- Weeknotes: Infinite possibilities: Invitation to dance with life Sun, 11 Apr 2021
- Watching birds
- Eating fruit
- Singing to myself outside and making up my own lyrics
Here’s the song I was singing whilst walking around outside. So much fun and so freeing, awesome. It’s an invitation to gratitude. When things go wrong it reminds me things were going right. Timely reminder of the importance of ‘doing nothing’ for being creative.
Cherry tree walk 🍒🌳🚶🏿 – song in progress
I'm on cherry tree walk, always cherry tree walk I could sing or I could talk Why would I talk when I could sing? I can do most anything Why would I talk when I can sing? I can do most anything I'm on cherry tree walk, I'm on cherry tree walk. I'm on cherry tree walk. Once again, once again I'm on cherry tree walk. All the walks round here are cherry, cherry, cherry Cherry tree walk Cherry, cherry, cherry Cherry tree walk When I see cherry blossom Abundance springs to mind. When I see cherry blossom Abundance springs to mind. Oh, what a find, What a find, oh what a find. I'm so thankful I'm so thankful I'm so thankful Gratitude swells my heart. Don't know where to stop or start. Gratitude swells my heart. I'm so thankful I'm so thankful I could sing. I'm so thankful I'm so thankful I could sing. I'm on cherry tree walk, always cherry tree walk I could sing or I could talk Why would I talk when I could sing? I can do most anything Why would I talk when I could sing? I can do most anything When things go wrong It reminds me When things go wrong It reminds me When things go wrong It reminds me Things were going right. When things go wrong It reminds me Things were going right. When things go wrong It's an invitation To create When things go wrong It reminds me Things were going right. When things go wrong It's an invitation To create When things go wrong It reminds me When things go wrong It reminds me When things go wrong It's an invitation Things go wrong It's an invitation Things go wrong It's an invitation To dance with life Dance, dance, dance Dance with life Come create, come create Reminds me Come create, come create Reminds me And now I want to put it in a song When things go wrong When things go wrong When things go wrong When things go wrong A short, sharp, shock, A short, sharp, shock, Things go wrong, But not for long. Things go wrong, But not for long. Short, sharp, shock, Things go Short, sharp, shock, Things go Short, sharp, shock Things go wrong, But not for long. It reminds me It's an invitation It reminds me It's an invitation Create, create, create, create Create, create, create, create When things go wrong When things go wrong When things go wrong When things go wrong Get on, get in, get in on this creation Get on, get in, get in on this creation Create Create, create, create Don't hesitate Create, create, create Don't prevaricate Create, create, create You won't be late Create, create, create Please don't wait Create, create, create You're never late Create, create, create The time is now, now, now The place is here, here, here. The time is now, now, now The place is here, here, here. Do not wait, wait, wait Create, create, create Do not wait, wait, wait Create, create, create It's an invitation An invitation It's an invitation It's an invitation Create Create, create, create Don't hesitate Create, create, create Don't prevaricate Create, create, create You won't be late Create, create, create Please don't wait Create, create, create You're never late Create, create, create The time is now, now, now The place is here, here, here. The time is now, now, now The place is here, here, here. It's an invitation to dance with life. It's an invitation to dance with life. Will you dance with me? Will you dance with me? It's an invitation Create Don't hesitate When things go wrong, wrong, wrong When things go wrong, wrong, wrong When things go wrong, wrong, wrong When things go wrong Create, create, create, create Don't hesitate Create, create, create You won't be late
Daily blogging this week
- Curiosity-driven learning: Following joy by wandering the web
- Maybe it’s because I’m a wanderer, that I love learning online… Today I caught up on a bunch of interesting links I’d saved for later.
- Octalysis: Gamification & behavioural change, Steve Pavlina: Embrace your love of doing ALL the things!, YNAB: You need a budget, especially if you have variable income: Here’s how
- How to follow creativity, trusting the flow: A love letter
- A love letter from my muse, from the future (May 2022), on how Compassion, Courage & Curiosity are key components of our steady relationship.
- Listen to me reading the letter, transcript available.
- Give it the ole frazzle dazzle! Then, wind down
- What do you do when after 12 hours of working-studying you remember you have a blog post to write, draw, share? Impromptu poem, of course! 🥴
- Includes German
- If my life were a book, what would it be?
- What kind of book would your life be? Who would you credit on its pages as your influences? Who would you thank for their contributions?
- How to rest when your brain won’t stop
- Reminding myself what to do when I’m tired. With a lesson from Wild Seed and a lesson from life. Repetition is a reliable form of change.
