My new secret for having more time

I don’t know about you, but when I reflect on my life I find it impossibly full. Family. Work. Friends. Reading. Learning. Thinking. Writing. Project. DIY. Exercise. Chores. Shopping. Meditation. Fun. Relaxing. I only just remembered fun and relaxation and I’m sure I’m missing other major items from this list.

Not the same as life

Not the same as life

And that’s a problem. When, not if, new things are forcibly wedged in then other stuff always gets squeezed or squeezed out. And life is not like carbon. Putting it under pressure does not create diamonds. I know from painful past experience that relationships don’t harden but disintegrate when placed under excess pressure, and for that matter nothing else gets better either. Which is why I’m excited by an almost magical solution to the problem of an over-full life, one that has emerged accidentally in 2014Q4 from a long running and almost pathologically frenetic attempt to organise, plan and goal set my life.

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The best financial decision I ever made

When Katie and I started going out, and for a long time afterwards, we lived apart. At first that just made sense (you don’t move in with someone three days after meeting them) and later it was a necessity, while I was working in London and she was finishing her doctorate in Oxford. Overall, long distance and living apart is rubbish, but it did mean that we managed to avoid all the thorny financial decisions that being in a relationship normally brings for much longer than you’d expect.

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Me, a parent: A manifesto

How can I be a good parent? Who should I be to be a good parent? What does it even mean to be a good parent? For the last 8 months especially, these are all questions I’ve been thinking about a lot. And, with any luck, in the coming years, I might unearth some answers.

Of course, it’s relatively easy to just think about it. Actually writing it down is much harder, and posting it on the internet for all to see is even worse. After all, I could be wrong. Or – infinitely worse – I might fail to live up to the standards I set myself. But as Cialdani shows, publicly putting a stake in the ground only increases the odds I will succeed. And I’d rather have better chances than unembarrassing failure. On that note…

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Teaching technology to Plato

Broadly broadly, there are two ways of thinking about things. First of all, there’s the classic way. Call it the Platonic style – an infinity of absolute abstract forms, all very different from each other and none defined except by the examples which represent them. In direct contrast to this, there is mathematics. Formal, precise and  unambiguous definitions of simple things using simple rules. Then a dizzying array of combinations and the emergent properties which drive Stephen Wolfram wild. Call this by what Platonically exemplifies it best: the silicon style. But wait a moment! What on Earth does this rather obscure philosophising have to do with teaching technology?

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Why learn another language? Why even learn to read?

All my life, I’ve spoken English and only English. I’ve travelled broadly, across Asia and Europe, and knowing just one more language wouldn’t have been enough. Even then, in the strictest sense, I’ve never needed to know a foreign language. It’s amazing what pointing and speaking slowly and trying different words can do. In short, I’ve always got by. So why learn another language? Three reasons. Three huge, gob-smacking, little game-winning reasons that have nothing to do with utility and everything to do with happiness.

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