Since you’re reading this along with all the other New Years posts, let me make a small suggestion. Make some room in your life for whatever opportunities, new things, new people might happen by in thisbrand new year. And that means carving out of your life some of the things that have accumulated. You can’t fill a full glass. And right now I bet your physical space, schedule, where you put your efforts and what has your attention is filled to the brim.
- Space. Make some. Clean out your desk drawers, get rid of the books you never read again, clean out the spare room so you have one place you can walk into in your house not full of stuff.
- Time. Empty some. If your week is already full of things you’ve committed to, obligations, routines and habits, where will 2011 fit? When are you going to have the time to do something that makes a difference in this world, in the lives of people you care about, in your own life?
Now’s a great time to tally up where you time goes and renegotiate with the world at large. For example, I like sitting in front of the TV. But instead of letting that the default, I’m going to start scheduling my down time, and free up time for other things. Habits make things easy – and they are also the chains that tie you down.
- Energy. Excuse me while I go hug a tree, but you only have so much creative energy to spend, only so much you can push for what you want to achieve, only so many things and people you can for. Since that’s the best of me I have to offer, I’m reclaiming as much as I can from pursuits and events beyond my control.
I’m taking 2011 off from getting wound up about local, state and national politics – so maybe in 2012 I can do something that matters. And as much as I love watching the digital glitterati parade on TechCrunch and eagerly read hourly Exclusive! posts in the tech media about every new feature Facebook, Google, Apple, and a million cell phones vendors cook up that means zip to me, enough!
- Attention. Which brings me to the gating factor of 2011 and the years after it: taking back control over what I spend attention on. There has never been so many objects and people who want my – and your! – attention. It’s not just blogs, or email, or 50,000 television/internet channels, or millions songs on iTunes, or millions of things you can buy online, or all the people online who you can now interact with, befriend, learn from: it’s all these things all at once every time you sit in front of a screen.
Have you noticed the backlash? From magazines touting simplicity to apps like word processors bragging how much less they do for you, so you have room to think? I have. And since I want to ship some really good things in 2011, really make a difference in the lives of people I know online and off, I’m pulling back my attention, withholding my opinion of every little thing, raising the bar on what vendors of shiny new things and ideas have to execute to deserve my attention in 2011. I think you should too.