Day 727: Lessons Learned

I did it! I read the whole blog yesterday, and I’ve condensed the whole pile into a “Lessons Learned” page, now linked in the main menu at There’s a lot there, but the key things are:

  • Weekends are bad;
  • Sleep is actually my key recurring issue that throws me off (well, and weekends);
  • Work/volunteer stress drives insomnia, which throws me off;
  • Food is really a problem as well, driven by the top two;
  • I spend a lot of time talking about these problems but very little time working on them.
  • I don’t celebrate triumph very often.

This has actually helped me figure some things out. One is that I need to work more aggressively on sleep issues. I’ve ordered a recommended book on it, and also Kindled myself a workbook on impulse eating by a real brain doctor rather than a diet thing.

It’s hard not to get ambitious when I start going through this stuff. I want this regimented, ideal life where I wake up at the right time every day, do the right things, and then go forth to continue sticking to a plan. These tightly calibrated plans seem to work pretty well for me, too. I tell myself that they are also too difficult and go off the rails faster, but… that actually doesn’t seem to be true. My streaks last longer and seem “stickier” when they are a bit tough. The laissez-faire periods are where things go wayyyy off track.

Good food for thought. Pre-record tomorrow, then back to set up 2019 on Monday.

Day 726: Read The Blog

So “eat real food” went off the rails over the holidays. VACATIONS ARE BAD. I always intend to do well, and then… don’t. And “mutual encouragement” sounds nice on paper, but feels like nagging when somebody is asking “did you exercise today?” and you didn’t, and don’t want to, even though you know you asked them to ask.

We’re going to do the cheesy January 1 resolutions, I guess — but what I’m going to do today, is I’m going to re-read this thing. 726 entries of it. I’m going to make a list of everything that’s worked and resonates, and see what kind of master toolkit I can build between now and January 1.

What started as a sobriety project never successfully transformed into a… transformation project, I guess. But the relentless blogging/podcasting is kind of a work in itself, and as long as I’m doing this every morning, hope isn’t actually lost. Change is possible! I’d be bold enough to say “inevitable,” as long as I’m doing at least this every day to show I’m committed to it.

Today: read the blog. Review the toolkit. Figure out 2019, and this will be the year that things flip. One year for sobriety, one year for self-discovery, and now one year for change. That sounds right, right?

Day 714: Updating

Technology! Our greatest friend. OUR GREATEST FOE. Slept late after going to two parties yesterday, which as a sociable introvert means I had a good time, but am now completely mentally exhausted. I’m great with people, but social stuff really tuckers me out. 

It’s going to be a quiet day today, and a lot of it, it turns out, is gonna be spent on site updates. Lots of small things that have crept in over the last while. 

Doing this kind of thing and maintaining it are often two separate items in my head, which is kind of an interesting division — I have a daily dedication to check in via the podcast, but not any dedicated time to work on the project “meta” — the site, promotion, etc. It’s the classic case of putting myself last — Gretchen Rubin Obliger here — and everything else in my life first. 

All that to say I got a lot of site updating and plugin modification to do… so I’d best get to it, on top of the regular rota of Sunday Get Things Done stuff. Onward! 

Day 580: Pre-Record Concert Day

Pre-records are weird. I have a minor obsession when I do these; I think of Paul F Tompkins and his podcast Spontaneanation. He records it sometimes months in advance and for a while at least seemed to take a great deal of delight in telling people he might be dead when they hear it.

I might be!

It also feels like cheating. If this is supposed to be my daily check-in, tuning up on sobriety and good food and better living, why am I pre-recording it? Isn’t that inherently dishonest?

It kind of is.

I guess I am a bit of a cheater.

But the daily part is the _real_ commitment, and if I listen daily, the check-in function works.

I’ve tried road-recording before. It’s possible, and worth setting up for extended jaunts, but for one-day or two-day things, it’s really a pain in the butt.

