This was my first blog

This was my first blog (although I posted it on an internal work blog site some time ago)…

 I am only writing this because I’m currently sat in a significant traffic jam in the middle lane of the M3 with nothing else constructive to do with my time. Luckily I don’t need the loo, yet, and hopefully nobody has died further up the road.
<At this point I’ve already resorted to turning off the ignition and listening to my iPhone, in order to conserve my Alfa’s surprisingly untemperamental battery. I may be tempting fate here, but since Bosch have provided the electrics for Alfa Romeos, they’ve had a much better reputation for reliability.>
I’ve attempted to list the other reasons, apart from apathy, for not bothering to write a blog before now. They key ones are:
·         I’m lazy and prefer consuming content rather than creating and contributing it;
·         There has been nothing obvious or interesting enough for me to want to share it, and to be honest, I haven’t actually spent any time thinking about what I’d write about up until now;
·         When I’m not on a mental SI project, my evenings are sacred. In general I will try to play rugby, football, run, swim or cycle straight after work, and then cook and eat dinner with my wife (as my Plus3 profile proves)
So what’s changed?
·         I have no internet connection from where I’m sat, so I can’t connect to the internet and read stuff;
·         I have surprisingly clear email inboxes, which is one of the only positive habits I’ve picked up over the years. So have no work or social emailing to catch up on;
·         My work to-do list is incredibly short at the moment – I’ve even filled in my Career Development Plan. This is because I’m ramping down and transitioning my project related responsibilities whilst I wait for my wife to give birth to our first child (she’s officially due in 2 days time). After that I plan to take up to three weeks paternity leave / holiday – a luxury I know a lot of my Accenture colleagues don’t have. It’s interesting how policies different so acutely from country to country. This could be a future blog post…
Anyway, the actual content/point of this blog begins here.
I came to the realization some time ago that I’m a habitual creator of lists. I think it was around the time when I first had to actually plan my own work/time effectively which coincided with preparing and revising for my first set of real grown-up exams, GCSEs.
<I’m sure the people in the car in front are weeing into a dog-bowl and tipping it out the window, pity I didn’t get a photo!>
Since then, I’ve kept lists using different types of nomenclature and using various tools and techniques. MS OneNote, MS Outlook Tasks, MS Excel, XMind and RememberTheMilk have been passing fads, but I’ve always reverted back to pen and paper. I find it funny that other signing my name at the bottom of greeting cards that my wife has written, the only time I use a pen and paper these days is to maintain my to-do list. I don’t even sign for Credit Card purchases much these days due to Chip & Pin. Come to think of it, I’d struggle massively if I suddenly had to revise and sit any serious exams these days, it’d take weeks of training to get back up to the speedy scribbling rates required.
For a while the computer based tools were interesting, but not very useful for increasing the productivity or effectiveness of my list keeping. The effort to capture info offline and then enter it was annoying. When I first got a smartphone (maybe that’s another blog subject: my potted mobile phone history) then I began to re-use electronic lists. However, entering information on a smartphone in a meeting didn’t really catch on. Even now, with the advent of tablets, I still haven’t noticed many people taking them along to meetings to record minutes, notes and actions.
My latest inspiration for a new type of list today came via a post on Yammer: A To Don’t List. Essentially, this is where you list what you have decided not to do.
My first attempt is below – apologies if it looks a bit like a verse from Baz Luhrmann’s Sunsreen!
·         Don’t hit the snooze button;
·         Don’t stop learning;
·         Don’t neglect family;
·         Don’t neglect exercise;
·         Don’t settle for mediocrity;
·         Don’t CC people unnecessarily;
·         Don’t make excuses, make a decision;
·         Don’t assume the solution before diagnosing choices;
·         Don’t avoid the big issues;
·         Don’t forget to be human;
·         Don’t email the team or client before/after hours.
<A chap in a car in the outside lane just offered me a bottle of water, but I declined what a nice gesture given the circumstances but I declined. I don’t fancy leaving my car marooned in the middle lane so don’t plan on re-hydrating until it gets serious. Although I’ve noticed he has a bumper packet of Penguins in his boot, so if he offers me one I won’t say no.>
I’m going to test drive it for a week or so and make updates as I see fit. Please feel free to comment with your own lists or any suggestions for additional “to-don’ts”.
<The traffic seems to be moving up ahead, but one final note: I’ve discovered that there’s a high proportion of good songs in my collection beginning with “I”. >​

=Donal

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