This page shares my analysis work; it breaks down not only what I have/have not learned or achieved, but why. In the design process, the analysis stage allows us to move closer to making decisions based on the surveying and observation work we have undertaken. These tasks have enabled me to see patterns, which I am able to then design interventions to address.
As part of analysing my own patterns, I surveyed patterns and behaviours no longer serving me and presented them in this mindmap below:
To analyse why certain areas of my life have been neglected and which goals I did not achieve in my pre-capstone year, I created this spreadsheet here. It notes the neglected area & unmet goal then tries to identify the root of why. Categories include:
- Time prioritisation - ‘parking’ it/delaying/moving it
- Time prioritisation (unconscious) - not giving something attention due to poor time management e.g. Not consciously making a decision about it
- Cost - financial barrier or justification for not doing something
- Linked to identity/politics/worldview - a psychological/attitudinal barrier to still work through
- Parked/strategic decision - Very conscious decision to delay, stop or not start something
- No practical projects to make learning useful/a priority - action learning opportunity not easily accessible to consolidate learning or justify energy investment
To evaluate how well I am managing my time and promises, I analysed my ‘next action forms' to observe which tasks were not being completed and any other patterns that emerged. I also completed this online self-assessment tool here (Mindtools.com, 2015). These tasks helped me to identify my edges. Generally, however, I am very effective at managing my time.
- Improving prioritisation - getting done the most important, high value tasks, especially larger, project-related tasks, such as grant applications
- Managing interruptions & sustaining focus especially in regards to phone calls/texts and emails.
- Overcoming design procrastination & being over dependent on parkinson’s law
- More accurately estimating loadings and scheduling more accurately how long things will take
- Designing more ‘buffers’ into my timetable
- Prioritising time for rest, play and land based activities
- Improving my delegation and asking for more support when needed
- Improving my ability to say no in all areas of my life
- Optimising my tasks with my daily energy cycles, as well as natural cycles such as moon cycles, seasons and so forth.
FURTHER DETAIL (NOT INCLUDED IN WORDCOUNT):
|Area||Gains during Pre-Cap phase||Edges|
||Type up notes/workshop designs/entries immediately after events|
|Output creation||More OPs created/enhanced learning - more realistic loadings estimates||Prioritise OP creation more, plan in blocks of time for OP related work|
|Output design||Detailed OP plans create more focus||Overambitious nature of OP designs/need to be more realistic or focused, SMARTer goals|
|Book Notes||Instead of typing book notes, only type key quotes & mindmap books instead||Utilising technological apps|
|Self Care||Tracking system using reflection forms allows me to see self care gains||Prioritising self care/nourishing activities (not dropping them for organising)|
|Computer work||Post it note placed on computer before I turn it on so I know exactly what I’m using it for||Still loosing time to distractions especially internet searching|
|Email management||Successfully reduced email time per day through spam minimisation & focused email time. Attitude change to emails - “I’m communicating & collaborating with people all over the world” (not a chore!)||Focus on reducing this further|
|Next Actions||Developed next actions form. Changed my life!||Re-design form so emails not at the top|
Spend one evening a month mindmapping all my projects & tasks for the month
Plan my week on a Sunday evening
Develop a monthly review system
Develop weekly planning & review form
|ICal Scheduling||Utilising ical system to book appointments/schedule things||Use ical more skillfully to design workload. Block book more things e.g. Project work vs next actions|
|Tracking||Created different tracking forms for each output period - extremely effective||Develop form for current OPs e.g. OP5, LIPD|
|Batch Processing||Booking train tickets/prison visits etc at once||Allocate time in ical for batch processing tasks|
|In/archive tray||In tray for ‘in’, archive for things to be filed. File everything once a month.||Reduce paperwork input to minimise need for filing|
I created a spreadsheet to help me thoroughly evaluate the financial (strongly linked to energetic and time) investments I am making in my learning pathway. Read it here.
My original learning contract that I created in my LIPD, stated I wished to invest a minimum of 16 hours per week in self-directed learning. As I have not tracked the number of hours I have invested, it is difficult to quantify, however I have observed:
- My action-learning projects e.g. Feed Avalon, Prison projects etc certainly involve huge amounts of energy investment.
- I read relentlessly - books, pdfs, journals - these tend to correlate with my time traveling, especially my weekly journeys to London for prison visits.
- Output creation generally takes at least one month from start to finish, with a scrum-pause pattern.
- I would like to significantly increase the time I spend on output work, the main barrier being earning an income.
These observations have supported me to design an improved learning support system for myself for my capstone year.
Through tracking my life so thoroughly during my pre-capstone year, I am able to observe the patterns in my life that contribute to when I am feeling joyful, happy, stressed, depressed and exhausted. Below is a very brief overview of my observations, you can see the longer version here.
• When connecting with close friends or a partner, be that falling in love, feeling supported, inspired or the joy of sheer sexual intimacy! A sense of play and adventure.
• Experiencing campaign/organising highs e.g. A sense of momentum, power, sense of achievement, clear creative output and impact, being with inspiring comrades.
• Making plant medicines
• Physical exercise such as kickboxing
• When generally feeling effective.
• The instant gratification of direct action
• Experiencing ‘growth spurts’ in my political thinking e.g. Having new ideas, connecting the dots
• When sleeping at least 8-9 hours.