- Ideas: Go outside, lie down, draw & doodle, watch cartoons, talk with friends, wash up. Do less, Connect with goals & priorities, & Get Support. Light a candle
- Remembering how to rest & learning insouciance
- Insouciance, lighthearted unconcern. How to rest when you have a million things to do and your brain won’t stop, part 2
- Ideas: Tea, comedy, dreaming
Cherry blossom, creating & abundance
Looking back over the week I realise I’ve been really creative this week because of this daily blogging challenge. I wrote a letter, a poem, a song… Recorded audio. Continued drawing every day. Took photos. Pored over things I’ve been looking forward to exploring for a while. Two words that are new to me too: Wilfing and insouciance.
Wisdom & joy: When things go wrong
I had a difficult experience on Friday. With the love & support of my friends, with the healing of rest, with the abundance of cherry blossom, with the music of birds, I synthesised that into a song that is bringing me a lot of joy and feels like wisdom I’m channelling.
Feeling very open.
- Curiosity-driven learning: Following joy by wandering the web Mon, 5 Apr 2021
wilfing noun the activity of browsing the Internet without any particular purpose
Octalysis: Gamification & behavioural change
Within an hour I’d signed up to Octalysis Prime on a $1, 30 day trial:
- Looked at OP website
- Watched TED Talk
- Did a quiz to unlock the trial
- Internally screamed “Take my money!”
Wait, how did I end up signing up for yet another course?!
- On the subject of behaviour change, love this article: Habit Change Is Like Chess – Steve Pavlina
Steve Pavlina: Embrace your love of doing ALL the things!
My point is that you don’t have to go after the option that makes you the most money. You can pursue many different interests and still find a creative mix that allows you to earn money AND maintain an abundant lifestyle AND be happy AND make a difference. It’s a huge mistake to pursue money at all costs, especially if you have to sacrifice so many of the things you love doing. Do what you enjoy, and leave the extra money on the table.What If You Have Many Different Interests and Cannot Commit to Any of Them? – Steve Pavlina
^ This is very timely & sage advice for an overachiever recovering from work addiction… 😅
Outward flowing energy involves creation and giving. Inward flowing energy involves acquiring and receiving. Although these two energies may seem similar, they’re actually very distinct creatures.Polarity – Steve Pavlina
I’m wondering about this, because Steve argues that having outward flowing energy and inward flowing energy simultaneously will cancel each other out. Whereas, I think it’s human to have a bunch of stuff going on and I find it hard to accept that will lead to an overall decrease in energy. Having started studying Octalysis, I think that framework agrees. I’ll think more about this. It’s whirring around my brain a lot right now!
YNAB: You need a budget, especially if you have variable income: Here’s how
Interested in learning about variable income, but then also got curious about getting a month ahead of expenses too.
Getting a month ahead
That’s pretty ambitious for me at the moment, given I’m already saving 20% of my income into a freelance fund.
I’m not scrumping on spending either: I spent £1650 on learning & development last month and £200 on retreats and yin yoga.
I love how this video focuses on making small changes to gradually achieve this goal. And I’m motivated by the flexibility and calmness it provides. Budgeting with YNAB already eliminated so much money stress in the 3.5 years I’ve been using it.
- Put aside £10 for next month
- Get specific about what my freelance fund is and isn’t for
- Budget for tech expenses
- The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander
- The Art of Possibility — Benjamin Zander Center
- The Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin
- Weeknotes: My learning plan for effective, joyful asynchronous study Sun, 4 Apr 2021
- Behind the scenes: How I planned my distance learning with Amplify & Earnable this weekend
- Daily blogging challenge for April 2021
- Reflecting on overwhelm with buckets
My week in pictures – daily diary drawings
Highlights of my daily blogging challenge
I started a daily blogging challenge this month. Here’s an overview of what I’ve done so far:
- Destination unknown, but I have a compass: Day 1 challenge
- I’m on a journey. Don’t know where; but I’ll recognise it. With compassion, courage & curiosity I’m on my way to autonomy, focus & joy.
- More is less: How to do twice as much with half the effort
- Realising that studying more wasn’t succumbing to workaholism – this time. Instead, the two courses can support me & enable cross-pollination.
- Is it worth studying with Steve Pavlina & Ramit Sethi?
- I’m learning about creative flow with Steve Pavlina and starting a business with Ramit Sethi. Is it worth it? Yes, I think so, here’s why.
- Weeknotes: My learning plan for effective, joyful asynchronous study (this post! Very meta…)
- Behind the scenes of distance learning: How I planned my weekend creativity & entrepreneurship studying to be effective & fun asynchronously.
Planning my learning & creating study plans
In the early hours of Saturday I was moved to make a learning plan. I don’t know why, my brain often starts whirring in the middle of the night… So, I started planning. I’m sharing what I did as part of practising being more transparent about my process.
My learning plan for that day was hugely ambitious, but it wasn’t overwhelming because it had:
- Focus. Prioritised & limited to 3 areas: Amplify, Earnable, Retreat (Rest + Play + Outside)
- Autonomy + Joy. Everything on the list is stuff I want to do. It’s all self-generated based on desire. And there are no ‘shoulds’. if I change my heart-mind, just take it off the list
- Constraints. Boundaries. Time-boxes: When time runs out, stop.
