Have you ever been at a party or other gathering and while talking to someone, instead of them being engaged with you, they are looking over your shoulder? Scanning the room and seem detached from what you are saying? It’s not a nice experience, they are looking for something more interesting than what is happening in-front of them and sending signals that this is not relevant to them.
I think we all have experienced something similar, but that is what it feels like when someone is using their phone in-front of you. It tells others that you are searching for something more interesting than what we are doing and feels like a slap in the face. Yet this kind of behaviour is now socially acceptable. In fact the act of pointing this out to people could now be considered the social faux pas.
This may sound like a grumpy old man, but as we disappear into our devices — and I am guilty of this sometimes — we are reducing the intimacy and interaction with the other people around us. The solution is to not stop what you re doing, but bear in mind how it may make others feel. Be mindful of the world around you but don’t stop doing what you enjoy.
It seems the question of building positive habits or rituals is much harder than it first appears. No one seems to have much of an idea and they struggle just the same to build habits that build you up and fall at the first few hurdles. So in an attempt to discover some secret knowledge I went looking for all the advice I could find.
Unfortunately, there is no hidden secrets or shortcuts, it's down to good old-fashioned hard work and dedication — BUT — there are some resources that can really help. I am about halfway through Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book has been a revelation and helped me try and understand why habits fail and what I need to work on. This isn't an advert but if you are struggling like me, then this book helps put things into perspective and I've started to focus on the systems I have rather than the habits themselves.
So building a routine and focusing on habits is hard. It’s supposed to be hard because the things you want to achieve from them required hard work, otherwise you would just have the result already and so would everyone else. Remaining positive is a key to developing good habits, something that is very hard in the current climate, so don't feel bad for failing — just make sure you get up and try again.
iPhone 12 Mini Wins
Listen. My iPhone 12 Pro review is about 3 weeks late at this point and may never see the light of day unless I pull my finger out. The words I have been trying to write abut this phone have been some of the hardest I have ever produced. Not because the iPhone 12 Pro isn't good, it's great, but because it doesn't spark anything in me.
If you've used an iPhone in the last, well ever, you know what you're getting and this new model is no different. In years gone by this would just be the new iPhone. Everyone would buy it and then be on their merry way to another year of iPhone use. But now, Apple produced a full-line up of iPhones and this year the iPhone 12 Pro sits in the middle and confuses pretty much everything.
So, when I set my hands on the iPhone 12 Mini it sparked something in me that I have not felt for a while. It was the same old iOS device I love, but it was different for a change. A truly modern smartphone in a small package (something like the iPhone 5s style) with pretty much nothing taken away.
This phone wins for me. I bought all three sizes this year and this by far is my favourite to use. I have returned all the others but kept this little bundle of joy. Half the time I don't know where I have put my phone now, and that is the reason I love it so much.
This Is Not A Note App
Above is a screenshot of my second brain. Taken from the compact graph view of Roam Research showing all of the things I have typed into it in the last few months and their connections to each other. I have fallen off a little recently and being lax in typing out my morning pages and keeping track of everything (see point above about habits) but this is truly one of the best platforms I have ever become invested in.
It contains all of my meeting notes, all of my to-do lists, all of my morning pages as well as everything else you would use a note app for. Combine this with Readwise, and it is starting to truly be my second brain and helping me retain more important stuff than ever. I have around 200 book and article notes stored in Roam, and the platform forms relationships between them without me doing anything, surfacing information to me at various points in the day to aid my life.
It doesn’t matter if I am writing meeting notes, or a blog post, I can easily research any topics and Roam will give me prompts when I have covered the same things before even if I have not linked them together before. Leading to me to retain much less things in my brain and allowing me to concentrate on what is really important. So referring to Roam as a note taking app, and sneering at the price is redundant to me and many others that find the value that it provides priceless.
What Does Success Look Like?
Before starting anything I do, no matter how small I find it important to think about what success in this task looks like. Some things are very simple, you don’t need to comprehend the end result of taking your rubbish out, but the benefit of thinking about the desired outcome for all of your tasks proves very beneficial.
Success is completely different for different people, and dependant on what the task at hand is. For many of the things I do on a daily basis it is producing something physical. Something I can hold in my hand or look at on a screen and be happy with. So success for me in these task is producing something that fulfils, or exceeds, the vision I had for it when I started. Taking an idea and forming a blog post about it is pretty easy, my success is producing something I can hit publish on.
I do not measure my success on the amount of views, likes or whatever metrics surround it. However it is important to consider this in other situations. So what does success look like to you? When do you consider this before starting a task? Try thinking about it before diving in, not afterwards, and you will see just how successful you really are.
Before I Go
What to do around Christmas is starting to make people stressed. COVID-19 has made us reconsider almost everything in our lives and while we may be comfortable loosing some things, our family around us at Christmas is not one of them. I long for a time when these kinds of decisions are a distant memory, it may not be long, but the resurgence of ridiculous conspiracy theories makes me think that this is far from over.
Continue to take the very best care of yourselves my friends.
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