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On Focus by Will Ringland

Subtitle: Do The #$%!ing Work

I've been attempting to reduce distractions at work (and life) with the desire to be better focused on the things that I do well, that satisfy me, and that I'm best at. This is not simply reducing browsing to Facebook et al.(that is a discipline in which I could use more dots) as well as actively divesting myself of tasks or projects I don't need to be doing. Anything that doesn't meet the above standards is noise even if it is necessary.

Take, for example, design and development triage. All project designs and development my team creates needs to be assigned testers - ditto that of everything coming from outside applications. I do it every morning. I have been doing it every morning for the last 9 years. It's gotten to the point that my team is large enough and on the tail end of enough other stuff that I have been spending 4-7 hours on this every week. When my 1:1 meetings with my team start at 8:30 that generally means most of my open time was taken by these tasks. And if it's a particular busy development week, it can bleed into the afternoon.

That bleed could just murder my focus and productivity for a whole day. Despite that, I don't want to distract my team by giving it up. That's just me being a slacker, right? I own this, I have always owned this!

Well, my views have flipped since returning to work.

When I realized I was going to be out for a few weeks while dad was sick, I reassigned all the triage duties. And while it took six people (yeah, seriously: six) to efficiently divide it, they all did just fine with it. And a few of them enjoyed it. And a few of them were really good at it.

As managers, we tend to be the sort of people that like responsibility. We like being "The Person". The one who owns the thing. We value that expertise in ourselves and in others.

If it is true that we value ownership in our teams, how does it follow that me continuing to own a thing is valuable? Sure, I can do the thing well but couldn't some one (or six some ones) learn to do that too?

Owning a task that no longer enriches your career, that distracts yo from the core functions of your role, that doesn't challenge you is an act of Pride. It no longer serves you but you're not allowing it to serve someone else.

So let it go. Not only do I get that time back but now my team is more engaged in and aware of outside development projects and as more in tune with team workload.

In so thinking, I made the below art to serve as reminder. There are my lock screen and general background on my phone now.

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Bunny Rope unveils Art Shibari: Driven by the Storm by ABMann

We at Bunny Rope are pleased to unveil the first of many to come Art Shibari pieces: Driven by the Storm. Art Shibari kits are created using interesting, ancient, or a blend of techniques of dying to produce exquisite and unique products. 

These lengths were hand bound using the arashi shibori technique.  Shibori, dating back to the 8th century, is a manner of resist-dying textiles where the material to be dyed is bound, twisted, sewn, compressed, or otherwise manipulated to create beautiful patterns in the resulting item.

It is characteristically soft and vibrant.  It will look fantastic on you.

Only 2 kits available, $165 each.

Contact me to purchase both for $300

The Dark Year by ABMann

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Somewhere in my Sophomore year in high school, a started falling into a deep depression. I didn’t sleep much, ate terribky and generally didn’t understand what has happening with me, he world and the interaction thereof.

It started, as all dark high school stories, with a girl who I was crushing on in a mad and unhealthy way. She was smart and nerdy and broken and similarly didn’t understand what she was and what she meant to the world. On alternating days she would lament that her boyfriends were terrible and they should be more like me and then demand I stop talking to herald they take her to lunch.

I didn’t know what to make of it. My mind latched onto two things like alligator jaws:
- I was nicer to her than many
- I wasn’t good enough firer

I’m not the sort of person to consider anything in the worlds is wrong for acts of other people - I am the maintainer if my own reality, ill moments or otherwise. The dichotomy that I was both better than but not good enough beyond a ride to the diner was debilitating. These thoughts would circle and circle and circle in a dervish a self-mutilation. If this person, whom I was so blinded by as to believe she was Perfect, thought this about me I clearly wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone

It sucked. And then I cried a lot. And then I stopped feeling anything.

I hit the nadir around my birthday the summer between my Junior and Senior year. I stopped eating and became vaguely emaciated - I was still overweight but hollow around my face. I spent most days blindly playing frisbee golf and the nights watching weird Tv on IFC and not much else. I literally played frisbee golf every day for hours not thinking, not feeling. Disc automaton.

I remember the day I finally broke out of it. It’s the dumbest things that do it. I was sleepless, again, one night and caught the last half of The City of Lost Children starting where Miette us crying and her tears destroy half the city. I remember being spell bound by the visuals, identifying with her pain and the destructing *need* to affect something in the world. I tore my room apart. I tore off my clothes. I thrashed and cried and stopped when I caught myself in the mirror.

I realized how hollow I looked, realized I couldn’t remember the last time I are. I sat in front of the mirror for a few minutes before I fell asleep. The next day, I was with my friends watching movies in a basement. At so,e point the conversation turned to weightless when. My best friend at the time turned to me and gruffly said this to me,

"I’m unhappy because I’m no longer the skinnier one in the group. Now I’m fat because you lost all this weight this summer."

The room went quiet. I was shocked. I think everyone else was too.

I got up. “It’s because I’ve been too depressed to eat and you guys haven’t cared.” And left.

You’re told about toxic people, that people manipulate you in sometimes subtle and sometimes overt ways. I learned then some if the shitty reasons my friends kept me around and realized the little ways they tore me down when I did something well. Like if I threw the disc farther, got a better grade on a test, got praise for something, they were never happy. They just complained that I made them look bad.

I essentially cut ties with them the next year. It was tough because we had so many classes together but I would bolster myself the little positive things I found during the days. And, inch by inch, I found some self worth and rebuilt myself.

I don’t want to say that my mood issues were entirely their fault - they absolutely weren’t. I didn’t help myself by acting out in inappropriate ways with them or being the domineering ass in theater (I was lead light tech fir 3 years, the first sophomore to get the job). I used them fir rides before I had my license and didn’t support their successes.

And with the girl, I was pretty terrible. I feel squarely into the “nice guy” camp (I… Even had a fedora…) in that I did all these things for her hoping (not expecting, let me assure[i never had enough self confidence to believe I deserved ANYTHING]) she’d fall for me. That was terrible for both of us - I made her uncomfortable with all the misplaced affection and ignored social queues and she took advantage of me knowing I’d bend over backwards for her.

There were a lot if good things that year too, of course. I discovered chemistry. I was the student tech director for two plays. I got into Beloit (oddly because of the girl). And the like.

It was a shitty two years but they make me who I am today.

And they totally ruined me for blondes.

A fun side note to lighten this kind of heavy entry:
All that disc golf built up my arm strength to inhuman but wildly specific abilities. The first day we played softball, I hit three home runs and caught two fly balls (one handed), something I’d never, ever done before.