So I’m committing, like you are, in this moment, to doing a bit better today than yesterday. Not necessarily a lot better. But a bit better.

Or at least trying.

Day 576: Test next week; sloggy exercise

Man! Exercise is still sloggy — 7k run this morning, not a terrible time but still felt like I was pushing through cotton somehow.

Next week is the big Jerkpod trial — I have just enough call-ins to get by, on the theme of “how do you psych up for an unpleasant task?”

I’m not sure I can pull this off. My friend Michael’s sage advice was to do this in a stepped approach — try to start with spaced theme/call-in weeks, and see if I can build traction that way.

The short version is that I need to make more time for this if I’m going to make a go of this. We’ll see how I feel about the test next week — Monday’s a holiday, which will help with setting the week up and checking the time it takes. I need to work on those exit strategies for volunteer work…

Day 566: Good Ideas, Long Forgot

I was quite pleased with myself for coming up with the “volunteer exit strategy” thing yesterday, which I then completely forgot to do anything about.

One of the things I really need to do, on that magical day when I find time to do things, is go back through this whole project and look for nuggets. I think I’m coming up with pretty good stuff a lot of the time here, but I just kinda… forget about it periodically.

In fact, why wait? I’m’a start a new page in a tab right now called Gems and start plugging in everything I can remember off the top of my head that seems like a great idea. Cross-link them back to the original posts. Add it to the top menu for the site.

There. Done. Something to tool around with for the next few weeks, concurrent with the remodel. A good idea aggregator.




Day 565: Reboot Excitement; Volunteer Exit Strategies

I’m pretty happy with the solicitation for contributions to the New Idea I’ve had for this thing. It’s still in the evaluation phase — I need to see if the idea is feasible in terms of my time and energy — but it’s definitely showing a lot of promise.

Response has been gratifying too; friends coming out of the woodwork to toss a message my way and support the general concept. That’s been especially gratifying.

I’m still leery about time. I’ve done some paper work on figuring out how much time it might take to get this done properly, and the quick answer is “more than I’d like.” I’m still working with significant volunteer obligations, and putting about 8 hours or so a week into the podcast project for the radio station.

One thing I don’t have for my volunteer roles right now is an exit strategy. That seems like a good thing to focus on. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, but it’s an interesting question to  ask about volunteering — how do I stop? I think it’s easy to get stuck in something that is work without any kind of reward — even satisfaction — and stay in it because you feel obliged and guilty. I know this happens to me.

This week and next week, I’m going to focus on some exit strategies for my volunteer engagements. How do I go out feeling like I’ve done good work but I’m not leaving anyone in the lurch? How do you clear your metaphorical desk and close the symbolic door behind you without feeling guilty?


Day 553: Shout Out to Auphonic

Another pre-record while I’m out of wifi range and hopefully on or close to the water.

For the last month or so I’ve been giving Auphonic a try for this podcast, and I’m pretty happy with it — I started trying it for a work podcast, and it works even better there with two-header interview formats, but I’m finding it is doing a good job at levelling out stuff here as well.

I’m still hoping to really reinvent this project in 2018. Small incremental improvements like Auphonic are helping. But I need to buckle down and actually get the big work done at some point; hopefully something the full focus planner can help with.

Auphonic’s been nice, though. It’s good to be making small improvements to this while waiting for… I don’t know, time? Permission? Energy? to take larger steps here.



Day 508: Timeshift!

Okay, I’m recording this right after Episode 507, and I’m probably still asleep right now, having gotten in super late from a heavy metal show. I designated-drove my friends Pete and Dan down last night because they wanted to see Mastodon and have some drinks; I just wanted to see Mastodon (and Primus, too, a bit).

So this’ll be my first time getting the podcast like a listener does — just showing up on my phone, hopefully, around 7 a.m. and listening whenever I wake up.

As mentioned, I’m a little bored with the format. I don’t feel like there’s much left for me to say. Maybe listening as a listener will give me a different take on it, or galvanize me to instigate some change. We’ll see!