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Life

Being flexible with your own schedule

For my regular readers out there, you’ll notice I’ve been blogging consistently each Monday afternoon for several months… until last week. I missed my deadline for posting and was quite displeased with myself for doing so.

That being said, missing my streak gave me time to consider the concept of the streak, how I felt when I missed it and how to get back up on the horse from then on. This post is a result of these thoughts.

Categories
Business Life

Saying “You’re Welcome”

I pride myself on being someone who is keenly aware of the underlying meaning of words and the ways in which we say them. Being this way is both a gift and a curse, yet it forces me to be very conscious of the words I’m using to express myself.

This is all well and great until you realise you’ve been misunderstood. *gasp*.

Categories
Business Life

Structure as fuel

In many perceptions, structure is synonymous with “boundaries”, “limitations”, and “restrictions”. This is often the perception of the creative thinker. “Don’t box me in” is an often used phrase. As a product person, I feel the role of a product person within a software team is to bridge the gap between how creatives and how analytical thinkers perceive structure. I see structure as fuel.

Categories
Business Life

Having a “No Meetings” zone

This week, I’ve begun doing a rotation with our support team at Automattic. Every Automattician does this as part of their on-boarding, as this helps to learn the systems, tools and users we’re interacting with every day. For me, this additionally helps to learn more about the users we’re building products for, which is a huge added bonus towards our user-centric approach to product development. Through this week, my work time demands 100% of my focus to be on the support rotation. I take this very seriously and am 110% focussed on learning as much as I can. This means, of course, postponing or moving any meetings I have on my calendar. This brought about some interesting and exciting results, which I’ll be exploring further here.

Categories
Life

Reflections on my crown birthday

Traditionally in South Africa, the year which corresponds to the date of your birthday is referred to as your “crown birthday”. While I’m not certain of any special significance other than the “once in a lifetime” nature of a crown birthday, I feel it important to reflect on the year past and on what awaits in the year ahead.

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Business Life

Batman doesn’t get paid

Bruce Wayne, however, is a multi-billionaire. While not much emphasised as a contrast within the Batman storyline (rather choosing to emphasise Batman and Bruce Wayne as one in the same), I feel this contrast between Batman and Bruce Wayne has a hidden message I’d like to explore further.

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Life Music

On Reflections and Incorporating Change

The only thing that is constant is change. – Heraclitus

As humans, we often struggle with change and how to incorporate this change into our status quo. As someone who thrives on consistency, focus and clarity, change is always difficult to adjust to. At the same time, I feel I’m slowly figuring out how I best deal with change. It seems, whenever change is presented to me, I assimilate the change into myself, figure out the new path and proceed forward on said path, gradually letting my mind catch up to the new path.

This past week was a dramatic week for us in Cape Town. With the loss of a dear friend in George Bacon, as well as the closing down of Mercury Live (a popular live music venue), it seems somewhat difficult to truly know the best path forward in that sphere. A large reason for this post is to explore this change, work through some of the feelings I have around it and (hopefully) arrive at a rational conclusion.

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Business Life

Achieving harmony through micro-uncluttering

Everyone has their own definition of clutter. To many, clutter constitutes large amounts of “stuff” piling up in a space which should not usually contain so much of said “stuff”. While focussing on day to day tasks, I’ve noticed that there are several areas of my day to day which have high potential for clutter. When these areas are cluttered, I feel like my focus shifts and isn’t as sharp as it could be. Today, I’d like to help reform our views on what creates mental clutter, and how to overcome this and achieve laser-like focus.

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Life

Finding What Drives You

While in the gym this morning, doing lunges with a barbell on my back, I experienced the best feeling I’ve experienced during a workout; the feeling of zoning out. This lead me to question; “am I zoning out, or simply zoning in on the task?” After completing the last set of lunges, my trainer was extremely impressed and said “great job, Matt! That was a great set of lunges! I’m very impressed!”. Now normally, my trainer enjoys taking the “drill sergeant” approach, preferring to motivate with “come on, you owe me another 5”. Outside of the workout sets, he’s really smiley and happy, so this drill sergeant approach feels somewhat out of character. For some, it works. For me, I’ve not always felt it to be the best motivator. Today, I discovered why and (most importantly) what is a motivator for me.

Categories
Business Life

Words which change meaning and how they work

Looking back, I have fond memories of the “early days of the internet” (well, as we see them now, anyways) where I’d get home from school, hop onto the computer and chat using IRC (Internet Relay Chat), mostly with others I’d seen at school not an hour or two earlier that day. While at the time this seemed somewhat run of the mill, I got to thinking about how this kind of interaction influenced how I communicate online and via text in general.

Over the years, I’ve met several people who influenced the words I choose when communicating. Whether verbally or over text, words have a specific meaning and, to me, there is little room for interpretation when selecting ones words. As I communicated more and more over text, I realised how much we actually convey without realising, purely through our choice of words. Today I’d like to pinpoint several words, how I interpret them in communication and how removing them or adjusting them can improve and provide clarity to one’s communication.