Discover more from Ideothetic Flow
Trusting myself, not my tools.
Working on personal development
Welcome to Ideothetic Flow, my newsletter sharing my reflections on finding balance, sufficiency, and security.
If this resonates, do subscribe so we can stay connected. I post every 4 weeks.
We’re coming to the last leg of the year, and I am dedicating these few months to working on personal change. to change some of my practices and priorities. To maintain capacity the past few years, i've not prioritised a conscious approach to my own development and self discipline. This has led me to picking up some bad habits. Initially, being less restrained helped me focus on important things, but over time, these bad habits are now building up negative energy. So I'm working on 3 things:
Consumption: I’ve found myself defaulting to alot of low level consumption - whether digital media or food - to occupy the mind, especially with all the uncertain downtime when dealing with children. I'm trying to keep myself from automatically going to convenient ways to pass time like scrolling IG or snacking.
Stoicism: I feel I am getting frustrated, defensive, or upset more easily than I should. I'm working on getting myself more centered, simply letting things happen. and being more in control of my reactions.
Following my energy: I easily get caught up worrying about what I should be doing, or what is objectively most beneficial. Instead, I need to pay more attention to what I want to do, that I am innately motivated to work on, and chase that instead.
If I manage to stick to this, I will share more of this journey over the next few newsletters. Always happy to hear thoughts or advice on how I can work on myself better too!
Trusting myself, not my tools.
Another side of this personal development journey has been a look at my productivity systems and workflows. I'm always looking to improve my systems to keep on top of work and life. I think its important to have tools that help offload things from my mind, manage tasks, and to store ideas or information in an organised way.
The problem is that a system takes time and effort to maintain. The system must be complete to be useful, a single source of truth and productivity. Otherwise, I am left relying on myself. A fallible and imperfect being.
Maintaining a system comes at the cost of using that energy for action, to be doing things to advance goals. It's tempting to feel productive in maintaining a system, but it is a lesser form of productivity. Organisation is only useful if it actually helps us do more. Otherwise it is mere procrastination. In all likelihood, 99% of things which enter my to-do lists, notes, trackers or whatever else I use, will be superceded or not needed again.
I'm trying out being productive without being caught up in my tools or systems. They can be incomplete, and I mustn't be a slave to them. Instead, I need to trust myself as the superstar. That my brain will remember what needs to be done, and how to do it, while the tools around me are a supporting cast.
It's scary though, the demands of modern work mean that things cannot slip through the cracks, while bombarding us with too much information from all sides. Everyday there are new tasks, policies to follow, projects to be updated on. Its scary to trust ourselves to manage all these.
But equally scary is being trapped by the tools that are supposed to make my life better, to be over reliant on them to be able to function, and to feel anxious when I cannot keep up my maintenance. My time is too limited already, it has to be directed towards actually getting things done.
I am applying 3 strategies to try and make this work:
Offload to relieve anxiety, not for productivity.
My tools exist not to do the work or freeup mental space. They exist to free up attention. To take away things that I am anxiously holding in my head, blocking me from actually thinking. I need ways to offload them, to relieve the pain of hanging on and the fear I might forget. Trusting myself means learning not to even be anxious in the first place, and letting my mind recall things naturally when they are needed.
We need all these tools because its too difficult to interface with the world mindfully. Too much is going on at once, that we cant properly burn our experiences into memory. To trust my mind, I need to be sure it is actually taking in the world, not distracted by other thoughts. I have to go about my day more mindfully, to be more present in anything I am doing.
Listening to the expanded mind.
Daniel Kahneman’s famous theory is that our mind has 2 systems. The instinctive system 1, and the analytical system 2. Its quite easy to imagine thinking only in the system 2 sense, in a very slow, detailed, and clear manner. System 1 is able to process lots of information quickly, but shows its work in unclear, abstract ways. Trusting myself is also trusting that my instinctive mind has got things covered, but I need to listen to it. I need to be aware of gut feelings, changes in my physical state, or even emotions and energy that are the signals from system 1.
This is the system that is being replicated in notes and systems, or even in documents.
We watch alot of Bluey lately, being one of the “approved” content for the kids which we also enjoy. I really love it for its humorous yet realistic take on things. If you’re a parent, I really suggest at least watching this episode, which does an amazing job demonstrating the tensions that exist between what kids and their parents think is important.
Not everyone knows this about me, but besides Taylor Swift, my music of choice is emo mandopop. I discovered this recently, and the combination of sappy heartbreak music, and the nostalgia of the FIR lead singer coming back gets me very very emotional.
An interesting listen about those bars of hand soap in hotels. I took one back several months ago and it lasted over a month as the hand soap in my kitchen. Seems rather wasteful that they are likely thrown away after just a few days. If you’re going to a hotel anytime soon, do try bring the soap home with you.
For tarot based reflections and journal prompts, check out @thecenterline_ on IG
An open invitation for conversation.
If you would be interested in having a short, targeted chat about anything, drop a reply and i’d be most happy to schedule a coffee or a video call. Perhaps there was a post that resonated which you want to unpack, a problem you want to talk through, or just want someone to listen to whatever is on your mind.
The agenda is purely up to you, and I promise a duty of confidence over anything shared.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts, start a conversation, or simply connect over a chat. You can reply this email, leave a comment, or reach me at email@example.com.
If you enjoyed reading this and would like to support my writing, do subscribe or share this with a friend.
Take care and have a good week!