All of the above, plus:
• When getting things done, especially when blocks have been lifted
• When I am confident in a situation or with a certain task
• Using my skills and feeling useful
• After advising sessions - pattern of feeling clearer and more focused
• Sleeping a minimum of 7.5 hours
• Travelling abroad and the sense of ‘awayness’
• Connecting with the land
• Feeling loved by friends and spending time with them
• Computer-free time
• Feeling part of a strong, healthy and functioning group
• Spending time with children
• When I have expressed my feelings e.g. ‘Rants’, article writing
• Experiencing spiritual connection
• Good hardcore shows & live music
• Feeling recognised, getting some external feedback
• Getting less then 6 hours sleep
• Experiencing emotional challenges e.g. Friends in distress, relationship challenges
• Feeling under-valued, not appreciated, being taken for granted
• Being part of, or interacting with chaotic people or organisations
• Missing loved ones abroad, dead or in prison
• When my workload feels unachievable
• When not doing what I want to do e.g. Resentment, feeling like I’m selling my labour to survive, feeling exploited
• Political restimulation e.g. Animal abuse, problematic single issue politics etc.
• Jealousy/low self esteem/relationship insecurities
• Deadline pressure
• Over-using computer
• Feeling unsupported emotionally
• When project time has been lost to next actions/distractions
• Public transport disruptions
• Interacting with the prison system
• Extremely little sleep
• Feeling like ‘nothing is enough’
• Feeling unstrategic/ineffective/unauthentic
• Feeling alone or unsupported in projects/movements
• Feeling too burdened/weighted
• Travelling large amounts
• Missing close friends
• Doing compliance-related work e.g. Paperwork/box ticking
• When separated from the land for long periods of time e.g. Being homesick
• When getting negative feedback
• Not having enough personal space
• Tension of decision making
• Being physically unwell
• Sheer volume of activities
• Large sustained energy output e.g. Tour, gatherings
• Grief/emotional heaviness
• Poor sleep patterns
• Long term chronic emotional stress, or feelings of relentless intense emotional stress
In order to assess myself in relation to the fields I work within - loosely categorised as agroecology and the food sovereignty, anarchist, animal liberation and prison abolition movements. I looked at my length of experience in the field, practical experience, knowledge and skills, dissemination efforts, movement building and levels of respect. This assessment has been an extremely useful exercise that can aid both the tracking of my development, but also how I craft my learning pathway in my capstone year.
A number of my edge areas are indicated in my skill flex assessment. However I have included some wider observations about the key areas of my life that I find most challenging and stretch my edges:
- Horticultural & Agroecological science (‘conventional’ hard sciences)
- Research methods & critical thinking
- Understanding & producing academic work
These are all traditional ‘taught’ subjects at mainstream universities, which I have not interacted with.
- Solo working in the context of completing OP related projects not linked to organising or paid employment (e.g. Not making them happen/prioritising them)
- Computer aided drawing/design work
- Spiritual development and meditation
- Physical fitness training (beyond weekly kickboxing class)
Evaluating my own strategic impact has been a challenge. I have drawn on some internet resources (detailed in the references section at the bottom of the page) that have supported me to reflect on my own impact. These explorations are strongly linked to my existing learning contract that can be found here.
Key questions have included:
- Am I achieving my goals? Yes.
- Are my goals aligned with my why? Yes.
- Are my goals achieving an impact? This is the biggest grey area. My work is definitely having an impact - it is contributing to the long term movement building work, it is gaining concrete gains e.g. Fracking prevented in my local area, hundreds of people learning new skills to reclaim the food system and so forth. It feels useful, purposeful and productive. I get regular positive feedback. However my aim for my capstone year is to try to design a system to better document, quantify and evidence my own impact (and that of my projects), so that I can be more effective and increase my impact in the future.
The PoDaPo are the criteria developed by Gaia University over time to support Associate’s can the skills to be effective change agents. This section looks briefly at my main edges around fulfilling these criteria:
Presentation & Organisation of Output Packet
- Improve my writing & editing skills
- Proofread more thoroughly
- Improve quality of my referencing
- Develop more consistent writing style
- Diversify media use. Specifically aim to utilise more videos, slide presentations & info-graphics.
- Diversify the genres I use e.g. More creative writing, stories & alternative formats to reports
- Experiment with more design tools, approaches & organising frameworks
- Track my project progress more comprehensively
- Track my OP reflections more frequently
- Track my intervention points and timing more comprehensively
- Do more reflective thinking/writing on an ongoing/regular basis
- Refer to design principles more regularly
- Reflect on the effectiveness of my decisions more comprehensively
- Refer to more good practices elsewhere
- Explore ways to validate my work more
- Transformative Action Learning Skills
- Create more time for good quality reflection
- Try to see things from more diverse perspectives
- Exercise more early trials & rapid prototypes (and track these)
- Set more goals for personal transformation
- Explore how to validate my thinking more by engaging with others in the field
- Undertake more comparative assessments of myself within the fields I operate in
- Utilise action learning guilds more
- Work with more skill flex advisors/have more SFA sessions
- Collaborate more with others in all areas of work
- Set more realistic OP deadline goals & prioritise time management to meet these goals
- Work through distress around concept of ‘leadership’
- Develop my mentoring abilities
- Seek mentors for myself! Identify the areas of my life I would value mentoring on
- Undertake the four questions more regularly (at least once per month)
- Learn more project management tools/add to own toolkit
- Develop metrics to measure how much impact I am having
- Survey what my fields ‘need’
- Design a more effective system for tracking my own impact in the field & collating evidence
- Design a thinking validation system
- Design a more effective dissemination system and strategy