All You Need to Know before Coming to Work in Japan- Taxes, Salary, Pension, Insurances and Work:

You either have a passion for the Japanese culture or just want to eat sushi every day, you’ve probably decided already:
“I want to live in Japan!”
Am I right?
However, there is some important information you need to find out before deciding to come here!
What I will cover in this article will be related to money. More precisely, the amount of salary paid by companies, taxes and reasons.

From a monthly salary of 200,000 yen you get deducted 20 %?!

Have you heard someone saying that “When you are looking for work (be it contract, temporary, part time or full time) in Japan, you are drawn 20% of your salary?” and thought to yourself “Maybe a tax? But Why so much? Is it mandatory?”

In this article, I will explain thoroughly what and why 20% is deducted and many other important things you should know if you are planning to work here!

Income tax

In fact, the income tax in Japan depends on the annual income.

You can see more details on the NTA Website. *Japanese Only

If the salary is less than 1,300,000 yen per year and the monthly income is less than 88,000 yen, income tax is not applied.
Then, in the case of more than 1,300,000 yen, how much will be the tax?

Here`s an example to help you understand it better:

First of all, let’s take a person whose monthly salary is 200,000 yen a month as an example.
For a salary of 200,000 yen a month, the annual income will be 2,4 million yen. In this case, the income tax will be around 56,000 yen per year and if you convert it, the tax deducted every month will be 4,700 yen.

Besides taxes is anything else being deducted?

Yes, below there are more details about everything being withdrawn from your salary:

The largest amount withdrawn is the for the company`s insurance.

The company`s insurance is a social insurance system that includes health insurance, welfare pension insurance, employment insurance, workers compensation insurance etc.

I will briefly explain the types of insurance included in the social insurance system:

1. Health insurance

Health insurance is a type of coverage that pays for medical/surgical expenses( injury, illness, childbirth, death) incurred by the insured/a person who works for a company. Even if you are not a Japanese citizen, cases when you get sick or suffer an injury may happen, so the state / municipality will bear a part of the expenses(such as treatment expenses).

In addition, there are situations when you may surpass a certain amount for high-cost medical expenses, but you can receive a refund after. For more details, please refer to the Kenporeon Website. *Japanese Only

When paying for health insurance, you automatically receive an insurance card that you`ll need to show whenever you go for a health check/hospital.

2. Pension Insurance

The employees’ pension insurance is a public pension system for the employees. It is a system for people with ages between 20 and 59 years old that provide benefits when retiring; the accumulated amount will be received according to the Old-Age Benefits. There are also unfortunate cases that lead to death (because of illness, disability or injuries) when the family gets the pension of the deceased one.

There are disadvantages such as paying insurance for over 10 years in order to receive an employee’s pension and also the current system says you can only get it when you turn 65 years old. So, there are many things to take in consideration when it comes to your future.
For those that are freelancers, temporary workers, unemployed people, etc. they will need to join the “National Pension”system and pay themselves.

In the present Japan, according to a set of factors(mainly working conditions), joining the system becomes mandatory and I will explain it in detail below:

If (A) and (B) below are Regular three-quarter or full time employees, they are insured persons.

(A) Working hours
-If the working time per week is at least one of a Regular three-quarter employee

(B) Number of working days
-If the working time per month is at least one of a Regular three-quarter employee

So, the number of working hours should be over 30 hours and the number of working days per month, more than 15 days.
The reason is that the company calculates the employee`s working time reported to 5 days a week /8 hours per day, 40 hours × 3/4 = 30 hours or more, deducting the national holidays/weekends, the monthly working days will be calculated as 20 days × 3/4 = 15 days or more.

Based on the income amount of the previous example here is how I calculated it:

-The health insurance: in standard remuneration monthly amount × 4.95% (Tokyo metropolitan government`s case), the rate varies in the whole country.
-Employees’ Pension: Standard remuneration monthly fee × 9.15% (Individual share)
-The social insurance from a monthly salary of 200,000 yen(9,900 per day), the contribution amount of the welfare pension will be about 18,300 yen monthly.

