Looking Back at 2018

Variations on a theme

This is my reflecting pose.

1. Self-compassion will be my ultimate productivity hack

I have a hyper-active self-critic who thinks he’s the star of every show. He’s not shy about chiming in. Sale fall through? “Hello, why are you so bad at this?” Have a tough time figuring out what to work on? “You call yourself a productivity expert? You’re a joke.” Write something that didn’t garner much attention? “I always knew you weren’t very smart and now everyone else knows it, too.” It’s truly endless and at my lowest points, emotionally and in terms of productivity, it was because my critic had made himself far too comfortable in my brain.

2. I need to make decisions for sustainability

For the first half of 2018 I commuted full-time from Washington D.C. to my project in San Francisco. I would catch a 6:00 AM flight Monday morning (after a 30 minute Lyft to the airport), land in SF Monday morning, spend all day at the client’s office, work normal-ish 8–5 PM days Tuesday-Thursday (while fighting my body’s attempt to acclimate to the time change) and then either take a red-eye flight back to DC Thursday night or fly out early Friday morning and land in DC Friday early evening. Repeat for five and a half months. This is one example of me taking a situation at face value and basically martyring myself rather than seeking some concessions or changes that would allow me to work in a more sustainable way. I put myself in the mindset of a hockey player battling through an injury in order to not let my teammates down. I can’t do that.

3. Action does not (and will never) equal progress

Are you sensing a theme here?

What now?

I’m not particularly interested in distilling these lessons into bullet lists of “things to do” because I think they retain more of their usefulness in their more complex and ambiguous form. Suffice to say I will continue reflecting on these in the weeks and months to come and future writing will (hopefully) peppered with ideas that were born of the lessons above. For now, though, I’m going to get back to the most important project I could possibly be working on, in a sustainable way, while I tell my self-critic to take a hike!

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Organization design guy at The Ready.

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