Redacted — Why I unpublished 358 blog posts

I’ve been blogging since 2004. I started off on a service called Xanga, then moved over to self-hosted WordPress in 2007. When I made the move I imported all my old posts to my new blog, so all told on my personal website (including this post) I’ve published a grand total of 607 posts. Over the past two weeks I’ve systematically gone through all my blog posts, auditing them against strict criteria. I ended up unpublishing well over half of the entries.

Redacted

I’ve been working on a blog post for The Navigators Collegiate Communications Handbook Blog on the need for our Navigator campus ministers to be careful with what they post online for the sake of their ministry efforts. It got me thinking about the things I’ve published online for all the world to see, whether on this blog, another website, or on social media. Some of those posts and updates were crafted with painstaking care; others were put out there in haste. I decided that if I was going to tell our 800+ Collegiate Navigator staff that they needed to be proactive with auditing past content then I needed to take my own advice.

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Availability, Creativity, and Momentum

I know I’ve been unusually quiet here over the past several weeks. This morning I stopped to consider how it could have been nearly a month since I last published a post to my personal blog. I made a few observations.

When I write something—and it could be anything: a blog post, an email, a handwritten letter—the three things I need in ample supply are availability, creativity, and momentum. I can usually make myself available if I say no when I ought to. It’s the other two that are often more difficult to conjure up. I’m envious of some of my friends who seem to have an endless supply of remarkable creativity. But even when I have a great idea that I’d like to explore I often find that overcoming the inertia in my soul brought on by life’s busyness and challenges is more than I can handle. This is where I’ve been this past month.

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The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

I recently read a great blog post by Greg McKeown of The Harvard Business Review Blog Network titled “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” He talks about a theory he calls the clarity paradox, which has four phases.

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

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The Freedom to be Disinterested

Yesterday I read a compelling blog post by Andre Torrez in which he writes that he no longer tells people he’s busy. Instead he gets to the heart of the matter.

So the final piece I have been working on is never telling people I am busy. Because no, I am not busy. Yes, I have a lot of stuff to do, but I leave it at the office after work and on the weekends. I have many things I am interested in, but I can always make room for something if it is worth doing.

Rather than say: “I am too busy, I don’t have any time for X.” I realize I can be honest and say I am not interested enough in X to do it.

I see this as a huge paradigm shift. Instead of blaming my unavailability on my schedule, making it the villain and me its helpless victim, I could take ownership of the decision by making a value statement. Of course this approach could end up making me the villain, right? I imagine that’s why it seems so radical. Who wants to voluntarily put themselves in that position?

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Five Ways I’m Improving My Personal System

Ask anyone who knows me well (or anyone familiar with the INTJ personality type) and they’ll tell you I’m a man of systems. I’m constantly asking, “Does it work?” and trying to make improvements to eliminate any friction where I find it. Lately much of my mental and emotional energy has been channeled into trying to figure out how to live life well again. Change has been a constant in 2012. The routines, structures, and systems I’d built my day-to-day existence on for years have become outmoded. I’ve been focusing on five ways I can improve my personal system for the new season I’m in.

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