Expanding Thoughts 02
Publishing Cadence, Barefoot Golf, My "Date Planner" & The Journey Ahead
Hello friends! 👋
This is getting quite fun. Honestly, I am blown away by the level of engagement and support both on here and on Twitter.
The past couple weeks have been action packed — so let's jump right in.
Learning in Public — it's messy!
I started this journey before I was "ready". I got tired of being a consumer and wanted to try my hand at contributing my thoughts and energy to the world — to create. When I opened my new Twitter account, I just "pressed start" (kudos to Craig Burgess for the push of the ledge). No grand plan, no pre-made content.
All is going well! I'm having fun. Things feel fluid. I'm yet to experience any sort of "writers block" while drafting notes or tweets. It's been shockingly smooth thus far.
But I've been mostly creating micro-content.
Twitter has been my home-base. My comfort zone. I've tapped into a sense of flow over there which has allowed me to explore ideas in a way that feels real.
Part of me feels like I should be moving on to larger works (articles & essays), as that seems to be the way to go. Twitter → Website → Articles → Newsletter, etc... but life moves kinda fast!
Who creates the rules around here?
Whenever I hear that internal dialogue about what I "should" do, I ask: "Says who?" — Who is setting these rules or standards that I "should" follow? Sometimes, there is a great answer related to my various accountabilities — but sometimes, there's not.
Most of the time: I make the rules.
And if I make the rules, shouldn't I make them so that I can win?
Which brings me to newsletter cadence, how often would I like to be generating a newsletter?
In a recent episode of David Perell's North Star podcast with Nadia Eghbal (Timestamp: 7 minutes), David and Nadia highlighted how creators can become enslaved by their own systems. How keeping up with a designated publishing cadence can actually create feelings of stress and obligation, threatening creativity.
Well! That's certainly not what I want haha. I want freedom, flow, and fun. So for now at least, my publishing cadence will be something along the lines of: whenever I am inspired. (Likely close to biweekly)
Intention: Be kind to yourself & ensure that the process of growth feels good.
My eventual goal is to build routines around writing and creating such that I am publishing each week, and taking on larger and larger projects — but all things in time. I'll be approaching this with patience and steadiness.
Learning in public means growing pains in public.
I tried something new recently: golfing barefooted!
Fresh off of a conversation with Ritesh (@Reddy2Go) on the theme of "play" and maintaining a "playful spirit", and also coming off of a really bad round of golf, I had an idea — I would play the entire next round of golf barefoot. Why not? My game couldn't have gotten worse! The idea felt playful and interesting.
It felt amazing! The textures of the grass, the sense of balance, the general awareness.
It forced me to slow down my swing and find a smoother rhythm.
I shot about 15 strokes better than usual!
I didn't "ask permission" beforehand... but as it turns out, it's OK to play barefoot. So who knows, I may never wear golf shoes again.
My Minimal Home Screen (iOS)
The environments you interact with matter much more than motivation or will power when it comes to your habits. (James Clear: The Power of Environment)
This is the same for our digital environments as it is our physical ones.
Quick tip: Design your phone experience to guide your usage.
Here, I show my "minimal" home screen that I've been using for a few years.
A few aspects of this approach:
No apps on the home screen except for within the "Home Row"
All other apps are placed within a folder, and kept in the Home Row.
To launch an app, I use the search function by pulling the screen down.
Notification are very limited, and are turned off for most apps.
This design was inspired by this article from 2017.
The Roam Zone: My Date Planner
One of the core aspects of my Roam system is my [[Date Planner]].
My Date Planner organizes all things date-related. There is a page created for each YEAR, QUARTER, MONTH, and WEEK.
These pages serve several purposes:
A home for my weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly previews (using templates). These are moments to check-in, and re-align before entering a new week, month, quarter or year. They keep me balanced. Especially when I complete them regularly ;) (a work in progress)
INBOXES for anything that I will want to review at some point in the future. This is the key aspect and one of my breakthrough use-cases for back-linking with Roam.
Say I'm reviewing my projects, and there is something that I will need to consider in October: I tag the block with #[[October 2020]]. Then, when it comes time to complete my monthly preview for October, that item will be within the Linked References for the page!
Same goes for if something needs to be looked at next week, next quarter, or even next year.
Quite simple! And it only needs to be completed once per year.
I use TextExpander, which automates much of the template. Here is the TextExpander snippet. By using a "Single Line Field" the year can be inserted into template as needed.
The Month Ahead: Learning Goals
September is a big month!
Most notably, I'll be headed back to school. It's been 5 years since I've graduated as a pharmacist — and in the spirit of lifelong learning, I'm returning to university to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) from the University of Toronto.
I'm suuuuuper excited to start this journey. The past 5 years have offered me lots of "real-world" experience, and now its time to re-sharpen the saw so that I'm well prepared to help shape the future of healthcare.
Other learning goals this month:
Completion of Nat's Effortless Output with Roam 2
The first version of Nat's course was my "Intro to Roam" — similar to returning to university after some trials in the "real world" — after exploring Roam and finding my way these past 2 months, I'm excited to refine my systems.
Building a Content Workflow that works.
I feel a significant amount of turbulence and resistance with how I read, take notes, and process my ideas. I’m committing to improving those systems this month.
Cohort 11 of Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain (BASB) kicks off this month — and while I can’t commit to the full course experience, I'll be following along with BASB Twitter to try to keep up! (See my curated Twitter List of BASB mentors).
Largely, the theme of this month for me will be creating a discipline of processing my ideas into permanent notes and more complete ideas. This feels daunting — but I know it will be worth it.
A Seeming Stillness: David Whyte
I’ll leave you with an except from a poem that has stuck with me this past month. It especially comes to mind in nature — while admiring a scene, that at first glance seems still, but is vibrating with activity upon closer inspection.
“We love the movement in a seeming stillness,
the breath in the body of the loved one sleeping,
the highest leaves in the silent wood,
a great migration in the sky above:
the waters of the earth, the blood in the body,
the first, soft, stir in the silence beneath a strident
voice, the internal hands of our mind,
always searching for touch, thoughts seeking other
thoughts, seeking other minds, the great arrival
of form through all our hidden themes.”
David Whyte (Full version: here)
With deep appreciation,