Hello, 2017

It’s 2017. It has been for a while now—25 days to be exact—and there’s a lot of things I want to accomplish this year. So, is it too late to talk about new year resolutions? Oh well, I’m going for it. Here are my plans for 2017.

This year, I want to write more.

I call myself a writer, which I am, but I don’t write nearly as much as I should. I work an office job as a Technical Writer for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sitting and staring at a computer for that long is fairly tiring, believe it or not. So, when I get home from work, I don’t exactly feel like sitting behind my own computer to do more work, even if it is for my own benefit. All I want to do is hang out with friends or relax. Needless to say, one of the greatest challenges I faced last year was maintaining the proper work-life balance.

This year, I’ve agreed to set aside time specifically to force myself to write. Tuesday nights after work have officially been christened “personal writing time” on my google calendar*. This writing party starts at 5 pm and ends whenever I decide it ends. I’ll use this time to work on article ideas that have been rolling around in my head or simply to write for myself to organize my thoughts, like what I’m doing right now. This time will start out as one night a week, but can (and probably will) evolve into two or even three nights a week once I become more disciplined in the practice.

This year, I want to take it slow.

I started last year with Letters from an Internet Traveler, which forced me to read, watch, and listen my way across the web. This quickly became an overwhelming task to keep up with. I realized that I was consuming information as quickly as possible to keep up with the constant stream, rather than actually absorbing the information I was consuming. I had been overloading myself with information. So much so that I wrote an article about information overload, which—to my surprise—got quite a bit of attention. It even got picked up and republished by Quartz. But that’s beside the point.

This year, I’ve promised myself that I will consume at my own pace. I refuse to consume information to stay relevant. I will consume only what truly intrigues and engages my mind—preferably long form articles to improve my attention span and increase my propensity for delving deep into topics to gain a deeper understanding. In addition, I will be reading more books this year, non-fiction and fiction. I want to get lost in stories and use them as inspiration to tell stories of my own. I don’t have a definitive goal in terms of how many books I plan to read this year, but I guess I’ll shoot for 10. Don’t judge me, I’m more of an article reader than a book reader.

This year, I want to focus.

Last year I realized that I have a hard time focusing on one task at a time. Rather, I tend to divide my attention between tasks, which just delays each task or idea from being completed. It’s like a never-ending scatter-brained cycle. For this reason, half way through 2016, I decided to drop Letters from an Internet Traveler and put the majority of my energy into Digital Culturist. Even after doing this, I still found that it was difficult for me to focus on the main thing that will make Digital Culturist a great publication—the content. I tend to get very caught up in the minute details of publication, like the format, logo design, etc. I’ll spend hours trying to get the smallest things just right.

This year, I want to focus on the bigger picture of it all. I will focus on pushing Digital Culturist forward by creating and curating great content. If I do that, then everything else will fall into place, as it should. On a less career-oriented note, I want to focus more on being in the moment*. This year I will focus on absorbing life for what it is and being more appreciative of the small things. I want to enjoy myself more and think less about the future.

I’m looking forward to all the great things to come this year, but they’ll only happen if I make them happen.

Cheers to many more of these reflective posts.

*Shout out to my girlfriend for these resolutions.

The Creativist Limbo

The past couple weeks have been a bit difficult for me to manage. With thoughts constantly bouncing around my head, it’s always a struggle to organize and prioretize them.

Needless to say I’ve been focusing on the wrong things lately.

For the past couple of weeks, my focus has been out of wack. I find myself getting hung up on the superficial aspects of the projects I’m working on. As a perfectionist, it’s hard to settle, even if it’s settling on the small things like logos, appearance, design, and consistency—you know, the stuff that are not my expertise; the little things that probably won’t make much of a difference until my thing picks up some speed. Right now, my thing is barely rolling.

Why does this happen? I ask myself that question quite a bit. It seems like it happens periodically and it feels sort of like a creativist limbo—like I’m stuck in the thought of a perfect world. I guess it’s a human thing to do, to get distracted and go a bit off course, especially considering the overwhelming context of todays information age. It probably also has to do with my perfectionist characteristics.

Nevertheless, I’ve spent the better part of this week trying to get back on track with the help of a podcast called Note to Self. They hosted a project in the beginning of February called Infomagical. It’s a chance for those who are overhwhelmed with information to cut it off and unwind from the constant bombardment of digital stimuli. I’m a little late to the party, but I thought I’d give it a try. I’m on the last day (day 5), and so far it’s been quite an enlightening experience. It’s given me time to think about my goals and how I should prioretize them.

I’m happy to say that I’m pulling myself back on track and focusing on the one thing I need to do in order to grow as a writer—writing and sharing ideas.

Hopefully my mind will stay on track for a while, because I really need to start building up my experience for future endeavors.

Wish me luck.

Why It’s Difficult for Me to Make Decisions

It’s 12 am. Chrome illuminates my laptop screen as my girlfriend sleeps next to me in the bed. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 tabs sit flush across the top of my browser window, each with only the favicon visible — Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Costco, hhgregg. I’m shopping for a new TV, along with other furniture for our new apartment, but those tabs are in another browser window. I’ve been shopping for this TV for the past week or two. I’m on the hunt for the best quality for the best price. I can’t afford those new 4K TVs, but I’ve been looking at those anyway. I need bang for my buck. The amount of tabs I have open is enough for me to slam my laptop shut in frustration and lay there in the dark, head spinning with decisions. But, it’s all in the name of research. I’m just exploring all my options before I commit, like I always do.

Hi, my name is Clayton and I am a maximizer.

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