My productivity and knowledge management system

This article describes my system for managing tasks and information. This system evolved over the past two and a half decades as I’ve consumed books, podcasts and blog posts on productivity, task management and personal knowledge management.

This system has enabled me to stay relatively sane as I’ve managed up to 20 simultaneous consulting projects across multiple continents.

Year-end reflection for 2023

It is a snowy day in Scotland as I write the first paragraphs of this reflection in December 2023. I’m entering my third year in the UK after emigrating from South Africa. I have continued to make steady progress on several fronts amidst a host of challenges.

I believe in the value of writing and sharing after-action reviews. You can read my previous end-of-year reflections from previous years which show how my career has evolved. Writing my reflections (and journaling daily) helps me to orient myself and reflect on how I must do things differently in the future. My reflections might even help others to learn from my experiences and avoid my mistakes.

AIs cannot produce art; only humans can

This debate has recently arisen several times in conversations with friends following my most recent article on artificial intelligence (AI).

I do not believe that AIs can produce art. This assertion applies to all fields of art such as music, fiction, poetry, drawings and sculpture. I struggle to imagine over 180,000 people attending a 10-week exhibition of the art-like outputs of an AI, whereas they happily did that for a recent Banksy exhibition in Glasgow.

An AI’s algorithmic outputs might produce things that look or sound very good, perhaps even be awe-inspiring or life-changing, but this is not art.

Three challenges when rebooting your career in a new country at age 50

My home is now in Scotland. I emigrated from South Africa about two years ago.

The move has been predictably difficult. Nevertheless, we are 100% satisfied with our decision to move here. We have been proactively integrating into our new home country – forming relationships, embracing the culture, and enjoying the safe and abundant wilderness. We have hope for the future.

Someone recently asked me for advice on moving countries. This article highlights the three challenges we discussed.

Although I anticipated these challenges, I was unaware of how much work they would require to overcome. It would have helped if someone had clearly explained this to me. It would have given me more perspective. I’ve therefore written this article to help anyone thinking of moving to a new country in their middle age.

Year-end reflection for 2022

The year is coming to an end as I write this reflection in early December 2022. It has been a year of adaptation as I worked hard to gain traction in Scotland after moving here from South Africa in 2021. I have learned many things in a short period, as one might expect when moving countries.

This year has been as turbulent as the previous and I have spent too much time following global geopolitics. I am grateful to write this reflection from within an open and healthy democracy.

There is value in sharing after-action reviews. These reviews help me to orient and reflect on how I must do things differently in the future. Although they are reflections on my own journey, you might find something useful in them.

I am satisfied with my move to Scotland. I made the right decision in coming here.

Nine-month reflection on living and working in Scotland after almost five decades in South Africa

Here are some reflections that I wrote at a local coffee shop while contemplating the differences between Scotland and South Africa.

I moved from Cape Town in South Africa to Paisley in Scotland in November 2021. Paisley is a large town near Glasgow.

I am management consultant who helps charities (non-profit organisations) and social enterprises to improve their strategies. This is the perspective that I adopt in this article.

Year end reflection for 2021

The year is coming to an end as I write this reflection in early December. It has been another exhausting year with many changes.

The Covid pandemic still rages around the globe. The new Omicron variant has recently been identified by South African scientists. While vaccines, lockdowns and other measures have managed to stabilise the pandemic, the socio-economic impacts have been especially severe for poorer countries.

This article contains my end-of-year reflection for 2021. I believe in the value of openly sharing my after-action reviews.

I write these reviews to help orient myself and reflect on how I must do things differently in the future.

This has been a year of massive change for me, and I moved countries in early November.

It is so much easier to destroy than to build

I remain distraught and saddened by the recent events in South Africa – the mass rioting and looting that afflicted KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng.

It has been a traumatic series of weeks for millions of South Africans and I recently mentioned how distressed I was by these events.

The situation has somewhat stabilized thanks to the good work of communities, police and SANDF troops. However, the news is fraught with stories of the consequences of this attempted insurrection that occurred over the course of these past weeks. Humanitarian work has begun to alleviate the present suffering and help rebuild.

On the 16th July 2021, President Ramaphosa described the destruction as a result of a “deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democratic order”.

This cataclysmic event led me to one conclusion – it is hundreds of times easier and quicker to destroy than it takes to create! It has also challenged my hope in South Africa.

Nevertheless, there are some key shifts that would bring some hope to my country.

Feeling distressed about the rioting and looting that is taking place in South Africa

Rioting and looting has engulfed parts of South Africa in July 2021. KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng provinces are currently the most affected.

These riots appear to have morphed into a short-sighted destruction of infrastructure and thousands of businesses. The news is full of images of mass looting. People even seem to be driving to distant shopping malls and warehouses to steal without remorse.

I am very distressed by it. I am unclear about how I can influence the outcome of what is happening. It is a struggle to retain hope right now. The people that I have spoken with feel the same.

Here are my thoughts on the matter.

End-of-year reflection for 2020

The year is coming to an end. It has been a crazy year as I am sure we’ll all agree. Few of us would have expected a pandemic to rampage across the globe. Covid-19 has accelerated many good and bad trends. It has left millions of people more vulnerable than before. It has also revealed some opportunities for governments, businesses and non-profit organizations to improve their reach and positive impact.

This article contains my end-of-year reflection for 2020. I believe in the value of ‘after action reviews’ and in sharing them openly so others can learn.

This has been a good year for me overall. While my income has decreased, as one would expect in the midst of a pandemic, I managed to make several changes that placed me in a stronger position than I was at the beginning of the year. I’m looking forward to 2021.

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