My daily blogging challenge is the exception on the last point about time constraints, but:
- Technically, there is a time-box of 24 hours every day… 😅
- I’m working towards reducing/eliminating my perfectionist tendencies & being content to post stuff that’s unpolished & in progress.
- The idea is not to publish sparkling & pristine things each day!
How I created my plan on Sat, 3 Apr, at 2 am…
Drawing and writing my first thoughts
- I had a bunch of stuff swirling in my head when I woke in the early hours, thinking about my courses and what’s left to do and how to ‘catch up’. Or, reframing that: How to make progress more effectively and more speedily, in a sustainable way that stimulates my brain and plays to my strengths.
- So, I started drawing/writing plans using a tablet, including what I wanted to do ‘the next day’ (technically the same day, but in the daytime), what short-term goals I envisaged for myself.
- For example,
- for Amplify, I want to have completed module 2.1, at least, by the fifth live call on Wednesday
- for Earnable, I want to complete work suggested for days 1-5 by Sunday
1: Amplify, 1 lesson.
2: Earnable, matrix & video.
3: artist date, read Undrowned, sing musicals, something from my spreadsheet.
1: email chain, 2: forum, 3: creative cluster/s.
Targets:-Extracts from my handwritten & drawn plan
1: Amplify, module 2.1 by Wednesday.
2: Earnable, day 5 sprint by Sunday.
3: artist dates, daily new play Saturday-Tuesday
Switching from writing to typing to refine my plan
- Having worked out this stuff ‘on paper’ (but, actually, sketching on a tablet), then I started typing out my plan in a doc
- After listing what I wanted to do on Saturday, I listed stuff I’ve done already and what’s left to do between what I’ve done and what I want to have done by the deadlines I created
- When I did this I realised that my plan for the Earnable course wasn’t realistic, so I revised it
- So, now I had an ambitious, motivating & detailed plan for Saturday, and an ambitious & broader plan for the next few days
Remembering other stuff I’m doing too
- Listed other stuff I’m doing, which I rarely include when I’m planning stuff like this, because I forget that I do a lot of stuff. I’ve been wanting to do this for a week or so. So, on that list is stuff like:
- Learning German (daily, using apps & practising with friends)
- Tutoring a child in Plants, Key Stage 1
- Learning about ADHD
- Supporting a friend with access to work
- Started drafting this section of my weeknotes around 3am, which helped me further refine my plans. So meta…!
There’s a hole in my bucket… 🪣
Recently, my friend Chuck & I were talking about buckets with holes, I don’t remember exactly how the conversation happened. But I remember that we both drew buckets with holes and then shared our pictures with each other. Which was awesome
On Fri, 2 April 2021 — Sitting here, full of hilarity, laughter spilling over because I’ve never heard this song until now. I have the lyrics ‘There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza’ is in my head from somewhere, but it wasn’t this version.
Also, this song is a perfect example of the mental load, when it comes to distribution of housework & gender, as illustrated in this comic: “You should’ve asked”
Support Chuck SJ on Patreon because I don’t want you to miss out on Chuck’s rad zines, which bring me joy and rest every month
Ask for help: Practising behaviour change
One of my goals for 2021 is to ask for help. Which is a challenge for me.
My outlook for the year centres freedom by interdependence. So, I’ll try talking about asking for help in my daily posts.
Asking for help can be as:
- simple as searching for an answer online,
- social as asking friends & acquaintances,
- stretching as asking strangers!
Last month, asking for help supported me to be courageous instead of following my first thought/fear to shrink myself.
As a result, I was interviewed by Spotify about my work leading people to explore building trust and relationships when we’re not online at the same time, as part of my work with asynchronous ways of working.
- Weeknotes: Designing better lives by mining the multiverse 🖌️ Sun, 28 Mar 2021
I’m really proud of myself for:
- Giving myself time to rest, read & think this weekend.
- Reading An Unkindness of Ghosts By Rivers Solomon, which a friend recommended to me, and it’s SO GOOD. I want to read all of faer work now.
- Having my work featured in For The Record, Spotify’s news room: Nontraditional Hack Week Projects Pave Way for Innovation and Accessibility at Spotify
My week in pictures
How noodling about on YouTube is changing my life
I watched 3 incredible videos on Friday & Saturday, that I think are changing my life already. Also, this week I went to my first Toastmasters meeting, so coincidentally one step closer to being on a TED stage myself…!
Simple ways to figure out a better life for yourself
What I did this weekend
- Exploring the multiverse: 5 year planning for 3 lives – so fun! And I love the structuring around the 3 categories for those lives, and that’s what emerged for me when I did the activity. I gave my alternative lives code names: Project Alocasia, Project Begonia, and Project Pothos.
