Release notes: February 2021
See all reflections.
2021 has been a tough year for me. Nothing particularly bad has happened. I don't think I'm depressed or sad, but I'm also not very happy or excited. My best guess is that it's the lingering effects of prolonged social isolation and the compounding effects of missing my goals, habits, and systems.
This month I made a lot of actions to get out of my head and systems - to shake things up and try to reset. Like January, I don't have much in the way of 'productive' things to share. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is #treatyoself.
Most of my efforts went towards resetting my headspace. I did this mostly through travel and adventure.
I started learning to ski with a trip to Hunter Mountain.
I enjoyed it and took another trip to Tahoe.
Pics coming soon to @hamy.see
I then hung around Reno for a few days for my mandatory travel quarantine.
I recommitted to habitual exploration - taking more frequent camera strolls, more intentional domain exploration, and more date nights.
The more I systematize the more I think that no single rigid system is sufficient. Instead you have t ofind a balance of rigidity and flexibility. The rigidity allows you to leverage and capitalize on the knowledge and systems you've built. The flexibility allows you to continue to modify and optimize for the changing scenarios around you. I don't think my systems will ever be complete - there will always be times of extreme joy and suffocating lethargy - but as long as I'm being mindful of where I'm hitting and missing and intentional about how I react and change to my environment, I think I'll be in a pretty good place.
This month I took a step back from my penalty-driven Systems of Accountability and made a large investment in my physical health.
Systems of Accountability
At the end of last year, I announced my Systems of Accountability for Productivity - a penalty-based system I created to keep me on track and pushing towards my goals. The penalty eventually evolved into a $10 / day penalty for each day I missed one of my core habits.
Eventually I just kept paying it and then I stopped doing that. I think this a symptom of the overarching lethargy I've had so far this year.
It obviously wasn't working for me at the time, so I paused this system for the rest of the month. I'll try it again in March and make a decision on whether to keep it around or kill it entirely based on the results.
This month I joined Equinox - an expensive gym in the NYC area. I've ridiculed Equinox's absurd price in the past but my current gym wasn't cutting it with poor sanitation practices, crowded gyms, and the recent closure of many locations.
Exercise is one of my core satisfactions and something I goal on each half so I took the extra cost hit each month to ensure I could get the exercise I wanted when I wanted it without worrying about my health risks.
You can read more about my decision in: I joined Equinox
February, like January, was a really light month for me project-wise.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it vs actually building anything. I think I do this a lot and it ultimately comes at the expense of my external productivity, focusing more on thinking about doing than actually doing. But I do think it's an important practice and I now have a better idea of what it is I want to do, even if I have yet to do it.
In March I'll be focusing a lot on trying to do things rather than just thinking about doing them, but for now let's stay on February.
Allocation and Direction
Through my many hours of thinking, I decided on a new effort allocation for my projects. That allocation is something like this:
- 40% art
- 40% business
- 20% shares
Though I heavily goaled on business this half, I realized that I'm actually more interested in art right now. I think part of this is that I already spend so much time at work in a business mindset that doing so outside of work is becoming taxing. As such, focusing on something a little different - art - I think will be more refreshing.
Another factor is that I've discovered, again, that the projects I was taking on for business weren't really well suited for business. I've fallen back into the habit of creating solutions in search of a problem whereas the guiding principle for business creation is to find a problem and create solutions for it.
I think building for the sake of building is still valuable, but I have art for that. Its goals align far better with that strategy.
I decided the only project I had that was based on a real problem was LineTimes so I'll be refocusing on that in March.
I've recently been inspired by a lot of 3d artists on IG. Many make daily creations that are both conceptually deep, aesthetically pleasing, and limited in scope. This is something I think I want to implement in my own practice - as a creative outlet, way to hone by craft, and path to building my platform.
Monoliths are still the core philosophy of my art - though I'll admit I've continued to struggle to define what they are. All I know is that each time I get inspiration on what I want to create, it's typically a slight adaptation to Monoliths rather than a whole new direction.
I've slowly been building my newest Monolith - Monolith of Autonomy:
It's gone slower than I'd hoped and isn't quite where I want it to be but I think it's the best example I have to date of what Monoliths are and will be. I've enrolled in some online 3D modeling courses to help me better understand the space and, hopefully, to help me make my ideas a reality.
I got my 2020 H2 review back with some good marks. A lot of the systems I've built over the past few years have really paid off.
Systems of note:
- Systems of ideation -> projects -> impact
- Daily feature building -> impact
- Single source of truth -> better organization -> better communication -> impact
I still have a long way to go and a lot of nascent systems / unsystematized areas to work on. But I think things are starting to come together and I'm hitting my stride for how to find problems, prioritize, and solve them.
I'll note that my lethargy has certainly bled over into my work output, so this is something I'll need to turn around if I want to continue to sustain these marks for H1.
2021 has been really hard so far. Despite the best planning of my life, these have been some really bad months for pretty much all of my goals.
But the weather is getting me warmer, vaccines are rolling out, and I'm still reaping rewards for the work I did in 2020. Life is hard but life is good and I can see a path to a better tomorrow.
To a better March.