Each month I go back over the notes in my bullet journal and pull out anything of significance: notes, quotes, patterns, lessons, achievements, things that have gone well and those that haven’t. I take what I learn and feed into the next month. It’s a ritual of continuous improvement, a cadence of accountability, that has served me well. In 2020 I’m experimenting with publishing my reflection notes. Here’s what happened in February.
I’m waking up and not being able to get back to sleep. This is happening with increasing regularity, at least once per week, sometimes twice. More often than not this occurs after a full day of coding, or working through a problem. I’m going to experiment with a night time ritual and meditation when I do wake up to try and rectify this.
This year I’m experimenting with a weekly collection in my Bullet Journal in addition to the monthly collection. It’s not working as well as I’d hoped. Although the weekly spread helps me get organised for the week ahead, that’s about all I use it for. I still find the monthly collection too large a time frame, and by the end of the month I’ve lost focus, direction and momentum. No decisions made yet, I just need to keep tweaking.
To a small degree I slipped back into my old habits of being sucked into my laptop when I’m with my kids, which means I’m not fully engaged and available to them. This is a non-negotiable for me: when I’m with my kids my phone and laptop should be away.
I’ve started to really understand the importance of connection. It’s fine to be off social media, which I am, but it’s also important not to isolate yourself entirely. Connect. Share. Contribute.
I love learning. In February I spent a few days migrating my website to Hugo. In the process I learned lots about writing clean and minimal HTML5, how to use meta tags and other
<head></head> content. I loved it. I love learning and getting better at my craft (whatever that craft may be).
I learned that sometimes I have a tendency to dwell on a negative. I’ve found it beneficial to short-circuit these negative thought patterns with a question like “Is this helpful?". Doing so helps you get out of your head and focus on something else, something to get stuck into, something positive.
- I read four books (see below).
- I published six blog posts (see below).
- I migrated my website from Jekyll to Hugo.
- I exercised 26 of 29 days.
- I had cold showers on 27 of 29 days.
- I finished my training to become mentor in the 1 Million Mentors program.
- Cold showers
- January 2020 Reflection
- Monzo webhooks to Google spreadsheets
- Fresh starts
- Choose freedom over loyalty
Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. Another short but powerful book by Austin Kleon. Enough to motivate me to write the blog posts I did. Share the work you do, how you work, your process, what inspires you.
Give and Take by Adam Grant. A fantastic book about giving, and how doing so tends to not only benefit those on the receiving end of your help. I learned a lot from this book, and the one below, and those lessons couldn’t have come at a more pivotal moment in my life.
This Could Be Our Future by Yancey Strickler. Another great book which is helping change my outlook on life and the remainder of my time on the planet. Strickler demonstrates (like we don’t already know) how capitalism and consumerism is broken, and offers an alternative. Financial maximisation is not the only measure of success.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. A lovely story of boy who runs away from home (and stays away), learning to eat and sleep and live off the land. The imagery and the lifestyle I created in my head while reading this were spectacular. In a way a life we all hope we could live at some point in our lives.
Most of the quotes I record each month go directly from the books I read into my commonplace book in handwritten form. But I really liked the Ten Years of Learning in Three Points from Mr Money Moustache’s post Let the Roaring 2020s Begin. Points two and three basically boil down to tweaking your life/habits to make it easy to do the things you know will make you happy.
I really like Yancey Strickler’s concept of Bentoism, which introduces a decision making framework which incorporates four different perspectives: Now You, Now Us, Future You and Future Us.
I gave away my first referral bonus for work introduced by someone I know. I’m starting to offer a 5% ‘(of the initial contract) introducer bonus’ to the introducer of new business that leads to concrete work.
I gave my wedding suit to charity. I’ll never wear it again and someone else may benefit from it. Plus it’s too big for me now anyway.