Today is Thanksgiving in America, and despite being a Brit I thought it would be good to try and post something I’m thankful for this year. I started to write this post at lunchtime, and struggled, I couldn’t zero in on something. This evening after my counselling session I realised what it is I’m thankful for this year. I’m thankful for all the people who have helped my family navigate through the year. The members of their church, some old friends from previous churches, some new friends, some new colleagues who have become friends. Some people who were friends and I’ve discovered are now very good friends. For all of them I am thankful, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Since the end of August I’ve been using Roam Research as my notes application. Having tried and played around with Notion but finding it to be too much work to manage anything, I decided to give Roam and it’s freeform notes a try.
I’ve found it to be one of the most intuitive note taking apps I’ve ever come across and have since begun using it for more and more things. It’s not just replaced the notes apps I was trying to use before, it’s become my journal and task manager as well. In fact it’s even starting to grow into my personal CRM as well and I believe it is behind the desire for me to start blogging more because I’m enjoying writing in it so much.
What I like is that is seems to fit the way I think. Despite being a visual person I often find myself taking notes in the form of bullet points. When I’m thinking and working through something on paper I will often write a point and then riff off it with a series of bullet points below.
The two way linking has also been a revelation. One of the things I was trying to use Notion for was a one stop shop for my notes and tasks that related to various projects I’m working on. The databases that make Notion so powerful seemed like a good fit for this, but I found it to be a lot of extra work to maintain. In contrast Roam’s Daily Notes, which I use heavily, helps to give me both context in the form of when something happened as well as an easy way to automatically link to a project.
What has been surprising for me has been how I’ve found it to help me on a deeper level. The fact that I have a daily note open on my screen all day as I work means that when I find myself having to deal with some strong emotions I am able to write them down to help me process them. One thing I am having to learn is to not let my thought patterns spiral. I find it all too easy to get stuck in a particular thought pattern that turns itself over and over in my mind. Having something open all the time lets me process what I’m feeling when I become aware of it helps me to tackle that spiral in a way I’ve not been able to before.
One of my favourite books this year comes from an artist called Charlie Mackesy. I discovered it by accident when I was looking for a Christmas present last December. I bought it and gave that book as a gift for J and she loved it so much she bought me my own copy and I’ve since bought it for my Mum as well. For my birthday this year I got given a print of one the pages from the book. It contains a quote which is something both a couple of friends and my counsellor keep reminding me of:
“Being kind to yourself is one of the greatest kindnesses,” said the mole.
It struck me as I was writing this that having the space to process my feelings and let myself feel them is being kind to myself and that perhaps we all need to be a bit kinder to ourselves.
I’ve had this blog in one form or another since I was 21, earlier posts have been lost in the many transitions it has made but it’s always been there. A hobby that taught me how to design and build websites that has since become my career.
At the moment I think I am in one of the longest streaks of not posting to the site that I’ve ever been on. For the last few weeks I’ve wanted to start posting again, I’m seeking to revive a hobby that was once very enjoyable to me. The trouble is I don’t know where to start or what to write. So, I’m writing this post as an acknowledgement of some very difficult events.
The last two years have been two of the hardest of my life. This time two years ago I was working part-time in a speciality coffee shop, doing some freelance design work, and contracting in to a local studio. There was a promise that my contract position would become full time in the next six months. At the beginning of April last year, a conversation that I thought would be about going full time was a conversation about the studio changing their mind. A month later I was no longer working there. A month after that the final client for my freelance business, which I was winding down due to the aforementioned promise, understandably told me they had made other arrangements for their website.
Alongside the work situation I was dealing with some things in my personal life. The culmination of all these events, alongside an unsuccessful gruelling seven week interview process, resulted in a mental breakdown and the return of my depression in August last year.
One positive is that somehow, in the middle of that breakdown I managed to think clearly enough for an hour-long interview that resulted in the job I have now been in for over a year. I can only thank God for that.
Then 2020 happened. A global pandemic has thrown the world into chaos as Covid-19 has swept across the world. Normal life has been taken away which for everyone has been a difficult adjustment. In the midst of this my Mum has been undergoing treatment for cancer and my Dad has had and recovered from a stroke.
I’m hoping that by writing this post it will help to remove the block I have been struggling with when it comes to posting to this site. Through counselling I have come to realise the importance of taking care of yourself properly. I have realised that I need hobbies in my life and I would like to start blogging here again as a first tentative step to building some healthy habits. I didn’t feel I could get that going again without acknowledging recent events, so here I am taking a scary step and daring to put into words some of the hardest experiences I have had to go through.
Anyone know of a mouse that can be paired with both a Mac and an iPad? I’m in need of a new mouse, my wrist is beginning to suffer after years of using a Magic Mouse and I want one that works with both my Mac for work and iPad for personal stuff. I’ve my eye on the MX3 but I can’t tell if it can pair with both devices…
Looking to simplify all my websites. Since I’m no longer freelancing and don’t need a portfolio online at the moment, I’m thinking to move away to something lighter than WordPress. Trouble is I don’t know what. I don’t want to maintain everything other than the design and want to reduce costs.
Started playing around with Notion a bit today. I’ve heard so many people talking about it I figured it was time to give it a go. Not quite sure where it fits yet. Initially I’ve set up a Watch List using one of their existing templates and a Weekly Review template to try and get in the habit of that.
I’m trying to find some exercise that I can do easily and slowly build up in to a habit. It occurred to me last night I could probably find some free Pilates videos on YouTube to try. A small searched revealed some beginner videos for men, so given one of those a try this morning.
An interesting Twitter thread about how a purely remote team works to bring products to life. Working in a UX team at a business that is going through change I find these things really interesting. Given the current Covid-19 situation, a bit of insight from seasoned remote workers is even more poignant at the moment.
It’s now been a week since I ran out of coffee beans. More are on the way, but I miss the morning ritual of brewing myself a coffee.