New Research Page!

Today it is a short one – after nearly a year’s break, I finally put up my page covering the research I conducted for my Honours thesis. If you go to the “Research” link at the top of any page here, you can read the short version, or grab the full two-hundred-and-something page long Thesis. Enjoy!

Personal Continuous Improvement vs New Year’s Resolutions

Being the new year, there is much talk about new year resolutions and people wanting to change certain aspects of their life in a little need of TLC. This of course is embodied by the all hallowed New Year’s Resolution. I never really paid much attention to this cultural norm.

Until this year. I started wondering why on Earth people would leave self-improvement until an arbitrarily defined time in the calendar we happen use to track the passing of time.

I work in the IT industry, specifically software development and technical consultancy at present. My current workplace uses Agile software development for all of our software development, which means we build and improve products iteratively. Being Agile means always being on the lookout for improvements and reacting to change in the environment. You also develop in such a way that you build incrementally, rather than building in one big block, later discovering something is wrong and then having to start from scratch to fix it. Agile is much more, dear I say, Agile than old ways of developing products, services and processes.

Thinking about self-improvement at a time talk about New Year’s Resolutions has reached fever pitch, I became inspired by Agile. If something changes in an Agile environment, you can immediately change and adapt to that change. Based on that fact, I think we should definitely be aiming to improve year round in our own personal lives. This would allow us to:

  • Adapt to changes in our life in terms of what we want to improve,
  • Break the changes down into smaller parts to make it more achievable,
  • Fix something straight away if something in our plan for success fails,
  • Make changes anytime of the year as our situation changes.

Committing to a New Year’s Resolution means we are making a big upfront investment that most people won’t achieve because the goal is too large to achieve without breaking it down and adapting. Implementing an Agile mindset to self-improvement means we can achieve our goals without depending on waiting until the start of the next year or face the fact that our goals may be too large without breaking it down and adapting if our first attempts don’t work.

In the words of well-known journalism academic Jeff Jarvis, “Life is a beta”, so get out there and start trying to continuously improve your life with an Agile mindset!

Vlogging: weirdest activity ever?

I’m often told I don’t have a life. Between work and university, I find it difficult to find time to do other things. Like having a life. I don’t particularly mind studying as I enjoy it. But I do think people have a point in saying that I should be trying to do other stuff in my life.

I bought myself a Flip-style video camera a few years ago before I went on a holiday to Sydney. It was great for capturing memories, but the camera never got much of a workout for a while. Then for some unknown reason, I picked it up one day and did my first mobile vlog (I had made two before this with my Mac’s iSight).

I’ve made a few vlogs since. Not many, and I normally tend to either make them about Christmas lights or have someone else in the vlog. It’s not much, but it is a start.

My most recent vlog got me thinking “I should do this more”. While my psychology friends would probably see this as an attention seeking move, I have different reasons for thinking that I should be trying to vlog more.

I think doing vlogging helps me get more confident with talking to people I am not close with; this is something I still have trouble with to this day, even though I’ve had plenty of exposure through work and study. I know YouTube is sort of a one-way communication platform, but it’s definitely not easy to just talk to yourself and a camera like a total freak!

Vlogging also provides an opportunity for me to be a little creative. I’m normally an extremely structured person (ask any of my friends). I don’t do creativity normally; it’s far too freeform a type of activity. By engaging in a much more flexible and (I guess) ill-defined pastime, I get to try something different and do something out-of-the-ordinary (well, at a personal level).

Finally, it is a chance to connect. There are billions of people with a trillion stories to share. I don’t see a point of having experiences and not sharing them with others. It is how we learn and grow. I want to be a part of that.

What do you do for a hobby? Why do you like that activity?

Remember, sharing is caring!

Vlog – Ice Skating Amazingness

Although I haven’t done it in a long while, I really do enjoy creating vlogs. Especially when those vlogs involve filming myself while participating in dangerous sports. Like ice skating.

The Alpine Winter Festival is currently on in Brisbane and a friend (who features in the blog) decided ic skating would be a fun idea. Of course I said yes (I love trying new things). Shame I haven’t been ice skating; I should add I am not terribly co-ordinated either.

The result of me attempting to ice skate and vlog simultaneously is included in the video below. Make sure you Like it if you think I am an *amazing* ice skater :)