With years, months, weeks, days, our calendar continually gives us
chances to reset, restart, adjust, or whatever else we need to do. As
silly as it is, even WWDC feels like a chance for me to start fresh.
As WWDC comes and goes each year, I'm always left feeling excited and
aspirational about building new apps. I've especially needed that
feeling this year.
I was really hopeful for 2021. I was excited to build on all the good habits and routines I had
developed. Well, one house construction project, a move, and a new
baby later, I felt like I had hit a brick wall. For a long time, the
only focus I was tracking in my
"Survive." I had stopped working on my app, exercising,
waking up early, and more. I felt like all I could do was not collapse
on myself like a dying star.
Things are finally starting looking up though. Over the past couple of
months, I've been able to carve out a bit of time to reintroduce
"regular" "exercise" and I've also started waking
up earlier again to work on my projects.
There's still hiccups, but each week is a chance to do better than the
last. WWDC has gotten me excited about working Focuses again and a
couple other app ideas I have. I'm now starting to feel like I don't
have enough time to do the things I want to do instead of not
having enough time to do the things I need to do. That's a
pretty good feeling.
We don't need to wait until the new year or next month to change. As
they say, there's not better time than the present.
Last night, I finished building the new
LEGO World Map
set. With over 11,000 pieces, it took me around 12 hours to complete.
Some of that time was while holding my 3 month-old or building with my
4 year-old. Still, it was a lot of time to simply shut my brain down
and build. It reminded me of how important it is to give your brain a
break every once in a while.
It's incredible how many problems are solved by going to bed and
taking a shower the next morning. I've had countless lightbulb moments
while showering, taking the trash out to the road, building LEGO, etc.
As a programmer, I've done a lot to make sure I take care of my hands
and wrists—good chair, mouse, keyboard, and desk. But, I've realized I
need to do more to take care of my mind. We equate sitting at the
computer as working. More and more though it seems that the more time
I spend away from my computer, the better and quicker my work is done
when I am at my computer. A refreshed mind is the best productivity
tool I know of. Want to get more done? Work less.
I have long believed that I have never and will never come up with an
original idea. Nothing is truly original. Every ideas has been had
before. In Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon talks about how
everything new builds on what has come before it. New ideas take bits
and pieces from other ideas and combine them into something new. If we
steal many good things from a variety of people, we are able to
combine them into something worthy of being stolen by someone else; We
create our own voice.
If nothing is original, what's the point? I've been having trouble
figuring this one out. Klein included a quote from André Gide:
Everything that needs to be said has already been said.
But, since no one was listening, everything must be said
I love this perspective. As the father of a four year-old, this hit
close to home. So, what's the point? There is someone who has not
heard what you have to say. Even if they have heard it before, they
may not have been listening the first time. If they are going to hear
it now, why not let it be from you?
While talking about how we are able to learn by surrounding ourselves
with people more talent, Kleon said "if you ever find that you're
the most talented person in the room, you need to find another
room." While I get what he's saying, it's too selfish of an
attitude for me. A better question than which room can I move to, is
how can help those in this room become more talented. I think
a lot can be gained from changing your perspective from "what can
I take?" to "what can I give?"
I'll end with my favorite quote included in the book from Jessica
Hische, an incredibly talented designer:
The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you
should be doing for the rest of your life.
This makes me look off into the mid-distance and think for a few
minutes every time I read it.
Steal Like an Artist is a quick, worthwhile read. I give it a
thumbs up. Thanks for reading, and as Klein recommends, I'm going to
go and enjoy and use my obscurity.
Like I said in
Wrapping Up the Year of Groundwork, after 2020, I don't feel like I have much gas left in the tank.
That's why I've decided to make 2021 the Year of Momentum. I want to
keep going on the good things I started in 2020. I'm still figuring
out what that means exactly, but here’s where I’m currently at:
My wife and I are trying to finish our house in the next few weeks.
We have been living with my in-laws for over a year now. Much longer
A few weeks after we’re planning on moving into our house, we are
expecting a new baby.
In short, it’s going to take a lot for me to barely make it through
this winter, hence the Season of Survival. The next few months are
going to be about managing stress and anxiety. So unless I think it
will be helpful, I’m not going to start anything new.
will probably be on the back burner until Spring (though there are a
couple bug fixes I should probably get out soon 🤔.) I might even need
to pull back on the amount of time I’ve been freelancing. There's a
lot that needs to be done, and I need to figure out how to get it all
done without collapsing on myself like a dying star.