Christophe Weblog Wiki Code Publications Music

One of the benefits of a robust process of evaluation is to be able to confront things that are not going as well as desired, as well as to identify strengths that can be exploited further. Universities don't necessarily have a robust performance evaluation process – it seems largely to depend on whether your Head of Department is a believer, or else on the individual to insist – but this year I did have the opportunity to have a Personal Development Review, and something that hit home as I was reviewing my own achievements was how little I've written recently. This is not ideal, either from the point of view of my academic career (where publish-or-perish might not be strictly true but it's at least a good first approximation) nor from the angle of my own self-esteem as a creative and productive individual.

So, steps must be taken, and it so happens that this is the time of year for turning over new leaves, cleaning up acts, and otherwise resolving to change behaviour. It's obviously not quite as simple as saying that I will write more; while there are some obstacles to creativity that can be straightforwardly addressed, I think the main thing necessary is to find that set of things such that when a spare fifteen minutes presents itself, the most enjoyable and least stressful thing to do with them is to write (or draft, or otherwise be productive).

Some of the things to arrange for this to happen are negative: to remove the temptation, or at least make it harder, to do unproductive things. So, apt-get purge crawl, for example, might be the single most effective productivity enhancer from my current state; I might have successfully avoided the trap of Candy Crush (and Angry Birds), but roguelikes are terribly easy to get sucked into, and anecdotally have the same addictive properties on me at least as the latest mobile game has on everyone else. But some steps are positive; I have used this as an excuse to set up a new computing environment for myself: a VPS running nginx, serving (among other things) a blog and a wiki using ikiwiki, which should make it easier to draft and publish than previously.