 been treating you? Any topics you would like to see covered here?

Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow.

diary Mental Health

Let’s Discuss Burn Out (Part 1)

Beginning of the Week and Yet…

Something I was definitely not prepared for my adult life was to tackle recurrent bouts of burnouts.

Yes, there are many other aspects of adult life that we are not ready and sometimes never will (I’m looking at you obscure admin tasks). We live in a pretty free world, which means that we are free to do what we want. The corollary lies in the fact that there is always more we can (have to) do than we physically can deliver. Depending on the level of commitment to all these tasks, we highly run the chance of burn out by drowning under all these workload.

Today is Monday and I’m already feeling overloaded with so many tasks, ideas, projects; all of which need/should/ideally be finished by ‘yesterday’.

I’ve already touched on this topic of burnout in a previous post and will expanding on this topic over the course of this multi-part blogpost.

The Sinking Feeling

I used the word ‘drowning’ on purpose here.

One defining sensation when a burnout shapes up in our mind is the overwhelming feeling of drowning. It mentally feels like we are running out of oxygen and are surrounded with water. The outlook on the world becomes darker and darker and soon enough we can even lose our bearings of in which direction is the surface. This makes the recovery even more challenging as we lose sight of how to get out of this feeling, further accelerating the piling-on effects as productivity plummets and unfinished tasks accumulates. Soon, our ability to move (aka think) becomes impaired and despair takes hold of our mind.

If all sounds very dark, it’s because it is.

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What is your view on burnout? Have you or witnessed someone going through it? What are your short- and long-term tips for coping with it?

Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow.


One More Week of Daily Writing and Ideas

‘Challenge Must Go On’

After the first three weeks of publishing a new blogpost every day, this is what I’ve learned.

First of all, the daily grind of writing daily gets easier, but unlikely to become second nature. This is so far falling within expectations. The grind comes from fearing the writing process and the inherent writing block. As stated in the very first blogpost, the motive for starting this challenge was to learn to overcome this writer block. At this stage, I confirm that writing these blogposts is getting easier in comparison to the very first few ones. Ideas are flowing faster and in greater number. Sentences are forming in my head with less friction.

Furthermore and similarly to any skills, this is unlikely to become pain-free and the dread to write will not disappear, however smaller it becomes. This is both anticipated and in a sense welcomed. Part of what makes experiences enjoyable lies in the efforts that one pays to ripe the rewards. Like in a rollercoaster or climbing a mountain, the joy at the end is fueled by the fear or the sweat (or both ;p) in performing any of these activities.

Another side-effect consists in a lowering of my fear to share out more openly my thoughts and its positive impact on my stress level. A facet of my burn out stems from the harsh job environment of academia where written work (e.g. papers, proposals, reports, lecture notes, tutorials) are heavily criticized through their related review process. This had a massive negative impact on my mental state, already weakened by numerous bad personal and professional events. Some took place over a defined periods of time in the past and scared me till now to the point of more easily triggering burns out now. This is a point the work my therapist and I have been focusing on for the last year and we’ve made good progress on. I appreciate that very few of you are reading these blogposts as of now but releasing them combined with sharing them openly on this blog has tremendously eased the weight on my mind about my ability to write and share ideas. So thank you, the internet.

I thus shall continue to this writing challenge for all this above virtues and more.

‘Blog Will Rock You’

When scared about losing ideas to others, then one good advice surprisingly consists in sharing these ideas, as many more will start flowing; this writing challenge is no exception.

The more blogposts I write, the more ideas are coming to my head; at first during the writing sessions, then little by little throughout the day (please let me sleep at night). The first type of ideas consists of themes to write about in future posts. The second consists of future projects for this blog and general website. The third type is about the methods of sharing these ideas. The first two are self-explanatory and you will most likely see these ideas concretised in near-future blogposts or webpages.

The third type is however more subtle to describe. As much as I stated above that sharing these blogposts in the open on the internet has almost a therapeutic positive impact on my mental health, I also acknowledge that this blog is pretty hard to find and most likely (as confirmed by the website’s statistics) these posts are hardly read. This is the point I’m slowly warming up to improve by gathering the courage to share or advertise these posts more widely, especially on social media (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn). The objective is to gather more views and learn more and faster through exchanging comments with other readers. This can read at first as a contradiction to the point stated at the beginning of this post about how reviews badly impacted me. Rather than that, my view is rather that my mental health has been slowly regenerating through this writing challenge and is now ready to rise to the bigger challenge again.

There are also many other projects about creating a podcast about power electronics knowledge, a YouTube channel about modelling and control, a GitHub repository about open-source projects… You will hear more when these ideas will have more matured.

So, watch that space for more (grand and wider) announcements!

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How has your reading experience on this daily blog been so far? Do you have any features or topics you would like me to cover?

For some reasons, the songs of the late Freddie Mercury resonated in my head while writing this blogpost. Did you catch their influence on the section names? ;p

Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow.


Bad Habits Show their Face Fast

The Challenge in a Writing Challenge

It was pretty obvious when I started this writing challenge that there will be days when it is ‘challenging’ to publish the daily post.

Yesterday, a cumulation of high workload (marking is almost over as well as the looming deadline!) and mental echaustion meant that I went to bed forgetting to finish typing the blogpost. Luckily, I had started it (as with many other drafts) so it only took minimal efforts to finish it the following day (today). The tricky aspect however lies in the fact of not breaking the cycle and keep releasing a blogpost everyday. I’ve had too many instances were a simple lapse in a new habit cycle meant that the streak was broken and it ended there. The excuse was (un)surprisingly always (read never) valid.

Actually, on this topic of forming and breaking habit, i highly recommend you to listen to yet another episode of the Huberman Lab podcast on this very topic.

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And what do you think? How do you enable habits or inhibit bad ones?

Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow.

diary Teaching

Asking questions at Presentations (Part 3)

We discussed about how to generate questions when attending a presentation in Part 1 and Part 2. If you haven’t read this previous blogposts or need a refresher, click on the link.

Preparation On Both Sides

While preparing for the previous blogposts, I stumbled across several sources, all of them focusing on which questions to prepare for when presenting.

At first, I was focused on extracting the common pieces of information for the opposite side, aka preparing questions as the audience. Now that this has been discussed in Part 2 (and most likely in the future as I refine the Endless Question Generator), I thought about revisiting these sources and summarise the questions you definitely need to prepare as a presenter.

So let’s see what those questions are.

Questions Recommended to Prepare for

As the Endless Question Generator showed, there is a certain structure to the vast majority of questions you may face as a presenter. As indicated on some sources (, there are some questions you should prepare the answer for as they are likely to be asked.

  • What was the point? Remind the audience about the key points of your presentation and the reason it might interest them.
  • What’s next? Indicate what you intent to work on next, showcasing how live this project is.
  • How have you done this? This is asking for clarification on the methodology you followed in your work. Clarify it.
  • What do you mean by this? This is more a definition issue. Make sure that all terms are adequately chosen and clear for the intended use.

The best remains to rehearse your presentation with a colleague (or at least record yourself). I’m sure you’ll do well in your presentation.

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And which questions do you usually prepare for or have faced in your experience?

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.