Hello world!

The last time I wrote a post like this was 2015…

Hello from WordPress! In an effort to restart my online writing I plan on migrating my domain and blog to WordPress from my previous Jekyll hosted on GitHub Pages site.

For me this means a few changes:

  • Relying on faithful wordpress skills
  • I may or may not keep using Markdown
  • An effort to publish more consistently

You’ll notice the dates in the posts are quite sparse, and this is because I’ve decided to keep my personal blog personal. I’ve only imported over content with a personal slant to it and I’m leaving my professional writings elsewhere.

Quick Update

I felt like I needed to put an update here. I have not written in a long time, and right now I don’t know when I will write again.

At this current point I’m feeling like just leaving my site up here as a landing page. I suppose I’ve lost interest in the point of writing a blog.

I am still here though and I’m still available via email if you need to reach out to me.

Cheers for now.

Social Media Policy

I’ve done it. I’ve quite social media.

What started out as a time management issue (goodbye Twitter) grew into a privacy statement (goodbye Facebook) and exploded into a philosophy (goodbye Instagram).

For me it has been a transformation and required some serious introspection. I wanted to share a few thoughts I used to eventually cut the social media cord.

Acknowledge Your Weakness

One of the things I struggled with was attempting to control my usage. If I just had more discipline I could control my usage and keep it manageable. I failed at this numerous times. I eventually accepted that I can’t fully control my usage and it was best to cut it cold-turkey. I also heard an interview with David Goggins where he talked about our internal silence being lost in the noise today. I realized that even when I tried to manage my usage I was filling my downtime with social noise. Quitting social media has allowed me to rediscover my internal silence (at least after the kids goto bed).

Examine Your Motives

I always felt that Instagram was the lesser of the evils. I enjoyed viewing pictures of green gardens and outdoor scenery. However that eventually devolved into following pictures of watches, Porsche 911s (beautiful cars btw), and other material goods. While some feeds are flat out advertisements I slowly awakened to the fact that all of the feeds I was following were attempting to influence my purchasing decisions. The subtly of some of it can be amazing. When the thought of quitting all social media crept into my mind I had to stop and ask myself why I had such a hard time giving up Instagram. Why did I have such a hard time letting go? After careful examination and some hard truth I had to accept that I had a problem with materialism. I liked these “things” and they were influencing my thoughts enough that I finally had enough.

Double-Down On IRL

Maintaining real relationships in this day and age is difficult. When so many people are updating their social media feeds, no one feels the need to update people in real life. As I withdrew from social media I realized I would have to make a concerted effort if I wanted to keep in touch with friends. Instead of a passive acknowledgment of something happening in a friend’s life I feel more connected when I get updates in real life.

Quiting social media isn’t for everyone, it is definitely an alternative lifestyle in this modern age. I still keep a finger on some things but only what I can tightly control. I read blogs via RSS and Feedly. I listen to podcasts via Downcast. Though it seems that won’t last, I don’t understand why people feel the need to release a 2+ hour podcast. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I rely more on email now. I feel it is a good direct messaging method. However, nothing beats good ol’ fashioned fellowship.

What I can say, and I strongly urge you to do is that if you’ve felt the desire or the idea has ever crossed your mind then take action. Don’t hesitate.

Control Your Schedule

Lately I have noticed the busy feeling creeping back into my life. It is a feeling of helplessness. I define busyness as a reactionary state which does not allow for creative control of your life. Busyness and productivity are not mutually exclusive. You can be productive and busy, or you can be productive and in control.

When I feel that busyness creeping in, I can almost always trace it back to a decision I recently made to break a few of my own key rules. I’ve developed these personal rules in an attempt to control busyness from overtaking my life.

Group your tasks.

When I have repetitive tasks that come at irregular intervals I make every attempt to make a note of them and complete them together at a set time. Instead of submitting paperwork every time I request comes in, I make a list of my paperwork tasks and I complete all that paperwork in one sitting on Tuesday mornings. This helps me to feel that I’m not constantly submitting these little forms, but instead I can control when I complete those tasks.

Control your workload.

I have a job, specifically an 8-5 with occasional after-hours work requirements. Without a career change I cannot directly control this. While I can talk to my manager if I feel overwhelmed, I rarely find that to be necessary. However I am human and I am singular. We have to be aware of our entire workload, not just what comes in from 8-5. Too many side projects or external obligations can lead to a loss of control over your schedule.

Turn off the notifications.

Turning off my Outlook notifications was probably the single best thing I’ve done for my career. When I set out working on a task I can focus fully on that task until it is complete. The emails can be addresses as soon as I’m done, and if it were important enough they would call. If you keep a phone next to you during work, this should definitely extend to your social media notifications. Or you could just quit social media all together.

Decompress.

Sometimes busyness is just a feeling that can be overcome. When you have a crazy day at work it can help to just unwind. Rock out on the drive home, listen to a podcast, take a walk outside, read a book, write in a journal. By doing something that you choose, you are exerting some control over your schedule and this can change your outlook on an entire day.

