Daynotes 2023-05-26

Thinking about experimenting with daynotes a bit; Context: This blog originally started out as a way of posting weekly notes, back when I was gainfully employed as a developer-up-to-team-lead. It was a way to personally reflect on the challenges of the job, and a lot of the thoughts were me trying to figure stuff out as I went along, in a more open way.

Right now, I’m in a slightly different position – in some ways the work is still largely the same under the hood: make code run, talk to people, keep things progressing – but there’s also an opportunity to do something different. One of the main ideas, after all, of going freelance was to do my own thing, so it makes sense to apply the same mindset to the facets and side-effects that go along with that, like this blog.

From a legacy perspective, I keep finding myself wanting to take notes about the practical work I’ve done. I think that can be harder to do less interesting for me when the work is technical – although there can still be merit in writing up a particularly tricky challenge.

Instead, I’ll try making these notes a bit more about mindset and freelancing life in general, than about specific projects. This, like the job before it, is the current "life puzzle" I’m going through I guess – and perhaps these are also things that are more shared in common with others?

With that in mind…

Photo of a bench on top of a grassy hill, overlooking a small town in the distance, under blue sky with a couple of fluffy clouds.

Since last time:

  • Wednesday: Woke up absolutely exhausted. The wife suggested taking a day off to recover which was a very sensible suggestion. Been through enough exhaustion to start becoming something of a tiredness connoisseur and knew that it was mainly social and mental exhaustion: I do like interacting with people, and can jump between things quickly, but it gets very tiring after about 2 weeks without a break. I packed some snacks in a bag, caught a bus out of town, and walked down to the sea. After clearing out 100 or so emails from my phone, I walked back over the hills into town, grabbed a bite to eat, and read for an hour.

  • Thursday was slightly choppy as I was working from Brighton, but also needed to head home early to watch the kids while my wife popped out. I’m finding a small amount of time planning to work well though, and have made some decent progress on an ongoing project. For me, I’m noticing that a sense of satisfaction comes from the mixture of spending time on something, and achieving realistic milestones, as well as knowing where I’m at in the project.

  • It was good to catch up with people again, including TC and a satisfying badminton session.

  • I’m continuing to clear Things out. I feel like I need to undo a large amount of the stuff (physical and digital) that I’ve been acquiring over the last 20+ years.

Next steps:

  • I want to carry on a few of the mental trends I’ve been following above, namely 1) relaxing into things, not necessarily to do less, but to do things more elegantly (which often equates to "Better", whatever that means), and 2) spending more time clearing things out. I’ve not read the book, but the
    title "Stuffocation" is a great one which I’m coming back to.

Hey, you know what? Maybe that’s it for now. I could do a braindump of the 101 things I’d like to do, but that’s 2 really important things I’ve listed, so why not stop there? Relax and aim for elegance. Less is more. Or, to come back to one of my favourite sayings, "Simplify, then add lightness".

Perhaps there’s something about how to stop myself not doing that. But then again, maybe writing this out in the open is just the first step to being more aware of it (typing slows down as I feel myself absorbing the reflections).