I like the idea of being your own personal librarian. Information flows around us. The silent and invisible nature of these rivers of information mean they are easily missed. Software ate the world and sent everything online, so I believe It’s a sign of maturity to handle your information online and that this covers everything from social media, to pay tv to paying your taxes.
This problem is new in its scope and digital nature, but there is an arc leading from the Gutenberg press. When a book used to cost as much as a small house, people started sharing them. Then public libraries were born to share the expensive books to the wider public and for years librarians have been the guides, sherpas, educators helping us navigate the reams of data available.
Nowadays the information is cheap. We each generate libraries worth of information in a single day, and it’s all connected. I think we need to gather some librarian skills to handle this revolution.
I have a growing family. It also happens to be growing in the middle of a revolution. As phone carrying members of the digital revolution, the information we generate each and every day is becoming a problem. Before the digital age, there was not much to worry about. Even the most prolific writer, businessman, operator could only create so much hard copy. The files containing our inner most secrets could only get so big before storage and weight became an issue. Now though, the information we gather on purpose, by mistake and through third parties multiplies each day. And it’s all kept on some drive or server somewhere. Privacy is dead, but there is a lot of value and power in consolidating and managing this sprawl to maintain sanity, manage risk, and coordinate your…well….life!
Perhaps step one is to define what is being generated, exactly. This is probably impossible to detail completely, but a good list might cover ~90% of the problem like a good wetsuit covers 90% of the body. Here is where I would start:
Look at the hardware in your life – This includes all PC’s, laptops, phones, watches, TV’s, gaming consoles, and other smart devices.
What property do you own which could generate information (cars and speeding fines, for example)
Look at the software in your life – This includes email accounts, social media accounts, app subscriptions, password management, browsers you use, tracking and privacy settings.
Look at your financial/work situation – credit cards, bank accounts, trading accounts, tax responsibilities, insurance premiums, salaries coming in, work projects, monthly expenses.
Look at your healthcare situation – memberships, premiums, chronic illnesses, children related health information, rewards programs.
If we manage to gather this list of ‘info generating stuff’ then we can work on each of the sections individually. Sound good? Good.
This is probably time consuming at first, but it is also probably very useful. Like tidying your bedroom, i think it will have obvious elements (listing your cellphones would be like the duvet on the floor which goes back on the bed) and then more detailed, less obvious stuff (delving into the direct debits from your bank account, or the points available on rewards schemes is a bit like pulling the bed from the wall and vacuuming up the dirt on the floor which is usually unseen).
Like a nuclear chain reaction (terrible Keanu Reaves movie btw!) each of these sections can probably lead down its own information rabbit hole. Just start thinking about your online passwords for example!
This concept is a work in progress – I think the trick is to make a start and treat it as a process.
I’ve had to buy a new iPhone. The old one died in a fit of convulsions. Dead battery, slow performance and broken screen – after four years it all seems to happen at once.
In setting up the new Beast, I’ve become interested in the layout and settings on my phone. In particular I’m concerned about how the default settings on an iPhone drive certain behaviours. Notifications, constant sharing of information and confinement to the Apple ecosystem are all worth considering, I feel.
“Exhaustive” is the word I’d use for the article, but I also found it fascinating. It has resulted in the below home screen for my phone which I am liking very much.
These phones are running our lives more and more. From work to social interactions. As Ben Evans says, The smartphone is the Sun in our digital solar system. Everything else revolves around the phone. This being the case, it’s worth thinking about how we set up the phone and interact with it.
I’m very easily hooked into social media Buti am trying to set up the phone to make it easier to drive more productive and healthier habits than scrolling Instagram, Twitter or WhatsApp all day.
It is often the big events which give new impetus to a project or a lagging goal.
I was busy before the pandemic and now I have a very busy life. So far COVID 19 related lockdown has been a blur of work, babysitting, house cleaning, logistics. I know I am not alone and many people have even more to do than me. I also know some people are going through this lockdown with no work and no children to worry over. I wonder what that’s like??…..But I digress.
Impetus itself is a mid 17th century word from Latin. It comes from impetere ‘assail’, from in- ‘towards’ + petere ‘seek’. This suggests a searching and overcoming of obstacles. Impetus is often an externally generated thing in my life. I wish it was more internally driven.