I can tell that my recent busyness has come about by failing to control my workload. Too many home projects has led to what feels like a never ending work cycle. I will be making changes to block off down time for things that bring me happiness. I find it unfortunate when people complain about being busy, if you are struggling with busyness try implementing some of these rules, or make up you own.

Happy New Year

Well it’s that time of the year. 2017 has arrived and I’m obliged to write a post apologizing for last years blogging performance. I should also state my grand expectations for the new year. I’ll do better. I promise.

In all honestly I have written as much as I wish. I’m starting to realize the value of writing as a way to relieve stress. I will probably start journaling this year. I’ve been going through some serious internal debate regarding the best outlet for journals. I’ve been looking at DayOneJrnl.sh, and good old fashion pen and paper. We will see where that goes.

I’m also ready to officially call myself a minimalist. I’ve embraced minimalism is all facets of life: material possesions, time and attention, and also digital consumption. I see minimalism at its roots a thought process to think hard about the things that add value to my life, thereby eliminating the things which do not add value. It is definetly a process and if you took a look at my house or office today it wouldn’t scream minimalist. I did throw away a large amount of junk from our attic over the Christmas/New Years holiday. You can expect to see some minimalist related blog posts in the future.

As for things to come I’m strongly considering completely splitting my technical articles into another blog site. I really do hate to clog up my RSS feed with personal blog posts. Going back to wordpress would be good because I can more easily manage media (such as screenshots) within the blog. Though I’ve really started to enjoy the markdown and folder structure of Jekyll/GitHub pages.

Well, Cheers to 2017!

Consumption

For reasons I can’t begin to comprehend the idea of consumption has been on my mind. I’ve been acutely aware of the type of consumer that I’ve become. It goes beyond just consuming material possessions, but consuming social media, consuming TV media, even lately consuming radio media. Something clicked, or a series of clicks occurred where I’ve begun to have a heightened sense of just how much I consume.

As I’ve become more aware of this consumption I begin to visualize it as an actual thing. I’m able to sit and question and contemplate this consumption as if it were some piece of abstract art. I begin to question why there is so much consumption. What is the motivation behind the consumption? I begin to question the how of the consumption. Is this the best way to be consuming? I start questioning the very reasoning of the consumption. Maybe I’m consuming to much? Maybe now this consumption has lost its appeal?

When that consumption adds up it begins to weigh on the scale of life counter to what we create. Think about that. If we take more than we give, what kind of world are we creating?

Website Update

Yes it has been a while since I’ve done anything with this site. However this evening I had some extra time on my hands and decided to get everything running like I wanted. I’ve made a few changes to the site which I’m quite happy about:

  • I removed the post list from the site index and gave it a dedicated page
  • I FINALLY got categories working for my posts
  • I split out the technical articles from my personal blog

I am pleased with the categories since I’ve been struggling with that since I migrated from WordPress. Once I was able to get the categories I used them to split out all my technical articles from my personal/life blog posts. I genuinely see those as two separate sides but since I don’t generate enough traffic from my technical articles I see no reason to move them to a separate page or domain.

As I (hopefully) continue to update this website I plan on picking up my writing again and trying to incorporate more of my hobbies (the outdoors, fitness, photography). At this point I can pretty much gurantee I’ve lost the interest of anyone who might have been reading my material in the past, so I’ll just keep on keepin on.

Scratch That

I know I said I would be migrating all of my old WordPress posts over to Jekyll, but I’ve decided to alter course. I have struggled with the presentation of my website/domain for a while now. Honestly I haven’t been crazy that when you visit my domain name, my high-level online representation, that you’re met with fairly boring, rephrased, technical documentation.

Technical documentation was the primary reason I started blogging, keeping notes for certifications and studying. Then I started to write about work I was doing, adding notes for certain projects. However a recent combination of life events has given me pause about what and why I was writing. The technical notes are useful, I use them for reference still at my $dayjob. However that’s not the primary thing I want when people find ME online. I am more than technical documentation.

So, what to do? For now, at least, I’m going to move my old technical documentation to a separate folder/layout. I think it is important to keep that information around and I will add to it when I find interesting things to share. The primary focus of my writing will be on the things I care about. Alas, I am changing, and and therefore my site is changing. Here’s to a new direction, a focus on the intersection of life and technology…

The Migration Begins

I pulled the trigger. I did some research and found a solid way to import my wordpress posts into a text/markdown format. I’ve put all my previous posts into my _drafts folder while I work on cleaning up the markdown, correcting photos, and removing stale content. I’ve also redirected my domain to my GitHub pages URL while I figure out what to do with the domain.

In the mean time, I’m back on Twitter @robertj180 if you want to chat.

Hello World!

Hello from Jekyll/GitHub Pages. In an effort to clean up my online writing I plan on migrating my domain and blog to Jekyll hosted on GitHub Pages.

For me this means a few changes:

  • Renewing my GitHub skills
  • Learning to write in MarkDown (KramDown to be exact)
  • An effort to publish more consistently
  • More focused content

I’m still debating what content I want to move over, so that may change. I’ll keep you posted with updates and an overview of how I’ve managed the migration.