Now, what happens if:

“I paid the national pension in Japan, but can it be refunded if I go back to my country?”

A partial refund is possible but it depends on the period of payment(details are described on the home page of the Japan Pension Organization`s Website)

3. Employment Insurance

Employment insurance (insurance) is a system of insurance concerning unemployment / employment continuation etc. based on employment insurance law in Japan. The insurer is the Japanese government.
A typical benefit is “job seeker benefit” (so-called unemployment insurance) that can receive for a certain period of time when unemployed.
The insurance that the employer must notify the participation to workers who work 20 hours a week.

The amount paid is the amount of 5/1000 minutes of face value of salaried money, and if you earn 200,000 yen per month it is about 1000 yen amount.
Likewise, if you work within 20 hours a week, you do not need to pay employment insurance, but if you work for more than 20 hours, you need to pay, and it will be a non-refundable insurance.

4. Resident’s tax

Another tax you`ll have to pay is the inhabitant tax(a tax on income).
Same as income tax, there is a tax rate to decide an inhabitant`s tax amount. However, the resident will get it deducted from the previous year`s income and won`t get it withdrawn from his/hers first salary.
Residents` taxes vary depending on the prefecture/city you live in; for example,Tokyo’s residence tax is about 9,958 yen.


To summarize the above explanation, it is a fact that you can not receive the full salary because a small amount from it will be deducted monthly according to the working hours for that month in order to pay the taxes mandatory for the country.
Of course, there are cases when some people have a really low income, therefore the tax they will be paying will also be lower and entering the company`s insurance won`t be mandatory for such situations. However, if the monthly salary is 200,000 yen, the insurance company, employment insurance, resident taxes` all together deducted will result into an amount of 43,858 yen, almost 20% of the salary you are supposed to be getting.

Also, as explained earlier, for your first working year in Japan, you won`t be needing to pay the residence tax. So, with 200,000 yen per month, the amount withdrawn, such as company insurance, employment insurance, income tax, etc., will be about 33,900 yen. (That means a few differences in trial calculations).

People who work in Japan and those who plan on coming here in the future have to comprehend the circumstances of all these Japanese tax and insurances introduced above, know what what they are paying and have an idea of what to expect or what to ask for when working for a company in Japan. That way, living here will become much easier when you know get a hold of the situation.

Also, in case of troubles with your employer, such as unpaid salary, contracts not being respected etc., you can consult with “Tokyo Labor Counseling Information Center”`s labor standards supervision department.

“Tokyo Labor Counseling Information Center Website”

We will continue following this topic on our Website, so if there is anything in particular you`d like to know, please leave a comment or contact us on email.

(Via Japan Info)

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the above, so don’t take it as actual tax advice. However, in my experience it seems a decent summary of the things one should think about before pulling up stakes. I would have liked this kind of summary before I moved. Please note that I fixed some formatting and English above, but your mileage may still vary.

Psychology’s five revelations for finding your true calling:

Look. You can’t plan out your life. What you have to do is first discover your passion – what you really care about.

Barack Obama

If, like many, you are searching for your calling in life – perhaps you are still unsure which profession aligns with what you most care about – here are five recent research findings worth taking into consideration. 

First, there’s a difference between having a harmonious passion and an obsessive passion. If you can find a career path or occupational goal that fires you up, you are more likely to succeed and find happiness through your work – that much we know from the deep research literature. But beware – since a seminal paper published in 2003 by the Canadian psychologist Robert Vallerand and colleagues, researchers have made an important distinction between having a harmonious passion and an obsessive one. If you feel that your passion or calling is out of control, and that your mood and self-esteem depend on it, then this is the obsessive variety, and such passions, while they are energising, are also associated with negative outcomes such as burnout and anxiety. In contrast, if your passion feels in control, reflects qualities that you like about yourself, and complements other important activities in your life, then this is the harmonious version, which is associated with positive outcomes, such as vitality, better work performance, experiencing flow, and positive mood.

