"Slowing down creates the space for your productivity habits to become more mindful."
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Blog // Thoughts
August 11, 2011

Lessons From The Slow Sojourn

I recently had the chance to spend a couple of beautifully wintery weeks in Adelaide, seeing family and generally taking a break from the stress of moving country. As I mentioned previously, my plan was to go offline, take some photos and do some deep and serious thinking about the future. As happens so many […]

North Haven Marina

I recently had the chance to spend a couple of beautifully wintery weeks in Adelaide, seeing family and generally taking a break from the stress of moving country. As I mentioned previously, my plan was to go offline, take some photos and do some deep and serious thinking about the future.

As happens so many often in life, things didn’t work out according to plan. Going offline was always going to depend on hitting inbox zero well before boarding the plane for Adelaide and, preferrably, before leaving Hong Kong for Singapore. However, I had a lot of important threads of communication open (code for unanswered emails), so going totally offline wasn’t possible.

Then, I didn’t count on how dependent I had become during the stress of moving, on the whole sharing thing. Nice sunset, comment on twitter, football game, comment on twitter, bizarre change to Australian culture manifesting itself in a local shopping mall, comment on twitter. It’s a pattern of sharing and response that, in an of itself, is probably not harmful. But, it’s a habit and addiction nonetheless.

That said I was offline a lot, more than I’ve been this year and that time did free me to do some serious thinking. A few themes kept popping into my head on those long cool bike rides and brisk evening walks.

First, I haven’t made music the way I’ve made photos. Last year someone I’ve known for a long time remarked that my recent trend (being more successful in photography than music) was down to my never having been a very good musician in the first place. Yeah, I know, with friends like that who needs enemies!

But, there is a truth hidden in there somewhere. I’m not a better photographer than a musician. But, I’m far, far better at sharing images than tunes. Largely that’s because I have little baggage as a photographer – my whole approach is digital and post-social media. By contrast, I still struggle to get out of an analogue, major-label era mindset when it comes to music.

Being away from my desk, studio and regular email also got me thinking about how to manage commitments. It recent years I’ve become better at focussing on projects and completing them (better, but far from perfect). However, I found myself wondering if the projects should be my focus, or the people and relationships those projects represent.

Finally, I started to wonder about this blog (and by extension, my other online activities). For some time I’ve been keen to make this blog more helpful and useful. Thomas the Tank Engine allusions aside, many of the blogs I most enjoy are supportive, practical and encouraging.

So there you have it – nothing earth shattering, just three basic observations that I can use to reorder my work. Make music with more freedom and openness, focus more on the people in my orbit and try in my public communication, to be more helpful and positive.

Small course corrections, learnt while leaning into some pretty cool and biting winds, coming in off the Southern Ocean. I love those winter days!

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