Year: 2012

2013

Last year I had one resolution: Become smarter. It was a great resolution. Side effects included:

  1. being very selective about content quality (goodbye vapid tech articles)
  2. delaying all other content (mark everything as “read later” and check the list later)
  3. exploring new and varied topics
  4. reduction of emo behaviour (you don’t feel as lonely/bored/lost when you are trying to learn)
  5. and, eventually, all of this led to something else: focus and frustration.

Focus

Historically, I’ve been a massive multi-tasker. Instead of concentrating on this sentence, I would be flicking between browser tabs, checking twitter, looking for the inspiration to finish the sentence.

But I’ve started trying to improve my focus. In my browser favourites, I have this right now page. If I get to night-time, and I see that page, and I haven’t picked up the book I’m reading, I know I need to put down whatever I’m doing and read the damn book.

I have two lists at work and home: Blur and Focus. Blur has all the things I might be doing. Focus has one. And I use a 7-folder method for work emails – Inbox, Action, Followup, ToRead, ToSave, Backlog, Archive – along with Followupthen. I’m still tweaking all of this, but I know what I’m trying to achieve. I’m trying to make some space.

Frustration

Even if I keep my brain stimulated, and I can make space to think, what happens next? I’ve been trying to think about direction, meaning and passion.

2013. To consider.

For 2013, I’ve saved two sets of questions to help me think about this. They’re geeky, but I know they’ll make me think about direction, meaning and passion.

Q1. What is success? What is happiness? What am I working toward?

Q2. If I move to a new city in January, where no one knows me, and I can reinvent myself, what do I want to be? (What is your best possible self?)

Next week, I’ll sketch out my answers with pen & paper. I want the space between now and then to completely relax and not think.

2013. Creative state. 

That’s my resolution.

Ghost

If you really want to know the truth, these are the things my ghost did

  • Wrote my name in weed killer on my front lawn
  • Sent a superman outfit (not sexy, more like the kids’ PJs ones) to me at work
  • Yeah I wear it some days
  • Wrote my name in sunscreen on their chest, sent a photo after sun
  • Wrote my name on every “give way” sign on my way to work
  • Made dinner for me (ok, once) (red jelly)
  • Bought us a mystery trip, we got in the car, went up the road to the park
  • That was it
  • Ignored me most of the time
  • Was ok with me talking all of the time
  • Never did anything when I was melancholy
  • Just waited

Smarts

Become smarter,
Initial plan of attack.

Part 1: The known

I know the types of things that make me feel like I’m becoming smarter by doing them. Reading really high quality articles (see: Longreads), reading about the world (like Wikipedia and Google world news), reading well-written fiction (I have a list to plough through), regular conversations with people who I respect for various reasons (another list), mind-pushing media (lists of movies/shows to see, plans for music gigs, plans for places like art galleries). Taking work seriously. Attending events like UX Book Club where you want to feel eloquent (and therefore, you are personally challenged to do this) while you express your opinion. And struggling and re-writing and re-writing sincere ideas/opinions until you are happy with them, to friends or privately, is important, because it is only via articulation that you can really analyse and decide and evolve.

Part 2: The unknown

One last list: expand music, expand places, expand people, expand reading, expand writing. I like “expand” because it really sums up “different to what you know”. I’m also very aware of when I’m saying “no” to things, and why I’m saying “no”. I can’t say it just because I think I might not like it (like going to the circus), because this goes against the expansion goal. It has to be for a more valid reason (like because I am completely exhausted).

Part 3. Like begets like / Life begets life

By choosing to share an interest (like sharing good articles online) you invariably stumble onto people with a similar interest and their recommendations. By choosing to not be lazy, and to instead make the effort to share and write up opinions (as difficult as it sometimes is) – or whatever it is that you’re creating/producing as a part of your reaction to all this new input – you also encourage other people to, as well, and it becomes an encourage-loop.

//

Thanks to @bkpr for getting me to take this out of my head, and put it into words. I am not good with the Part 3.

2012

Last year I freaked because I couldn’t envisage 2011, I had no resolutions, no direction. I cobbled together some tentative plans and did quite well with them.

This year I freaked because I couldn’t envisage 2012, I had no resolutions, no direction. But somewhere around NYE my brain came good and I knew what I wanted to do. One resolution: Become smarter.

Might seem dumb, but you can go eat a bear.