Archive for August, 2010

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Design thinking for relationships

31 August, 2010

It dawned on me this afternoon that IDEO’s three-lens model for human-centered design are applicable to relationships and finding a partner too.

Desirable: You like her, she likes you.

Viable: A long-term relationship work, with both of you having a good mix of similar and different interests, similar values and be able to live harmoniously together.

Feasible: Available (as in single) and preferably able to live together.

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Progress with routine

23 August, 2010

Inspired by recent reading The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working I decided last week to try implementing a routine that would assist me in my goals of exercising and meditating more frequently and preparing for work better rather than being rushed and having to rely on coffee to get me started.

The first week of trying this out was a disaster. Well, ok, it worked – but it left me absolutely wrecked by the Friday which luckily I had off. I crashed hard on the Friday and slept most of the day.

The funny thing was I should have been getting more sleep as I was ensuring I was in bed by 10:00pm and with my morning routine starting at 5:30pm it meant I should have been getting over 7 hours sleep. Clearly I’m just not compatible with early mornings.

I’ve scaled it back this week to a 6:00am start and dropping from two exercise slots to just one walk around the block with the dogs and cutting out in-bed reading time.

My morning routine is broken up into eight (formerly ten) 15-minute slots that ensure I get through everything I need to do in the morning without getting snagged on any one task or distracted. It now means I leave home for work at the same time every morning by 8:00am and can thus get a free car parking space in the employee park instead of paying for parking. It’s only $3 but that’s now $15 on parking I save each week plus one less coffee a day as I’m using exercise to wake me up instead of caffeine.

I would still prefer to get some decent exercise bike riding time in before work so I’ll try phasing that back in. I just don’t want my Monday to Friday be nothing but work, sleep and preparing meals. Some people can work 12-hour days on a long-term basis. Not me. Don’t misread that as a sign about my commitment to my job – I love what I do but I value my downtime and work-life balance. I enjoy driving but I’d get sick of driving eight hours a day every day. Everything in moderation. A well-orchestrated life with deep dynamics, oscillating from intense highs to relaxing lows. Ideas need time to incubate and swirl around, embed or detach, socialise with other threads and objects of thought. I’m always working 24/7 whether I am conscious of it or not, in the shower and even in my dreams.

Anyway, it’s 10:00pm and I better get to bed. I have a conference to get to the day after.

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Bye bye Jenny

2 August, 2010

No don’t worry. She’s still alive and we’re still together. She’s just off holidaying in Alaska for the next three weeks – so it’s just Toby and I. Misty is recovering from an illness and bad back so she’s staying with Jenny’s mum.

Surprisingly I’m not missing Jenny. Ok, that sounds bad. I am missing her, but I’m not really down and depressed about it. I know the feeling I would have felt if I weren’t on anti-depressants. I was anticipating it but it didn’t happen. Fingers crossed I’ll stay above the yellow line for the next few weeks.

I’m treating this time as a freeze and a time-out. Not that I needed Jenny out of the house but I’m hoping to use this alone time to help address some of the questions and issues that have been bothering me recently. I want to break my typical routine in the evenings and weekends and spend more time reading, meditating, exercising, researching, listening to music, playing music, thinking about my future and blogging. It’s not that Jenny was getting in the way of me accomplishing this change – it’s just that her absence has caused the disruption that will shake me out of the rut so I can get all meta about my life and rethink my position and goals.

For example, last Friday a recruiter called me about a potential role which I automatically put myself forward for. Luckily the fax didn’t go through because today I woke up to myself and realised I absolutely didn’t want that role. This is part of my problem! I don’t have a strong idea of where I want to go with my career and thus even less idea of how to get there – so I’m just jumping sideways from one role to another without moving forward. Career isn’t the only aspect I’m concerned about but it is pretty important to me – it’s not just my 9-5. It’s how I play too. Design is my passion. I’m always thinking about design, blogging about it, living it. I don’t even like using the word “career” … it makes me feel so dirty giving such high priority to career because our society isn’t particularly kind to “career-obsessed” people who it is assumed choose career at the cost of shunning responsibilities to their families.

There are other things too like where do I want to live. Jenny and I have tossed around the idea of a 12-month working holiday overseas and have been looking at Christchurch, New Zealand. Sounds great, but I haven’t taken the time to really think about what that means, what impact that’ll have on us now and in the future and whether it’s a strategically good move. I know it sounds wanky to be talking about strategy when you’re talking about your own life but that’s exactly what I want to be doing more of, to have a clearer picture and enjoy life more. I’m feeling pent up about the lack of creative outlet in my life and that’s something I want to address by spending more time practicing art such as music without regimenting it and setting aside a one hour slot every evening.

So, some stuff to figure out.

Ideas, my wise friends?

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Please don’t call the fire brigade

1 August, 2010

Sign: Please don't call the fire brigade.A sign I saw on a butcher’s door up at the Belconnen Markets. I find it slightly objectionable – I don’t think it’s wise to dissuade people from dialling emergency when they see smoke.

Please don’t call the fire brigade. We are only making smoked hams.

Wasting their time and paying callout fees is no laughing matter. They have more important things to do.