Thursday, February 28, 2019

Life Lately | February

Life + Goals //

One of my goals for February was to write for 10 minutes every day, which I primarily met through journaling. I missed six days, scattered across the month, but it was altogether the most I've written in quantity and consistency in years. I've discovered a few unexpected joys from it:
  • Writing more inspires me to write more. Creativity begets creativity.
  • Journaling is an excellent way to think through emotions and track threads of feelings and thoughts.
I rarely pause for reflection, so I often don't notice gradual growth or change. Journaling for a few weeks gave me the space to dive deeper into patterns and actions; the good, the bad, and the neutral; and how God is working in my life.

Many of my goals for 2019 related to slowing down and taking in the life happening around me, and the most noticeably successful one this month was taking a (mostly) tech-free day every week. I designated each Saturday as the day without screens, which involved putting my laptop in my closet and cutting my phone time down to Google Maps, texts/calls, and camera. While I've less successfully curbed phone use during the week, the weekends have quickly become an anticipated time away from technology.

Being tech-free one day isn't a complete goal in itself, but rather a component of my real goal: having fulfilling downtime. I spent each weekend this month with friends and family doing the things I love most: brunches, bookstores, hikes, traveling, author talks, museums, and breweries.

Having a standard 9 to 5 job means less free time during the week, but even so, I try to spend my mornings accomplishing home tasks and health goals to leave my evenings free for activities elsewhere: church community group, teaching ELL, connecting with a discipleship partner, and an evening or two of doing nothing. I overbooked the first week of the month and felt the strain, so while I don't always hit the right balance, I've ever fine-tuning my time management.

Reads //

So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport
Excellent breakdown of contrasting career views: passion or craftsman. Newport argues for the craftsman mindset, arguing that people enjoy their jobs not when they have a preexisting passion for the work but when they build up career capital and become good at their work
and can exercise increasing control and creativity in pursuit of a chosen mission.

Of Love & War by Lynsey Addario
A collection of photos and essays and emails of Lynsey's various assignments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, Sudan, refugee camps, war zones, and women's only spaces. Stunning, heartbreaking, uncomfortable, necessary.

Deep Work by Cal Newport
I took an abundance of notes on this one. Deep Work is an explanation of what type of work is actually valuable in a world that increasingly focuses on "shallow" work, and gives advice on how to carve out time to pursue deep work. He focuses more on work that produces a specific "product" (manual work, coding, research, etc) rather than work that involves human services, but even so, I took away tips on cultivating concrete skills, even if they don't directly apply to what my current job entails.

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