Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Step One: The Email Problem

I'm the girl who hates to go to bed because I might miss something. I also tend to subscribe to everything, because who knows where my next best idea ever might come from. But as a result, my in boxes, both personal and work, are stuffed with notifications about anything and everything. If it's a social media site, a newsletter, a specialty store, I'm getting email from them.

So today, as the first act of the new simply my life regime, I unsubscribed from almost everything. It's interesting -- I didn't have "Plunder" or "SOCMedia" in my life 2 years ago, and somehow managed to stagger along through life. I feel no distress at all as I unsub, unsub, unsub.

Tomorrow I will start deleting old emails, and along with that, old email folders. Hopefully this will mean that I will spend less time reading and deleting email in the future, and will begin to not find it necessary to obsessively check email even when I'm not working.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Welcome 2012! and 2011 -- Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Ass on Your Way Out!

When I evaluate my progress towards my goals for last year, I have to admit I didn't do very well at all. In fact, I would have to say this was the worst year ever, in terms of accomplishing my goals. Here's what I said I would do:

1. Using a methodology I describe here, perform an analysis of the skills and experience that I need to develop in order to determine what I need to do to maintain my position. I did exactly nothing on this. Well, I take that back. I did find a job posting that I would describe as "perfect" -- but that's about it. And I only found that by dumb luck.

2. Learn to use InDesign and complete a project using it. Nope, not a bit.

3. Work on understanding what I can do to maximize the creativity and innovation displayed by my team. Write an article or give a presentation on leading a creative team. Sadly, I didn't do anything on this as well.

4. Develop an idea for a mobile device app that I recently came up with. I did find out that my idea wasn't original. So I didn't go any further with this.

5. Investigate moving this blog to WordPress that I host myself.  Didn't do this either.
Why was this year such a flop? Usually, I am the queen of list making, and generally follow through with my plans. Why not this time?

I thought a lot about this at the end of last year, and I think what it boils down to was I didn't have any real passion about those goals. They were things that I thought would be good for me to do ( and probably they would have been) but in my busy and crowded life, they didn't demand any attention. They couldn't compete with the other demands on my time. So they were abandoned.

I read a great blog post that helped me understand what went wrong, and how to create goals for myself that will actually be accomplished.  It was written by Leo Babauta and you can read the whole thing here. Here's a brief quote that I think really sums it up:

A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person. For me, it means eliminating all but the essential, eschewing chaos for peace, and spending your time doing what’s important to you.
It means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.

I started thinking about my life, and all the things that fill my time. What is really important to me?

1. Doing my Buddhist practice.
2. Maintaining and improving the important relationships in my life: My partner, my daughter, my family, my sangha.
3. Maintaining and improving my physical health.
4. Writing and other creative work.

Everything else is really just clutter. So my goal this year is to reduce the emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual clutter in my life so I have the time and space to do the things I love, to be with the people that I love. I will begin to ask myself: Is this important to me? And if it isn't, I will let it go.

Let's see how this turns out!