I'm banning Reddit and it's kind of a big deal...

Like an increasing number of people in the social media age, I spend far too much of my time consuming online content. It's an addiction; an addiction to likes, swipes and retweets - it's a waste of precious time and attention. The designers and engineers who built these systems talk openly about how concerned they are about the habits that people are forming (here's a great article on the topic). I think the concept of the 'Attention Economy' is really interesting and I'm glad it's increasingly becoming accepted as a societal issue in the digital age. So important is this issue that Apple have included controls in software to give insight and restrict how much time is being spent on our devices - that in itself shows just how important of an issue this is.

I'm going to begin to stamp it out. Inspired by my Year of Smart and CGP Grey's similar 'Project Cyclops' approach on the Hello Internet Podcast I am going to better invest my attention. I don't want to be a crazy person and cut everything out, but I do need some ground rules... The below will take effect immediately, cold-turkey style.

To avoid any confusion: Stop will mean I remove the application and don't access the site at all, my accounts will still exist. Control will mean I increase awareness for my use of the service, perhaps implementing restrictions around the number of times I check per day or only using in certain situations. Continue is self-explanatory, I hope to improve the amount of time I spend reading and writing blog posts as that's a positive use of time (typically!).

Stop

  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • Untappd
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

Control

  • Twitter
  • Personal Email
  • News Websites
  • Netflix
  • Spotify

Continue

  • Messaging (SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger)
  • Podcasts
  • Reading
  • Blogging

Wish me luck!

The Year of Smart

By this time in the year I have usually defined my list of annual goals, the things that I want to achieve over the next 12 months. Last year was reasonably successful for goals, I achieved over half and they were all good and helpful, you can read about them here 2017 & The Missing Blogs, but I felt like I was constantly looking over my left shoulder (they’re written on the whiteboard behind my desk) in shame because I knew some were unachievable. This year needed to be different, something less regimented, something that is achievable and that can encourage me to push forward in a positive way.

@geekyjames suggested that I take a listen to a podcast called Cortex, specifically this episode: Cortex #62: 2018 Yearly Themes as the hosts, CGP Grey and Make Hurley talk about productivity and annual objectives. If you haven’t listened to this before I certainly recommend it, don’t let the 97 minute run time put you off, every minute is gold. During the episode the hosts discuss Annual Themes, the concept is that instead of setting a list of specific goals (i.e. a regimented list) a theme is used as a framework to encourage direction and positive productivity. Certainly, a todo list or goal list can still exist but the theme is used to make sure that everything aligns to the ultimate objective. The yearly theme concept also allows for flexibility, I knew in August of last year that some of my goals were realistically unachievable ,and I wrote them off instead of continuing to push forward. There’s an interesting Forbes article here about themes being used in a similar way.

With some thought and reflection, I decided that 2018 would be The Year of Smart. There are a number of reasons why but the most significant are listed below:

  1. Working in the wrong way. Towards the end of 2017, I was burning myself out with work, doing too many hours, working hard but not working smart. This was a really big problem that caused a great deal of stress and affected more than just my professional life, it was (and is) at the front of my mind to resolve in 2018.
  2. Doing things that don’t need to be done. This one is difficult to quantify, but I felt that I spent a lot of time completing tasks that had little benefit, both professionally and privately. This could be as simple as going to the office when I don’t need to go to the office or going diving just to increase my dive count.
  3. Goals with no direction. Another thing I want to fix is moving in too many directions at the same time. I’m very guilty of swapping from one trend to another often without reason, for example, some months I will write lots of posts on the blog, other months I have no interest in the blog at all. Trying to funnel focus into specific areas will hopefully help with that.

It’ll be interesting to see how this makes for a different year, I’m confident and hopeful for change and am looking forward to welcoming 2018. There are some fantastic occasions that lye within, as @tigziefc and I plan our wedding, as the dog grows up and as our careers move forward - I can’t wait.

@tigziefc and Dexter at Heligan

@tigziefc and Dexter at Heligan