- Introspecting on Life, the Universe & Everything: Wrote down my Work view and my Life view, i.e. answered these questions – Why do I work? and Why am I here?
If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem, it’s a circumstance. If it’s a circumstance, accept it.On gravity problems
Next steps for my better lives
- Prototype, i.e. ask interesting questions to expose assumptions: “What would it be like if I tried…?”
- Conversations around Plan Alocasia
- Experiences – proposing a partnership around a Plan Begonia initiative
- Eliminate options down to 3, pick 1 and then listen to my gut
- Practise letting go and moving on. I watched a video recently that was talking about loss aversion bias, and how to tackle it by focusing on what you want to gain. Wish I could remember which one it was, but what I remember: Say, “I’m not focusing on that (the loss) right now; I’m focusing on [the gains].”
How to get support: Together, we can make our dreams real
I encountered Barbara’s video by accident exactly when I needed it.
I was reading articles & watching videos about how to work/study asynchronously with ADHD, and thinking about wanting support and social learning. Because I know those make a big difference for me.
And I was looking into ideas and techniques because there are some course I want to sign up for, and I’m hesitant because they’re asynchronous, which often doesn’t work for me. I’m practising my asynchronous learning skills with the Amplify course I’m doing.
How to learn asynchronously – some tips based on what I’m finding useful
- Use multiple media approaches: Try out different things to see what works for you, what gets in your way, and to come up with plans and mitigations (including stuff like support, self-compassion and such)
- Daily drawing diaries are helping me reflect each day, for example
- Regularly drawing is developing my visual thinking skills too, so I find myself often drawing out models of what I’m imagining or learning, which is helping me remember more and communicate better
- Make it sync: Include some sync stuff, eg coworking or having a body double, pairing (working together on a problem, eg pair programming), regular sync check-ins
- Explain/teach to someone else
- Practice papers, ie find weak spots and then revise/practise those (rather than reviewing all notes)
- Understand how you study – what’s your process?
- “Understand the way you digest information
- “Plan for it, study for it, set those things up
What I did this weekend
- Read this awesome, short comic: How to Get What You Really Want* by Barbara Sher *(even if you have no goals, no character, and you’re often in a lousy mood)
- Checked out Barbara’s Idea Party, an online forum for giving and getting help
- Consider 365 Days of Help with Procrastination and Resistance daily email programme
- Read a reflection on Barbara’s work: How to Create a Network Success
Next steps for getting support
- Get in touch with Success Team leaders to get support for Project Alocasia
- Check out Barbara’s Club | Remember your dreams
- Read Thinking Through Refuse to Choose: 101 things every Scanner should know by Barbara Sher, and maybe also Refuse to Choose! A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love by Barbara Sher
- Look into Barbara’s Hanging Out programme ($197 for a year or $24 per month, registration re-opens on 8 April 2021)
The Importance of Play, Others & Downtime or Here’s How Dolphins Remember How To Human Better Than Us 🐬
What I did this week
- Booked retreats for April, 2 x scheduled ones and 1 x unscheduled. Yay!
Next steps for playing & resting
- Protect Unscheduled Time at the weekends
- Make a toy box of fun things, like craft materials, books I want to read and such
- Schedule breaks between things for transition times
- For the unscheduled retreat, I want to plan which meditations to use.
Freelancing, entrepreneurship, side gigs
Do you know your earning potential? Quick & easy quiz that I found helpful, from I Will Teach You To Be Reach, by Ramit Sethi
In Weeknotes: What’s your creative process? Here, I’ll show you mine… 🎥🖌️ I shared some image libraries. Since then I learned about a couple of other resources I want to share:
Love watching random things, haha
- Weeknotes: Nurturing courage & compassion: How to be on creative retreat 🎥🖌️ Sun, 21 Mar 2021
There are 3 themes in these weeknotes, coming live to you from my retreat:
- Creativity, with courage, compassion & curiosity
- Retreat, being on one, well, no, being on 2 simultaneously
- Thinking: Where’s my head at? Notes on asynchronous collaboration & ADHD
➡ What’s my relationship to my creativity? And how is it? And what about yours?
The interactions between my 3 month retreat in daily living and the creativity course Amplify are really incredible! So many different ways of being, doing, engaging, communing, sitting, dancing, musing, mindlessing (mindless being/existing, vs thinking).
I believe everyone is creative
I’m practising being more creative. It’s iterative. It’s a process.
Something about compassion, self-compassion, process, failure & being willing to make mistakes
What if I can rest into being accompanied?
Being accompanied means being encouraged, supported, upheld, enhanced, improved, complemented, cheered. Like a musical accompaniment. I think this emerged from retreat.
The kind of relationship I want to have with readers
Also translates to: What are my values? or What do I value?
- Compassionate, and wanting to be more compassionate
- Helping me iterate and evolve, learn and grow
Who will be most supportive of my values and how I want to show up in the world?
