I tend to “heart” tweets for only a few days - using them as bookmarks until I've had time to read the links they contain or engage fully with a topic. Other tweets hang around: they are saved there for ages, coming up each time I open Tweetdeck, acting as regular reminders - mantra is too strong a word, but maybe that's the idea. I realised today that I've been mulling over several ideas that come together almost as one story.

The first tweet - a quote from the unbelievably good Netflix series Sense8 - begins the story:

The full quote is from Anton - “Life is just five things: eating, drinking, shitting, fucking and fighting for more.” I've had that quote saved for a while and I've (mis)quoted it to a few people too. The quote sets the scene and the challenges faced by the characters in this jaw-droppingly beautiful and complex series.

In spite of the animalistic element of truth, humans are so much more the quote says. This quote made me think of the lower sections of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. I tried to explain Maslow to my daughter - it might not be perfect but here's an adapted, simplified, emoji version:

Content designers in my team at work frequently talk about Maslow, and it's been used as a tool to grade the importance of the comparative needs for some bits of content. I've been thinking about Maslow in a slighly different way - can Maslow's needs form a framework for prioritising what you do in your own life each day? To do lists are great but working your own personal priorities can be tough sometimes. Could you look at each day like this?:

Make creativity fun
Learn skills education reading writing math
Love community friends family volunteering
Secure money (a job) welfare health safety internet home fitness space
Live food water shelter clothing sleep


Just looking at this I realise that I am weighted too heavily on things on the upper levels of the pyramid and spend too little effort/time on things like getting quality sleep or being fit/healthy. (Health for me needs me to be spending less time sitting: 6h or more sitting is a sedentary lifestyle and I probably sit 12h on an average.)

For Live, I want to cook better food.

For Secure, I want to be fit, make improvements to our house and garden better, and have a job that works for my family as well as paying well.

For Love, more family time. I also want to have more friends round for dinner; to be more social. And to go to more gigs - always room for more gigs! On the community side of things, I want to spend more time volunteering by helping more at school events, BEG events and RE:Act collections. Maybe even leading a future BEG expedition to an island in Scotland (Colonsay or Harris) or even the Faroe Isles.

And then there's Learn and Make - so many ambitions here!

The next tweet is a short one but it actually has so much behind it:

Partly I like this simply because it echoes Trainspotting's “Choose Life” but it's more than that. The account is a "corporate tagline" generator bot, written by the most awesome @undermanager (AKA Russell Davies). I was grateful to have met many lovely people at DotEveryone last summer, and Russell was one. "Choose Progress" could really be seen as a way of simplifying the entire agile development cycle - you build something, you test it, you learn and you go back to the build stage. These are just the steps for working iteratively... and working iterativey is just about seeking out progress. "Design. Build. Test." is perhaps a model to be adopted for more than just code - the model for improving the whole organisation - the individual - not just the work they do.

Another tweet covers the 7D workflow:

This tweet totally misses the loop back with testing but that's not needed here - the dream and the delight aspects bookend the entire process... imagine a happy future, and then show what's possible.

And that brings us to the philosophy of doing. I used to think that if stuff doesn’t work out that I could still be a barista - I was pretty good at that when I worked at Pret whilst at university. But the flipside to that kind of thinking is not to get good at the menial stuff, you’ll get stuck in it. In work and at home we can always do better but the trick is to hold the standard and not to let it slip back. Choose progress. We are more than just our animal needs but it takes effort, patience and practice to lift ourselves.