Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation
On Slack I am a member of, someone asked why write Week Notes. They wanted to know how to get comfortable offloading information to others with the knowledge that others are reading. What are the pros and cons of being “filtered/unfiltered”?
Obviously, I can only answer this for myself and in the capacity of someone who has been writing Week Notes since the start of this year (2021). I started writing them because I wanted a better record of the things I’d done and how I’d felt over the course of the year. I do keep a journal, which is mostly a collection of daily to-do lists, scraps of fiction, and the occasional work note. But that’s deliberately an analogue notebook kept day by day. So, in a sense, the week notes provide a summary of a week that’s happened. I do this in the hope that it is easier to reflect on the year when it is over. Which is not something done out of a planned “personal growth” aim, but more because I have spent the last decade slightly wondering how time has passed both so very quickly and at a snail’s pace.
It’s notable that when I started my week notes I recorded the meals I cooked and even the coffee that I’d been drinking. That stopped after a few months. It bored me. However, now I have a section entitled “Running & Adventures” where I note down my perception of how various runs went without focusing too heavily on the metrics of pace/time/heart rate. This works well in addition to GPS and other data captured by my sports watch that sends data to Strava. So, what goes into the week notes and the format has changed. It will continue to change.
My own notes are reasonably filtered. I think that it’s important to establish there is a divide between public and private, even different public personas are important. This public face is different in the Tech Nottingham Slack and that is different to who I am in the Kitty Sneezes Discord. It goes without saying that these personas are different from my professional one as a GoDaddy employee. In none of these are places I’ll discuss everything about my private life and opinions. Yes, in all these venues I aim to present myself honestly, but what you read is what I’m comfortable sharing in professional and social situations. My handwritten journal is for spicy takes.
In my Week Notes, I will write about how I’ve felt, but rarely the details or exact material conditions that provoke a feeling beyond quick tl;dr information. If there is good news, then I will probably share it in more detail. Although I really, really try to avoid bragging. I dislike it in others, and I hate it when I do so myself.
As a white cisgendered man living in the UK, I need to acknowledge that I can write these Week Notes with less inherent risks than someone more socially marginalised than myself. But still, even for me, there are safety and wellbeing issues with writing these, so I always reserve the right not to say something.
The major con of writing week notes is that doing them weekly is time consuming. It presents an additional pressure of another thing to do in the week. I haven’t yet managed to consistently write them over the course of a week and reach Sunday with a mostly good to go post. I have also yet to find a balance between covering more events and less events. As I write this, I am in a long slump where the weekly particulars of life are consistent over the months. Most of life is boring. On the weeks I’ve missed and ended up collecting them together into multi week posts this is usually because I’ve spent Sunday running or hiking then the early days of the week after being busy with other things.
But my general writing practice has taken a hit from all the long distance running I’m doing now. It takes hours out of my week doing it, but frequently leaves me too fatigued to write. This is a problem I would like to work on managing.
I think I established why I write them quite early on in this piece. For me it is about summarising the approximately 365 days of a year into fifty-two summaries that I can look back on at the end of a year or in future years. I have chosen the week as my sampling frequency because I believe that leaving posts of this genre a month a part would provide me with the opportunity to forget the smaller interesting moments. I also think that writing these notes monthly would lead me to write a self-aggrandised. As to why I want to look back on the past from the future, I do not have a single reason. Perhaps the one that is easiest to share is just a simple desire to not forget.
Do I recommend writing week or month notes? Conditionally, yes. I think it is a good experiment to conduct with oneself. Right now, I think I will continue writing them into 2022, but they might become more abbreviated.
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