State of the Chuq, revising the five year plan edition

Even before recent events, I’d been evaluating my online presence and my time commitments and trying to decide if my time and money expenditures were in line with my priorities (how to figure this out might make an interesting blog post or two if there’s interest). Then I had my recent little oopsie, and it became clear some things needed to be re-arranged.

Life at Cisco (six months in, they haven’t discovered me as a fraud and fired my butt) continues to be awesome, but keeping me extremely busy. That’s not going to change. I am having a ball and they keep throwing crazy stuff at me to do, but I’m finding it a challenge to make sure I stay focussed on that work and try to get everything else I’m doing done well. That alone says “time to simplify things”

And then, the one message given to me repeatedly in talking to the doctors recently is that it’s time to stop talking about finding time for exercise and start exercising. And so I am, slowly, but it’s started. And so I have to carve out time and energy for that, and I can’t give myself excuses to let it slack (again).

Last I looked, there were only 24 hours in a day. I’ve learned the hard way that cutting sleep time is a bad idea. While I’m not a morning person (repeat after me: I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. HAND OVER THAT COFFEE NOW AND NOBODY GETS HURT) much of my team is east of me, including members I work with a lot in England and Spain — so I’m shifting my work schedule earlier to better accommodate them without forcing them into working into their evenings quite as often. (and hey — had my first day since Apple with meetings with both Europe and Australia in the same day, old times, baby…). One nice thing about cisco is work hours are pretty flexible, so I’m probably heading back to what I did at Apple, which was schedule heavily into the morning, try to use some of the afternoon to get out and get things done or get some birding/photography/walking done, and then put in some time later in the evening to finish off the work day, and perhaps schedule in some meetings with the folks in far away timezones late in my evening. Unlike Apple, I won’t do this by pushing my workweek out to 65 hours a week, but instead keep things saner.

I’ve spent the last few months doing very little new photography and a lot of work on other things like fixing up the web site, getting the stock photography going, pushing out the first portfolios, printing images, and now I’m really feeling the need to start making new work again. Summer is always me least productive season, so this isn’t too unusual, but it’s time to start shooting again, and the winter refuges are starting to fill up with the birds that will be visiting us until spring. I’m working out plans for where I’m going to visit and when now.

To make sure those things get done and done well, some things I’ve been doing have to be cut back or eliminated. After thinking through priorities and where my interests lie (more photography, more reading, catching up on home/yard projects, and getting my regular walking routine more routine) I’ve decided to make a number of changes in where I’ve been spending my time. I just cancelled my subscription to Elder Scrolls, which I’ve enjoyed a lot more than I expected and which has been a fun distraction when I’ve been too tired and stressed to work, but I’m ready for a break.

I’ve also just announced my retirement as lead of the Bird Photography community on Google+ as part of a significant social media diet. I decided I wanted to reduce the amount of time I spend on the social networks significantly and to focus more on creating a more interactive and personal interaction with the time I do spend there, rather than a passive, constant scramble to try to keep up with all the traffic flowing by. This deserves a separate blog post so I’ll talk about it in more detail soon.

This should — if I follow through as planned — actually make writing for the blog more consistent, and it doesn’t mean using Twitter or G+ less, it means using the time more constructively with a focus on people I’m interacting with and less on trying to keep up with the firehose. I think that’s a healthier use of social media for me, and we’ll see how that goes.

As to photography, I have a trip to the Eastern Sierra coming up soon that I’m really looking forward to. Laurie and I will be starting up our visits to the refuges around the first week of November — I expect to make the day trip to the Lodi area and Staten Island, Isengard Crane Refuge and Cosumnes three times this winter, and I hope to get to Merced NWR and/or San Luis in the Los Banos area at least three or four times. I’m also planning a trip to Northern Klamath NWR and Tule Lake in December, to Morro Bay and Piedras Blancas in January for the Elephant Seals and hopefully, find some time to get out to Pixley and Kern NWR sometime this winter. I’m also trying to ramp up my birding activity again in the area, since I haven’t done much since Spring Migration ended.

And then, after lunch…

So I don’t exactly plan on lots more leisure time with these changes, but more productive time for what I’m trying to accomplish. Now, all I have to do is do it…