Winter weather is hitting Tuscany, where I'm still staying at my girlfriend's place. That makes it the perfect time to reflect on my past year and look ahead to the coming months.
But do you know that dawning feeling that you've bitten off more than you can chew? That's the feeling I got as I was writing my annual review this week.
While I've written everything I wanted to write, it's not yet ready for publishing. Hopefully it will be somewhere this week, but the jumble of words needs some refinement to be actually useful for readers. I blame my perfectionism for procrastinating, but I also don't want to waste your time.
Truth be told, I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions. It's probably because I tend to have grand ideas but have trouble getting them all done. No wonder I increasingly see the value in Michael Ashcroft's mantra of setting "clear intentions, held lightly." I'll still set objectives, but I'll instead see them as intentions rather than hard goals I must achieve exactly as I had them in mind.
In the Tools for Thought space, having big aspirations seems to be a rule rather than an exception. We adopt a tool, hoping it'll solve all of our problems. Some months in, we notice that we haven't changed and are stuck. But instead of working on ourselves, we abandon the tool in search of something new. (Or maybe that's just me...)
Switching from Roam to Logseq has once again shown me how expensive tool switching can be. Even though I didn't need to learn a new paradigm, the quirks and differences of Logseq certainly have me scratch my head several times a week. Yet again am I confronted by the fact that it's crucial to know my workflows before I attempt to apply them to some other tool.
By sharing our knowledge practices and not obsessing over tools, we can help ourselves and others gain some perspective. Don't trick yourself into thinking you need a specific tool. Just do the work. Hopefully, this week's resources will help you do just that.
🤔 Resources to reflect on 2021
The Plus, Minus, Next framework and other annual reflection resources
Through Jen Vermet's Letter from a learn-it-all, I (re)stumbled upon the Plus, Minus, Next framework for reflection. After I got into Stoicism and read about the questions from Seneca, I adopted them for my daily journaling practice. Turns out, this little framework also works perfectly to reflect on a quarter or even a year.
I used these questions in my annual review to reflect on every goal I set for myself:
- What went well this year?
- What didn't go so well this year?
- What will I focus on next year?
In Jen's newsletter, she links to a bunch of other useful resources to reflect on 2021. They're basically writing prompts that will help you see how far you've come and where you want to go next.
Year in Review template
Want to apply the Plus, Minus, Next framework but need some more direction? Anne-Laure Le Cunff from Ness Labs has created a nifty template in Google Slides to help you reflect and look ahead. It divides the year up into several areas (health, emotions, work, money, hobbies, friends, family, learning), and also helps you reflect on your biggest challenges and accomplishments.
👆 How to pick your next skill to learn
Back in November, I delivered a workshop on how to decide what skill to learn next. While almost all events I organize are free to attend, I spend a lot of time editing the recording and writing up notes. Hence most of the recordings are behind a paywall.
But I want to give away more content for free as I have to worry less about a steady income this year (thanks Logseq!). So, I've decided to pull the paywall from this session, hoping you'll pick at least one skill to learn or improve this year.
Click here for the notes from this session. You can watch the full recording below:
✅ Execute projects and tasks like a pro
A fail-proof meeting workflow in Logseq
If you're not a member of the Logseq Discord yet, you should sign up immediately. Even if Logseq is not your daily driver (e.g. because you're committed to Roam Research), there's enough to learn from fellow knowledge workers who show off their workflows. This is something I always missed in the Roam community, but Logseq users tend to be an oversharing bunch (which I love).
Take this workflow by "TokyoMike" for example. He uses tasks, templates, queries, and the journals page (Daily Notes Page) to manage his day-to-day activities as a software engineering manager. If you're in meetings a lot, this workflow will definitely help to reduce overwhelm and plan follow-ups.
If you use Logseq, be sure to check out the thread in Discord as Mike shares his template files in Markdown.
A beginners guide to task management in Logseq
If you want to keep your notes and tasks in one system and are still looking for a tool, look no further than Logseq. While it's possible to build a simple task management workflow in Roam, Logseq throws in some features that help to regain control over overdue tasks—without the use of third-party tools like SmartBlocks.
To help you get started, Logseq power user Sawhney has created a useful tutorial. In it, he shows all the ins and outs of Logseq's task management features plus how he uses them himself. If you're looking for examples of real-life use cases, be sure to follow him.
Curious about Logseq's (two) flavors of task management? Logseq user Danzu has created the following diagram (which Sawhney also shows in his tutorial):
🕸 The fundamentals of outliners, networked thinking, and Logseq
Let's finish this week's newsletter with another resource produced by yours truly. On Tuesday and Thursday, I held sessions in the Logseq community about the fundamental concepts of outliners, graph-based thinking, and of course Logseq.
Below you'll find the full recording of Thursday's session. If you're a Roam user, don't worry: 95% of what I show equally applies to Roam Research. The most important part where Logseq and Roam differ is in the area of queries, which I show in the last few minutes of the session.
Do you have questions or suggestions on how I can improve my presentations? Please hit reply and share your thoughts via email.