Maaz Zulfiqar

Retro Lover | Love to talk about 50s-90s | Writer & Graphic Designer

How to Scan Old Photos

If you want to bring your old photos albums into the digital world, your phone camera is the most cheapest and the simplest equipment for this purpose.
Although, default camera application does a good job of taking random clicks. But it's not best for scanning photos.
After experimenting with several apps, the one which stuck with me is Microsoft Office mobile application. It's free and is available on both Play Store and App Store.
To scan effectively, place your photos at a flat surface like table or floor. Make sure to have adequate lightening.
Scanning each and every picture is cumbersome task. That's why only scan the best ones. Ones you don't wanna lose at any cost.

Classic movies to watch

Although, I prefer watching movies from the 80s and 90s. However, these days, I am experimenting with the golden era of Hollywood.
So, these are the classic movies that I watched in the past few months and can't help myself to share it with you.
My Rating: Good Great Excellent

1) Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Genre: Drama, Film-Noir
My Rating: Excellent

2) Double Indemnity (1944)
Genre: Crime, Film-Noir
My Rating: Good

3) 12 Angry Men (1957)
Genre: Drama, Crime
My Rating: Excellent

4) Singin' In The Rain (1952)
Genre: Comedy, Musical
My Rating: Great

5) North By Northwest (1959)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery
My Rating: Excellent

Getting Things Done (GTD)

What I learned Today:
The GTD method is made up of five simple practices to systematize the clutter in your brain and get things done:

1) Capture Everything: Capture anything that crosses your mind. Nothing is too big or small! These items go directly into your inboxes.

2) Clarify Process what you’ve captured into clear and concrete action steps. Decide if an item is a project, next action, or reference.

3) Organize: Put everything in the right place. Add dates to your calendar, delegate projects to other people, file away reference material and sort your tasks.

4) Review: Frequently look over, update, and revise your lists.

5) Engage: Get to work on the important stuff."

Ref: https://todoist.com/productivity-methods/getting-things-done?utm_source=pocket_mylist

-> I learned about this method a year ago and since then, I have been trying to implement this technique in my life.

First of all, you need a note-taking system to work with. Don't worry, just a pen and a diary or an app like Standard Notes will do the trick. You can also check out my note-taking app too:
https://medium.com/@maaz.zulf/the-only-note-taking-app-that-you-need-10942f8ccca2

Regarding step one, I have been capturing my thoughts and ideas into Standard Notes and in my other note-taking app. Capturing is important. Because our minds are good idea-generators but not so good idea-keeper. This means, that if you will keep everything in your head and won't jot it down, you are most likely to forget about it.

Clarifying what you have captured is super important. Because, without clarifying, you can't make it workable. It'll be just a raw idea sitting in your notes. Make sure to break it down into small and actionable steps.

The next step is organizing, just like assigning tags to your notes in Standard Notes. In my note-taking app, it is more fun. You can group your notes into different notebooks. Plus, you can add custom covers to your notebooks.

In step four, you want to keep your notes accessible, which means they shouldn't get buried under your other notes, that you forget about them. To avoid that, In Standard Notes, you can 'pin' the notes you are working on.

And finally, all your note-taking system is nothing, if you don't act upon your ideas. Just do it. And do it NOW.

(PS: I just crossed the 8000s words mark on my profile. A great achievement.)

Positive Ways to Cope Stress

What I learned Today:

Positive Ways to Cope Stress

• Name your feelings, positive or negative
• Control your anger
• Practice self-reflection
• Communicate or talk about your feelings
• Exercise
• Participate in hobbies and/or sports
• Spend time outdoors
• Consider a situation from another point of view
• Remain flexible and open to new ways of thinking
• Keep a journal or engage in another form of conscious self-reflection
• Spend quality time with family, partner, friends
• Use positive self-talk and affirmations
• Meditate or pray
• Clean or organize your workspace or home
• Playing or being with a pet or children

Ref: http://ideas.ted.com/coping-strategies-stress-anxiety-negative-positive-ways-to-cope?utm_source=pocket_mylist

Retro Windows

If you are like me, the first Windows you used was Windows XP. Windows XP came in 2000s and It was successor to Windows 98. Before Windows 98, there was Windows 95. Although, I have never used it, I always have the fascination with Windows 95.

