Another month down and time for my monthly review of September! September was a pretty good month for all habits I am wanting to establish with the exception of my volunteering. I finally thought I had this sorted and had found exactly what I wanted to do for the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, the opportunity I had signed up for has had to be put on hold.
I spent some time reflecting on why am I not doing as well with this habit as I am with others. My conclusion was as follows:
- I am striving for the ideal opportunity. I have a picture in my head of how I want this to look and have become blinkered by this.
- My ideal opportunity is probably too big for what I am capable of doing during this part of the year coming up so is allowing me to dismiss other opportunities under the guise of not being “what I am looking for” when really I am now worried about fitting it in.
So to keep moving forward with this habit, I am going to pare it back and break it down into smaller steps so I start taking more action. I look forward to reporting more success in October!
Read for a minimum of 15 minutes per day
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – There is so much to learn from both fiction and non fiction books. I have a huge list of books that I have wanted to read for some time, so this year to help expand my knowledge I am committing to read more. My target for the year is to read 25 books.
Quote to connect to – “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
September performance – During September I completed three books:
Sick Souls, Healthy Minds – How William James Can Save Your Life By: John Kaag
I actually stopped reading SIck Souls, healthy minds after about a week because I was finding it a really tough read. I switched books but then came back to it and had another go. It was definitely a book that required more brain power from me to read but in the end, I really liked it. SIck Souls, healthy minds is an introduction to James’s life and why the founder of pragmatism and empirical psychology can teach us so much about what makes life worth living.
The author John Kaag is an American philosopher and Chair and Professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I do not know much about philosophy but it is an area in which I want to increase my knowledge on. If you like philosophy then I think you would love this book. It made me think about how I go about my day, my thoughts on free will, what is truth and about being present. 3.5/5
Instead of attending to the pervasive differences between our experiences, we operate under the assumption of identity and similarity: this grass is the same as it was yesterday; this chore is the same as the one I did yesterday; this person will probably say the same thing she did yesterday. Sometimes life is easier this way. James, however, thinks that there is something deeply misguided about this rendering of experience. It may be easier, but not better. In the name of consistency we sacrifice particularity and possibility-and the beauty that they regularly afford.
Effortless – Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most By: Greg McKeown
I loved Effortless – Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most By: Greg McKeown. It was an easy read but it had a huge impact on me from the very first chapters. The theme of the book is all about how can we make the most essential activities the easiest ones.
Effortless Inversion means looking at problems from the opposite perspective. It means asking, “What if this could be easy?” It means learning to solve problems from a state of focus, clarity, and calm. It means getting good at getting things done by putting in less effort.
I have changed a number of key ways that I work since reading this book and while I am still on my effortless journey, I have definitely made a number of my essential work tasks easier. Effortless is an easy read, has great explanatory diagrams throughout, and excellent summaries at the end of each part. 4.5/5
A World Without Email – Find Focus and Transform the Way You Work Forever By: Cal Newport
A World Without Email was a logical follow-on from Effortless. The authors write recommendations for each other’s books that appear on their covers! It is not as easy to read as Effortless. It includes many case studies from new and very old organisations and Newport does go into a lot of detail with these. As he does with the research studies to back up the arguments he is making. I found that this did get a little boring at times and had to work hard to focus and keep reading!
Despite its name, it is not saying you need to entirely do away with email. The author himself still uses it for his work as an Associate Professor at Georgetown University but he is advocating that email should not be the centre of our work world, nor should it be the way that we decide what work gets done and by whom.
In terms of changing how I work, this book did not have as a big impact as Effortless but it has made me change a few things that I do and I think this is an important book in terms of the way organisations function and the pressure they put on employees through intense and relentless digital communications. The bigger takeaways for me will be able to be applied once I grow Adapt Drinks to the point where it is more than just me. If you work for a organisation that uses email at the centre of the work hyperactive hive mind or you run a small business that does, I can highly recommend reading A World Without Email. 4/5
The Hyperactive Hive Mind – A workflow centered around ongoing conversation fueled by unstructured and unscheduled messages delivered through digital communication tools like email and instant messenger services.
Invest one hour a week learning about our First Nations Peoples
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – Reconciliation NSW recommends learning and understanding more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ histories, Cultures, Languages, technology and land management techniques as educating yourself is the first step in the journey towards reconciliation. My knowledge and understanding are severely lacking and I want to change this.
Quote to connect to – “Knowing is not enough; We must apply. Willing is not enough; We must do.” – Bruce Lee
September performance – In a month that saw coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth take over the media, I made a conscious attempt to seek out Indigenous voices to see how this event and the coverage were impacting them. If you haven’t sought out the perspective of our First Nation Peoples I can recommend checking out the following:
- Article – I am an Aboriginal woman. Don’t ask me to mourn the Queen’s death.
- TV Show – Royalty, a Republic and Truth-Telling
- Podcast – ‘Collective delusion’: Why Britain can’t face up to the empire’s past
- Podcast – Indigenous perspectives on the Queen’s funeral
Volunteer on a weekly basis
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – Volunteering is an activity where you can be of service to others and learn so much from the experience. It has been some time since I have volunteered outside of schools etc and I want to get back into it for 2022.
Quote to connect to – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
September performance – I was waiting to hear back from the organisation I did the induction with last month. I heard back mid-month and unfortunately, they have had some issues arise which means that it won’t be started soon. This combined with school holidays and going away meant that I completely failed at this in September.
So I can at least get some progress on this, I am going to stop searching for the ideal of what I want to do and make it smaller.
Spend one hour a week planning and visiting new attractions
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – There are so many great attractions and experiences in Melbourne both free and paid and when the kids were younger we used to visit them frequently. Since the kids have stopped wanting to do this, I have stopped going too. But there is no reason why I cannot go on my own or with Phil or with friends!
While I have allocated one hour per week, this can be averaged out across the month as my overall aim is to visit two new (to me) attractions per month.
Quote to connect to – “Fill your life with experiences. Not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” Unknown
September performance – Highlights for September were
- Seeing Thelma Plum at the Forum – Thelma Plum is a Gamilaraay woman, musician and creator. She has the most beautiful voice and a fabulous stage presence – full of personality, intelligence and humour. If you haven’t listened to her music before I can highly recommend checking it out. One of the supporting acts was Graace who was also great.
- One Roof Startup Women Summit – it was inspiring to hear from three successful women founders and they all shared so honestly about the reality of starting something new and big.
You can find my previous monthly reviews for 2022 here.
How are you progressing towards your goal for the year?
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