#100DaysToOffload I thrive in a low-tech environment

A vacation is a great chance to step back and reevaluate my current situation, maybe try a few new things and also maybe just refill the batteries. I’m still in the middle of the three weeks summer vacation so any reflections are probably not yet solidified enough, but I anyways wanted to put these few little insights here, because the summer vacation part itself is kind of over - the last of my three weeks will be spent visiting my brother and mom.

The main thing that I have realized:

I actually do enjoy a low technology environment and it makes me do the right or interesting thing more often.

The right or more interesting thing is reading, writing or being attentive in the here and now and enjoying my surroundings more, being more available to my partner or the dog. Part of that is not wearing headphones and listening to podcasts all the time.

While we were staying in a hut without electricity I managed to finished one book, read half of another and wrote a bunch in my handwritten journal. At the same time I took immense pleasure from the surroundings: we were staying in a national park on an island that could only be reached by boat. Listening to podcasts or watching youtube would have only taken away from the experience. I conserved my phone’s battery so much however, that I could listen to a podcast while falling asleep, which made listening to the podcast so much more valuable as well, since it was not a resource that I could access all the time or that was so plentiful as to be exhausting.

A photo of table inside a cabin, on which are laying a few items: a base cap, an empty soda bottle (club mate), an ebook reader and a notebook with a strap holding it closed and a pen tucked inside it

Writing in a little notebook by hand has been great, too. I was able to add some stickers and my intention to write did not get redirected to consume social media or whatever when looking at my phone.

Living (and not only working) at my own natural pace is really the key to my happiness. I will have to see how to integrate this with the demands of my job. I have noticed, though, that I am looking more frequently for more efficient ways to do things.

Example: I am emptying the dishwasher now by taking the dishes out in a way that batches them according to where they go (plates get taken out together, cups and glasses etc.) instead of emptying them according to the drawers in the dishwasher. This old way was less effective, because it meant closing and opening the same doors and pulling and pushing the same drawers over and over again. Now I just do that once and I can empty the dishwasher with less effort.

Since I’m going to a Finnish course in autumn I am starting to intensify my Duolingo efforts again. Very nice coincidence that the app changed how their daily practice looks like: I can do these handful of exercises in 20 minutes or so and the presentation gives me the impression I’m done for today.

#100DaysToOffload Reflexions After Two Weeks Of Having Accepted My Ineffectiveness

(I started #100DaysToOffload on the first of June and have written - not including this one - 12 Posts. I guess that’s enough to make it? About a third of my days are spent pressing publish on a blog post. So far so good. Before I finished this paragraph, I was thinking that I was too slow …)

I had reasons to maybe reflect more inwardly for a moment, which is why I didn’t write for a couple of weeks or so. Things at work didn’t go so well, which was mostly because of me being told I was slow (and having been shown incontrovertible evidence proving this) and having to learn and having to un-learn and to accept a new truth about myself: That I am being slow and me being good (as good as I am which is good but not evenly good and certainly not fast) at my work was and is mostly a result of being slow and willing to make up for it by working longer. Which is not a mode of working that is economical and that pays the bills.

In a big company this might not matter as much. You’re embedded within a team, within a project and within a department, which will protect you somewhat from being directly exposed to your impact on the company’s bottom line. But the smaller the company the more directly the way in which you’re contributing to the value that is being created by that company is noticeable. You’ll feel it way quicker and more directed towards yourself if things are out of order if it happens to be cause by the way you work. In my case being called ineffective repeatedly over my first year at the new job was both shocking and accompanied by disbelief and dread. But I only needed to look at my estimates, the time it actually took to implement a feature and how many of the hours the company could actually charge the customer and compare that with my coworkers. The feedback was real and objective. It still took me almost a year to accept it.

As you can imagine: Realizing that you’re slow and ineffective had and still has all sorts of cascading side effects. I reexamine what I believe to know about myself and what I think is true about the nature of work and live in general. Contemplative sense-making has become more of an important part of a good live for me than the only way of being. I notice others that are slower and see companions. Like my barber, for example. And I appreciate that she takes her time. Whereas before I was sure that any criticism of a slow life is just an uninformed un-thought-through opinion, I now come to recognize - intellectually, if not yet experientially/emotionally - that you can maybe also want to be effective instead (or in addition). I still bristle at the insinuation that living an exploratory, tranquil live has anything to do with wasted effort, but I will have to somehow figure out a way to combine economical pressures with the qualities that make a live, no, my live, worth living: Reflexion, focussed attention, taking my time, craftspersonship, exploration, deep understanding, empathy, diversity. I kind of still don’t know what this all means.

I’m willing to find out, though. And what I do understand: That not being effective is what holds me back in my career, maybe in live. So I will have to go through this crucible. I am not making money in a contemplative career - I am no writer, academic, critic or whatever. So I can’t just turn around and proclaim that a fiber of the reality I live in is somehow “wrong” as if there is a choice to be made by me. I may bring myself to call it a negative or bad aspect of a modern, digital, data-driven and market-oriented society, but this still means I’ll have to live with it and master it to the best of my abilities.

I have an iPhone XS and am looking to upgrade soon-ish. What would be the best next iPhone for me? What would give me the best bang for the buck and which recent model is not worth the price?

(iPhone XS 64 gb planning to get more storage)