It was a great year for Dorothy and I:
Dinner at the Wickaninnish Inn
Loungin at Whistler
Dorothy and I atop “The Chief” Mountain
Dorothy and I Smoochin
On a personal level I stopped worrying about pissing people off and avoided seeking perfection. I focused on making stuff that was just barely good enough and then iterating on that. Here are some side projects I started this year in that vein: a vancouver webcam, a weekly mixtape, and a wiki about augmented reality. They all sucked at first and continue to suck a little less over time. The point is they exist. Last year I probably never would have started them for any number of reasons.
In 2009 jettisoned lots of baggage both physically and emotionally. Physically decluttering your environment and your mind by letting stuff go feels great. More importantly I started to believe in myself again. I’m trusting my instincts and making investments accordingly.
Dorothy, Pepper, and I live in Vancouver and have designed our lifestyle such that we’re relatively untethered. Currently we’re not attached to jobs, leases, mortgages, kids, or even our location. Dorothy is working hard on the 2010 Winter Olympics and my work online is going better all the time.
Dorothy at the Olympic Oval
The only thing stopping us from doing being completely mobile is the dog. Luckily Dorothy’s parents are happy to take her off our hands when we travel!
A Dog’s Life
I don’t do new years resolutions anymore. I used to set expectations that we’re just flat out unrealistic. I’ve never been a big partier and this morning’s reflective blog post is my own little way of bringing in the new year.
“New Year madness is a thing of quite modern making, and hardly an improvement on the tradition that long preceded it, which called for a somewhat sober, respectful and reflective morning celebration.” – Simon Winchester
As I mentioned above I’m more into to just good enough, not perfection. Instead of thinking “I want to get super fit and run a marathon this year” it’s “I want to be healthier this year by having fun doing some exercise, whenever.” It’s just a softer way to deal with yourself.
Given that, here are some things I’ve done in 2009, stopped doing in 2009, and hope to do 2010:
Things I stopped doing in 2009:
Using the same password everywhere:
A few of my websites got hacked this year because Media Temple had a security issue. That got me to thinking more about security. I realized that I was using one or two passwords across all my accounts. I switched to using 1password with dropbox syncing and haven’t looked back. You’d be amazed at how many accounts you have when you start doing this. My 1password has 265 account passwords stored it in.
Tweeting too hard: (see year in tweets)
For a while there I was tweeting my life all all of the boring minutiae. I was also link blogging like crazy and generally adding noise online. I even had my tweets published on my blog. At some point I was like who the hell cares… So I’ve dramatically lowered the volume across all the feeds and content I produce. I respect your digital space. Less is more…
Using Voice Mail:
This may predate 2009 but I haven’t looked back since I stopped using voicemail. It was just another inbox that I had to check all the time and 99 percent of the messages we’re “hey it’s so and so, call me back”.
Trying to keep up with the fire hose:
At one point I was subscribed to like 350 RSS feeds and followed like 500 people on twitter. Today I read about 30 feeds and follow about 70 people, which is still way too much. I hope to cute rss feeds out entirely this year but this is one of my vices.
Things I started doing in 2009:
Using Virtual Assistants:
I’ve been using virtual assistants to help me in areas that I have weaknesses. Let’s just say this has been a learning experience. I’ve used oDesk to find people to do work that I can’t or don’t want to do.
On the environmental front I decided to stop being preachy about and it and focus purely on taking personal responsibility. I’m taking personal responsibility for my footprint and doing something about it. We’ve reduced the amount of waste we put out to about one of those little white kitchen garbage bags per week. Everything else is recycled, composted, or not even purchased in the first place.
I’ve starting actually blogging again. I’ve been writing reviews, posting photos, and having fun with it. Hopefully it has added some value. Did I just blog about blogging? Sheesh this post needs to end soon!
I listen to music all day long when I’m working. I often made mixtapes for people in the past so I figured it would be fun to share them with everyone. As such Friday Mixtape was born. Now the whole world can get to know my
shitty taste in music!
Working online can often be tough when people are constantly sending you amazing things to watch or read. It’s good to know how your time is being spent… I’ve been using Rescue Time as a tool for this. You’d be amazed how much clarity this gives you into how your time is spent.
Using Moleskines Again:
Aghast the horror analog?! Yeah I’ve been using moleskines again to document stuff, scribble notes, and just keep stuff. This post about a designer who has used 85 notebooks in 26 years got me thinking about this. 25 years from now the files on my computer now won’t even be readable but a collection of moleskine will still be useful as an arhive.
Backing Up My Stuff:
My digital life and media are important to me. I’ve been looking out for a good solution but I’m kind of stuck between local and cloud based backups. I have too much stuff to backup everything to the cloud. So I backup the big stuff like video and thousands of RAW photos locally to a Drobo. Check out my Drobo review if you’re interested in those. The rest gets backed up to the cloud. Mozy is great for backing up your stuff to the cloud. You may also want to check out backupify, and Amazon s3 + Jungle Disk.
Waking up super early:
We’ve been waking up around 5:30 to get up and ‘eat your worms’ as Sean says. I wrote this post before starting work today. It’s so quiet that I can focus really well. It’s my favorite time of the day.
Dorothy and I decided we didn’t care if it was more expensive to eat all organic food. After watching documentaries like Food Inc and reading about the food industry we decided to try to eat as much organic food as we can. Can you think of a better investment that your own long term health?
I learned how to create HDR photographs this year. I use photomatix software. You can check them out here.
I work from zero in all my inboxes whether it’s snail mail or email. If there is something in an inbox, something needs to be done. My brain is then free to think about other stuff knowing things will get done. The trick is to only check them on a semi regular basis.
Things I hope to do in 2010:
Epic trip with @dorothyjs:
This is in the works. We’ll be checking out after the olympics. We’re not sure how nomadic we’ll be but we’re going away for sure.
Continue working on all my projects big and small no matter how crappy they seem at first.
Contribute more resources charity:
I’ve made 50 loans on Kiva.org to date and I’d like to increase that number. I also donated several computers to charity this Christmas to Free Geek. I think they’re doing great stuff and I’d like to volunteer for them.
Continue working to mend relationships:
Just like everything else, even if they’re broken the key is to improve upon them…
In closing here is a nice thought Justin Ritchie posted on his blog from Thom Hartmann’s Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight:
A Cree Native American storyteller and teacher told me: “According to my tradition, from the beginning of creation, every morning, when the sun comes up, we are each given four tasks by our Creator for that day. First, I must learn at least one meaningful thing today. Second, I must teach at least one meaningful thing to another person. Third, I must do something for some other person, and it will be best if that person does not even realize that I have done something for them. And fourth, I must treat all living things with respect. This spreads these things throughout the world.”
Hows that for something to live by?! Happy New Year!