What a difference being resourced & rested makes…
When I give myself space and time, the things that are difficult are not that hard.
How to practise collaborating with creativity
- Fantasize ➝ Have vision
- Blame ➝ Seek opportunities
- Complain ➝ Take ownership
- Stay stuck ➝ Keep going
Helpful advice from this week’s Amplify call
- Define milestones and look for opportunities to get there
- Use a quarterly planning process – noting that 90 days go faster than we tend to think
- Review what you actually got done
- Keep a list of accomplishments, achievements, interesting experiences by quarter ➝ try on paper. Include interesting films watched, video games played and stuff. Leads to a sense of what you get done & what the trade offs are
- Set goals to get better balance
- Write 3 pages (stream of conscious, like Morning Pages) on the fear/anxiety I’m experiencing
Listing accomplishments, achievements & interesting experiences
- Watching Adventure Time
- Lying down, sometimes napping, when I need to rest. Exhausted? Time to nap for 20 mins
I started my list with these, before going through my calendar for January – March.
Really glad to be doing that because I wanted to do quarterly reflections from the start of the year, in addition to my monthly reflections. I guess now I do reflections every day too, with my daily diary drawings for the past two week, and weekly reflections, with these weeknotes. Yay!
The Amplify live sessions really help me to be more exploratory and adventurous. 70 folks on a video call, with a lively chat of so many ideas and insights. As a result I looked into courage training, amongst many other things.
I want to share my process more, so part of that is sharing these things that I’m intending to do (not just talking about stuff I’ve done already):
- Dare to Lead: Brené Brown
- Train The Brave: 7 Steps To Building Your Courage Muscles
- Psychologies: Can you learn how to be more courageous?
- Mind: Building Courage course
- Daring Leadership Assessment by Brené Brown
➡ How do I live: On being on retreat
How to be on retreat in daily living
Carve out time in the day light for sitting and noodling, for musing and meandering, for resting and snoozing, for reflecting.
What do you call a retreat within a retreat?
So, this week’s video is a vlog about being on retreat, specifically the 4 day unscheduled retreat I’m on right now, as well as the 4 month retreat in daily life, which I’m on right now too. What unshoulding and shedding mean to me, being unbound and free.
Practising giving myself Permission to Slow Down
That’s one part of the recovering from burnout triad (the other two being get support and reconnect with goals & priorities).
Slowing down made these things possible
- Making hot chocolate (good quality cocoa, date sugar & frothed soya milk). So simple, and yet I hardly ever give myself time to make it
- Reading Amanda Tuke’s nature writing newsletter – March edition
- Looking out for writing workshops and meditation retreats, as a result of this time, I’m looking forward to
- 1 x dharma talk with Jaya Ashmore
- 1 x dharma/sangha with Lama Rod Owens
- 4 x retreats (3 in April, 1 in June)
- The London Wildlife Trust is putting on another free Festival of the Great North Wood, this time for the whole of April
Feeling very grateful.
Because of the pandemic, I was introduced to Jaya Ashmore. A friend ran regular & frequent meditations, and recommended Jayaji to us. 5 retreats this year, so far, and 8 last year (5 of which were with Jayaji, the others were with a friend, Lama Rod Owens and Anushka Fernandopulle and Bonnie Duran with Gaia House).
If you would like brilliant extended meditations, I recommend these audio recordings:
- Seven Homecomings by Lama Rod Owens (1 hour 20 minutes) from a retreat I did a couple of years ago
- Mindfulness of the body by Bonnie Duran (50 minutes), very visceral
Other stuff I’ve been doing whilst embracing unshoulding & shedding
- Dharma talks
- Eating pizza
- Watching Adventure Time and this science video: 3 Discoveries You Missed Because of COVID (5 minutes, auto-generated subtitles)
- Writing weeknotes
- Playing with & updating functionality on my website (image slider/gallery & tag clouds)
➡ My thinking mind: On ADHD & asynchronous collaboration & ADHD
Being on retreat made it possible to do some lightweight planning in a way that didn’t even feel like working, that was great. Looking forward to writing about async ways of working next week.
I was going to say I’m not going to link to a specific episode of the Translating ADHD podcast, because they’re all golden, but this particular episode resonated so much with me:
“I work best in collaborative efforts. …It used to be that I thought I needed someone else and I was always in a one less position, down one. Like, oh I’m so grateful that this person’s going to work with me. I’m nothing and they’re something. And I’m gonna hitch my wagon to their locomotive. Which is a mixed metaphor… Because I need an activator.”Cameron Gott
I love mixed metaphors.
Ooh, great question:
- Weeknotes: What’s your creative process? Here, I’ll show you mine… 🎥🖌️ Sun, 14 Mar 2021
How I learned to reflect every day, after months of false starts
I love hearing about folks’ creative process/es, and I want to share mine more. Practising.
