It’s the beginning of another year, and again, I’m not setting resolutions or goals for myself. While I am open to finding another word for this year as I did in 2020, right now I’m thinking more about specific directions for the coming weeks and months. The list below includes some new activities, along with older ones that I let slide but want to pick up again as well as a couple that I started in the final months of 2020.

  • Blending the analog and digital in my task management system. Since writing about the idea almost two years ago, I have played around with different ideas to get the best of pen-and-paper and digital while avoiding the worst, and I may have finally figured out a system that combines using a Bullet Journal with OmniFocus.
  • Zettelkasten1. Knowledge management is another area that I’ve been trying to figure out for some time – how to keep track not just of different resources, but different ideas and concepts and see how they interrelate. One system I’m trying out is based on the Zettelkasten method, a centuries-old technique that is based on identifying the connections between ideas. There’s been an explosion of recent note-taking apps which incorporate Zettelkasten techniques to bring the method into our century2, and I started playing around with one of them late last year.
  • Incorporating automation. Rounding out the nerdy triad is dipping my toe a bit more into task automation, specifically on my iPhone using the Shortcuts app. I haven’t reached Rube Goldberg-esque levels yet, but who knows what this year will bring?
  • Morning Pages. Stepping away from the digital for a moment, I’ve started trying out the practice of Morning Pages after hearing about it on a recent podcast. The idea is simple: write three full pages in longhand (no tech allowed) every morning, with no particular purpose or intention to share what’s written. It’s harder than it sounds, and I will admit to having slipped off the bandwagon already but will try to pick it up again this week.
  • Photography. It’s still an interest of mine even when I’m not travelling anywhere, and at the very least I can go through a backlog of RAW shots from previous trips to process and post. A friend also recently introduced me to a weekly photography challenge called 52 Frames, and earlier tonight I submitted my first entry!

As a plus, the above list gives me a good list of topics to reflect on, write about, and share. While some of those posts will go up at Eval en Place, my blog focused on productivity through an evaluation lens, I’ll make sure to crosspost here as well.

Finally, I think my intention from last year to stay in touch with friends is, if anything, even more important now than then, especially over the next few months as the pandemic teams up with the prairie winter to limit opportunities for socializing. I’m hoping that a combination of safe in-person distanced outdoor meetups (weather permitting) along with online communication will help keep life in some semblance of balance, at least until we hit warmer temperatures again and the vaccine rollout picks up steam.

Here’s to 2021!

  1. Gesundheit.
  2. The original method used index cards, as exemplified in the word Zettelkasten itself being German for “slip-box”.