Open Thinkering


Category: 100DaysToOffload

Reflecting on #100DaysToOffload

Last April I completed a #100DaysToOffload challenge. The results can be found here.

Although I did not do the 100 days consecutively, the expectation to write one hundred blog posts within a calendar year focused the mind somewhat. I wrote about things that I’m sometimes hesitant, for one reason or another, to post here — or that I sometimes include in commentary over at Thought Shrapnel.

As I documented in the first weeknote of this year, my past year review of 2021 led me to a decision to avoid spending time on Twitter and LinkedIn. This was mainly to do with how they make me feel; in the case of Twitter it makes me angry, and in the case of LinkedIn it makes me sad.

Mastodon and the Fediverse I feel more neutral about. Posting there seems like a good place for semi-ephemeral thoughts, but there’s nothing like publishing something in a space that you own. In addition, writing something on a blog lends an expectation of coherence and attention to spelling/grammar that isn’t always there on social media.

So, as with much of what I write here, this is a note to myself to lower the bar for the kinds of things that can appear here inbetween my regular weeknotes. It’s useful, for example, to be able to immediately respond with a blog post when someone asks how to plan a workshop. Or to remind myself how I felt a year after a friend died. Or perhaps to remind myself that side projects are worth doing.

Is there anything that you, increasingly-rare visitor to this forest clearing, would like me to write about? Let me know in the comments below 😊

100 days of #100DaysToOffload

It took me 307 days to complete the #100DaysToOffload challenge, mainly because I didn’t include my weeknotes and (until recently) I also published posts at Thought Shrapnel. I wrote about all kinds of things, from privacy to project management, and from Stoicism to new side projects.

During the time period covered by this challenge, I’ve quit a job, dealt with internal strife in our co-op, turned 40, moved Mastodon instance and Linux distribution, spent some time learning about how to be antiracist and about non-violent communication, worked a lot with charities on digital projects and transformation, and come out of and gone back into, lockdown. It’s been pretty intense, when I think about it! Thankfully I managed to stay in pretty good mental shape due to having started CBT pre-pandemic.

Here is a full list of the posts I wrote during that time period:

  1. #100DaysToOffload: Day 1 – Introduction
  2. Practice what you preach
  3. Managing projects is about understanding context
  4. How I use analogue notebooks
  5. A tour of my #realworldhomeoffice
  6. Sounds from a #realworldhomeoffice
  7. Time for a more sustainable blog theme
  8. Sort-of breaking up with Cloudflare
  9. The perfect non-technical book on decentralisation?
  10. Just write.
  11. Rules to live by
  12. Liquid society?
  13. Perfectionism
  14. Moving on
  15. HOWTO: Create radically smaller images for your minimalist blog
  16. Living a good life is not a theoretical exercise
  17. Musonius Rufus on meat
  18. Opinions and preferences
  19. One year.
  20. Things could be worse
  21. Lies and misinformation
  22. Identity, obedience, and social media
  23. Three internets?
  24. We’re the real losers of realtime behavioural advertising auctions
  25. Herd immunity for privacy
  26. Keeping it simple
  27. Experimenting with the MAF method
  28. Giving consent
  29. Moving Mastodon instance
  30. Climate ch-ch-ch-changes
  31. Strengths and schooling
  32. The auto-suggested life is not worth living
  33. Remaining unmanaged
  34. Kettled by Big Tech?
  35. Temporarily embarrassed influencers
  36. Letting go of my pre-pandemic self
  37. 3 advantages of consent-based decision making
  38. Changing desktop environment in Pop!_OS
  39. Deleting my Patreon account
  40. What’s the purpose of Philosophy?
  41. What do we mean by ‘the economy’?
  42. An incredible example of societal collapse
  43. We’re not even citizens, just independent contractors
  44. Rejecting the ideas hamster
  45. New habits die easily
  46. Working out loud is noisy
  47. NVC and FONT
  48. Running with the wolves
  49. Learning through frustration
  50. The state of professional social networking: a personal history
  51. Lying in bed with Marcus Aurelius and Mahatma Gandhi, thinking about work
  52. How to plan a workshop in 10 steps
  53. Marcus Aurelius on character
  54. Baltasar Gracián on patience
  55. 10 ways to Build Back Better
  56. Introspection, truth, and error
  57. Our better natures
  58. How to build ideological products that delight users
  59. The Ice Cream Fork of Productisation
  60. What I do when I don’t know what to do
  61. Spatial video conferencing with self-organised breakout rooms
  62. What’s your favourite month?
  63. (A)synchronous project updates within organisations
  64. Convenience, UX, and ethics
  65. Define your audience or your product will (probably) fail
  66. Give and you shall receive
  67. The self-cannibalisation of ideas and experience
  68. Are you OK?
  69. Skin in the game?
  70. Who are you without the doing?
  71. The cash value of truth
  72. No more performative professionalism
  73. Current optimization is long-term anachronism
  74. 5 things I’ve learned this (work) year
  75. My favourite posts of 2020
  76. Free Software and two forms of liberty
  77. 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years.
  78. What day is it? What date?
  79. Christmas slobbing about
  80. My two biggest insights from last year
  81. Everything flows
  82. The end of competition
  83. Power and paths
  84. The (monetary) value of a university education during a pandemic
  85. Solving for complexity
  86. Investing in decentralised crypto file storage
  87. Trust no-one: why ‘proof of work’ is killing the planet as well as us
  88. Introducing, my new side project
  89. Refactoring
  90. HOWTO: Install Firefox on Chrome OS
  91. Everyone has an eschatology
  92. The role of the man who foresees is a sad one
  93. Proof-of-What?
  94. New side project:
  95. Refactoring
  96. Inputs and outputs
  97. How to subscribe to
  98. Another new side project:
  99. Iterating
  100. Unsettling

Oddly enough, I made two mistakes in numbering — one towards the beginning of the challenge (skipping a number) and once towards the end (repeating a number). Happily, these cancel each other out. I’m not going through the ones inbetween to rectify the numbering as, in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. There’s 100 posts there, no matter which way you look at it!

This post is Day 101 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at Image by Sharon McCutcheon.


Dithered image of glass of water on edge of table

Some mornings, I get up and read Stoic philosophy and a book of aphorisms. It used to be all mornings, and then most, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”.

However, it is another of Emerson’s quotations that I want to focus on in this post, one that’s been rolling around my brain for the last week or so:

People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Settled’ is an interesting word, with many meanings. You can, after all, settle an argument, settle a bill, settle down and raise a family, settle into an armchair, and settle your affairs. To my mind, each definition has an air of being responsible, grown up, ‘conservative’ (with a small ‘c’).

In my own life I’ve definitely felt the pull to be settled. I suppose I am settled, in many regards: we’ve lived in the same house for seven years now — longer than I’ve lived anywhere, other than the house in which I grew up.

For me, there is a balance to be had between being settled in one area of my life and being unsettled in others. Being unsettled is where the sparkley-eyed creative drive comes from, the thing that I can only describe as a ‘wonder factory’. Without that turbulence in my life, I become hollowed-out, an empty husk of a man counting down my days.

To what extent, though, is it up to me to unsettle other people? If I recognise in myself that a need to balance areas in which I’m settled and those in which I’m unsettled, how do I know when it’s appropriate to go about prodding others?

Perhaps, and I suppose this is my get-out-of-jail-free card, by writing about unsettling things, people can opt-in if and when they’re ready. Interestingly, two of my three recent side projects ( and have been on the unsettling side of things.

Finally, it’s worth noting to myself that being settled in my home life allows me to do unsettling things at work. This is a note to future Doug that when I’m unsettled with things outside of work, it’s time to do more ‘settled’ things in work.

This post is Day 100 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at