2016 was a pretty big year, I kept chipping away at my monastic engineering experience. And a big chunk of the last three months has been researching and developing a curiosity. It got finished in late December and is sitting in the workshop awaiting its maiden launch in a week. Here is a little tease:

Marsarium ready for launch.

I still managed to get lost on my engineering journey, some distractions punished my productivity. So for 2017 I’m trying something different, inspired by a quote from the main character ‘Will’ in the film About a Boy:

I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes. Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour. Taking a bath: one unit, watching countdown: one unit, web-based research: two units, exercising: three units, having my hair carefully disheveled: four units. It’s amazing how the day fills up, and I often wonder, to be absolutely honest, if I’d ever have time for a job; how do people cram them in?

Will is 36 years old, rich and child-free. His thoughts about time set the ambience for his own self-indulgence. Before starting the monastic engineering experience I was the opposite, everything came second to School/University/Job. So I guess that is why there are days where I feel downright guilty. My whole professional career was geared around delivering value: People need to do Y! Build an efficiency improving thing so they can do more Y!

When I replaced Y with ‘because I can’ or ‘what would happen if?’, I also gave up a steady pay cheque. I completely lost my reference point for value. So yeah, some days I feel self-indulgent and guilty. Mostly because it is difficult to see how monastic engineering adds value to our society. I guess that is why this website is such an important part of the journey. Writing down solutions helps me better understand them, but if they also help others? Relief. Value delivered express to others via the Internet.

So for 2017 I’m going to take a leaf from Will’s book and break my year into units of time, a total of 2400 units. Many of those units will be budgeted towards indulgent, ‘what is the value?’, curiosities. I guess they are a loss-leader for the articles that do help others. I’m also going to make a couple of small products, one I will give away, the other I might try to sell. Here is what I want to create:

three curiosities, two products, two collaborations and 30 articles.

My collaborations, is really a bit of consulting. Stuff where I work for others using skills I have picked up along the way. I have booked two for the year and I’m pretty excited about them. One is something I have been helping out on for over a year now, ‘Measure The Future’. More on that soon.

Oh yeah. Exercise is still an important part of the monastic engineering experience. I managed to run 610km’s in 2016 and this year I’m aiming at running a half marathon (21kms).


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