Secondly, having an unanswered calling in life is worse than having no calling at all. If you already have a burning ambition or purpose, do not leave it to languish. A few years ago, researchers at the University of South Florida surveyed hundreds of people and grouped them according to whether they felt like they had no calling in life, that they had a calling they’d answered, or they had a calling but had never done anything about it. In terms of their work engagement, career commitment, life satisfaction, health and stress, the stand-out finding was that the participants who had a calling they hadn’t answered scored the worst across all these measures. The researchers said that this puts a different spin on the presumed benefits of having a calling in life. They concluded: ‘having a calling is only a benefit if it is met, but can be a detriment when it is not as compared to having no calling at all’.

The third finding to bear in mind is that, without passion, grit is ‘merely a grind’. The idea that ‘grit’ is vital for career success was advanced by the psychologist Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania, who argued that highly successful, ‘gritty’ people have impressive persistence. ‘To be gritty,’ Duckworth writes in her 2016 book on the subject, ‘is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.’ Many studies certainly show that being more conscientious – more self-disciplined and industrious – is associated with more career success. But is that all that being gritty means? Duckworth has always emphasised that it has another vital component that brings us back to passion again – alongside persistence, she says that gritty people also have an ‘ultimate concern’ (another way of describing having a passion or calling). 

However, according to a paper published last year, the standard measure of grit has failed to assess passion (or more specifically, ‘passion attainment’) – and Jon Jachimowicz at Columbia Business School in New York and colleagues believe this could explain why the research on grit has been so inconsistent (leading to claims that it is an overhyped concept and simply conscientiousness repackaged). Jachimowicz’s team found that when they explicitly measured passion attainment (how much people feel they have adequate passion for their work) and combined this with a measure of perseverance (a consistency of interests and the ability to overcome setbacks), then the two together did predict superior performance among tech-company employees and university students. ‘Our findings suggest that perseverance without passion attainment is mere drudgery, but perseverance with passion attainment propels individuals forward,’ they said.

Another finding is that, when you invest enough effort, you might find that your work becomes your passion. It’s all very well reading about the benefits of having a passion or calling in life but, if you haven’t got one, where to find it? Duckworth says it’s a mistake to think that in a moment of revelation one will land in your lap, or simply occur to you through quiet contemplation – rather, you need to explore different activities and pursuits, and expose yourself to the different challenges and needs confronting society.


If you still draw a blank, then perhaps it’s worth heeding the advice of others who say that it is not always the case that energy and determination flow from finding your passion – sometimes it can be the other way around and, if you put enough energy into your work, then passion will follow. Consider, for instance, an eight-week repeated survey of German entrepreneurs published in 2014 that found a clear pattern – their passion for their ventures increased after they’d invested more effort into them the week before. A follow-up study qualified this, suggesting that the energising effect of investing effort arises only when the project is freely chosen and there is a sense of progress. ‘Entrepreneurs increase their passion when they make significant progress in their venture and when they invest effort out of their own free choice,’ the researchers said.

There is the concept of the craftsman approach put forth by Cal Newport and others, to which I subscribe.

Finally, if you think that passion comes from doing a job you enjoy, you’re likely to be disappointed. Consider where you think passion comes from. In a preprint paper released at PsyArXiv, Jachimowicz and his team draw a distinction between people who believe that passion comes from doing what you enjoy (which they say is encapsulated by Oprah Winfrey’s commencement address in 2008 in which she said passions ‘bloom when we’re doing what we love’), and those who see it as arising from doing what you believe in or value in life (as reflected in the words of former Mexican president Felipe Calderón who in his own commencement address in 2011 said ‘you have to embrace with passion the things that you believe in, and that you are fighting for’).

The researchers found that people who believe that passion comes from pleasurable work were less likely to feel that they had found their passion (and were more likely to want to leave their job) as compared with people who believe that passion comes from doing what you feel matters. Perhaps this is because there is a superficiality and ephemerality to working for sheer pleasure – what fits the bill one month or year might not do so for long – whereas working towards what you care about is a timeless endeavour that is likely to stretch and sustain you indefinitely. The researchers conclude that their results show ‘the extent to which individuals attain their desired level of work passion may have less to do with their actual jobs and more to do with their beliefs about how work passion is pursued’.