So, to pay a tribute to the Windows 95, I have designed this Computer wallpaper. Just a simple blue background with a custom logo, in which I have tried to incorporate the 90s look, while at the same time keeping it a little modern,

Download my tribute to Windows 95 from this link and set it as your wallpaper:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/147533519/Desktop-Wallpaper-Custom-Windows-95-Logo

Ok, we talked about the 90s. Now let's go a little backward, to the 80s. As far as I know, DOS was used in computers in the 80s.
By keeping the same logo, but changing the colors, I have tried to design a retro windows design. I hope you will like that too:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/147419841/Retro-Style-Microsoft-Windows-Logo-and-Background

What the world will look like in 10 years.

Writing Prompt:
What the world will like in 10 years

Well, 10 years is not a big duration, but given the unprecedented speed of tech advancement, no wonder how tech will change the world in the next ten years.
Just to give the examples of previous ten-year gaps:
In the years 2000, nobody would have thought that every household will have a mobile phone by 2010.
In the years 2010, nobody would have imagined that smartphones will become an integral part of our lives by 2020, and that we would depend upon our smartphones for not just communication but work and entertainment too.

How the World Will Look Like In 2032:
1) Internet will become faster and faster, e.g. 5G, 6G or any next G.
2) Improvements in smartphone technologies e.g. better cameras, and wireless charging, to name a few.
3) As the internet becomes more integral part of our lives, so our dependency on it will continue to increase.
4) Mankind might make a colony on Mars (After defeating aliens in WW3)
5) World might shift to using more and more green energies like solar and using less and fewer fossil fuels (If the climate change will not have already come to a point-of-no-retrun)
6) Adverse impacts of climate change on the earth will increase.
7) Common man will have access to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (Including me and you).

8) Blockchain, NFT, crypto, and similar new technologies will be on the rise (Becasue right now, I don't know anything about these except the names)

What Would I have written in 2012 about 2022:
(Remember that In 2012, I had a Nokia camera phone with a keypad-Nokia 2700 Classic or Nokia X2-02)

1) Mobile internet will become faster
2) Touch mobiles will replace keypad mobiles
3) Students would be able to study on the internet

Movies I watched in June 2022

Here is the list of movies that I watched in this month:

1) Tommy Boy (1995)
Genre: Comedy

2) Rate Race (2001)
Genre: Comedy, Adventure

3) Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1985)
Genre: Comedy

4) Going in Style (2017)
Genre: Comedy, Heist

5) Road Trip (2000)
Genre: Comedy, Adventure

6) Little Miss Sunshine (2005)
Genre: Comedy, Adventure

Although, my favourite decades of movies are 80s and 90s, but these days I am trying to watch the movies from another decade.
Yes, the 2000s which is my childhood decade, but I didn't used to like this decade. Maybe it was not that old and iconic, like the 80s and 90s.
But now I am watching the movies from this decade and three out of seven movies on the above mentioned list are from the 2000s.

4 Years without social media

Read my struggles with social media, and how and why I quit it?
After being in the no-social media club for 4 years, should I return?
Why I want to return?
Read the full article at:
https://medium.com/@maaz.zulf/4-years-without-social-media-should-i-return-97cd3924cdab

I am an old soul. Are you?

Growing up as a kid in the early 2000s, I realized that I have this fascination for old things and old times. Now in my twenties, I firmly believe that I am an old soul.

What is an old soul?
While there are many definitions for it on the internet, I stick to my own. It is simple, “any person who likes old things and old times, and wishes to have been alive in the years before his birth year”. It’s a weird definition but anyway. You got the point(I hope).

