Newsletter #47 - Crisp Thoughts!
I try to write a newsletter focused on a big thought.
Some ingenious moment of enlightenment which came to me on an unguarded moment and which I then try to pin down.
More often than not (actually around 9 times out of 10) this ingenious thought tends to be not as waterproof as I thought, and while writing it down I start to find gaps and holes and eventually I have to throw in the towel.
(I've added 3 examples below)
And then because I couldn't find an original thought,
I write about what is keeping me occupied this week.
Because that's what I blame for not having crisp thoughts: busy-ness.
Which partly is an excuse.
And partly I think it's true:
Without an uninterrupted block off a couple of hours, it's difficult to get deep into the writing.
A nagging todo list inhibits me having original thoughts.
These tend to come at more leisurely moments:
driving a car, in my bed in the middle of the night, during sports, in downtime in the weekend, or when doing new things (traveling to a new destination), when doing exciting things (kitesurfing), or in general when I'm in a more creative mood (brainstorming coding ideas, exploring our mountaneous surroundings, finding weekend activities, ...).
Hence my best ideas are often somewhere on Sunday or Monday morning.
Not when running from todo-item to todo-item on a weekday.
So busy-ness prevents original thoughts, and hence an original newsletter, and hence this week I'm writing about what's keeping me busy this week.
So what's keeping me occupied this week:
(1) I'm having a busy week on my freelance role. With a new quarter looming ahead, and changes in the organisation I'm working on a new OKR plan, and a way to make our reporting more visible.
it might sound dull, but both required a new approach and hence I got pretty satisfied by my creative new approach.
I also had a call with one of the senior team members, and he had exactly the solution I needed for our reporting
(tldr, we're an R&D department, we don't have operational metrics, but we can map the different stages of R&D, like problem statement, discovery, method selection, ... and report in which stage we are, how long we intent to stay there, what the current challenges are, and what the achievements in this stage up to now are)
When in doubts, I should remind myself to always ask people who might know more.
Finding these people is often the challenge!
Ironically having many things to do can actually create more energy (assuming they are fun things to do, not just sitting in meetings). And hence, on weeks like this, it seems I get 10 times more the amount of things done compared to a regular day
(2) My parents in law are visiting, and my father is visiting as well, so it's a busy weekend!
(3) I have to go into negotiations for my freelance role extension. This requires some preparation.
(4) Every third week at my freelance role is a busy week. It happens to coincide now.
In summary, what keeps me busy is doing the work which pays the bills,
Except number 2 :)
As mentioned above, I'm sharing 3 examples of original thoughts I had, but didn't quite crystallise in a well-rounded opinion.
(1) Things which will be important in 20 years
I wanted to write about the things which will be important in 20 years.
Similar to Jeff Bezos who said that people will always want more choice, faster delivery and lower costs, I wanted to write the skills which will be valued in 20 years.
Turns out they are way to general, things like:
But they are just too general, and there are too many caveats (like, is being curious really a useful skill, it really depends on what your goal is, ...)
(2) Finding a balance between focused work and socialising
It's easy to read another blog, listen another podcast, buy another book and think you're on the right track, speak to another person, scroll a little more on Twitter, ...
But I also have to DO THE THING:
Write the article, build the application, spent the money on a contractor, ...
The former means getting the latest inputs, generating ideas, creating bonds with people I might need, creating opportunities for more freelance work, more customers, ...
But it doesn't work if the latter doesn't happen. I need to actually have something to sell, a skill, a product, ...
It's very difficult to strike that balance.
I tend to err on the DO THE THING side. Work heads down, don't be disturbed, don't talk to people.
The danger of this is that I will live in my own bubble, only build ideas I like, not creating ideas around the latest technologies, not learning best practices from other people, ... ,
And hence this is why this is an unfinished braindump, because here is where my reasoning has no further recommendations :)
(3) The power of the second iteration
Many things are awkward the first time.
But on the second time already they get 2 or 3 times easier.
Unfortunately I couldn't get further than one example.
I'm sure many more will pop up once I press "send" on this newsletter.
Congrats if you read all the way to here.
I'm not disappointed if you didn't.
Some weeks I have crisp thoughts. Some weeks I rattle :)
To a crisp thoughts weekend!