This is an adaptation of an article originally published by The British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.

(Via Aeon)

Sen. Tester pushes new VA CIO James Gfrerer for priorities by Billy Mitchell:

James Gfrerer hasn’t been CIO of the Department of Veteran Affairs long, but he’s already under the close watch of Congress.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., penned a letter Jan. 11 asking Gfrerer to “provide a comprehensive and prioritized list of VA IT projects” along with any “metrics or explanations of processes that are used to prioritize these projects.”
“There is no doubt that insufficient resources, a chronic lack of transparency, and an inability to effectively prioritize countless competing objectives have led to serious questions about VA’s ability to meet the standard of technology necessary to serve our nation’s veterans,” Tester wrote.
Within that letter, Tester lists the myriad problems VA’s Office of Information and Technology has struggled recently: the ongoing work to modernize the department’s electronic health record and make it interoperable with the Pentagon’s; the recent debacle surrounding a software issue that has left many veterans without housing stipends under the GI Bill; and others.
“I am eager to work with you to solve the litany of problems we have seen from OI&T, and I genuinely believe that we can do so,” wrote Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “However, any progress towards achieving this goal is dependent on transparency from VA about the Department’s true IT needs and the challenges you face in funding and execution.”
Tester is likely relieved there’s finally a permanent CIO in place at the VA, as so are many of his colleagues on Capitol Hill. The department has been without an official IT chief since the change in administration in Jan. 2017, when LaVerne Council resigned. She was followed, on an acting basis by Rob Foster and then Scott Blackburn, who resigned in April. At that point, Camilo Sandoval, who had been a controversial staffer on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, stepped in to fill the spot.
The president appointed Gfrerer to the CIO position in July. He was confirmed Jan. 3 on the final day of the 115th Congress.

I’ve long opined that real support of the U.S. military isn’t in displays, kneeling or standing, or words. It is in what we as a Nation do. First and foremost has to be the VA and health care.

The Pentagon and the VA still have incompatible systems AFAIK. There is still a massive amount of paperwork that is still on actual paper AFAIK. And there is still a woeful budget for military and veteran health care including PTSD support.

IT should be in front of fixing some of these major problems, but without adequate funding there is only so much that can be done.

This is a chord, this is another by :

“I just learned ‘Imagine’ on the piano,” tweeted @acupoftea yesterday, “and I would like to officially rescind any energy I’ve spent being impressed with people who can play ‘Imagine’ on the piano.” I chuckled, and then she followed up with, “If you want to demystify pop music, learn, like, four chords and just play them in a different order & rhythm each time.”
That immediately made me think of the famous zine graphic above, included in the book Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-1980_. Toby Mott explains:
> [It’s] an illustration from a fanzine called _Sideburn #1
, which was a drawing made by Tony Moon just to fill the space. It’s a drawing of three guitar chords and it says, ‘now form a band’. That fanzine is extremely rare, but the drawing is often quoted by lots of musicians as the impetus to do something, and it’s seen as a key message of punk,” says Toby. “You didn’t need to have been to music school or be particularly proficient or skilled. It was much more about the energy and drive to do something. It’s a rallying call to the troops.
Nice to know the story behind a drawing that always puzzled me. Why are the markings on the frets and not in between them? And why A-E-G? What songs can you even play with those chords? (Answer: AC/DC’s “TNT” and T-Rex’s “Bang A Gong.”)

By the way, the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ aren’t world beaters either. I believe that if anyone other than a former Beatle put that song out, it would have sunk under the sea of much better stuff that itself never surfaced.

I’m frustrated that many iOS apps still don’t support landscape mode on iPhones, including Apple’s own. Settings, Music, FaceID, and a whole host of apps can’t handle an iPhone on its side, even when a keyboard is attached.

