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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#67)

Quote I loved:

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.

Theodore Isaac Rubin

Tools and gear for the distributed:

Lots of good stuff (published by the company I work for) from folks that have been working in a fully-distributed fashion for years.

Also very-related and useful is this summary for headsets and advice for online meetings.

One heterodox recommendation I have for audio and video calls when you’re working in a distributed fashion is not to mute, if you can help it. When you’re speaking to a muted room, it’s eerie and unnatural — you feel alone even if you can see other people’s faces.


Approaching your computer time (or phone time) intentionally:

A good reminder, because this topic always needs reminding.

Ultimately this is about you. You need to approach your computer, and other devices, as a tool for accomplishing a specific job, then be intentional about using it for that job. It’s a skill, and learning it takes time.

https://zapier.com/blog/use-your-computer-like-a-tool


Still enjoying making mini-zines:

What if aliens visited in the midst of coronavirus?


A book excerpt i enjoyed:

“Work hard, work passionately, but apply your most precious asset-time-to what is most meaningful to you. What are you willing to do for the rest of your life? does not mean, literally, what will you do for the rest of your life? That question would be absurd, given the inevitability of change. No, what the question really asks is, if your life were to end suddenly and unexpectedly tomorrow, would you be able to say you’ve been doing what you truly care about today? What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life? What would it take to do it right now?” (Randy Komisar, The Monk and the Riddle)


Some words of wisdom to ponder:

From a recent Recomendo newsletter, these have stuck with me.

  • “If all you did was just looked for things to appreciate, you would live a joyously spectacular life.” ― Esther Abraham Hicks
  • “Let go or be dragged.” — Zen Proverb
  • “Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyways.” — Glennon Doyle Melton
  • “”No.” is a complete sentence.“ — Unknown

https://www.getrevue.co/profile/Recomendo


What I’m grateful for:

  • Sam’s updates on the last hours’ activities when I come out of the office to grab a coffee or snack. “Daddy, we just saw a poisonous caterpillar outside!”
  • The early spring weather. Still cold but the long days and warm sun are a godsend at this point.
  • My afternoon walks and adventures with the kids. We literally spent an hour playing on hills of rocks in the back of the farm where we live. It was our favorite activity last week.

Lastly, check out what we’re up to now.

Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#51)

Favorite quote:

Good stories always beat good spreadsheets.

Chris Sacca

A project that seems to be working pretty well: The (home) office door.


Reasons to be cheerful: reasonstobecheerful.world was a new find (for me) of interesting reads with an optimistic bent. Check out the The Necessity of Nuclear as one example.


Some rules to live by: The 12 ‘Other’ Rules for Life was put together over a couple of weeks of posts by Marcus Purvis. Here are a few favorites:

Rule 6. Read like your life depends on it because it does
Read fiction and nonfiction, one compliments the other. Fiction helps your creative mind and nonfiction gives you information which can become knowledge.
Rule 7. Know that love is a verb
There are many couples who fall out of love. There are countless people who no longer love the work they do. Don’t be like them. Play an active role in loving what you do and whom you spend time with.
Rule 10. Everyone gets 24 hours
You’ll never find time for anything, you have to create it. If you don’t create time for you, someone else will take it from you. You can’t spend time, then go earn more of it. You can’t buy it, rent it, or borrow it.


Avocados are more valuable that illegal drugs for Mexican cartels: Avocado Cartels: The Violent Reality Behind “Green Gold” is a great read for a recent history of both cartels as well as the avocado trade.

Mexico produces nine out of every 10 avocados eaten in the U.S. The lion’s share dangle from long lines of leafy green trees in Michoacán, home to nearly 5 million people. In 2017, the strife-torn southwestern coastal state sent an astounding 1.7 billion pounds of Haas avocados to the U.S.

And in the notoriously troubled state of Michoacán, which is plagued with corrupt police, failed governance, and plenty of guns, all those avocados have been a magnet for organized crime like flies on a giant vat of, well, guacamole.


New music I’ve been enjoying:

Two recommendations this week:

DJ Shadow – Our Pathetic Age is an ambitious double album released in our (pathetic?) age of 28 minute “albums”. Good write up here.

Motherless Brooklyn (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is great jazz album that I’ve been listening to in the mornings, and a movie I’d like to see.


New tool I’ve been using: Grammarly. Much more than a spell checker, it has great suggestions for rephrasing and even predicts how your tone will be percieved. The browser plugins are ace.


Favorite book excerpt:

“I felt the same gut empathy … that I used to feel, unwelcome and against my better judgement, for George Bush in those moments when even he seemed to dimly apprehend that he was in way over his head. One reason we rush so quickly to the vulgar satisfactions of judgement, and love to revel in our righteous outrage, is the it spares us from the impotent pain of empathy, and the harder, messier work of understanding.” (Tim Kreider, We Learn Nothing)


Check out what we’re up to now.

Categories
Parenting Work

The (home) office door

Working from home full-time is fantastic, but having an office in a small house with two small children means that staying focused can be a challenge.

As any parent will tell you, a closed-door is not a universally recognised symbol by children to knock or come back later. It’s more like a general invitation to see what’s happening behind. A locked door generally leads to more knocking. You have to get a bit more creative if you want to minimize interruptions. So I had an idea.

As a project, the kids and I created a few things for the office door that now serve as an interface between us while Dad is working.