Why I’m Writing More and Other Life-Changing Decisions

Happiness Takes (A Little) Magic

Great post from Brian Lam (through MG Siegler):

Happiness is the most important metric in personal tech. If it improves lives, it is important. I’ve always suspected that sitting around on the internet was a sort of rot, but I had no proof until I read this piece on the Stanford study. … People think I’m crazy for complaining about tech news and how stupid and boring the mass media internet has become, but I think they’re wrong. And I think most are writing about the wrong things.

If you are unfamiliar, Brian Lam was the Editorial Directory for gadget site Gizmodo before retiring mid-2011. He has tons of experience with this problem.

He’s right, of course. I have been guilty of this myself from time to time, caring more about my online reputation than the impact I’m having, and even wrote about it and made some significant personal changes last July.

I am 38 now with two young daughters (5 and 3). I have been watching a steady stream of my biggest influencers die over the past six years. The passage of time is only accelerating and it is time I can’t get back. So I made some decisions before the New Year.

I haven’t been happy with my health so I decided to do something about it. I have been going to the gym almost every day.

I have cut back on my hours working in front of the computer. By nature I am a work-aholic so put me in a start-up situation and I literally will work until I pass out, I’ll dream about work and then rest just long enough to start again. I can’t keep that pace up anymore and am working hard to be more efficient with my time so I can get my work done.

In connection I am giving myself more time to think about this business and the impact technology has on it, part of why I am writing more than ever before. I am also trying to stay focused on writing about the things I care about and things I think you should care about, things that might help your business, and caring less about finding new people to read my work.

I still read a lot but have cut down on the minutia of tech, trying to keep my reading focused on bigger and broader themes about the world, tech and business. I am reading less news — giving myself permission to skim — and reading more books.

And most important I am trying hard to take time for my daughters. We eat dinner as a family almost every night where we always discuss the days’ events. The weekend mornings are for me and my girls, too. We make breakfast together and talk a while and play a little. I hope this is a foundation I can keep in place as they get older. I have an open door policy here in my home office. The girls can come in and talk to me any time during the day and I often take breaks to check on them.

I know that this mentality doesn’t jive with starting (or re-starting) a business. But I’ve never believed in conventional wisdom anyway so I’m not about to start now. Here’s hoping I have the strength to keep with these much healthier practices.