True Action by Tina Roth Eisenberg:

> “True action, good and radiant action, my friends, does not spring from activity, from busy bustling, it does not spring from industrious hammering. It grows in the solitude of the mountains, it grows on the summits where silence and danger dwell.”
Hermann Hesse

I cannot find the source of this quote. Maybe it’s his 1946 anthology If the War Goes On… (public library).

Apple Launches Smart Battery Cases for iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR by Ryan Christoffel:

Apple today updated its online store with the addition of three new products: Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. Every version of the case costs $129, regardless of iPhone size. Each new case is available in both Black and White, and the designs resemble that of the previous Apple Smart Battery Cases, with a silicone exterior and a large bulge on the back to accommodate the battery.
The Smart Battery Case is compatible with Qi chargers, so you can still take advantage of wireless charging while using the case. These are the quoted charge estimates for each case:
* XS: 33 hours talk time, 21 hours Internet use, and 25 hours video playback
* XS Max: 37 hours talk time, 20 hours Internet use, and 25 hours video playback
* XR: 39 hours talk time, 22 hours Internet use, and 27 hours video playback
In the past, Apple hasn’t made Smart Battery Cases available for Plus-sized phones, so it’s great to see that now, regardless of your iPhone size, you can get a case that raises battery life to meet the needs of heavy use.

This is swell and all, but there is significant space at the top where Apple could put … oh, I don’t know … a 3.5mm headphone jack. How great would that be?

It’s not a new idea, but is one that should be restated.

CISOs Find Collaboration Improves Resiliency:

The Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC) has published its first annual report, Leveraging Board Governance for Cybersecurity, the CISO / CIO Perspective, the results of which highlight the need for boards to be active governance partners in collaborative cyber defense.

Recognizing the shared value of collaboration across organizational functions and between and among organizations when talking about cyber defense, the ACSC report calls upon boards to adopt a holistic and dynamic understanding of their organization’s cybersecurity responsibilities. In addition, boards are encouraged to maintain continuous direct access to CISOs and risk officers as well as with CIOs and other executives.

The report found, “For the most part, boards are not in a position to provide strategic guidance on cyber risk,” said Michael Figueroa, executive director of the ACSC in a press release. “In particular, the ACSC report has identified a need for a risk standard, much like those frameworks that financial and audit risk functions have refined over decades, that would help guide decision making and operations as they relate to cyber risk management.”

As part of the study, 20 ACSC member CISOs and CIOs from a wide range of organizations across multiple sectors worked in conjunction with four outside experts. Collectively, the focus group shared perspectives which revealed common themes and perceptions about board engagement as it relates to board-management relationship.

““I can’t help but agree with the observations, in that all but the smallest organizations should have the CISO role defined as the go-to person for security,” said Mukul Kumar, chief information security officer and VP of cyber practice at Cavirin.

“He or she manages up to others in the C-suite and the board, and ties together strategy across DevOps, SecOps, risk and compliance.  The best example of a failure to clearly establish roles, responsibilities and lines of reporting is clearly outlined in the House committee report on the Equifax breach.”

According to the report findings, the board-management relationships are only in the nascent or maturing stages, which indicates that in most cases the boards are not effectively guiding management in making strategic risk-based decisions.

In addition, most boards are bereft of individuals with any real cyber expertise. The report recommended that they should make efforts to recruit members who can augment the board’s ability to build strategic partnerships that provide guidance specifically related to cyber risk.

“Boards should prioritize and support senior management’s development of a new generation of outcome-based cyber risk management frameworks, and in the meantime, executives should use only a few operational metrics with boards,” the report stated.

(Via Infosecurity)

I see articles like this one, reporting on reports like this one, and only in specific circumstances do we see the kind of collaboration prescribed.

What to Do When You Think You’re About to Get Fired by Whitson Gordon:

Kyle Platts
Things have gone from bad to worse at your job. Maybe the company’s showing signs of financial trouble or your boss has given you more than a couple stern warnings about your performance. If you have an inkling that your job might be in jeopardy, here’s how to prepare yourself.

Don’t wait to do this things when you get an inkling. Plan for the worst so you’re ready when it happens.

