My Year in Review: 2018

"You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results." – James Clear

This blog post is a regular review of what happened in my life in 2018, what went well and what went wrong. I already started this year-in-review habit since 2011. Hope we can learn something from here.

Volunteering with RuBI Yapen

Intermezzo: For better year-in-review contents, maybe you should watch these two following videos and then just skip all the remaining article.

This was the first time I started a new year without any resolution. Instead, I committed to do new habits: making my bed every morning, meditation, exercise, drinking less sugar, daily reading, and weekly charity. I used Habit Tracker app to monitor the progress, and finally.. I made it partly. Some habits were still lack of consistency. However, at least I made good progress.

At work, we went through 2017 with ups and downs. After working with more than a hundred projects, we took a break to have company gathering for both Jakarta and Bandung team.

We had two-days trip in Lembang and visited Dusun Bambu, Farm House, Floating Market, Gracia Spa, Kawah Putih, and Glamping Lake Side. For some people it was their first experience visiting Bandung and meeting Bandung team in person. Everyone had fun, and hopefully I could bring them to some farther place next time.

I started my volunteering activities in 2018 by joining Kelas Inspirasi Lombok. It was my second time participating in Lombok. This time we went to Kabupaten Lombok Utara, one of the most under-developed areas in Nusa Tenggara Barat. Despite the school infrastructure that was not good, the kids were very enthusiastic to go to school to meet their friends and teachers.

There was one person that inspired me the most in KI Lombok. He was Pak Luji Hartono, former head of village (kepala dusun) in Selengen, who really cares about his citizens. Whenever people in Selengen had some challenges (for example, it used to be very hard to find clean water there), Pak Luji worked hard to find the way either seeking government support or organizing local communities to work together to solve the problems. He was really the inspiring man in his village.

My First Trip to Eastern Indonesia

Last November, I and other twelve volunteers from Jakarta, Denpasar, Tobelo, and Manokwari were traveling to Serui to share our enthusiasm in improving Indonesian education to teachers in Kabupaten Kepulauan Yapen, Papua. We happily spent our time and energy as our contribution for this beloved country in a volunteering movement, Ruang Berbagi Ilmu (RuBI).

Most of us chose Yapen as our volunteering destination since it was one of the farthest places in RuBI 2018. We might have no idea whether we would visit there unless it was for an important moment like RuBI. Flying from Jakarta to Yapen was like flying from Paris to Moscow but without any direct transportation. To get to Yapen, we had to take flight from Jakarta to Biak, via Makassar. Then from Biak, we had to take another flight or take a local ship to cross to Serui. Darius, one of the volunteers, even had to drive for four hours from Tobelo to get to the nearest airport in Ternate, before flying to Makassar, Biak, and Serui. And we did all those trips voluntarily without any sponsor. 😊

"Unity in Diversity" (Papua Hei, Yapen, 2018) – 📸 by Darius

Preparation for Papua
The volunteers were not random people. We had to submit an essay about why we wanted to join this program and what we would share to teachers in remote area. After the committee carefully assessed our essays and selected the applicants in September 2018, we gathered in Jakarta to have briefing and get to know with each other. We then met for several times to understand who our audiences were. We learned that the local education activists in Yapen came from various elements in the society, not only teachers but also pastors, army, and professionals. We also gathered few times to discuss about our knowledge sharing materials. We carefully prepared every materials to share with those experienced teachers.

And eventhough the number of volunteers in our group decreased from 30 to 13 people due to various circumstances (well, it was a voluntary activity, nobody could be forced to do anything), we kept our enthusiasm high because we learned that kids in Yapen were very enthuastic to come to school to learn from their teachers although those kids had to walk quite far to get to school. 💪🏽