At first, I thought it was unnatural to like old things. While my class fellows would be waiting for the release of an upcoming movie, I enjoyed watching a classic 80s action on the weekend. But here on the internet, I have seen many people claiming their love for the old things, and thus I realized that I am not alone(and not weird too).

My taste for old things is not only limited to movies, but I also adore old technology, old photos and videos, old times, and many other things that I am going to list below:
To read full the full article follow this link:
https://medium.com/@maaz.zulf/i-am-an-old-soul-are-you-cbff9dde5073

How I Remember What I read (From Web Articles)

My Note-taking system of saving the articles in my long-term memory

Remembering what you read is an important trait in this day and age, as we are constantly bombarded with tons of information every day. To remember what you read, you have to have a system of saving the notes from what you read in a note-taking app.

I am an avid reader of blogs and web articles myself. That’s why I have been searching for note-taking apps for over a year. During that time, I tested many apps and services. However, for taking notes from articles, I have stuck with two services.

In this article, I will give my system of reading, and saving the key points from articles and blogs for future use.

So let’s dive in:
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To read full article visit:
https://medium.com/@maaz.zulf/how-i-remember-what-i-read-from-web-articles-aa55a246469c

Habits To Quit In 2022

Quit these 20 habits for a better life in 2022

1) Using Your Phone While Eating
Make your eating time a ‘no screentime’. Similarly, make your dining table a ‘no-screen zone’. Instead of looking at your phone, feel the sensation of your food i.e. the taste and smell of your food.

Put the phones away and enjoy conversing with your family members.

2) Not Spending Time in Nature
Challenge yourself to go on a walk every day. Do this without music. Observe, feel, smell, and simply be in Nature for this time.

Go to a park, lie in the sun and take a nap. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Sit outside and watch the clouds go by.

3) Watching Too Much Television
Time to kill your television. Television makes you dumb, and books make you smart.

Move your television out of your bedroom. Cancel your Netflix subscription.

4) Oversleeping and Undersleeping
Make a sleeping schedule and stick to it. Hang that schedule in your bedroom. If you use your mobile late at night, switch it off when it’s time to sleep.

5) Not Waking Up Early
Nobody is asking you to wake up at 4 am. But wake up early enough to hear the birds chirping and the sun rising.

Pray. Meditate. Plan your day. Take a walk. Fill your lungs with the fresh air of the morning.

6) Not Exercising
Get your heart rate up. Lift weights. Exercise at least 4 times a week, even if it’s just ten minutes. Start small and then gradually increase the intensity.

If you can’t afford a gym membership, do home workouts. You can find many tutorials on this topic on YouTube.

7) Overspending
Make a budget and stick to it. Cancel any unused gym memberships. Also, cancel online subscriptions to the services you longer use.

Pay yourself first. Save 10% of what you earn. Start a side hustle on the weekend.

8) Not Learning Something New
Learning doesn't end when you graduate. It is a lifelong process.

Read books. Watch videos. Enroll in online courses. Pick up a new hobby.

9) Spending Too Much Time In Front Of A Screen
Set screentime limits on your computer and mobile. Install apps that track the amount of time you spend on your devices. At the end of the day look at your total time. See where you could trim back and fill in the time with other activities.

I installed a screentime app on my phone and it helped me reduce my screentime from 7–8 hours to 3–4 hours.

Reserve 2 hours of ‘no-screen time’ every day. In those 2 hours, go to a peaceful place — in your home, or somewhere outside, and sit silently.

10) Not Making Your Bed
Start your day making your bed. By making your bed, you will be completing the first task of the day.

For more on this topic read this book by Admiral William H. McRaven: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World

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Read the full article at:
https://medium.com/@maaz.zulf/habits-to-quit-in-2022-a246502418a0

4 Common Mistakes That Ruin Your Productivity

We read and watch a lot about productivity and time management these days. We also have a lot of productivity tools and apps at our disposal. However, it is important to get familiar with the basic mistakes that we might be committing while considering ourselves to be productive.