Start of a new streak. Here’s hoping I have the impetus to keep it going for at least 30 days.
The addition of ‘escape the jungle’ to my blog’s main menu is taking shape. I plan to add a few sub menus to cater for all the things in life that help me to escape the jungle – to be less chimp and more rational being. Less anxious and more free.
So far I have art, design, productivity and psychology.
Within these categories I will post my favorite stuff. There will be subcategories too I guess…sport goes somewhere. This is the stuff I love and enjoy. The stuff that makes my life better.
Actually, there is no mourning – the newsletter didn’t last long enough for me to become attached in any way, shape or form. 3 episodes was more than enough.
So what has happened? Well, in my quest to build a meaningful website I have realised that I do not need to have a newsletter, and that worse still – I do not really have meaningful news to share!
Instead, I ought to work on what I get excited about. I love making podcasts, and I love the idea of ‘escaping the jungle’. This idea was a feature of my newsletters but I have instead brought it into the website under its own page. It’s likely to feature a broad range of things I find helpful. A record of life hacks and interests which help.
As painful as this might be to follow, I am slowly figuring out what I want. It is all in realtime as I develop this blog of mine. “Escaping the jungle” could just as well be called ‘coping with life’. Life is hard, so let’s figure out how to cope with it best. Let’s keep record of what helps.
It’s a little narcissistic to keep on rearranging something to suit you and your readers. It’s also a trait of mine – for example I will often feel a compulsion to rearrange my house. Things could always be better, but there’s a limit. I am going to leave the site like it is for a while, drop the newsletter, and see where it takes me.
For a few days I couldn’t write. I don’t believe in writers block, but exhaustion and overload are real and encourage resistance to create.
We are all in the middle of a war. The global pandemic is spreading. As much as it is a war against a terrible disease, it is also an assault on the senses. A drain on our energy if we succumb to the non stop media coverage. It grabs attention. The media distraction is only exacerbated by young children and old grandparents relying on my wife and I to help navigate the family. It has been a load and for three days it squeezed any bandwidth I had for writing right out of my mind.
For me, this is a mini-tragedy (compared to the global mega-tragedy unfolding around us) because I had built up a decent streak of writing every day for over a month.
It is surprisingly hard to start fresh. But once you start, the words do flow. You just need to start.
More creativity to cope with tragedy. I’m back and I will hit a month again.
It is often said that teachers are important, noble, and essential (disclosure – I come from a family full of teachers). But why do people say this exactly?
I think it is because of the long term. Teachers (if they’re doing their job) are trying to prepare young people for long term success. This is not the case with so many jobs.
Wall Street traders trying to profit as much as possible in the shortest time frame. Or the fast food store selling the cheapest rubbish to as many people as possible. This sort of short term-ism or race to the bottom is not really useful with proper teaching. Instead it requires patience, creativity and a long term approach.
What stops many teachers making the impact they ought to make or gaining the recognition they deserve? I think it is likely the system in which they have been employed for so long. The industrial model of education which we still mostly use, treats children like factory employees, squeezing them into predefined boxes and encouraging cramming for tests. This is not necessarily preparing them for the real world problems in this Information Age. But I digress.
It helps a lot if you are confident about the desired outcome. If you know what you want. I’m not sure what the stats are, but I bet that the odds of something happening go way up if you have the end goal clearly emblazoned is your mind.
All of the most important things related to a project – values, culture, status, leadership – they depend on the parameters that are set.
Maybe an example will help me express myself. If you write a novel, and it starts as a tragedy, then slips into a sci-fi, then to a slapstick comedy, and finally reaches a crescendo as a religious historical piece – well that sounds like a confused mess.
Genre and its audience is perhaps where you want to start. It helps to define the values, the culture and the modus operandi.
With that in mind, I have realized my writing on this blog tends to split into different interests. I might write about creativity, African trade, productivity, music, or sci-fi all in the space of a week.
This needs to become a little clearer, and step one in the splitting out of interests is to redesign the site a little. I think this new template is clearer and the menu at the top will help to clarify things.
It’s a work in progress.
For anyone who has reached this far in the post, happy Monday chimps. 😀