Watching: 10 years with Miyazaki

Over the weekend I started watching 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki, a four-part documentary series covering the life and work of Studio Ghibli’s prolific co-founder and filmmaker. You can watch it for free on NHK World Japan.

Despite their stellar reputation, I never got into the Ghibli films. (Hell, I still haven’t watched Totoro in full!) But after seeing the emotion and labour that Miyazaki pours into his work, I’m definitely going to go back and catch up.

Life as a seamless, worky fever dream

Busy people who see work and nonwork as two separate spheres tend to get angry when one bleeds into the other, Butts says. One coping mechanism might be to view your life as a seamless, worky fever dream. As unappealing as that sounds, at least you’re not surprised when it extends past 6 p.m.

Give Up on Work-Life Balance (The Atlantic)

I prefer to think of life as a latticework of projects, but hey, to each their own.

We need a social tipping point on climate

“I used to feel like I was doing something. I was switching over my lightbulbs, cutting meat out of my diet, catching public transport, and printing on both sides of the paper. I felt virtuous. But now it’s clear that these small acts of good citizenry are not working fast enough to make enough of an impact. There’s an urgency I didn’t understand before, a curve on the graph which accelerates under its own momentum.”

How do we go on? (Australian National University)

Our little wins aren’t big enough to offset climate chaos. Big moves need to come from those who can make the biggest impact.

Two useful methods for personal productivity

When I’m feeling the pressure of competing obligations, or not sure if I should work on something, or if something I am working on feels like it’s just not right, I turn to Think, Organize, Do. These are the three modes of work that everyone needs in order to function with purpose. These modes inform and feed each other, and when I’m in a rut, burned out, or overwhelmed, it’s usually because I haven’t spent enough time in one or more of these modes.”

Think, Organize, Do (Gina Trapani, Postlight)

I’m wearing a bunch of hats at work. I’m a platform administrator, overseeing tools and processes; I’m a content marketer, working on project management & asset creation; and I’m a community manager, working on program development & implementation.

Somewhere around all that I’m also working on my personal stuff — this blog, a few others, WP Durham, certifications, upping my coding skills. Then there’s my family and home and health, other hobbies, and all that gaps in between.

There’s a lot going on.

80% of the time I feel in control, like everything just flows from one task to another, like all the things are a latticework. But then there’s the 15% of the time where I feel out of alignment. And the 5% where I feel straight up overwhelmed.

Read moreTwo useful methods for personal productivity

The secular faith of Workism

The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.”

Workism Is Making Americans Miserable (The Atlantic)

One side frets over the anxiety and blurred lines separating work life and personal life, while the other side gets knocked around in an unpredictable “gig economy” designed to make things more convenient for those who can afford it.

A good enough life

“Buddhism offers a criticism of the caste system and the idea that some people have to live lives of servitude in order to ensure the greatness of others. It posits instead the idea of the “middle path,” a life that is neither excessively materialistic nor too ascetic. […] In this radical vision of the good enough life, our task is not to make the perfect human society, but rather a good enough world in which each of us has sufficient (but never too many) resources to handle our encounters with the inevitable sufferings of a world full of chance and complexity.

The Good-Enough Life (New York Times)

A good enough life is a life worth living.

Adventures by bike

“Adventure means different things to different people at different times in life. You can pack for a touring journey, but still ride light and fast. You can ride for fun, take your time, take photographs, or you can go fast for some Type 2 Fun. You might push yourself hard, or you might push your bike when the ride gets hard. You can sleep under the stars or treat yourself to a hotel on the credit card.

Everyone is invited—and that’s part of the magic of cycling. The crucial thing is that adventure feels worthwhile and meaningful, that you do it with enthusiasm, and that it feels important to you, not to other people.”

Why You Should Take on a Bike Challenge (Adventure Journal)

I haven’t done any long rides aside from Conquer Cancer.

Wouldn’t mind tackling a few this year.

Tailor your working hours

“Learn the time of day you’re most energized, creative, and inspired, then tailor your working hours to be during that time.”

How To Increase Productivity, Do Better Work, And Get More Done (Jennifer Bourn)

My mornings are, by far, the most productive part of the day. That’s when I do most of my writing and creative work. It’s a solid few hours of uninterrupted focus/flow time. Then I tackle meetings and admin tasks in the afternoon. It’s worked well so far.

America’s urban transformation

“Many communities grew more racially and ethnically diverse this decade, mirroring the rising diversity of the country as a whole. Such demographic shifts generally aren’t apparent from a satellite’s view. But we found some telltale signs.”

A Decade of Urban Transformation, Seen From Above (New York Times)

An interactive visual essay from Upshot (New York Times) documenting the dramatic transformation of American communities over the past decade.