Day 626: Morning Naps

All right, I did get out of work more or less on time yesterday, but the stuff undone still gave me insomnia. So I’m not sure if that’s a net win or not.

Lying awake can actually be productive, in a sense, if you want to lean into it a bit: the insomnia’s due to basically doing three people’s work in one job, but having nothing to do but think about it for a while — thank you, Operation Don’t Get Up (it’s weird that this started as a cat thing — I thought it had always been an insomnia thing) — meant I could triage things in my mind and at least come up with a reasonable plan of attack for today.

So with that in mind, I’m going back to my morning nap plan — I’m going to get set up for the day and see if I can get another hour of sleep in. It’s a weird lifestyle, but if it works, it works.

Day 546: Hot Mornings

It’s a scorcher! Yesterday wasn’t “work so I can play today” day — it was broiling, so the plan has shifted to “work mornings, enjoy afternoons when it’s too hot to work”.

Gearing up for a session of driveway clearing — the stuff I used to fill the cracks last year didn’t work to suppress plants, so I need to weed the driveway. Again. I need to pull the weeds out, then give the suppressing another try, I guess?

Point being, this is early morning work. Day work is too hot! Day’s gonna be indoor stuff; partly goofing around, partly working on the sign, etc.


Day 516: 12k run — feels great, takes time

After seeing how far behind last year I am relatively speaking,  I think I psyched myself up — this morning’s 10k turned into a 12k. Not a terrible time, either. Getting back to a good 10k time means doing a lot of mediocre 12s.

The one big problem is time — it takes about 90 minutes all in to do this, when I count the time it takes to get ready and out the door. That’s a … chunk of time. I’m not sorry to be spending it, but it does compress the rest of my morning a lot.

A bit rushed this morning as a result. No checklist yesterday, but still doing okay with food/exercise, and my good sleep streak continues.

Day 512: Back to normal

A nice vacation; back to work today after a good 8k run. Small pile of accumulated volunteer chores, and as mentioned, the foster takes time. Time I’m happy to spend, but regardless… time.

A good 8k… not a record speed but a good speed, especially after a week of vacation. Once again I find myself working in circles… I’m back to the idea of scheduling my day, to keep the train on track. There’s a LOT going on right now that has to be maintained.

  • Job
  • Volunteer radio stuff
  • Volunteer canoe club stuff
  • Foster cat care
  • Side hustle
  • “Me time” and “Us time”

It’s not insurmountable. It’s surmountable! Maybe even mountable. But I need to stay on top of a bunch of threads at once to be sure it’s working.

Day 457: Houseguests

A short one today; entertaining friends from out of town, which is always an interesting little cascade of compromises — good compromises and sacrifices worth making. But there’s still a little “gentle exercise to stay quiet” and different patterns of motions.

Progress, for me, is super routine driven. What’s worked for me so far seems to be less about finding motivational phrases or “magic words” and more ways to sequence and organize my life to unconsciously encourage good behaviour.

Which is an interesting observation in and of itself.

“Psyching myself up” is something I can do for exercise, or for difficult moments at work, but it’s not a sustainable life exercise. Life is about setting up success through the structure, not through the brain.

Worth thinking about…

Day 379: Into another week!

Bad insomnia night last night, so delayed sleep and a bit off track this morning. But determined to do this Full Clout Scheduled Week, so I need to pull it together and get this train back on the rails.

Wow, that sounds monumental. Re-railing a train! That’s considerable. I think it’s more like “I need to push ‘Go’ on the model train set.” I’m not deploying Herculean effort. I’m just pushing myself a tad to get back on the stick.

So I’ve got a batch of evening things this week that relate to volunteerism. I’ve scheduled some self-improvement stuff at lunches. I’ve got little patches of productivity in the morning. Time to hit “Go” on this little train and see if it alleviates the sleep-impacting stresses.

Day 378: Getting Things Done

Well, I have been enjoying the heck out of No Man’s Sky, and letting that enjoyment drive the bus for a while. I think it’s good for me. I’m flying a spaceship! In space! And, er, mining a lot. There’s a lot of standing around mining minerals, and inventory management is a big part of the game. So kind of like life.

But it’s time to take a big step back and re-establish that while the scheduling works, I kinda have to eat the frog in the evenings and start making hard progress with some side things now.

