Reflections Week 2 of 2021

The first working week of 2021, a week of getting “back into the groove”.

I tried something for the first time at work: not reading my emails before 3pm. I was inspired by Andrew Gelman’s 4pm rule, highlighted by Cal Newport in a blog just before Christmas.  It was surprisingly effective, at least this week, allowing me to focus for an hour at a time – Start at One  has been a good experience this week.

For long, I’ve been accused of being both a networker and a misanthrope, and those labels have made me wary of how people think of me.  During the AltMBA last year, my fellow Ravens challenged me with a very different perspective. My colleagues at work too pointed this out on multiple occasions, not to mention what Marcus Buckingham’s Standout assessment called out.  Over time, I’ve come to accept my personal superpower as a connector: of ideas, things, people etc.  I reached out to more people this week than I’ve ever done before, asking for help for a project that is personally and professionally invigorating. The response and support I got has been spectacularly beyond my wildest dreams.

I committed to a few young people, just before New Year, that I’d help them understand money and personal finance. We’d done an hour-long session (sometimes more) every day during the break. With work starting this week, I was concerned that I’d not have the energy or time to do it. Knowing that they depend on me being there meant I showed up no matter how I felt, at the scheduled hour every day this week.

Despite the friction I’ve introduced for online reading, I haven’t had any FOMO. With the added restriction of only an hour of reading and sharing links a day, I’ll have to either improve this sharing workflow or reduce reading.  I also finished “A Short History of Nearly Everything” this week, with plenty of time to cogitate on Bryson’s science storytelling.

There’s a few things I didn’t get done, or as much / as consistently as I’d have liked: Spencerian calligraphy practice, consistent thumb-picking practice (Tommy Emmanuel’s advice holds for any life skill), Yoga with Adrienne and my wife,  among others. Physical movement needs improvement definitely – a way of including walks during lunch hour.

Highlights this week

Walt Whitman’s poem “This is what you shall do” I heard tonight is wonderful inspiration.

Sal Khan’s excitement at Elon Musk’s $5m donation to the Khan Academy.  Bruce Springsteen’s story of showing up, as told by Seth Godin. We are what we remember.  The Perils of Downsizing (especially when you discard something you can’t live without – like books).  Two brilliant presentations about Using R in FinanceGood Leadership is About Asking Good Questions from John Hagel. Dog-walking and associated humorMiroslav Tadic & Yvette Holzwarth Living Room Concert. A magnificent sunset captured rather poorly from the backyard on my phone.