Priorities

June 2nd 2016

Things I want to be doing right now, in no order:

  • recording more episodes of Design Details with people I look up to
  • helping organize a 2017 Spec conference
  • helping organize more live Design Details events in SF, NYC
  • iterating on a design tool that parses JSON into UI components (demo)
  • related: be better at javascript
  • working on that Messenger bot I started hacking on like two months ago which hasn't gone anywhere
  • working out
  • having more coffee with new people and old friends
  • traveling
  • learning more about photography
  • learning React
  • learning Swift
  • building/designing Spectrum, an app for the design community
  • redesigning spec.fm
  • learning Rails to properly hack on the spec.fm website
  • designing this one unsolicited redesign of an app I love but hasn't been touched in years by the creators
  • reading more books (currently reading)
  • exploring a new format for written interviews with designers
  • starting a solo podcast because it sounds appropriately fun and scary
  • redesigning this website
  • publishing more Design Details blog posts (currently: one draft)
  • building a chrome extension to fix contrast and readability issues on popular website
  • oh yeah, keep building rad things at Facebook with the incredible team I get to see every day

Surely there's a few things missing here (especially personal things, like spending more time with family + friends). But it feels good to have everything in writing.

Problem: it's too much.

Solution: focus and prioritize and sequence.

Problem: that's easier said than done.

If I had to reprioritize and trim the list, it'd look closer to this:

  • Facebook
  • Design Details Podcast
  • Spec.fm
  • Spectrum
  • JSON -> UI design tool
  • Exercise
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Travel + Photography

The way I try and think about priorities (in theory, not always in practice), is to sort by the highest impact on my professional and personal pillars of life. Interestingly when I look at the reprioritized list all my professional goals are higher than personal goals (like hobbies and reading more).

One of things that's been on my mind a lot lately is how people end up with this kind of ranking system, where professional is put before personal. It's not that professional is bad, or not fun, but more the internal mindset that shapes our goals and priorities in life.

Sometimes I want to just flip the whole list on its head, escape the world and read, write, and take photographs without an internet connection. Cut the cord.

But I realize that's just swinging to the opposite side of the spectrum. No, the resolution is somewhere in the middle, a balance of personal and professional goals. I've lived on the extremes, but finding the middle ground is a challenging exercise in time management, saying no, and being a balanced human.

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