Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Routine: Living resiliently

I love routine.  I have a system that keeps me sane. Much of my work and home life is structured by Yanado tasks linked with my work and personal Google accounts.  Things I need to do all go there. Things I want to do go there too.

My personal list of tasks helps me keep in touch with my friends, keep my dogs correctly medicated, keeps me learning, keeps me volunteering, keeps me exercising.  My work list of tasks does the same thing - it reminds me of the commitments I've made to others on the team, keeps long term goals in my view, and helps me respond to emails in an order reflecting their importance.

And then things happen to throw off the routine.  We get sick...we get a new puppy who requires newborn baby levels of attention...we get in a car accident and have to take it easy and find time to buy a new car, we get an emergency high-priority issue at work.

While my routine was thrown off over Christmas, I had extra time to read. I read Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal .  It had some useful leadership lessons and also introduced me to a distinction I hadn't been consciously aware of - robustness vs. resilience.  Robustness is strength to withstand obstacles...Resilience is the ability to adapt as obstacles arise and evolve.

This year, I've seen a change in vocabulary around New Year's Eve -- Intentions rather than Resolutions.  The thought being that once you've broken a resolution (e.g. I resolve to floss every night) then it's done; there's no point in continuing.  You can always return to an intention (I intend to floss more this year).  Perhaps a more resilient approach to behavior change.

Watching my mom, who is now retired, go about her new life is inspiring.  She's playing piano and spending a lot of time with genealogy. It led to the table topic style question when I visited this weekend - "what would I do with unlimited time/money"

Photo credit: Taylor Maley
Piano.  Singing.  Auditing university classes. Dancing.  Scanning all the photos I have only hard copies of.  Ping pong.  Bowling. Writing. Reading.  Cross-stitching.  Run for office and use it as a public forum for ranting Network-style if it becomes clear I won't win, steer philosophical discussions on the role of AI in our daily lives.

I'm not going to be able to do all this at once. And that doesn't make me a failure.  I can use tools to keep my family/spiritual/social/professional/physical goals in front of me.  Eliminate junk.  Use Facebook just enough to keep up with the big news of my real-life friends.  Don't overthink; pick something that's fine and stick with it.  Don't get sucked into drama.  Re-route myself to a goal/intention that I've found to be important. 

At the moment, these goals/intentions are growth (learning skills or facts/concepts that grow new neural pathways), connection with fellow humans (and dogs, I suppose), and reduction of blood pressure. 

Happy 2019!