What Have You Done For You Lately?
For Earth Day this year I decided I was going to try to make a real change by commuting to work under my own power instead of using my car. I’ve been riding a wave of endorphin high as my body goes through the shock of experiencing exercise again for the first time in a long while. I can feel the winter doldrums lifting , and I asked myself: when was the last time I did something that makes a positive change in my life?
Life is full of actions you can categorize as important or urgent. Important activities hold long term improvement while urgent activities scream DO IT NOW but only exist in the moment. A year from now you’ll have a hard time remembering the urgent activities even happened, whereas you might only just be starting to see the benefit from the important activities.
Quoting Stephen R. Covey from 7 Habits:
Activities that time should be spent on:
- increasing production capacity
- relationship building
- recognizing new opportunities
These are things that are not urgent, but important. Things like building relationships, writing a personal mission statement, long-range planning, exercising, preventive maintenance, preparation – all those things we know we need to do, but somehow seldom get around to doing, because they aren’t urgent.
As an internet addict, you can really see this in action with the web sites you visit. Portals like Twitter, Facebook and Friend Feed  all demand your attention RIGHT NOW and all the time. They can be tools for relationship building, but much like how the instant nature of the communication reduces the content of the message, the instant nature of the relationship reduces the strength of the relationship.
In a recent post Giles put page views in perspective:
It’s awesome to get a free burrito every 11,429 times somebody decides to read your blog. But that awesomeness doesn’t translate well to full-time careers, because it’s all too easy to get 11,429 people to visit your blog even though every single one of them realizes they should know better. There are a lot of people reading blogs when they should be chasing their dreams, and there are a lot of bloggers more than happy to waste your whole day. 
I’ve been running Internet Duct Tape for two years now, and this week the blog counter hit 3 million pages served (or 262 burritos). This week I also did something that has a noticeable impact on my life instead of following my routines on cruise control. It felt like it was the first time I’d done that in a while.
I’d like to encourage you to break out of your rut and do something important instead of something urgent.
- Spent time with someone who enriches your life.
- Do something you’ll remember a year from now.
- Listen to some new music you really enjoy.
- Read a kick ass book that leaves you smiling or crying.
- Laugh uncontrollably. 
- I hibernate from December to April.
- Make no mistake though, I *love* these services. It’s hard for them to stay relevant though if you follow to many people.
- But I don’t think it’s fair to compare Jeff and codinghorror.com to Mike Arrington and TechCrunch. Very different beasts.
- If laughing uncontrollably is your rut, then that’s a good rut to have.