Sunday, January 24, 2021

Life Lately: On COVID, work, and my word for the year

Victoria park on a sunny winter day. My first walk after recovering from COVID in December. I didn't leave our flat for ~14 days so I was very glad for this beautiful day.

This year has started really positively. I’ve heard a lot of good news from friends and family, ranging from new boyfriends to new jobs and babies, and it is so exciting that good things continue to happen for people despite the pandemic. I hope that there continues to be more good news than bad news as we go through the year.

I’ve had a pretty strong start to the year myself. After getting quite sick with COVID over Christmas and being very frustrated that I could not travel to Nigeria or the UAE, I’ve again come to terms with the world we now live in. I say again, because it seems to be a cycle. I come to terms with it, then I’m tired of it, then I remind myself I can’t change the situation but can change my attitude to it and so I come to terms with it, and then the cycle repeats.

Work is going really well and I’ve rediscovered the zest that comes with doing something you love at a company you connect with. I lost that connection to my work only a few weeks into my time in consulting and never regained it. My relationship with that role became purely functional, solely a means to an end, and while I still brought my A-game because I am a professional who does good work – it was not as enjoyable as my previous work experience. So, I am very grateful to again be working on stuff I am deeply interested in, with a great team, and at a company I have admired for very long.

My first Black Friday on the "other side". Wearing my favorite t-shirt, a gift from Wale Osideinde.

While meditating at the start of this year, I decided it would be my year of “action”. I’ve always enjoyed the intellectual side of things slightly too much and I gain a lot of satisfaction from thinking things through. It’s great to have that, but the flip side of this is you need to make sure you’re also acting rather than just debating things extensively. As the days have passed, whenever I find myself analyzing something a little too much, I stop and ask myself – how can I act on this?

Speaking of acting, after years of wanting to pick up piano again, I finally bought a lovely Casiotone in December and restarted lessons after a ~15-year break. It was a tough choice between piano, chess, and car model kits, but I eventually went with regret minimization. Given my childhood fascination with our church keyboard, how I often pretend to play along to my favorite songs, and how much my parents wanted me to be able to play, I thought I would regret not upgrading my skill to at least intermediate level. I’ve now had it for about a month and I’m enjoying the process of learning. There are also all these resources (primarily YouTube! and Skoove) that didn’t exist when I first learnt as a child, so it feels like a much more fun journey now than it was then.

My Casiotone is incredibly portable and beautiful to look at. I chose a Casio because our first church keyboard, bought with cash gifts my parents received at my naming, was a Casio.

Another thing practicing the piano in the evenings does for me is serve as a bookend to the workday. For most of last year, I struggled with disengaging from work in the evening and ended up working till very late all the time. This was very bad for my productivity. Rest is an essential component of productivity and it is difficult to perform at your peak when you’re not taking enough time to recover your energy and let your mind switch subjects. Practicing the piano has now replaced the commute home as the bookend to the workday that switches me out of “work mode”.

Lastly, I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity over the past few weeks and recently finished Chris Bailey’s The Productivity Project. Between this book and Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, I finally acted to use my phone more mindfully, which has led to a significant drop in my phone use. I’ll write about this bit in the next update.

Have a great week ahead!

2 comments:

  1. πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ Cheers to many more wins and to your year of Action!

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  2. Nice read. All the best Koye.

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