1) Making Ineffective To-Do Lists:
Making a to-do list is an old yet effective way to manage time and be more productive. Pretty much everybody makes to-do lists nowadays. However, just making to-do lists isn’t going to help you, unless you avoid these pitfalls:

Assigning too many tasks: It’s better to write the three most important items you want to accomplish that day. If you have more than three items, keep them to a minimum.

Make a to-do list in the morning: Don’t waste your morning energy on thinking ‘what I should do today?’. Instead, writing down your to-dos in the evening is much better. So on the next day, you can jump right into the action.

Not writing Actionable to-dos: Instead of writing ‘Article writing’ which seems like a vague term, write something clear and actionable, like ‘Write an article about productivity on Medium.com’.

2) Not Prioritizing:
When you have a pile of tasks on your hands, and you don’t prioritize them, you will surely accomplish some of your tasks by the evening .

However, by the end of the day, you will realize that although you did accomplish some simple tasks like replying to a client's email. But in the thick of these trivial tasks, you missed some urgent and important ones e.g. a deadline.

That’s why it is necessary to prioritize your tasks in the order of their importance. So your most important tasks don’t get buried under the unimportant ones. Moreover, eliminate some unnecessary tasks altogether.

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Read the full article at:
https://medium.com/@maaz.zulf/4-common-mistakes-that-ruin-your-productivity-8e57a067785

Movie of the day: Mystic River (2003)

Starring: Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins
Director: Clint Eastwood
Year: 2003
Runtime: 138 minutes
IMDb rating: 7.9

This nail-biting crime drama revolves around three childhood friends. They get separated when they grow up. But one unique event brings all of them together: the death of a young girl. One of them is the girl's father, the second one is the prime suspect in the murder, and the third is the police inspector investigating the case.

There is no action in this movie, but the thrill and suspense keeps you at the edge of your seat. The message this movie gives is unique and a taboo topic in most cultures, and it's undeniably one of the finest movies directed by Clint Eastwood.

I liked the movie throughout, except for the end. I mean, the end could have been better. But the emotion that this film underlies is unique, and that emotion is what that makes this movie so unique.

In a way, it is related to Sleepers (1996) staring Robert De Niro. That is, childhood mistakes or traumas don't leave us but follow us the whole life.

If you want to see a crime-thriller this week, do check this movie out!

My Re-watch List 2022

Good movies are hard to forget. They never get old and that's why, you want to watch them again. Re-watching movies is kind of a time-travel. You began to remember how was your life when you first watched a certain movie, and how it has changed now when you are going to re-watch that movie.

Here's my re-watch list for 20220:

1) Fight Club (1999)
2) Copland (1997)
3) Windtalkers 92002)
4) Goodfellas (1990)
5) Casino (1995)
6) The Specialist (1994)
7) Airplane (1980)
8) Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
9) The Deer Hunter (1978)
10) Dirty Harry (1971)

I hope you would love to re-watch some of the movies on this list. In case, you haven't watched some of these movies, add them to your watchlist.

My Childhood Decade: The 2000s

In this post, I am going to write some of my memories from my childhood decade, the 2000s. It's not a decade review instead, it's just my observation of this decade.
Get ready for nostalgia.

Entertainment:
Growing up in the 2000s, television used to be the main source of entertainment, especially up to the mid-2000s. Pakistan television undoubtedly produced some of the best tv dramas in this decade. PTV was already on its downfall, nevertheless, it still maintained its superiority over private channels.

This decade also saw the rise of private news channels as the media was set free by then-President General Pervaiz Musharraf. Which in turn gave rise to the trend of 24/7 news.

Politics:
While globally, the 2000s saw many great events like 9/11 to the American invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan politics saw the transition from military rule to a democracy, when general elections were held in 2008.

Throughout this decade and until 2008, I saw the face of General Pervaiz Musharraf on the tv screen. As I was a child in those days. I used to think that 'President general' was some official position, like prime minister or chief minister. Well, in Pakistan it was in those days.

