Weekend domestic bliss

When my washing machine beeps, I often think, “this is great, I am this much closer to getting some fresh-smelling awesome clothes back in my life”.

This morning, I had that thought.

Opened the door of the washing machine, started pulling out the clothes and noticed that they weren’t feeling quite right. Hey, how come some of these clothes are dry? Is the spin cycle super effective, more effective that it’s ever been? No!

The spin cycle didn’t actually make them dry. The wash cycle didn’t actually make them wet. Or clean.

I wonder if the laundry liquid is soaked into my clothes now. Slowly eating my beloved shirts and socks whilst I sit here blogging about my stupid washing machine.

The rotation action is busted. The drum doesn’t spin. It gives a pathetic little whir and does nothing.

No fresh clean clothes for the line.

No.

Instead, it’s time to invest in a trip to the laundromat with dirty, half wet, half dry things.

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Writing and tracking stuff

Just say you go to a meeting.

You meet Steve and Rebecca from Hats’R’Us. You discuss the new reindeer hats that Hats’R’Us are making for you this year. You write a couple of lines in your notebook and notice that you’ll need to follow up a couple of questions a bit later.

Now, you’re thinking, there must be some electronic way I can manage this sort of thing. I have a lot of meetings, I have a lot of issues/people/work I need to track.

Somehow asked me about this today.

We worked out that, not only are there sales meetings, there are also conferences, tutorials, training sessions,  “coffee” and lunches that needs to be tracked.

There’s gotta be a system.

Confluence.

It’s a Wiki. Not just any Wiki, but one of the best in the world.

It’s hard to describe a Wiki without a demonstration, but I’ll borrow a few lines from Wikipedia:

  • Wiki promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation almost intuitively easy and showing whether an intended target page exists or not.
  • A wiki is not a carefully crafted site for casual [users]. Instead, it seeks to involve the [user] in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the [content].

A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information.

A defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated.

So, once you have Confluence installed on your computer or network, you could create a  page describing the meeting, maybe something like

Confluence screenshot

Confluence screenshot

If you look at the lower half of the screenshot, you’ll see some labels “hats”,  “future”, “strategy”, “2009-02”. At some later stage, you could find all your “strategy” notes, by clicking on the word strategy. Or you could use the label browser to find all the “strategy” pages. Or pages about “hats”, etc.

You might notice that “Steve”, “Rebecca”, and “Hats’R’Us” are underlined on the page. These are hyperlinks to pages that you could fill in at a later date.

So by using Confluence, you could track your events, your people, and you could all sorts of other meta-data about them.

You can track, file and search your journal in many different ways. So many more ways than if it was just an event in your Outlook calendar.

Change, desire and work aka What Should I Do With My Life? Part 2

After writing the previous entry, I came across this article in the NY Times about “talent” and how it’s pretty much all about practice.

Not only is it about practice, but it also describes some attributes of the people who are likely to practice. Namely that, people doing what they like are more likely to practice. Obvious.

Also obvious then is the corollary which is, you’ll probably only be good at what you do if you like what you’re doing.

1

Change, desire and work aka What Should I Do With My Life?

Po Bronson has a brilliant article (and book apparently) that describes “work-life balance”, “job satisfaction”, and a million other descriptors for productive satisfying use of your time.

It’s not about finding the perfect job, or the perfect company. There’s no such thing.

Even if  you could find the perfect job or the perfect company, PSUT (Productive Satisfying Use of your Time)  is not about doing the perfect job every day.

It’s about doing something because the end product is worth it. The thing that you do might be small, or it might be large, it could be totally thrilling or it could be crappy. But you’re doing it because you want that end product, that end goal. And you want it bad.

So, figure what you want your life to be like and do what you need to do to get there.

I’m not convinced that Bronson’s  suggestion that you have to imagine what you want then do the shit work to get somewhere is The Way. He doesn’t say it’s the only way, but it’s a kinda pull-yourself-up-the-bootstrap kind a thing. A small dollop of  libertarian smugness from somewhere who is at a Happy Place.

Bronson has found what he likes doing and this is his way of sharing his recipe with the world.

If you have a similar belief structure to Po, this message and method probably works for you too.

In other words, if you have an education, live in a western democracy and you believe that you’re better than your fellow human in some way, and you can work it to your advantage, then you can get somewhere – if you can figure out where it is.

If you share the same background, but you can’t learn faster (or be better in some way) than the person next to you, hey, I mean, it’s perfectly okay to be middle-of-the-road-normal, then you’re not about to be “transformed” by this method. In fact, you might stay the same ol’ dissatisfied self.

Never mind the 95% of the world that doesn’t fit the mould.

I’m not bitter. I just stand in a different place.

2

‘Lifestyle’ diseases saddle poor countries

People aspires to gold paved roads and candy cane. Unfortunately the road is paved with potholes and tooth decay.

The article goes on to describe how in many poor countries, people are starting to suffer and die from diseases traditionally associated with a western lifestyle.

Chronic non-infectious diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes are increasing in places like Kenya, Nauru and Uganda.

The aspirational lifestyle is not tempered by health policy or health action. There’s nothing in the widely seen McDonalds view of the world that says you should eat less trans fat.

3

How to catch ephemereal thoughts

I get inspired to write in all sorts of places. Generally in places where I’m not able to take notes, but occassionally I will have a notepad with me.

Do I need a netbook to make it easier? Would I carry it everywhere? Would I be able to whip it out and get that thought transcribed before it evaporated?