Weeknotes 2023 W16:

What are these? These week­notes are a reflection on the past week. I write about anything from hobby projects and work to creativity and mental health. I publish my week­notes every Sunday morning. Consider subscribing via email or using the web feed!

It’s sunny! It’s warm! Summer is around the corner!!!

I did quite a bit of cycling and walking around the city. Here’s a rather pretty courtyard I never noticed before:

The iOS Fitness app berated me for not “closing my rings” on Friday, despite cycling for two hours, and in response I have deleted the app. I will not let my life be controlled by an inanimate object.

For good measure, I have also deleted the Mastodon app, bringing the number of social media apps on my phone to zero.

I’m in control.

One thing that’s quite annoying about the iPhone — or rather, the entire iOS/macOS ecosystem — is that it doesn’t quite integrate with Chromecast.

I, uhh, guess I have an Apple TV on my wishlist now.

Recently, I discovered that envy refers to two quite distinct feelings:

Glad that got cleared up. I’ll end up in fewer situations where I say “well envy is good actually” and then receiving weird looks from people around me.

One morning, I woke up thinking about Skillshare and how it would have been a much more interesting platform if it had a different name instead:

It’s not the right typeface and that “a” needs to be single storey rather than double, but there’s truly only so much effort I am willing to put into creating bad content.

One of my talk proposals got rejected at a Ruby conference later this year, and I am rather happy about that because it means my summer is more open and I have more free time. Rejection can be good!

I started writing my (longer) emails with fountain pen first, like I do with any longer text. It’s quite interesting to do it this way, because not being able to edit is a benefit. It helps you get to the finish line, and only then do a second pass for editing. It prevents me from getting stuck in editing hell before even having a first draft.

In this week’s singing lessons, I managed to hit high notes that I assumed would be entirely out of my reach forever. I was mistaken, and very happy about that.

There is so much about singing that I am still not good at, but there is clear progress, and that is the only thing that counts.

I’ve not researched this properly at all, but it seems that people who turned their hobby into their career have a high chance of losing the passion for that hobby. This is definitely a problem I am facing, but it happens to other people as well — not just software developers, and not even just people in tech.

Perhaps it is true for everyone that it is a good idea to diversify our interests and passions, so we can have passions that have no strings attached.

If we don’t do that, then I think we risk losing the ability for true enjoyment.

I picked up the book A Guide To The Good Life: the ancient art of Stoic joy by William B. Irvine a long time ago, but it sat on my shelf for a while, until a free weeks ago. It’s an interesting read, especially because quite a few Stoic techniques resonate well with me (and I’ve applied to my life, though not consciously).

That said, the book definitely has its share of issues. At times, it is deeply sexist. I understand that it’s looking back at Greek and Roman philosophy — different times and all — but some of it is bordering on inexcusable.

Still, I’m taking the book with the critical eye and the grain of salt that it needs, and I think I’m getting use out of it.

One useful learning from the aforementioned book is which goals to set. This has always been tough for me, but I think I’m beginning to crack it.

A goal that you’ve set for yourself is only useful if achieving that goal is in your control. A bad goal, in comparison, is a goal over which you have little control.

Some example (hypothetical) goals that I would consider good because they’d be in my control:

Similar goals which are not good because I have little control over them:

The goals I’ve been setting for myself are exclusively of the first type, where I have near-full control. It’s a night-and-day difference from my old approach.

These goals by themselves have progress as the outcome, rather than an end result. I might have end results in mind, and I might achieve those end results as part of achieving the goal, but the end result is not the goal — only progress is.

Oh, and look — those goals are almost automatically S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). None of the guidance around setting “S.M.A.R.T.” goals in the past has worked for me; the “being in control” criterium is what made goal-setting finally click.

I’m reconsidering my plans for my trip to the UK in late June and early July. I planned on staying in London for a while, but London is really quite expensive. I’ve got friends that I want to see in London, but can’t stay with them.

The alternative I’m playing with is traveling around the UK, visiting a couple of places in Southern England that I’ve never been to. Travel the countryside! Seems like a decent idea, no?