January 21st, 2020 – 482

Focusing on a more positive message in today’s post after yesterday’s heavier entry. I stand by talking about topics like that in a discussion – albeit with myself as all my readers are imaginary. But that is a topic I will likely enter into more if people read WHT. I want people to query my decision to discuss ‘views of generations past’, and if I handle it in a mature way. On the flip side, I slander Woodrow Wilson a lot as he was by several accounts I’ve read downright nasty.

Workflow is going well. I have a new Aloe Vera plant for my workdesk, and I must say: best decision ever. It makes me feel a lot more relaced to admire it from time to time. It’s my favourite plant and by extension favourite cacti variant. I hope it’s able to thrive in the office with the lighting and warmth on offer. With that addition my desk has come together in a satisfying array of decor, without clutter. It’s important to have a nice desk to work at, at least as I see it. Only issue now is minimising cables even more. I wanted to use my wireless mouse at work, but the old one did not respond well to the networked laptop. Here’s hoping a more advanced one down the line will.

So my routine sees me channel into writing early, then sweep up work and get into bigger tasks, and then update the bullet journal. That’s not a problem so much, as Trello captures all my notes to add to the journal later. It is a bit weird though, as notes should go into the journal straight away. In the morning that is impractical, as I haven’t had a coffee, don’t otherwise get anything from having one. It also takes time to write by hand – that’s kind of the point – and I like to get to work not long after waking up. But that’s ok.

What’s a bit more odd is I end up updating the journal around 11:30. That is what I want to break out of the habit of doing. Food for thought. But food isn’t until 11:50 today so I am going to get back to work.

January 20th, 2020 – 481

Target done and it feels so good. I had a bit more of a rushed morning today and work comes first, so I didn’t journal yet, but feel like I have a good handle on the day. I’m on my way to Lewes for a few Google tutorials, so I had a moment to update.

So I wrote 1,100 more words of WHT, but it’s a scene I’m going to write later that I want to talk about today. This is a bit less of a fun entry. How much less fun? We’re going to talk about eugenics. Yeeeeah.

There is a scene in WHT where Taft is confronted by his assistant on his stance when it comes to civil rights. I read far too many books that feature historical figures and whitewash their less desirable characteristics. I believe flaws are what make a character interesting, and Taft has a couple of huge ones, though some not revealed until years after the story.

He waved off early civil rights activists telling them to paraphrase to wait for their time, which is a bit dubious. However eugenics was his worse problem. I won’t go into huge detail here, as I’m no expert on the minute details, but to see how flawed Taft was, look up Carrie Buck. It’s a devastating story of what humans can do to one another.

I wanted to mention this here because I saw Doctor Who – a show I grew up on – whitewashed their portrayal of Nicola Tesla in this exact way, which I find a bit disappointing. People are products of their time. It’s not about going ‘oh look how horrible this person’s beliefs were’. It’s about taking a hard look at ourselves and thinking where we might be in the wrong, or hold ‘normal’ views that cause harm and suffering. Taft had bad opinions, and the Carrie Buck case caused severe harm. He was also human, and the story is at its core about how far from infallible humans are.

Sorry for the more bleak post, but I wanted to put this in writing because I’m so sick of the argument being between ‘they’re a product of their time so it’s fine” and “this is unforgivable and means they were a horrible person“. Call this, a call for empathy and reflection. Anyway that’s all for now. Catch up tomorrow.

January 19th, 2020 – 480

Slight correction to an earlier piece, 1K turns 500 days old on the 8th of February, the day after this blog hits 1 year. But hey that’s still uncanny. Ok, so I listen to The Improbability Principle when I sleep at night so I know I’m using the law of ‘near enough’ to say that’s a coincidence. But then again who cares? Side note, 1K turns 500 days old in 20 days! Like that seems the cooler milestone anyway.

Another cool milestone is today is the second day of this weekend in a row that I hit target before 10am. This weekend is going about as great as I ever could have hoped for, and I am working on getting the whole flat set up just how I like it by the end of the day. With target, blog and my personal journal all done, I have a real shot of finishing with time to spare and doing all my shopping to boot.

I’ve not much more to say today than that, except that it is a nice feeling having control of my weekends again. I want this to be the new norm from now on, and I think I’ve a good shot of managing that. It’ll take discipline, but now I have the strongest organisational methods I’ve ever had in my life, I’d say I have some of that to spare.