The side hustle’s been sidelined pretty much since the start of the year, and I’ve been making kind of deliberately slow progress on some volunteer stuff (partly waiting to see how other folks will step up).

So Church today will be scheduling the week, as per the new normal, but I’ll be trying a bit harder to adhere to the schedule, with less forgiveness for hard days at work or general floompiness. Still with a mind toward not burning the candle too hard at both ends, but aiming for small, realistic targets to keep things moving.

In a relevant way, “small realistic targets” is also much of the satisfaction behind gaming! So there’s that.

Still plenty of time to be Space Guy, too, of course. It just needs to be dessert rather than dinner.


Day 375: Seriously!

The main thing is I NEED TO DO THE NIGHTLY CHECKLIST. I’ve been slack. It’s burning me. Gotta do it. Onward…

Don’t underestimate ADL. That’s kind of the lesson of the last few days: running behind today, because there was laundry to do and some semi-urgent things to nail down for a volunteer commitment. Yesterday, I drew a button to clean all our cast-iron frying pans, and the “short” board game I was playing with my wife turned out to be remarkably complicated.

The key thing being, I’m learning to schedule ambitiously but not fret too much if the schedule goes awry for good reasons. Or at least forward-moving reasons. “I just wound up watching Netflix all night” is not a legit thing, but “I scoured our cast-iron frying pans back to good condition” is a legit thing.

This morning: hanging laundry. Boot repair. Finalizing some paid advertising for a canoe club. It’s all pushing me off-track, but it’s, like, good off track. Things are either being well maintained or moving forward.

I also keep coming back to how hard it was to “straight relax” over the holidays. I think I do best when I have lots of alternating tasks that I can switch around every 30 minutes or so… Pomodoro method style bursts of intense concentration, break, and repeat.

So: schedule for success, aim to keep that schedule, but don’t get freaked out if the schedule gets interrupted for forward moving or maintenance reasons. Schedule time to have fun/relax/do stuff you enjoy.

I’m liking this “schedule it all” approach. It’s just a matter of refining that formula.


Day 373: Work-Life Balance

One of my intentions for the new year (not a resolution, I don’t suffer ‘loss’ if I break it) is to try to actually work my hours at work — hard, no distractions. But man, it’s hard not to just power through lunch and stay a few minutes after work.

It’s also hard, with my personality type, to actually stay 100% focused while on the job. The appropriately named StayFocusd app (Chrome) has been installed. And — stroke of genius that’s really not all that clever — a totally different work identity for Google now. No more tempting bookmarks!

As we all know, I found the holidays and “full relaxation” kind of stressful. I like many tasks and task-switching. At work, I recently completed a 2018 work plan, and strangely enjoyed making the following to show my current time allocations:

Sunburst Chart showing allocated work times.

(I like charts! Sunburst charts are actually pretty easy to make!)

But you can see how things get filled up pretty quick.

So I’m starting to pull the “schedule everything” approach into the office as well: block off time first thing in the morning, marked as “free” so it doesn’t mess up attempts to set meetings with me.

It’s not a perfect system — this morning, for instance, regular exercise got pre-empted by needing to shovel a ton of wet snow out of the drive, but that’s still “exercise.” Yesterday I got thrown off by doing a surprise chore that I should have done on Sunday and forgot about. Sticking to 15 minutes of housecleaning a day, scheduled or not, is turning out to be surprisingly difficult. I didn’t do my nightly checklist last night (I tried taking a break from it for the weekend — mistake).

But it’s better, as they say, than the alternative.


Day 371: End of the first Very Scheduled Week

On the whole, I have to say “Schedule Everything” is working out pretty well. Yesterday afternoon was the first time things went right off the rails, and that’s because our carshare car was dead — it was about -26C yesterday — and we had to walk across town to get another one, which pushed us back about an hour. A lot got done, and most of what didn’t was either optional or leisure, so it was basically okay.

And then we napped. Which wasn’t accounted for.

On the whole, though, everything’s going well: things are getting done, I have time for leisure (scheduled leisure), and broadly speaking I think this is a good system. Some catch-up today on things I failed to do yesterday, thanks to not doing my nightly checklist. But again, on the whole, doin’ good.

The idea is, we do a weekly scheduling session at “Church” on Sundays, and that sets up the rest of the week. Adjustments are done on the daily.

Heading down to finish making breakfast (and more coffee); here’s to the scheduled life!