[Briefing Relawan Narasumber dan Dokumentator RuBI 2018] Puji syukur briefing relawan narasumber dan dokumentator RuBI hari Sabtu kemarin telah berjalan dengan lancar. Acara ini dihadiri oleh 64 orang narasumber dan 14 orang dokumentator. Antusiasme energi positif sangat terasa di setiap sesinya. Relawan itu bergerak dan menggerakkan untuk saling berkolaborasi. Terus semangat untuk bergerak meningkatkan kualitas pendidikan Indonesia yang lebih baik lagi. Penggerak RuBI 2018, Bergerak Bersama, Berbagi Selamanya ! ___________________________________ Facebook dan Youtube : Ruang Berbagi Ilmu Instagram dan Twitter : @rberbagi_ilmu Website : #RuangBerbagiIlmu #Relawan #RelawanRuBI #RelawanRuBI2018 #RuBIBersama #RuBIIstimewa #RuBIKolaborAksi #BergerakBersama #berbagiselamanya #briefingrelawan
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From the moment I wrote my essay to join RuBI Yapen, I remember Bu Helena, my science teacher in SMP St. Mikael Cimahi, who moved to Papua 16 years ago. She and her husband started a ministry and built a school in Jayapura. Right after the announcement of selected volunteers, I contacted Bu Helena and asked her if I can visit her school for few days, and she happily welcome me. I invited other RuBI volunteers to join me, and Andreas was willing to allocate more time to share happiness to elementary and middle school students in Sekolah Papua Kasih.

I also conducted some research about tourism in Papua, but unfortunately there were only few references about traveling in Jayapura, Biak, and Serui. Most articles I got were from TripAdvisor and some outdated blogs. Other information like local public transportation (flight, boat, bus, etc) were also very limited. Surely there were a lot of homeworks for the government tourism office of Papua to promote the beautiful sides of Papua besides Raja Ampat.

Kelas Inspirasi: SLB Negeri 7 Jakarta

Senin pagi, 17 September 2018, sebanyak 61 relawan dari berbagai profesi dan latar belakang berkumpul di SLB Negeri 7 Jakarta untuk berbagi kebahagiaan dengan anak-anak berkebutuhan khusus. Hari itu mungkin pertama kalinya bagi sebagian kami untuk berinteraksi dengan anak-anak sekolah dasar, menjelaskan profesi kami dengan bahasa yang sederhana, yang mudah dipahami oleh anak-anak. Dan yang pasti, hari itu adalah pertama kalinya bagi hampir semua relawan kelompok kami untuk berinteraksi dengan anak-anak berkebutuhan khusus. Kelas Inspirasi Jakarta 7 menjadi sebuah tantangan yang berbeda bagi kami semua, baik relawan baru maupun relawan yang sudah berpengalaman di kegiatan KI.

Tulisan ini dibuat sebagai bentuk dokumentasi atas apa yang setiap kami rasakan saat berbagi tentang profesi kami, yang ingin kami bagikan ke lebih banyak orang.

Relawan Kelas Inspirasi SLB Negeri 7 Jakarta – 📷 by @harapan_daeli

KonMari Method: How to Tidy Up

I've been interested in minimalism lifestyle since last year, and one of the related aspects is about tidying up. One name came up, she is Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing expert who has written few books about tidying up. Her most popular books are "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and "Spark Joy". Here are some lessons learned from the book I read few weeks ago.

Why tidying up?

It can relieve stress
The fact that we don't need to search is actually a stress reliever. When we reduce what we own and essentially "detox" our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well. Tidying helps us to know contentment. We'll realize that our desires have decreased.

It brings happiness
Since we will be surrounded by the things that spark joy, it will definitely make us happier.

It can transform our life
Letting go is more important than adding. It increases our confidence in our decision-making capacity. When we can't let something go, it's actually we have either attachment to the past or fear for the future. What we want to own is actually showing us how we want to live our life.

How to tidy up?

Step 1: Sort by category, not by location.
Visualize the ideal clutter-free space, then follow the recommended order to tidy, from the easiest category to declutter to the hardest one: 1) clothes, 2) books, 3) papers, 4) komono (miscellaneous items), and 5) mementos (sentimental items).

Step 2: Start by discarding, all at once, intensely, and completely
Place every item of certain category on the floor, touch them one by one, and ask yourself "Does it spark joy?" We should only keep those that bring us joy. So if it doesn't spark joy, then we should dispose it.

Step 3: Store things in order
Designate a place for every thing. Store all items of the same type in the same place. Don't scatter storage space. Store every item vertically if possible. Eliminate excess visual "noise" that doesn't inspire joy.

Tidy life, happy life!

Efficient Productivity Matrix

"The most urgent decisions are rarely the most important ones." — Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight David Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, serving two terms from 1953 to 1961. During his period of presidency, he started space exploration (NASA), created the Internet (DARPA), and built the Interstate Highway System. Previously, he was a five-star general in the US Army, served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. After war, he became President of Columbia University, and then served as first Supreme Commander of NATO. Due to his incredible ability to sustain productivity for years. many people study his productivity strategy. His most famous method is Eisenhower Matrix.

