Freelance Friday 047 - March 22 2019

Yup, you missed the video and all content this week until today. I’m still working on two bigger videos about Digital Minimalism and what I do to have a minimal digital footprint on my life.

Outside of that, it’s been a wonderfully warm sunny start to the spring break for my kids. It was 20C this week and looks to be 18C today while my wife and I take a date/run/coffee afternoon together.

If you’ve found my content helpful then new in 2019 I’ve opened up a Patreon page. You can help ensure that more helpful content keeps coming.

The final big thought for the week has been around what I do with the podcast I used to run. I said in late 2018 that I was shutting down The Smart Business Show, but that something would come back and I wasn’t sure what it was. Right now I’m thinking that we’ll get something that let’s me explore the topics I find interesting. Maybe called “HRM That’s Interesting”. I’d cover parenting, work, the relationship between population growth and prosperity...Yes a wide range of topics that would likely feel aligned to the things I clearly care about in my writing, but not as “freelance” focused as I have been.

It’s still up in the air really, but that’s where my head is at so any feedback is welcome.

Friday Five

1. Mark Manson on Changing Yourself with Willpower

Mark Manson:

Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve tried to change your behavior through sheer willpower. And chances are, you also failed miserably. Don’t feel bad! This is what happens most of the time.

Made me think of Atomic Habits and designing our environment for success. If you eat sweets all the time, forget this willpower crap, don’t have the sweets in the house and then you can’t eat them. No you can’t do a “cheat” day or anything like that, you have to stay away from it full-stop.

To summarize Mark, if you’re fighting every step of the way to get your willpower working, you’re relying on a system that’s going to fail you. Build a better system.

2. If you carry your phone at all times...your kids will notice

Cal Newport:

This latter point is one that we parents sometimes don’t want to hear, but it keeps coming up in my conversations: if you carry your phone with you at all times, checking it constantly, it’s difficult to convince your kids not to do the same, no matter how many rules you set or warnings you deliver.

Reminded me of a comment from a few weeks ago on a post where I talked about cutting my digital time to show my kids. While the commenter says that my kids should listen to dad and I “work” on my devices, I don’t work on my devices while watching Netflix. Some YouTube consumption is work, and some is to fill boredom.

My Kindle feels different to me because I’m only reading when I’m on that, and thus I let my kids read on Epic! because it’s Nextflix for books for kids.

I stand beside the statement, and it’s supported here by Newport, that if I want my kids to stop bugging me about devices I need to not show them that it’s okay to wake up and get on my devices. Forget this “do as I say” stuff, they’ll learn from the example I set.

3. Systems in Contrast to Goals

From Irresistible:

Systems stand in stark contrast to goals like “attract one thousands Instagram followers,” which serve only as signposts of failure. When you do reach your goal, a new one materializes in it’s place — now two thousand Instagram followers seems like an appropriate target.

Reading that this morning it’s making me think of my 1000 YouTube subscribers and question if that’s what I should be doing. Should I be working on developing a system to produce content I’m happy with instead?

As always there are no clear answers to questions like this, so I keep mulling it over.

4. Let the weak ties go

From Digital Minimalism:

The idea that it’s valuable to maintain vast numbers of weak-tie social connections is largely an invention of the past decade or so — the detritus of over exuberant network scientists spilling inappropriately into the social sphere.

Those 50 people you short of knew in high school, but never really talked to don’t matter. Why are you spending any time worrying about what they think of you on Facebook? If you don’t care enough about someone to schedule a regular time to see them face to face, or to have a phone conversation, the relationship likely isn’t that important.

5. Good or bad, it’s your fault

From Farnam Street:

The hard truth is that most things in your life – good and bad – are your fault. The sooner you realize that, the better things will be.

How many people never want to hear that. They want to find some other person, company, thing...to blame so that they remain faultless.

If you’re late for work due to traffic every morning, it’s time to be an adult and leave earlier.

Stop waiting for someone to bail you out and take the time needed to learn the skills you need.

For more on an active vs passive mindset, check out the full post.