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🍃 The winds of change
Ep 36: Key changes in life, managing your email, and a hearty welcome to M1, M2, and M3.
There’s a lot of change going on over the next few weeks and months, sparking the commentary below. To kick things off, though, I’ll start with a picture of beautiful Boston, looking north across the Charles River from the Sheraton. Not a bad view to wake up to on Saturday morning before moving Xander out of his college dorm.
A Tip for the Modern Worker
Manage your email. Don’t let your email manage you. There are many approaches to email management. You know it’s working when you don’t have to apologize for not seeing something important, or not holding up something that you’ve been asked to weigh in on. There are many benefits to keeping conversations in collaboration platforms instead of email. Over time, the balance of your communication may shift from email to these more modern platforms. While you're in email-land, though, use rules, labels, notifications, and folders to your advantage.
This tip is one of 365 in my Handbook for the Modern Worker. I’m an Inbox Zero kind of guy. Most days I end up with a half dozen emails lingering about, but I’ll get to them. What about you? We also use Wiki-like tools at work, and I love to relegate information to them instead of email. It keeps conversations persistent, findable, and sharable.
I drew this and wrote the accompanying annotation as part of my #365DayDraw project 7 years ago today.
I was joking around this week (as per my usual), reciting the alphabet to my wife in a sing-songy way. It was moderately annoying until I reached Z, took a dramatic pause, and then continued with AA, AB, AC… well, you get the point. Have I been spending a little too much time in Google Sheets and Excel lately? Maybe. Anyway, it all starts with the awe-inspiring A.
This week has me thinking about changes. You know, the kind where the end of one journey marks the beginning of another. Here are a few of the key changes in my life.
I was a pretty shy, introverted kid in grade school. I gradually came out of my shell at SUNY Geneseo, evolving into an ambivert as a Resident Advisor, volunteer on Geneseo’s Emergency Squad, and coordinator of on-campus entertainment with the Activities Commission. Change.
I started working in New York City after graduate school, found an apartment in Mineola, and figured out how to live on my own. I had to navigate the complexities of fitting into both a corporate culture and volunteer firefighting, too. Change.
In preparation for a work stint in Zurich, an advance trip to hunt for apartments turned into an emotional low. I fell apart in a sobbing heap in a dark hotel room, overwhelmed with the enormity of being in a different country, but becoming all the more world-wise through the experience. Change.
It was during that European leg of my “professional tour” that I found myself sitting alone at dinner, deep in thought. I was in Lugano for the weekend and realized with startling clarity that I didn’t want to eat many more meals by myself. I knew who I wanted to be with, and I proposed marriage to Amy a few short weeks later. Change.
And now, my kids are no longer kids. They’re young adults going through big changes of their own, right around the age where mine all started.
Elizabeth finished student teaching on Friday and will graduate summa cum laude from Ithaca College next weekend. She landed a job prior to graduating, too! She’ll jump into the working world the following Monday as a vocal music teacher at Cayuga Heights Elementary. And, she’s moving into a new apartment during the summer. Change.
We just brought Xander home from his freshman year at Boston Conservatory. He’s home for two short weeks, after which he’ll be a resident artiste – playing multiple woodwinds – on the maiden voyage of MSC’s Explora I. He’ll spend the rest of the year sailing from Italy to Northern Europe, New England, and the Caribbean. He’ll return to Boston for the spring term. Change.
It’s an incredibly exciting time for both of my kids. I’m so proud of them and can’t wait to hear what happens for them next!
💧 It’s irrigation week here at the Dawson house. Time to turn it on, that is. I’ve had an irrigation system in place for the past few years and it works flawlessly. Each year requires very little maintenance, like my quick repair of a squirrel’s chewing habit that created a water fountain in my perennial bed.
Cornell’s red-tailed hawks Big Red and Arthur welcomed three baby chicks into the world: M1, M2, and M3. You can follow their adventure on Cornell’s live cam and via their Twitter updates. So cute!