My creative process is…
- Stopping and starting
- Jumping from drawing on my tablet, to auto-transcribing a vlog, to synching the drawing to the cloud and downloading it to another device so I can upload it to my website
- Surfing waves of creating and getting hit by sneaker waves of executive dysfunction
- Singing one line of a song I love over and over to myself, and then putting it on (and not finding it at first because instead of writing ‘cute screaming’ I write ‘cute jacob’)
- Evolving, emergent, transformative
- Sprinkled with synchronicities
- Amplify by Steve Pavlina, course, 15 minutes of audio and some homework for each lesson
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, book and group
- Voice notes and text messages back and forth with friends
- Watching Adventure Time in the background
- Morning pages: 3 (A4) pages of stream of consciousness. I’ve started doing more than 3 pages when I wake up early, so that it evens out when I write less because I’ve woken late. On balance I’m now covering more pages. Awesome!
- Video recordings in the woods, weekly-ish
- Daily drawing: Felt tips on paper during the week and the Procreate app on my iPad at the weekends
- Voice notes on Otter, which does automated transcriptions too
Visual thinking – a great tool for stellar asynchronous collaboration too
One of the skills I teach people is visual thinking, this includes drawing, but also using images that already exist. Here are some of my favourite resources:
- The Noun Project, a huge icon library. Recently saw their excellent ‘Redefining Women’ icon collection too
- Bigger Picture, in 2020 I learned many of the visual thinking skills that I value so much today
- Drawing Together, this is the first Liberating Structure I facilitated at an immersion workshop, co-facilitating with Fisher Qua. Recommend this one as a quick & simple way of representing complexity and nuance
- Pixabay & Pexels for free stock photos. I use these as a quick way of adding visuals, to add some variety and depth alongside icons.
- Bikablo is good too, and got me well on the way on my journey with drawing in 2019, but I find Bigger Picture more valuable and versatile
Intrapreneur & freelance skills
Storytelling, a tale of obsession
I’m extremely fascinated by storytelling lately. It started when it unexpectedly popped up in a position of prominence in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.
Product management: Creating a compelling & engaging vision
How to live well vs Capitalism.
What’s YOUR creative process?
- Weeknotes: How to practise resting without guilt, and stop overworking 🎥 Sun, 7 Mar 2021
Stuff I’m grateful I did this week
- Embarked on a 3 month retreat in daily life with Jaya Ashmore
- Family Constellations (BIPOC only) by Meenadchi, a modality for ancestral healing descended from Zulu medicine
- New Suns festival by the Barbican, a feminist literary festival returns to explore the legacy of science-fiction author Octavia Butler and her prophetic Earthseed series
- Wrote something, recorded & uploaded it, yay! Remembering the future with joy
- Finished watching Bird Flight & Cooperative Aerodynamics. by Steve Portugal with London Natural History Society, which I started last week, or the week before
What’s been helping me practise being kind to myself
- My friends
- Making time for spirituality: For me, that’s been family constellations, retreat in daily life (3 months)
- Learning more about ADHD: I’ve spent hours researching this week, found a bunch of strategies that are helping me, and feel that I’m not alone
Looking forward to
- Amplify with Steve Pavlina, a creative productivity deep dive to transform my creative flow. Sounds pretty great, right?
- Continuing my 3 month retreat in daily life, untangling what that means to me
- Hack Week at work. I’m focusing on asynchronous collaboration, which is something I’ve been working on outside of my job for a few months now. Great to give it more time and energy, and bring folks along with me.
- Practising a better life-work balance. It’s been tricky as my brain has been working overtime (literally) with ideas for embracing async ways of working.
How does it feel to be open to rest?
Rest is my calling. Rest means do less, and so much more. Or, so much less! Work is a distraction. And it really pulls me. I like to hang out in the realm of ideas, very airy. I’m working my way down to earth.
I’m playing with WOOP – Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. It’s similar to GROW – Goal, Reality, Obstacle/Opportunity, Will/Way forward. I like that it starts with wishes, and focuses on coming up with a plan that feels good, and doesn’t feel like a huge stretch. And I like that it’s an evidence-based approach to goal setting.
Rest, and work: ADHD & adaptations
Learning more about ADHD is helping me a lot. I’ve spent hours researching this week, found a bunch of strategies that are helping me, and I feel that I’m not alone.
Which is helping me to feel less shame, which is helping me to seek more help, and to find articles like 21 products you need if you’re always losing things. Which is helping me figure out ways to feel more confident about where stuff is, and therefore less anxiety.
So… Work, eh?
It has been an Intense Week (and I wrote that sentence earlier on in the week, even).
It’s hard, sometimes, to really listen to myself, my body, my spirit, my desires, my needs. I am out of practice. So much to unlearn. Well, step by step, bit by bit, day by day.
Practising asking myself, whenever I have activities planned for my evening, to check-in with myself. ‘Do I want to do this? Do I really want to do this?’ And listening to the answer. And saying no, changing my mind, as I please.