Tech:
Never had any previous decade seen more advancement on the tech horizon than the first decade of the 21st century. In terms of mobile technology, although the tone was already set, it was in the 2000s when the mobile phone market took off. If the 90s were owned by Motorola, Nokia ruled much of the 2000s. We also saw the first iPhone in 2007 which really paved the way for modern software-based smartphones. While mobile internet was still a luxury even at the end of that decade, phone cameras remained a great sensation among the users as companies worked tirelessly to improve the former.

In terms of computers, to have a Pentium 4 in your house in Pakistan was considered an achievement, as most of the Pakistan population did not have access to computers let alone P4. Along with P4, P3 also remained in use throughout this decade.

In gaming, the world saw many new technologies but sadly, I didn't use to have most of them. However, I have had my dell computer and like many kids of that decade, GTA Vice City use to be the ultimate fun. It was a whole world in itself. A honourable mention will be Need for Speed II Special Edition (that I still play on my Windows 10).

Audio cassettes along with cassette players remained the major source of music in the 90s and until the mid-2000s. Mobile phones' music players ultimately ended their monopoly because now the phones had the facility of a memory card and now you could load songs into it.

CDs and DVDs eventually ended the reigns of iconic VHS Cassette. Video Cassettes were immensely popular in the 80s and 90s, and they would continue to be used till the early-2000s. I vaguely remember watching WWE and movies on VHS tapes. USB ultimately won over all of these.


That's it for this time. So much memories from just one decade.
For more nostalgic posts, stay tuned to my blog. 

A Short and Simple Guide to Journaling in 2022

What is Journaling?

Journaling is the most simplistic form of writing. You can call it a method to convert your thoughts into writing.

Basically, you will be writing down your thoughts, problems, goals, or plans on a paper/digital notebook.

Benefits of Journaling:

Journaling has been proved to improve your mental health
Writing about yourself can give your more self-awareness
Journaling helps you organize your life (by writing goals and plans)
Journaling can preserve your memories. You can literally travel back in time by just reading any old entry.
Journaling improves your writing
Methods of Journaling
There are two methods of journaling:

1) Paper:
Nothing beats writing on paper. If you like going old-schools, get a pen and a notebook.

Try writing with your favorite pen. Moreover, there are many journal-specific notebooks available that you can buy online.

2) Digital:

If you are good with typing, then the digital method is best for you. Moreover, a digital notebook is a safer option because it is difficult to hide a physical notebook from your family or roommates.

There are many note-taking apps that can be used for digital journaling.

My personal favorites are:

a)Zoho Notebook:
This is a free service with all the text formatting options available. Plus, you can also upload images and PDFs.

You can read my full review of the Zoho Notebook here.

b) Standard Notes

If you want to go completely private, this service is for you. Because Standard Notes offer an end-to-end encrypted for free. However, you don’t get text formatting options in the free version(just a simple text editor). But it offers a better organization of your entries by assigning tags.

Both of these services have mobile and desktop apps.

What to Write in A Journal?
It depends upon what’s your purpose of writing. Are you writing for improving your mental health, for planning your future goals, for documenting your life, or for creating a writing routine?

Basically, you can write anything you want. There are no hard and fast rules.

When you sit to write, don’t worry about the grammar. Continue writing with a stream of consciousness. You can edit your journal entry at the end if you want.

But… I get it. For most people, journaling is not easy. Every time you sit down to write, you keep staring at an empty page or blank screen. Basically, you don’t know what to write in your journal.

This is where journaling prompts come into play.

What are Journaling prompts?
Journaling prompts are topics or ideas that can serve as a starting point for your journal entry. It can be a word, a statement, a photo, or any general trigger.

Journaling Prompts for improving your mental health??

Read full article at:
https://medium.com/@maaz.zulf/a-short-and-simple-guide-to-journaling-in-2022-3cb7635154e9