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Day 24 - Peripheral

Level 8

Full disclosure: I’m not an especially tech-y person, despite working for SolarWinds. So, when I chose peripheral for this challenge, the first thing that came to mind wasn’t a peripheral device, but peripheral vision.

With the end of each year comes the inevitable onslaught of “here’s why 201X was the worst year ever and everything is terrible!!!” blogs popping up on social media. Clickbait aside, we can all probably agree that 2017 has been a particularly topsy-turvy year.

And when so many issues are constantly hitting you in the face, a lot of stuff essentially gets lost in your peripheral vision. Things that are stuck in the back of your mind but just out of sight—the “yeah, let’s totally get coffee sometime!” half-promise you made to a college friend you ran into at the grocery store; the season of that one Netflix show you do actually want to watch but keep forgetting; the thing you keep telling yourself you’re going to learn but do mental gymnastics to avoid. (“I’m totally going to learn how to code,” I say to myself once about every three months, opening up Codecademy for a solid half hour before deciding that I’ll do it tomorrow. Spoiler alert: I don’t.)

The thing is, plans stuck in the peripheral aren’t necessarily obligations or things we actively want to avoid. More often than not, they’re actually things we want to do but can’t for whatever reason. I do want to catch up with old friends. I do want to finish season 2 of Stranger Things (… two months late). And I do want to learn how to code, cook, and maybe crochet (if only to complete the alliteration trifecta). So, what’s stopping us? What keeps these things stuck in the peripheral?

In my experience, when you routinely put off fun things you actually want to do, having fun almost turns into this weird, scary obligation. It’d be easy to end this with “you’re the only one stopping yourself,” but I think that trivializes how easy it is to get swamped with life. So rather than jumping to platitudes, I think it’s better to take a step back and figure out how you can take small steps to escape the scary spiral of procrastinating the “fun stuff.”

Instead of saying “Let’s get coffee sometime!” to a friend, I'm starting to say “Let’s get coffee! Are you free Saturday?” And sometimes I have to compromise with myself: “Okay, yes, you can eat cup noodles for dinner tonight, but this weekend you’re going to cook something fancy and feel totally proud of yourself for it.” It feels weird to say that I’m actively making an effort to have fun, but hey, that’s life.

This perpetual balancing act between work and play is especially relevant given the holiday season. A recent Nathan Hubbard (Ticketmaster CEO) tweet​ and its subsequent backlash is an interesting example of just how ingrained the idea(/expectation) of overworking yourself to the point of burnout has become. Work is important, but I think many of us undermine just how necessary it is to take a step back, breathe, and relax—even if you’re like me and have to mentally “schedule” your fun.

David Heinemeier Hansson’s response to this tweet is an especially poignant read, and I think he sums it up best here:

“What really gets my goat, though, is that [hustling] doesn’t even work. You’re not very likely to find that key insight or breakthrough idea north of the 14th hour. Creativity, progress, and impact does not yield easily or commonly to brute force.”

What things have gotten lost in your “peripheral vision” this year? And how do you tackle making time for the fun stuff in the midst of end-of-year craziness?

Level 14

I like your interpretation of events that keep getting put off as being in your peripheral vision. I'm guilty of myself a lot this year; catching up with people, watching that lab video, watching that Netflix series everyone keeps telling me about, installing X beta, starting that exercise routine, and so on. I think I will try your idea sometime, wait, what I meant was "I will start that Netflix series on Wednesday".

Level 11

rainyscherm You have just described me by telling us about yourself. I can totally relate to this post. I have so much energy at the start when I am making my to-do list and then end up having them on my not-done list. Having fun these days feels like something that should planned not something that happens spontaneously. A lot of things I had planned to achieve this year have to be moved to next year but the important thing I tell myself is that slow and steady wins the race. Thanks for this interesting post.

Level 21

This word references things "at the edge".  The edge of your vision, attached to the edge of a computer, etc.

For me, "peripheral" always associates with vision--seeing things just outside of the frame of focus, on the edge of vision--seen through the corner of the eye, while looking directly ahead.

But the word "peripherals", emphasis on the trailing "s", always means accessories attached to a computer.

It's a short jump from there to "periphery"


And from periphery, I'm always off to "porphery", which is often used in building sidewalks and walls out of "pavers".


Then it's a toss-up--will I go to porpoise, or perimeter.  If I could come back in a new life as a new animal, it would be a porpoise or dolphin.  But the original word here was peripheral, and that connects to the perimeter, so the ocean will have to wait its turn for my attend.

And thus I've built my circular logic wall, and I'm enclosed by a perfectly peripheral porphyry-paved perimeter!

Level 9

Level 11


Level 10

Something in your peripheral vision is either being passed by you or is about to overtake you; either way, the eye doesn't pick up detail about it, merely that it's there and might need attention. What's in your periphery?

Level 12

Peripheral vision can blind side you.

Level 13

Just like we experience with our vision things on the the peripheral are not in focus so to the people at the peripheral of your life don't get as much focus. The brain resources used to process the visual input of what is in focus is emblematic of the time spent with those we focus on. It doesn't make those on the edges less important in the world, just less so to you. Things at your peripheral vision are really grey scale, it is just the physics of our vision, and it is our brain that fills in the color. This can happen too with those we don't focus on. We make up the rest of their stories and motives in our minds so it makes sense to us. If we really want to see or know someone we must focus our time and attention on them.

Level 15

Peripheral is something i also think about related to vision.   being mostly blind in my right eye, I only have the peripheral vision which keep my vision good.   I see what beside me just not what is in front with my right eye, left eye is fine, thus i am looking ahead and staying in the now all at the same time.  