It’s not easy; that’s okay.
I do find it challenging to be gentle with myself, and compassionate, when it comes to setting expectations of how much freelance work I do alongside my full time job. I often feel like I’m not doing enough, and I don’t know how not to feel that way.
Simultaneously, I find it hard to think of fun, new things to do every week (for artist dates). I can think of fun things that are not new and I can think of new things that I’m not particularly excited about.
Part of that is that it’s hard for me to be excited about anything when I’m overwhelmed, except sometimes work, depending on the work. Which is a bit messed up really. But I guess this is a dopamine (reward & motivation) issue — and the thing is that a sense of achievement does deliver the dopamine, so…
Anyway, what I did is start a list of fun and new things I want to do. Because actually I often think of these things, but then I forget. It’s good to see the list growing already within a few hours!
Beware of Burnout: Sustainable strategies for activism by Tatiana Mac.
I think spontaneity is my gift to myself. Not spontaneity to spend time with other people doing what they want to do; spontaneity to spend time with myself doing what I want to do. Like, spending Monday reading an entire book, cover to cover. (The Midnight Library by Matt Haig; I recommend it.)
So much relatable ADHD content, tbh
ADHD freelancers, and working whilst ADHD
I did a keyword search online for ‘adhd freelancers’ and find so much material I don’t even know what to do with it all. (Aside from reading it way too late into the night…).
Special mention to ADDitude, which just has so much helpful stuff.
It’s all about creating environments
Something that feels pretty good is that a lot of the ways of responding to ADHD well and setting myself up for success are about creating environments. And that’s what I do in my job: I create environments that nurture collaboration. So now it’s about pivoting that energy into creating environments that reduce cognitive load, manage executive function requirements and provide rest.
A big part of that is giving myself permission to do things in unconventional ways that work for me, even when that clashes with my parents’ taste for tradition. For example, every time I get groceries, I list the use by dates of everything on a small piece of paper, in chronological order. Otherwise, I forget to eat the things before they go off.
Today, I stuck the list to the fridge with a magnet. (Note: My parents have never had anything on the fridge before this, ever.) No complaints yet, and it’s already helping me out. I don’t have to try and remember to look at the list before I get to the fridge, inevitably forget, go to the list (risking getting distracted on the way), go back to the fridge (risking forgetting what I plan to get out of it). Instead, I can just go to the fridge and take out the things.
This is my priority focus in my job, and I’m working on it outside of my job too. I believe it’s the future of knowledge work.
Here’s a video that I’m hoping to watch this week (but haven’t had capacity for yet).
…and another thing: Things that made me smile this week
- Weeknotes: Joy of unshoulding on retreat. Birdsong, rest & sleep 🎥 Wed, 3 Mar 2021
Oof, it’s taken ages to get these weeknotes out — well, three days late, but it feels like so much has changed in that time. I’ve changed! The world has changed! But, like, that’s always the case, so let’s not worry about that, and instead, let’s just hit the ‘Publish’ button before it gets any later…!
Somehow the previous weeknotes feel very relevant right now, so I’m linking to those too…
In the footsteps of Octavia Butler & encouraged by The Artist’s Way
One of my fellow Artist’s Way journeyers gave herself an artist date of buying stickers and adorning her morning pages with them. I loved the idea, so I got myself a pack of Adventure Time stickers. Surprised by the amount of joy I get from both covering my Artist’s Way stuff in stickers and looking at them later too. Simple pleasures, delighting my artist and/or my child self.
I read the first of a monthly zine by Chuck SJ featuring snippets of journal entries, poetry, writings and doodles. Y’all should check it out. Whilst you’re at it, consider pre-ordering Anthology N°1: Creating in Crisis edited by Polari Press.
I started reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari, and it’s fascinating. I’ve never heard such a compelling story about the importance of storytelling. I love it.
And then, as if by magic — by the power of synchronicity — I learned of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival on Fri, 5 – Sun, 7 Mar 2021. Which is heavily centred around Octavia E. Butler. Great!
5 of the greatest stories ever
I CANT REMEMBER WHEN I DIDN’T NEED YOU — an interactive game
Black British Art Review 2020 — an insta
Maybe you should praise your own place within trans history.The Resurrection Lands
Asking for help
Affirmations and ditties in my head all blended to form something of a song or poem or something. Some snippet.
I ask and receive the help that I need. Listening is asking. In woods: Paying attention to birds, Feeling wind and rain on skin, Picking a path through slick-slip-slide — Marriage of mud and mulch,
Fragen > Antworten (Questions Over Answers)
Overwork is NOT the solution to being overwhelmed…
I think I’m going to give myself a weekly work ban.
I mean, that’s why sabbaths exist, after all.
A rest from both work and social media.