Get direct feedback and look for the signs

“In theory, you should be getting feedback along the way if you aren’t doing well,” said Kim Scott, the author of “Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity.” “Solicit feedback well before you think there’s a problem. Either you’ll be reassured that things are not as bad as you think they are, or you’ll hopefully get some feedback you can use.”
Come up with a go-to question you ask with some frequency. Merely asking “do you have any feedback for me?” isn’t always going to help. Instead, put your manager on the spot and ask a more direct question like, “What can I do to make it easier to work with me?” Give your boss time to answer — at least six seconds of uncomfortable silence is usually enough — and don’t get defensive when they reply.
Of course, not all organizations are run so well. In some, getting feedback may be like pulling teeth. In others, they may not say explicitly that your job is in danger, so you’ll have to read between the lines.
Ideally, that will give you something to work with, and you may even be able to keep your job. If not, though, you’ll at least be able to say you gave it your all.

Document what your manager says, too.

Prepare for the worst now

If all signs point to a potential firing in the near future, it’s time to get your ducks in a row. “When you’re fired or laid off, it is very likely that you’ll be asked to leave right away,” said Alison Green, the author of the Ask a Manager website and book. “You may be allowed to go back to your desk to grab some personal items, but you’re probably going to be locked out of your computer.”
So start thinking now about the stuff you’ll want to have with you when you leave — contact information for friends and useful connections, statistics that might bolster future job interviews, or anything else that might come in handy. Just be sure not to take anything confidential or that you’ve signed an agreement not to take.
It’s also a good idea to make any medical appointments you might need before your health insurance goes away. Similarly, make sure you have a healthy emergency fund in your savings account, if you can: enough money to get you through a few months (experts suggest three to six) without your regular salary. This will make things a lot less stressful when the hammer finally comes down.
Next, Ms. Green said, “read your employee handbook. You might find things in there about separation procedures. It might prompt you to start thinking about negotiating a neutral reference, or you might find out if they pay for unused vacation.” These types of logistics are easy to forget when you’re in that fateful meeting, so if you think about them beforehand, you’ll be well prepared for anything that comes your way.
There are, however, a couple things you’ll need to discuss during the meeting. First, agree on a story about why you left. “Sometimes you can negotiate with your employer, and they will agree to say you weren’t fired,” said Ms. Green. In some cases, they may agree to just confirm your dates of employment when called for a reference. “The time to do that is in the meeting, when the firing is happening, because they have an incentive to wrap this up as pleasantly as possible.” You might even be able to negotiate for more severance.

In the U.S. and a lot of other countries, there is a difference between being laid off and being fired.

Fired usually implies cause: poor performance, insubordination, incompetence, criminal activity, or violating terms of employment (sexual harassment, racism, &t.) Fired for cause will often include a history of poor reports in one’s personnel file. Being laid off is better. It implies you were “let go” for general staff reductions or as part of a reorganization but not for poor performance or criminal activity.

Negotiating severance that this point is important. When I was laid off many years ago I was able to double my severance plus get a career coach, access to resources, and some other things that helped me find a great job just before my severance ran out.

Finally, try to turn that meeting into a learning opportunity. “If you’re not too devastated by having gotten fired, this is a great opportunity for you to get the feedback that you didn’t get earlier,” Ms. Scott said. Ask what you can do better, so you don’t find yourself in the same situation next time. “Then I would ask my boss, ‘Where do you see me working? What kind of opportunity do you think I would thrive in?’ If the boss is a total jerk, you’re probably not going to get any useful information, but usually people have an idea of where you would really do well.”

This is fantastic advice.

Hit the ground running at your next job

Don’t wait until you’ve been fired to start searching for your next job. “As soon as you start being worried, start the job search,” Ms. Green said. “Reconnect with your network, and start looking around at what’s out there.” Make a list of everyone you know who might be able to offer you work — or might know someone who could. If you’re in a field where freelancing is common, see if you can line up some potential freelance work during the gap. “The sooner that you can start, the better,” said Ms. Green. “You don’t want to go home from that meeting and be at square one.”

