Weeknotes S4 E2 2020

You decide.

I’ve been doing/thinking about…

This week (or last week as I’m writing) I was wondering if I was fighting with a bit of decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is described as..

“In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.”

I started to suspect the tinge of decision fatigue through observing my own daily to-do list. Typically items fly off it in the morning and then as I head toward late evening few items remain stubbornly in place. Typically I try to do important/urgent first thing so that if I do run out of steam, it’s not on something really crucial.

I more commonly notice decision fatigue outside of work.

“What shall we eat for dinner tonight?”
Nope! Don’t want to think about it.

Occasionally I get it when writing weeknotes.

“What should the subtitle be?”
“What image should I choose here?”
“What gif best conveys my emotions?”

Reflecting on why this may have happened, I suspect time slicing is the number one culprit. Context switching isn’t great for flow, and I think it leans into making lots of varied decisions to move different things forward. I also had a bout of insomnia which I’m sure didn’t do wonders for my cognitive ability.

I have lots of lists, plans and routines to try and alleviate headwork, but I think I’ll also try and group similar bits of work together to avoid fragmentation through the week. It’s not always possible to do this, but it’s worth being more intentional about it.

I was also thinking about recording a couple of weeks worth of acitvities to reflect on where my time is going at the moment.

Design Thinking Notes

I’m currently studying ‘Design Thinking: Creativity for the 21st Century’ with the Open University. Polly Thompson asked if I was intending on blog posting about it, which is a great idea! So I’m going to include this section in my weeknotes from here on out.

I’m on week 8 at the moment and playing a bit of catch up ahead of the first proper tutor marked assignment which is due on the 4th of December.

Overall, I’m really enjoying it thus far. It feels like it’s giving the creative part of my brain a good workout.

It’s given me a new found appreciation for really observing things. One excercise involved studying the features of your own hands. I found that terrifically difficult to begin with because.. they’re my hands. There’s notthing interesting about them. I see them every day. Except you don’t really. It’s an excercise in deep focus on one thing. It feels like quite a soothing balm in comparison to the normal pace of life.

One video particularly resonated with me amongst the study materials. It features architect Frank Gehry working on a paper prototype of a building. In it he’s frustrated that the shape of the building isn’t to his liking, but he can’t describe why. But he’s prepared to sit and let it irritate him some more until new thoughts are formed.

I love this! I love the vulnerability that is implied in admitting you don’t yet know the next step, but you trust yourself to figure it out. I also liked this quote…

In order to open yourself to the discomfort of not quite knowing where you’re going, I think you really need to have a process and trust it. Gaining a better understanding my own process will be really useful. I think I know what this looks like for my day job, but with more purely creative endeavours (drawing/making) less so. Will it be similar? Let’s see!

Thus far I have noticed that I have a tendancy to spend too long fiddling with prototypes, or aiming for too much fidelity, rather than moving on and learning something different/new. I am a recovering procrastinator and prefectionist so this not wholly surprising. I think I may need to set a timer as a reminder to keep moving.

More adventures in design thinking next week, when I will have submitted my first tutor marked assessment and will be sipping something suitably alcoholic to celebrate.

I’ve been reading/watching/listening to…

I really liked Alex May’s sketch notes. And I’m just generally delighted to see some more user centred design chatter in housing.

This post on Google’s 3-Word plan for help employees avoid burnout was an interesting read. Spoiler.. it’s about no meeting weeks. I’m slightly disappointed it’s not about giving overstretched people less work to do.

I listened to this podcast about the end of everything, which is less depressing than it sounds. I love theoretical physics, even though I’m nowhere near clever enough to actually understand it.

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