Day 651: Staycation End!

The mini-daybed is finished on schedule — glue drying as we speak — I need to wait for the foam to arrive (I’m cutting up some IKEA kids’ mattresses) and then some sewing, which will be next weekend. Then finished! It’s not as good as the first day bed, which is mainly a reminder of the importance of slow, careful lumber selection. It’ll be the sorts of flaws that only I notice, though.

Definitely need to block some time today to think about re-organizing work and volunteer things — if there’s one thing this week has shown it’s that I need to cut back for sure.


Day 533: Should I relax? Should I be more productive?


The problem with knowing a lot of people that get a lot done in life is that you feel compelled to get a lot done in life. So a bit of news first: I have a hammock now! I put up a post in the back yard over the weekend, I now have a post and a tree and a hammock and some S-hooks and it is a GODDAMN DELIGHT.

But I spent a chunk of time yesterday in the hammock, feeling great and yet this morning, it’s back to arrgh I could have gotten so much done.

There’s no solve here. It’s not a question I can resolve in a podcast. But it’s an important one!


Day 529: The Workout/Chores Split

Split my workout this morning: 30 minutes rowing, and 45 minutes dealing with cedar boughs. Which, to be fair, turned out to be zero working out. Unless standing is a workout. It’s not.

The recurring thought as I was working on the cedars was first “well, this is one thing I’ll never have to do again, but rapidly followed by “but there will be other things.” Life keeps happening.

I’ve been bothered lately by not moving forward with personal things. I’m pouring a lot of myself into volunteer things, and home things. Even fostering, as I mentioned, takes time.

I need to feel less bad about not being crazy productive all the time. I’m getting a lot done at work. I’m getting a lot done in life. I get weirdly comparative with super productive people. Which is dumb. I’m pretty damn productive myself!

Day 520: Big Morning Chores

I beat Beethoven this morning — not really, but ran an 8k in under 45 minutes, so I’m confident I could. Then I did a bunch of chores, including insulating an exterior furnace pipe, varnishing stumps, baking bread and more… right now, listening to the older cat growl at the younger cat from behind the barricade we’ve set up.

Talking to a colleague about optimizing yesterday — context being a swanky new journal-organizer thing I saw online. I’m deeply tempted, because I’m always questing for a magic bullet. But I’m also also… let’s say “frugal,” because I don’t want to describe myself as cheap. Paying over $40 for a three-month diary when I can just do the same thing either with my design skills, or a Hilroy notebook and some planning, seems… I don’t know.

It’s an investment thing, right? I want to _invest_ in something, because then I’ll be obliged to use it… right?

Well, that hasn’t worked so far. I have a variety of musical instruments and unfinished Udemy courses showing that just putting some money into something doesn’t equal follow-through.

So I’ll think about this planner thing. If I have a work colleague doing it, and if my wife is also interested, the mutual reinforcement thing might be good. But analyzing what makes it work and trying to homebrew something would be a lot more financially sensible… in many ways, I’d rather have $40 in a long term retirement account than tied up in a day planner.

Day 490: Sunday, Late Sleep, Wake Up!

Wake up!

A late sleep this morning — I was up late last night with the foster cat, trying to convince him that he could sleep on the bed without a monster getting him. And he did! Eventually. But it took a long time.

So I got up to see my wife off to work this morning, and went back to bed. My challenge now is to actually get going and get some things done to build up a nice head of steam so I don’t slump back into blaaaargh and fritter the day away.

Meal planning (our fridge and freezer are stuffed)

Weekend planning

Getting a massage and foot rub that my wife bought me for my birthday — you wouldn’t think this would be a “to do,” but I keep friggin’ forgetting to book a time to do it

Some work-work stuff

A few volunteer things

So it’s time to caffeinate and make it all happen. Tally ho!

Day 290: The Work

Talking with a friend about a daily project that she’s been trying and struggling with recently. And how it ties to this one, obviously. She’s been trying to do work she’s proud of every day — visual arts — and my take on it was that it’s not about the daily work as individual pieces. It’s about the body of work over time.

I’m clearly not ashamed of this. Every morning I sit down and write and record something that doesn’t embarrass me. But I’m able to do it because I know that every morning isn’t going to be stellar. Sometimes I write and record something quite good. Sometimes it’s just a short check-in. But I give myself the latitude to be mediocre at times, because I know I’m going to be good at other times.

The body of work over time is the project, not the entry. The entry is obviously necessary to the project, yes. But it’s not the project. The project is the scope of doing this for however long I can. The rest of my life? Who knows.

Which is not to say I’m lowballing this every day. But it’s apparent that this isn’t the result of hours of lavish audio production and planning. It’s a daily check-in, not Theatre of the Mind.

And is that a good analogy for diet and exercise? It’s about being mindful of it, even if every day isn’t excellent. I beat myself up for having off days, but the important thing is to have every days, even if some days are off.


Day 199: Checklists and productivity

Here’s where I’ve landed on the productivity thing: I’m going to be cloning my work system, but on per-project basis. Checklists and productivity work well together for me. And since I have a lot of me-only projects, and I don’t have a lot of dependencies, checklists work. I don’t have to keep track of what other people are doing, mostly.

Productivity Alchemy isn’t available on Stitcher (yet?), so I haven’t been listening to it as much as I’d like. I have one podcast app. It’s one of the things that keeps my life a little more streamlined. So if I’m missing out on some podcasts, so it goes. My choice.

The aforementioned Productivity Alchemy is being discussed on MetaFilter, which has all sorts’a interesting productivity methods in that thread. Ctrl-F “Aggravations List” for a really cool approach to the problem. Here’s mine.

Checklists and productivity and portability, oh my!

At work, I use Sublime Text and a package called PlainTasks to create todo lists. There’s a bunch of things I like about this combination of things…

  • It’s super simple, easy to read, easy to follow.
  • Sublime has folding features, so I can collapse up tasks that have subtasks associated with them.
  • File sizes and load times are teeny tiny.
  • It’s easy to mark things as done, and then they turn grey and are struck through with the time you marked them as done written right next to them. Good psychologically, and also for tracking.

So my general methodology is to have a daily to-do list. As I move through the day, I zero my inbox by adding things to it. I tick things off as they get done. Almost no task is too small to be added, unless it’s really a less-than-one-minute thing.

Every morning, I write today’s date, copy yesterday’s list, paste it up under the new date. Then I delete all the done items. Catch up on overnight email and add new tasks to the list.

One of the things I like about this is that it makes a very long, searchable text. So if I’m wondering about a project’s status, I can search for it, and see (usually) a hand-off task on my end and when it was done.

So I’m trying to implement this at home. I’m thinking it might be best to tackle it as a document per project, rather than one total intimidating to-do list. That way, when time allows, I can peck away at any of a number of things instead of living in a constant feeling of overwhelmed panic.