Yearly Focus

Yearly Focus

2018 Focus: Three Quarters Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2018 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing. 2018 Theme: First Principles Lifestyle Another quarter of big decisions. After deciding where we wanted to live long-term earlier this year, I spent Q3 searching for my next job and evaluating a lot of very different options. In the end, a very tough decision came down to a number of first principles about what was most important to me. I will detail that decision more sometime soon. 2018 Challenge: Profile 12 Families (w/ Kids) Living Intentionally Different I kicked off my first two interviews

Yearly Focus

2018 Focus: Half Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2018 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing. 2018 Theme: First Principles Lifestyle Similar to my update from last quarter – I feel like this theme remains very relevant to our effort for the year, even if I haven’t made much progress on the specific named items below. Having decided on where to live, and now evaluating how we want our family to earn an income, has brought us back again and again to first principles. 2018 Challenge: Profile 12 Families (w/ Kids) Living Intentionally Different No progress. I feel bad

Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – After Twelve Months – Immediate Thoughts After Concluding

I suppose the contrast between the last day of the sabbath year and the first day of the next year doesn’t have to be so stark. In this case it was. I found myself solo-parenting four children in a house I had moved into less than one week before. Most of our things were still in boxes and the upstairs bedrooms were hot and bright as daylight lasts until 10pm in Seattle during the summer. So we pitched tents in the basement and had a campout. Between settling into a new house, working and parenting, there isn’t much room for anything else these days. This might be the new normal. In retrospect, we should probably mark the start and end of sabbath years with a big celebration of sorts. A feast or bonfire maybe. I’ll write that idea down for next time. I will do some deeper reflecting soon, but

Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – After Eleven Months – Preparing for Reentry

With one month until our sabbath year is officially completed, we’ve begun the process of reentering normal life. I wrote this a year ago as I planned our year: “We don’t have much clarity as to what our days will look like in this period because we aren’t certain where we will be living, what the details of my work will be, or what we will be preparing for. We do know that around five months into each new child’s life is usually the time we start to feel like we arrive at a new normal – so this should be a great time to get the engine started up again.” Sitting here now, we have more clarity about what our days look like and what we are preparing for. It is also true that with our youngest at five months old now, we’ve gotten out of newborn fire drill

Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – After Ten Months – Killing Inertia

Our lives are often driven by inertia – the force that keeps something moving in the same direction it has been. Sometimes this is for better, but often it is for the worst. This force makes it hard for us to change directions, even if our underlying values or priorities change and the direction our life is heading no longer makes a lot of sense. I’ve found that taking a sabbatical has been a huge inertia killer. In the best ways. Sometimes also in the hardest ways. The Effort To Change Change always requires work. There are times we keep heading in the same direction not because that is right, but because the effort required to do something different seems overwhelming. If the work required to change course is more than the work required to keep going the same direction, that makes a bit of sense. For a lot of

Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – After Nine Months – Sabbath While Working

I have now been back at work for about two months and wanted to take this month’s update to reflect on what it is like to be working while trying to take a sabbath year. Last year when I set out to define what our sabbath year would look like – I knew that there were a few major details about the latter half of the year that were yet to be determined. As I speculated on how things might play out, I knew where the risks lied. I wrote: “I am fine with returning to work, but would likely look to set up the first six months in a way that was conducive to the sabbath year principles – either fewer hours, less strenuous projects or staying in familiar territory rather than taking on bold new ventures. This will be an area I will have to pay close attention

Yearly Focus

2018 Focus: Quarter Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2018 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing. 2018 Theme: First Principles Lifestyle This theme fits nicely with the goal I had set for the second half of my sabbath year (Jan-July) – evaluating the options for our life. This was by design. As such we have put a lot of energy into the theme outside of the specific named challenge, habit and exemplar. This means that I’ve done less with those than I would have wanted, but still stayed on theme. To touch on three items from the theme. Earlier

Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – After Eight Months – Trying The Other Side

I have now been back at an office job for about one month. After seven months of experiencing a sabbath where my wife and I were both at home, we’re getting to experience a different way of doing a sabbath year. It will end up being a nice A/B test for our first iteration. By experiencing both ways, we’ll get to see what we like about them and hopefully be able to plan a better version in six years. Some Background When we first started planned our sabbath year, we had to decide what it would look like. Would I continue working, scale back my hours some, take a less stressful role or stop working all together? I think all can be appropriate and have talked to people that have tried similar rest periods using each of the above methods. In our case, because we had three young children, and

Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – After Seven Months – The Trouble With Choices

I am currently in the third phase of the sabbath year plan I designed for this year. During this phase the goal is ‘looking around’, which I described as: “The focus of this period is taking a broad look at what is possible. There will be a lot of data collection but not much action. The goal is really to make sure we have as comprehensive as possible a picture of what our options are for the next six years and as detailed as possible a view of what those actually look like. To answer the question ‘what is the life we want to create for ourselves?’” I’ve started to set aside time for me to go do this research, and so far have felt a bit overwhelmed. That is what I am going to write about today. The trouble is there are just so many options. Three Main Decisions

Yearly Focus

Secret 2018 Goal: Ratio of Creation to Consumption

Every year I set a focus for what I want to accomplish during the year. I don’t much believe in setting other goals beyond that, as having too many increases the chances of any one of them failing. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve also started to have a ‘secret goal’ of sorts. Something a few notches down on the priority list from my named focus, but that I think about in the back of my head. Sometimes it is something I want to monitor in case I decide to make it a true focus item in a future year. Sometimes it is a past focus item I’m still keeping an eye on. This year I’m writing it down my secret goal so that I don’t forget it and to see if writing about it is a bad idea altogether. The secret goal for 2018 is to create more than I