I am very good at turning play into work. Like,
- writing weeknotes ➝ cultivating my personal/professional brand as a freelancer
- reading Sapiens ➝ making notes for a collection of short stories
I love creating things, and I’m getting more and more creative, which is wonderful. (Highly recommend the Jealousy Map activity in Week 7 of the Artist’s Way for that too.) And, simultaneously, I’m finding my work brain is never off and more and more it’s coming out of sleep mode.
So, making space for rest and play, by saying NO.
- Weeknotes: Addicted to overwork meets how to do nothing Mon, 22 Feb 2021
Hey folks, I’m on a virtual retreat of unscheduling, or un-should-ing, so I took a break from publishing extracts from my “artist’s way companion”. Back later this week. In the meantime, here are some musings from earlier.
5 things for which I’m grateful
- Deep rest meditation retreats
- Stationery—now able to sort a bunch of articles I’ve printed out and such, and that’s making my life easier
- Dream yoga—helping me sleep and listen to myself
- Friendship—friends, with you to the end :notes:
Reading ‘How to Do Nothing’ by Jenny Odell
Listening to How to do Nothing at 1am feels a little bit ironic… and writing weeknotes at 3am. And waking at midnight before that. Sigh.
Thankfully I went on retreat soon after.
I’ve been musing about how to be freelance and not feel like every waking moment (or sleeping!) I could/should be working. It’s so pervasive. Even down to writing for my weeknotes, which make up my personal brand and therefore contribute to my ‘productivity’ and ‘marketability’.
I am exploring this tho. And Jenny Odell’s book is helping a lot.
I like this “8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for what we will.” (From labour movements campaigning for a reduction in work hours.)
Where work is any generative — not productive! — activity. And privilege maintenance and care over growth. People over profit. Community.
Where “what we will” is stuff like bird listening/observing, wandering woodland, listening to the wind, conversation, music, yoga, meditation, board games. It may include screens, but not loads. And it doesn’t include social media. I wonder about the space for social media, tbh. Reading!
And sleep includes sleep practices, well, not includes maybe is / may be preceded by. Like dream yoga.
On community loving: People need people
I really wonder what Jenny Odell’s up to in the pandemic, if she’s shared any thinking. I’m thinking in these ‘don’t meet up with other households times’ community loving is key. (I meant to write living, but this was a good autocorrect.) Like, if I lived with friends right now… what a different experience my life would be.
Ooh, I want to create a Book of Blessings.
And another thing…
I’ve been thinking: We need librarians.
- Weeknotes: What is liberating? Is it possible to be free? Sun, 14 Feb 2021
Musing about freedom and freelancing, including curiosity, following joy and asking for help. Blessed by wisdom from many sources.
What does it mean to be free? And is it possible?
What does it mean to choose freedom when still socially oppressed?
How can I be free? And reduce violence in this moment? And practise compassion for others?Lama Rod Owens, Fri, 5 Feb 2021
“Live free or die a slave.” Damn
I’ve been thinking about ways of reflecting and invitations, but I’ll explore that more another time.
Learning things that are deeply true
What I really appreciate about academia is when it makes it possible to understanding things that’s deeply true, when academia makes things more accessible, art and science all intertwined.
Here are some excellent examples, with notes on where I learned of them:
- Lessons from Microbes: What Can We Learn about Equity from Unculturable Bacteria? by Beronda L. Montgomery
- A Few Rules For Predicting The Future by Octavia Butler, reproduced in The Nap Ministry: The Future is Now: Why Octavia Butler Is Our Muse
- via Art of Devotion: Belief, Faith and Spirit in Creative Practice by Evan Ifekoya
- The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin
- via Science Fiction as Activism by Ama Josephine Budge
Been attending some events from Freelance Festival this week (it’s free and continues into next week, in case you want to join. If you register, you can access stuff that’s happened already.)
I went to Birkbeck’s Future Focus: Top Tips and Key Skills to Start a Business session with Jenna Davies from Birkbeck Futures Careers Service. Which reminded me about the Business Model Canvas.
I found these videos really useful this week.
What’s your relationship to discipline? What about change?
It’s been at least 15 years since I started listening to Steve Pavlina on personal development. Not consistently, on and off, but always resonating when I’m connecting with his ideas.
Listening to this podcast by him now, and it’s great. I love Steve’s focus on curiosity, feelings, creativity and joy. Resonates so deeply with me. I started reading Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler on Saturday, and I’m enjoying the overlapping themes of change and our abilities to steer the course of change.
Feeling powerful and playful.
5 things I’m looking forward to…
- Exploring how ancestral traumas create blocks and invite blessings: Family Constellation Info Session – BIPOC only, 27 Feb
- Transforming my creative flow: Amplify by Steve Pavlina, Feb
- Conversations about ageing and inter-generations within QTIBIPOC community: QTIBPOC Generations, 20 Feb
- Learning about freelancing: Freelance Festival, continues all week
- Working with friends on asynchronous collaboration skills and equity 💜