Basket full of info 1

Interest Hoarding or The Basket by my Bed

I have a very bad habit of interest-hoarding.  What this means is that I have a seemingly endless appetite for things I would like to be doing, reading, or making at any given time, and this list of things is invariably far too long for the number of hours in the day, week, or even my lifetime that it would take to actually delve very deeply into any of them.

So rather than make little piles around my bedroom, (which is really also my home office.  True Confession: my favourite workspace is in bed, lots of pillows, surrounded by input devices which includes:  a 13″ MacBook air.  An iPad mini.  An iPhone 5 – yes, I suffer from an unhealthy alliance to all things Apple – and a notebook.  Well, also a stack of blank index cards and a sharpie.  And maybe some yellow stickie notes.  But I digress.) I keep one basket beside the bed.  Into this basket I place a limited number of things that I would like to attend to during the week.  If, by the end of the week, I have not attended to those things, they may lose their spot in the basket in favour of a new [book/project/magazine/insert-interest-hoarder-appropriate nugget here]

It is an effort to contain the hoard to one limited space: a mini interest hoard, if you will.

What I am going to do is describe the contents of the basket at the beginning of each week. Why would I do this?  Doesn’t this sound suspiciously self-indulgent, akin to posting pictures of plates of food on Instagram?  Perhaps.  But I have 3 good reasons:

1) This will force me to be selective of the items that ‘make it’ into the basket.  Knowing that these mini information hoards are going to be public, they may become more realistic and less aspirational.

2) Taking a photo of my basket each week will keep me honest in terms of actually diving in and reading/writing/otherwise engaging with/ the information hoard

3) There may be some interesting reads in the basket and a mini review of those reads might be of interest to you.

And so: this first introductory week’s Interest Hoard, the Basket by my Bed, contains

  • a knitting project: a pair of socks, knitted two-at-a-time on one 40″ Addi Sock Rocket circular needle, in Noro Taiyo Sock colorway S8
  • SAMS Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours: I’ve recently taken a couple of great MOOC’s on Python programming and am determined to write a little code every day.  So far I’m batting about 10.
  • The Happiness Project: a gift received this Xmas from my Q Media Solutions Secret Santa, the very capable Steven Field.  This is a great read for the new year.  It’s very easy to pick it up and power through a chapter in wait times or those moments between doing other things when I should be blogging.
  • My Notebook.  Latest entry: My Git repository login and a wireframe for this blog.
  • Magazines:  wow, I have…how many issues of Rotman Magazine??  It would be a miracle if I read even one article from one of these bad boys during the week.  However, one of the most useful articles I have read in a long while was an interview in Rotman with Aaron Shapiro on his book “Users not Customers”.  I bought the book, and even read the book. Shapiro makes a compelling case for how we really need to adapt our businesses, business models, and communication styles to the internet.  This is a very useful argument for me in my line of work and some of this thinking formed the foundation for our video series, “Pull”.

Okay, so that’s not even everything.  Week 1 lesson learned: An interest Hoard is only useful inasmuch as it is actually small enough to tackle.  Note to self: cull the hoard.  Stay tuned for The Basket by My Bed, part deux.  And tell me: what’s in your hoard?


4 thoughts on “Interest Hoarding or The Basket by my Bed

  1. James

    First of all, it’s great to see you back, Christine, and I’m looking forward to reading a lot more about what you’ve been up to in recent years.

    I envy you your small basket. Mine is about the size of a clothes hamper and so tall that I can’t see beneath the first couple of layers most of the time. Every once in a while I dig into it and kid myself that I am moving older stuff up toward the top, but I never get around to very much of it regardless, and the top layer looks suspiciously similar from one such “rotation” to the next. It’s mostly books and magazines, plus a few notebooks that are supposed to be subject-specific, but typically I just grab the one closest to the top when I get an idea, meaning that I can never find it later when I want to go back to it. I keep telling myself that this is very exciting – after all, there could be just about ANYTHING in there – but in reality it becomes more and more daunting with each passing day as new stuff gets added.

  2. Christine

    Thanks for your note James. One thing I do hope to achieve by logging my “Interest Hoard” each week is to kind of dig through it and keep it fresh, always kind of know what’s in there. The basket is really just a tiny subset of the rest of the house, which is full of books, magazines, and internet-enabled computers just waiting to be explored 🙂

    What kinds of notes and ideas do you keep in your hoard?

    1. James

      I’m a writer, so I’m always on the lookout for something to write about, and I have a lot of different subjects I’m interested in potentially delving into; these usually don’t get beyond the conceptual stage, if they even get that far, but I can never get over the idea that these subject-specific notebooks (History/Politics/News, Fiction, Criticism/Analysis, Offbeat/Humor and, inevitably, “THE NOVEL”) will come in handy some day. (I know, I sound like Anna in “The Golden Notebook” – but, alas, my ramblings aren’t half as revelatory as hers were.) It’s possible that they still might; I’m still in the training stages here (I haven’t sold anything yet), so I’m not ready to give up on it so easily.

      Like you, I’ve always liked the idea of culling out a special subset of high-priority stuff from the whole; my problem is that I get too enthusiastic about too many things at the same time, or I tend to develop “projects” in my head that are grandiose, overarching things in which many, many books, articles, sources, etc., COULD play a significant role and should all be at hand. Then I get overwhelmed. It’s a lot of fun sometimes – but probably not too efficient. I’m looking forward to reading more about your efforts in this direction, and hopefully taking some inspiration from them. I’ve already unearthed a couple old things from my “basket” that I had forgotten I even had, so that’s a good start… 🙂

  3. Chuck

    Yeah I need to slim down the interest basket simply because I cannot afford all my hobbies. Gaming, Tech, Programming, RC Models, Miniature Painting, Writing, Story Telling, Comic Book Creation, Auto Mechanics, Cycling, Disc Golf….. Its kind of ridiculous.

    The real hoard falls into three things which I am trying to limit. Cycling, I have three bicycles, a recumbent, a carbon road bike, and a Mountain Bike. A bike trailer rounds this out so I can go shopping or drag the kid around to places I want to go under pedal power.

    Tech: Tablets, Smart Phones, Macbooks (I too love a lot of apples), parts, wires, and screens galore fill a small closet so many projects can be done at several times. I currently am working on getting the componentry to build a web and email server on a Raspberry Pi and run it as well as all my internet goodies on a solar power cell on my porch. Its a STRECH goal but one that is very important to me and should be important to ALL people of the world.

    GAMING: I love social games. Face to face personal sit around a table or possibly online with webcams and play some games. Role Playing Games like D&D or Pathfinder, boardgames from that little nerdy section of your local TARGET (Carcossone, Ticket to Ride, Eclipse ETC ETC), and miniature table top battle games similar to RISK but far more involved. A good resource for excellent board games is BOARD GAME GEEK.

    These things can really clog up our space and since I am working towards mortgage free off grid tiny home living I will certainly need to curtail these junk filled projects.

    BTW I am an IT Administrator working towards certs and some way to do remote consulting of some kind so i can stay at home where I am needed more. So any advice on a direction out of the 9-5 trap would be greatly appreciated. Shoot maybe I could hire you to consult me on my web presence and a ways to get to my family’s goals.


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