Just One Thing


Today, I went to a conference in the Barbican Centre here in London, Beyond Conf. One of the talks was by Una Kravets, called Open Sourcing Your Life.

The talk was about using GitHub to store your to-do lists and goals. The speaker reasoned that making her goals public like that made her feel more accountable for them, and more likely to do them. The action of actually committing her updates to GitHub also made her feel a sense of accomplishment and acknowledgement that she had completed a task.

This woman was a front-end web developer, but her to-do list included things like visiting local coffee shops, practising calligraphy and reading more books. She spoke about how, while she has her career goals, her life is made up of a whole bunch of things that make her happy, and by making these public to do lists, she was getting things done.

Coming out of the talk, I felt completely inspired. Like many, many other people, I have a whole bunch of things I want to do. I want to learn to be a better cook. I want to read more. I want to learn Danish. I want to learn French. My half finished language list on Duolingo is ridiculous. I also want to blog more. I want to learn more about data science. I want to learn more about neuroscience. I want to learn C# and I want to get better at JavaScript… I could go on, but you get the picture.

When I was in final year of university, I kept a diary next to my bed – one of those that has a page per day. Every morning, I made myself write a list of three things I wanted to achieve that day. It could be anything from “Read a chapter on intelligent agents” to “Put away that pile of laundry that has lived on your desk chair for 5 days”, but I found the act of writing a list definitely helped. Doing one thing made me feel like doing more, and it helped.

Now that I’m finished university and working full time, I find myself coming home, making dinner and then sitting around doing not much of anything. It’s frustrating, and I often feel like my midweek life has nothing in it but work.

Inspired by today’s talk, I’ve decided to do “Just One Thing”. Each day, I will do, and write down, one thing that I have achieved that day. The only rule being, it cannot be directly related to what I’m doing in work right now – programming for fun is fine.

I’m going to try and force myself to blog my Just One Thing.
Today’s is writing this post. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Let’s see what tomorrow’s will be.


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