Level 9

I need to focus on the people in my life to keep them from becoming peripheral.  Friendships take effort to keep them active and healthy.  Family members need time and attention, not sitting in the same room looking at small screens and not looking at each other, but actually interacting.  I never think about my printer, until it doesn't work.

Level 16

Interesting perspective. Ever since the birth of my son 6 years ago I have been actively trimming these "things", aka distractions, from my life. Thus reducing my peripherals. For many activities and tasks I use my time/$$$ equation. How much is my time worth vs. How much time will it require to complete this task? Example: Fixing a lawnmover, changing my oil, painting a room, etc. Depending on the outcome of the equation I will outsource it and then choose to spend the time saved more productively. The drawback to this approach is that from the outside your life can seem boring. I don't have a lot of hobbies. I like what I like. Love what I love. And I read a lot... but not a lot about one topic. I read more articles than I do books.

  Often I have questioned this life choice, usually when I meet fascinating people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. I envision them with a lot of peripherals at their disposal. There is a trade-off with having lots of peripherals in your life. When they are working for you then your life can be all things productive, efficient, techy and cool. But when they start failing then all their value can be wiped away and can actually sink into the negative as you lose time, and money, invested into getting them fixed. This is the risk of peripherals.

And cool, so SolarWinds hires non-techy people? SO there's hope for me yet?  <wink>

Level 12

I like safety glasses that will cover the sides or the peripheral of my vision.

Eyesight is important.

Level 15

Years ago I read a book called "The Tyranny of the Urgent." This makes me think of periphery - we so often get caught out taking care of the urgent things that the really important ones get neglected. Keeping focused on what is truly important is critical in all of life. It's said that the person that fails to plan, plans to fail and so it is with our day to day vision. Do we come in with a clear focus and plan or do we let our eyes wander and chase things that may or may not be important.

Level 10

Didn't have anything deep and/or meaningful for this one so here's a meme:


Level 10

No knowledge is useless, even peripheral knowledge can lead to significant innovative ideas.

Level 8

Viewing "peripherals" as a trade-off is a really interesting take on this! There's definitely risk involved when they stack up and you have too many at your disposal—IMO, there's nothing wrong with trimming away distractions and knowing what you like, loving what you love, etc. I wrote all of this as a single 20-something with no kids and only a chubby cat to take care of, so of course my priorities and responsibilities are vastly different than someone in a different stage of life. It's been interesting reading other people's perspectives in the comments!

And cool, so SolarWinds hires non-techy people? SO there's hope for me yet?  <wink>

I'm your friendly neighborhood copy editor! Aka, the person who adds a bunch of Oxford commas to people's writing.

Level 12

My home computer has so many peripheral devices attached to it the thing looks like its on life support. I actually have no USB ports left to plug anything into if I wanted to add something else. The joys of being a gamer! lol.

I make use of all of them on a regular basis too so none of them are wasted or unnecessary.

Peripheral devices allow us to expand upon the functionality of the device they being added onto, and allow us to customize it's functionality and even appearance. It does not matter if it is a web cam on a pc, a scope on a gun, or a new set of saddle bags on your bike.

Level 16

I agree with miseri​, but I myself am not in that boat. I always chase my periphery, as I've been taught to do being a musician my whole life. So, I'm always focusing half on what's in front of me and half on what's on the fringe - which inevitably ends in burnout either way and a purge/rebalance eventually - but every time I do so I feel like I'm learning better and better balance. I think it just means I've not found the right...method with which to manage my periphery.

Level 11

designerfx​ Most of us are still looking for the "right method" but until then, I guess we have to go with how we to know to do it best.

Level 16

I feel like you could even ask 20 people how they manage their side hobbies and you'd still get 20 answers blended between 3-4 common trends.

Level 14

Peripheral devices are extensions of the original device. Each extension has a purpose.

Peripheral vision is an important tool. It keeps you aware of things that can enter from the side..... it can save you from a disaster or keep you on course.

Level 15

wow. what a solid post! especially at year’s end when we all are apt to rememiner the things we’ve lowered in priority as we make resolutions for the new year.

something that i heard a long time ago was brought to mind in this thread: “we all have the same 24 hours every day. how you choose to spend yours is your business, but you can’t say ‘I don’t have time’. you have time, and you have choices”

Level 11

designerfx​ That's right!

Level 12

Busy time of year. The wife and I just had to sit down and say:

Alright, we can't do all of this. What can we skip.

We didn't feel any worse for wear on those occasions and actually enjoyed the free time at home.

Level 9

in computer, webcams and microphones are called peripheral devices

Level 12

What are the required peripherals? Do they need peripherals not within the specification document?

Level 9

Very guilty of putting things off that I would love to do. I have a backlog of games I want to play, movies and TV shows to watch, the list goes on and on! My wife and I haven't even started Game of Thrones!

Level 21

It's funny because before reading this when I saw the word Peripheral I thought of the exact same thing, peripheral vision.  Specifically I thought about all of the projects at work that get stuck in my peripheral vision due to the constant flood of tasks I receive on a daily basis and the frequent context switching that eats away at my time.  I often go into work with a day planned out to tackle some of the things in my peripheral vision but the day then never ends up going the way that I planned.

Level 19

I like byrona​ am often surprised to find out my planned out day gets distracted by something in the periphery.  It's really frustrating some days!

Level 12

Planning is very important before starting your daily tasks, you might not achieve all that you planned to do in a day but you will at least get half of your tasks done.

Level 10

Why is it when I think of peripheral, I imagine myself in the eye doctors office clicking that darn button ever time I see a line appear. 

Level 10