Einsenhower Matrix
It is a 2x2 matrix that helps us decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. Using the matrix below, we will separate our todo list based on four possibilities:
  1. Important and urgent (tasks to do first)
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks to schedule)
  3. Urgent, but less important (tasks to delegate to someone else)
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks to eliminate)

The key of this matrix is differentiating between urgent and important. Urgent tasks require immediate attention, while important tasks contribute to our long-term mission, values, and goals. The objective of using Eisenhower matrix is to help us filter the noise from our decisions and concentrate on what really matters.

Quadrant #1 : Important and Urgent
Those are tasks that require our immediate attention and contribute to our long-term objectives. We should do it first in the morning. Examples:
  • Responding emails from top customers and top employees
  • Important deadlines that matter for our business or our careers
  • Emergency issues with health or family

Quadrant #2 : Important, not Urgent
Those are tasks that don't have a pressing deadline, but help us achieve our long-term objectives. We should schedule it or get those done in the afternoon to night. Examples:
  • Working on top priority projects
  • Annual / quarterly / monthly / weekly planning
  • Skills & knowledge improvement
  • Socializing : family time, volunteering
  • Quality me time : exercising, spending time with rewarding hobbies

Quadrant #3 : Urgent, but less Important
Those are tasks that require our immediate attention, but not really contribute to our life goals. Those are probably important for others, but not important for us. Mostly we need to delegate theme to someone else or just say no. If we decide to delegate them, we should keep track of delegated tasks by email, telephone or within a productive quick meeting to check back on their progress later. Examples:

Quadrant #4 : Neither Urgent nor Important
Those are just primarily distractions. We should eliminate them. Examples:
  • Watching useless TV programmes
  • Scrolling through social media

Now we can use this matrix for broad productivity plans ("How should I spend my time each week / month?") and for smaller / daily plans ("What should I do today?").

Efficient Productivity Matrix
This is from my real life experience. What if everything is already in Quadrant 1 & Quadrant 2? Which tasks should I do first in Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2? In this case, Eisenhower matrix is not enough. We need to consider more than importance and urgency. We need not only being productive, but also being efficient. Effectiveness is doing the right things, while efficiency is doing things right.

To manage all my important tasks, I use an "efficient productivity matrix" which is a 3x3 box that helps me decide on and prioritize tasks by impacts and resources required.

Efficient Productivity Matrix : Top-left box is where "Work Smart" happens, while top-right is for "Work Hard"

Efficiency = Impacts / Resources
We need to realize that not all important tasks are worth the same. Some tasks are producing high impacts that could be higher monetary values or higher chance for us to successfully achieve our long-term missions, values, and goals. Meanwhile some other tasks are still important but producing less impacts.

In the other side, we also need to realize that we need different amount of resources to do each tasks. The resources could be our time, our efforts, our money, or our people. And if we think clearly, high-impact task doesn't always require high resources, vice versa. This is the key difference of work smart and work hard.

Work Smart, Work Hard
After we filter our todo list so that it contains only important tasks, we put each of them in one of the nine quadrants in 3x3 matrix above. Then, we should start working from the top-left box (tasks that produce high impacts but require less resources) toward to bottom-right box (tasks that produce low impacts but require high resources). Working smart means working on tasks on the top-left box and focusing our activities there. We should think hard to find what we can do with 20% of our resources that can create 80% of the impacts.

However, sometimes we find situations to choose between tasks with high impacts and high resources (box 2, 4, 7) and tasks with low impacts and low resources (box 3, 6, 8). Top-right is where working hard is necessary, giving the extra miles to achieve more than ordinary people.

Be Effective
Both Eisenhower matrix and efficient productivity matrix above help us to be more productive and efficient. However, the most important thing is we need to be effective. Peter Drucker in his book "Effective Executive" share how to be an effective leader, which I summarize in these three key points:
  1. Get the knowledge we need
    - What needs to be done?
    - What is the right to do?
  2. Plan and execute
    - Create action plans
    - Take responsibilities for decisions and communications
    - Focus on opportunities rather than solving problems
  3. Ensure everyone feel responsible and accountable

Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up!