Measuring the little wins

It’s been almost 6 months since I’ve written anything with the intention of publishing it as an article or blog. It took the long-awaited return of my favourite web design conference to kick-start me into writing something last time out, and there was a two and a half year gap between that post and the previous.

Surely I should be able to write more, to share more, to help other people learn from my experiences, my mistakes, my successes? I would have thought so, but my ability (or perhaps concentration, maybe even just the spare time) to sit down and write just doesn’t seem to arise very often.

There’s a lot that goes on in life without me having to pressure myself into some kind of regular schedule where I should be publishing things. This doesn’t make me special, it just makes me normal.

There are so many pieces written about the entrepreneurs that live on 4 hours of sleep, are up at 4am, and have done all of the things that I really don’t want to drag myself out of bed to do at that hour, before my alarm has gone off.

And that’s fine.

That’s their definition of success.

My definition of success is vastly different.

My goals (whether short or long-term) are not lofty, aspirational goals that myself and others may never have any hopes of achieving. They’re much simpler. Much more run-of-the-mill. I want to get up and do yoga with my wife every morning for 5 or 10 minutes. I want to quickly catch up on news and social stuff for 10 minutes. I want to leave and get to work on time. I want to do the best possible job I can whilst I’m at work. I want to get home on time. I want to take the dog for a walk. I want to have dinner with my family. I want to hear about what they did that day. I want to spend time doing the things that they like with them. And I want to get more sleep.

Every one of those things seems simple enough, but I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t fail at one of those things. I don’t think I may ever hit 100% of those daily goals. Especially getting more sleep! But just having those aims, to try to do these things every day, gives me something to aim for.

As for my longer term goals? Well, this is where I’m kinda weird. I don’t really see myself as having them. With my career, I’ve always tried to find the type of work that interests me, without having an ultimate career goal to aim for. I have slowly evolved from an all-round webmaster, through web developer, front-end developer, user experience architect, user experience design, digital product designer, and now the more specific role of interaction designer. This wasn’t my plan, it just happened as I moved on in my career.

I have a mortgage that I would like to pay off sooner rather than later, but that’s just a financial concern more than something akin to a goal to attain. I want to be able to provide for my family so that they have the opportunities to do the same as I have, to be able to do the things they find interesting, and hopefully have others find value in that work.

There is nothing in here about me wanting to “make the world a better place” like in that TechCrunch Disrupt parody in the TV show Silicon Valley; more that I want to make my own world a bit better. That seems a bit selfish reading it back to myself, but I’m hoping that taking care of things that are nearer and dearer to me will spill over and have a positive effect in the larger scale of things. There is no way for me to measure this, and for me to attempt to do so would just result in me applying more pressure on myself to ‘achieve’.

With that said, I feel there is something that I could do a little better, and that is to keep track of what I have done, and what I would like to do. Many are far more organised than me at this, but I’m going to try to make a change on this front.

I’m going to start bullet journalling.

But I’m not talking about all of the superbly coloured, exuberant, visually appealing, sketch note style journals you might find under a hashtag on Instagram. That’s far too much effort and commitment for what I need. I just want to make a record of what I’ve done, have to do, along with important events and notes.

I’m starting out with the basics of “The Bullet Journal Method” created by Ryder Carroll, as found on This is the start for me, and it’ll be difficult for me to turn this in to something of a habit, but I can see what benefits it will have on the organisation of my life, as well as work.

Let’s see if I can begin to measure my successes on the level that suits me, in my life, and not on a level for the internet to judge how successful I am based on a skewed and unrealistic view of what ‘real achievements’ are supposedly meant to look like.

Here’s to the little wins, every day.