Juvoni Beckford is a senior software engineer, UI/UX designer, fitness enthusiast, and voracious reader, based in New York City. He writes about developing and acquiring habits, systems, and tools for a disciplined approach to life-long learning and self-improvement. He curates books, technologies, mental models, mindsets and cognitive biases for smarter and more self-aware living, and shares this on his blog, juvoni.com.
In this interview, Juvoni starts by talking about his background, why he started his blog, and what he writes about. He goes on to discuss his reading habits, including how many books he reads on a regular basis, and the note-taking system he developed to organize and remember more information. We ask Juvoni to share some of his favorite genres and authors, as well as books he’s read recently that stood out to him. Chris and Juvoni then shift to the topic of group-think, and discuss how the news and social media have negatively affected their emotional health. Juvoni recommends a few blocking programs that have helped him to disconnect.
Next, we ask Juvoni about his writing habits, and he reveals how he stays accountable and sticks to his writing goals. He describes how he organizes and structures his schedule, and shares a number of apps and programs that he uses for organization, time management, and writing. He also walks us through his research process, including how he gets ideas and gathers information to write about. Juvoni then offers advice for people who want to read more and absorb more of what they read. He explains how he’s able to read so much, and how he decides what books to read. He also talks about how focus is a skill that can be cultivated.
Juvoni discusses the idea of being antifragile, why it’s important, and provides a few examples. He then goes into more detail on how he remembers what he reads. He talks about using note-taking, smart association, and principle-based learning to increase his retention rate and learn more quickly. Juvoni also explains why he switches between audio and visual mediums depending on the type of book he’s reading. He recommends using Goodreads as a platform to keep track of what you read. Juvoni then talks about why it’s important to track your habits and progress in general. He provides strategies for developing habits, and shares some of the habit and journaling apps that he uses.
We ask Juvoni for tips on managing a packed schedule. He explains how taking a spaced out approach and writing has helped him get more organized. He then shares a story about his past struggles with depression, including the factors that led to it, and how he dug himself out. Finally, Juvoni offers advice for people who feel stuck and want to reignite their lives. He explains why it’s important to have forcing functions, and how to set them up. Juvoni describes how reading, fitness, and writing were the three most important habits for him. He also discusses how to self-actualize by seeking out supportive people and aligning your actions with the vision of who you want to be.
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