Always have “irons in the fire” even if things look good at work. It will keep you in-tune with the marketplace, help you focus your training and experience to that market, and maybe that next great opportunity comes along.

Hopefully, that will help you line up interviews quickly. Just make sure you’re prepared to answer the question of why you left your last job. You don’t have to say “I was fired,” necessarily, but don’t lie outright, since the interviewer will likely talk to your former boss. Instead, come up with a brief, nondefensive explanation of why it didn’t work out. Ms. Scott offered a simple script: “You could say something like ‘I realized that I’m really not well-suited for XYZ kind of opportunities. But that’s why this job is really appealing to me, because I’ll be playing to my strengths.'” If you can show that you’re a person who takes feedback and learns from your experiences, good employers will take notice.
Finally, remember that no amount of preparation can inoculate you against the blow to your ego. Give yourself a few days to recover, but try to shift your focus to the future. “The road to insanity in these situations is obsessing about injustice,” said Ms. Scott. “Sometimes there really is injustice, and you may want to take action. But usually, it’s a better return on investment of your time to get a new great job.” After all, the best revenge is a life well lived.

Agreed. The Stoic practice of negative visualization can help with this. Prepare for the fact that you may not be able to be as prepared as you might like.

You can check put my previous posts titled “Preparing for the Pink” on this very topic here, here, here, and here. I should collect these into a page for easy navigation, so na?

How Recapping My Days Changed My Life:

in 2015, I made a New Years resolution. At the start of each day, I would review what I had done the previous day and log it in a text file. This wouldn’t be literally everything (Otherwise it would get rather tedious); just things that were worth remembering or indicated some kind of action had been taken that would move me forward, no matter how small. If I made a new recipe, it would go in. If I saw a new movie, it would go in. Four years later, and I can safely say that this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. These are some of the ways recapping my days has changed my life.

1. Gives my life an arc
There’s a famous quote from C.S. Lewis: “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” Life can feel like it’s rushing by you, and you can easily lose of track and how you got to where you are. By logging my days (usefully in single sentences; this isn’t a lengthy diary), I can more easily trace how I got to where I am now When did I move into my current residence? When did I leave a previous job? When I look back on my logs, I can see that my life is a journey, rather than just being a Groundhog Day where everything is always the same.

2. Keeps me accountable
When I don’t feel like doing anything, I remember that I’m sabotaging the “tomorrow version” of myself, who’s going to wake up and not have anything to put in the log. Occasionally, I’ll have to cop to not doing anything and log a “?” for those days. If the day is almost over and I’m scrambling to do something, I’ll add a sentence or two to a short story I’m working on. Then, I can wake up the next day and put “I worked on my short story” for that day’s log. It might not be writing a novel, but it’s still something I can be proud of.

3. Lets me cherish the really important days
At the end of each month, I mark especially notable days in bold. These “Bold Days” don’t have any specific criteria; they’re just ones that were especially important in terms of development or effort. For instance, if I complete an important project or go to a new place, that can be considered a Bold Day. The hope is to make every day a Bold Day. It doesn’t always happen, but I’ve been doing pretty well.

4. Allows me to reflect
Another aspect of this project is reflections. At the end of each month (and year), I consider what has happened and how it has affected me. This has been things like the start of a romantic relationship, adapting to a new living situation, or simply dealing with mental frustrations. Being able to write how I’m feeling without judgment of said feelings allows me to bring more mindfulness into my life.

5. Helps me remember things
I’m not going to say that I have a perfect memory, but I can confidently say that recapping my days has helped to make my memory stronger. When I look back on previous logs, I can better recall past experiences. As we get older, life can feel like it’s going by in a flash and that there’s a lack of meaningful experiences. Taking note of my experiences lets me play movies of my life in my head. Plus, if I ever want to write my memoirs, I’ll already have extensive notes available.
Brody Kenny is a freelance writer. He focuses on self-improvement and mental development, as well as arts & culture. Learn more at

(Via Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement)

I’m working on this. While I’m using on-line tools for this, I find analog note taking more satisfying and something I will be more willing to read later versus the digital version.