Declutter and Focus: My Themes for 2020

2019 has ended, and my preliminary emotion about this irreversible event is relief that the year was over. As is usual, life has its ways of throwing the good, the bad and the ugly at us with seemingly fuzzy schedules, quanta and order. However, the best we can and should aspire to is to learn a lot, make the most of every situation, be nice and generally have fun.

My primary reason for seeking relief at the end of the year was a consequence of having signed up for way too much, specifically on the learning front. Having finished two MOOC courses and an online/workshop based course, I have promised myself that I will never subject myself to such exertions again. For the more curious, these courses were on Digital Manufacturing (Coursera), Electric Cars (EdX) and Techology Policy (Takshashila). Taken in cognizance with a year-round hectic schedule at work, this was rather ambitious but was thankfully done with.

In retrospect, my year last year was spent chasing too many pursuits, all of which made sense at a particular point but did not persist. I also came across this wonderful saying by Matthew Kelly, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month. We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.” Hence, This year is about decluttering and focussing and here is what I am trying to accomplish for the year.

  1. At work, I aim to adhere to a concept I had learned ages ago from the Land of the Rising Sun, called “Yarenai to Ikenai”. The literal translation of this is “If we don’t do, we can’t go ahead”. In fact, this is Japanese colloquial for “Just in Time” and means that at any given point, there is usually one thing that we absolutely have to do. Mastery of work often lies in identifying this one thing and finishing it elegantly.
  2. I have gradually begun to turn off social media from my life and it is working wonders. Effective now, LinkedIn is the social medium I am present on, and if the bad lemons (wannabes, showoffs, digital lean six sigma expert type) are going to rise in number, this medium too will lost its charm. Nevertheless, LinkedIn is useful for professional networking reasons, and so it stays.
  3. I aim to generally invest a lot of time reading up on two topics; financial management and wellness this year. From a middle age perspective, these are probably among the two most important topics and hence my focus. Another specific reason is also that both these topics need heavy customization for every individual. No MooC or online courses planned for this year !
  4. I am trying to be minimalistic about most things in every sense possible; food, clothes, devices (need help with ideas here) and so on. Minimalism goes a long way in reducing clutter in both our physical and mental spaces and also makes us take a hard look at what we really value.
  5. My earlier efforts in an area I am really keen on, blogging tended to be towards trying to create large projects. Now, I believe that it is more important to blog shorter content in more frequent intervals.

All things considered, I am excited to explore everything that 2020 has to offer. As that old Chinese saying, I hope that we live in interesting times !


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