January 18th, 2020 – 479

Wow, a blog in the morning on a Saturday, never thought I’d see the day again. Well, I am now using my weekday routine as my weekend routine, so it makes sense that I am able to post at the correct time. Doesn’t make it any less surreal of course, but it’s neat. Plan for today is to upload Chapter 24 of VOL, tidy the flat and otherwise get on with a normal Saturday, safe in the knowledge I’ll be going to bed at 10pm as long as I’m dropped home in time. All in all, I can’t understand why I let myself live any other way.

WHT is going super well. 406 words off of hitting the big 20K-typed mark which means if I do write it tomorrow I’ve got a 1,600 word lead on my baseline thousand-a-day. I have the option to write more today, but my priority right now is getting the flat tidy. It’s not¬†bad, but I want to get it super nice. I like having a spotless house where everything is in order, and for a while last year the morning on Saturdays was when I took care of that. I liked that routine, and I want it back. Thanks to bullet journalling it’ll be a bit easier than last year too, and next week even more so because I’ll have heating again.

Can I just say, a freezing flat over Christmas yet again makes you appreciate how horrible it must be for the people who don’t even have a roof over their head at this time of year. My dad is active with a handful of local homelessness charities, and to be honest, I think I should start considering something similar. These last couple of years have been about getting back on my feet – can’t help others until you’re functioning, or you’ll risk letting them down. I don’t want to commit to anything just yet, but some kind of charitable endeavour would be nice. When I worked at Mind I used to volunteer every Saturday before my paid shift on Sundays. Food for thought, that kind of model could work again.

Right back to work! Wish me luck! And, heating, for the love of god wish me heating.

January 17th, 2020 – 478

A bit funny that the most productive feeling week I’ve had in months has an ‘average’ wordcount so far. Average is fine, 7,000 a week is a pace I can work with while writing is still a hobby. I’ll take that over late night target 9,000 word weeks any day. Or week. I worded that in a stupid way and I don’t know why I wouldn’t change it. Comedic effect? Isn’t comedic effect supposed to be funny?

So I wrote another 1,100 words of WHT before work, and with my morning coffee I have hit the ground running. I’m hoping to rally this into producing a slate of user guides for the ProMonitor system we use at the college. If I pull that off that will have a huge impact, and while it’s a pure ‘want to do’ action it’s one that will make life a lot easier. Other than that, it’s Friday, so this should be my clean up day for closing loose ends.

Except I don’t have any. Sure, I have tasks in my queue, but all my work is in hand or waiting on others who I’ve already chased. That is a blessing and a curse, even though that might sound perfect. The problem is that it’s not like I can finish early. I am almost getting too efficient for my workload, which is not a nice feeling. I’m not one of those people who can sit at their desk comfortable to be earning their salary for being ‘on call’. I am much happier when I am ‘doing’. Not ‘busy’, that’s a bad state to be in, but working on something big or small at any given moment, even if it is passive.

I’ll figure something out. Or, the guides will take much longer than I ¬†estimated, and spill into next week. Or something blows up and I pivot to that to fix it. This is all elaborate guesswork when it comes to planning my day. It’s nice though to have structure to the potential chaos.

January 16th, 2020 – 477

My new routine of ‘write first thing between work jobs’ is working great. It’s becoming second nature that 09:00 – 10:00 is writing mixed with email sorting and dispatch. 1K has become a pretty great warm-up activity for the day. My confidence for tacking gnarled and forboding tasks goes up in spades – is that the phrase? I don’t know. It is! Comes from Bridge where ‘in spades’ is synonymous with abundance. About the only area I’m less happy with right now is actually my bullet journal.

Let me clarify, the journal itself is great, 1,000%. 1K%. Heh. The issue is I don’t add entries into the journal itself in the evening at the moment. Instead, I do it the next day based on my “Idle Thoughts” Trello queue. That does work, and there is no actual problem with this approach. I do feel a bit bad for not doing entries on the day though. For ‘Light out at X’ though using my Google Assistant as a capture tool makes far more sense than writing blind.

So as you might have guessed from the above, I have hit target. What I’m trying to do more – which all writers need to do more when they’re starting out like I am – is use evocative language. In specific, I mean instead of descriptions. The old addage ‘Show don’t Tell’ is a flawed shorthand that glosses over how at times, telling is better. But I still do too much of it. I have a literal brain that likes to detail scenes,. While that’s helping me do more window-dressing, I need to evoke feeling more often.

When I get a chance, I need to comb over all my stories – including TUS – and revamp again to ‘evoke more, tell less’. That’s the actual rule, not the absolute ‘don’t’ of the more traditional advice. It’s funny that you hear that ‘rule’ tossed around so much, yet when you study, read, do courses, you see telling all the time. And it works. If anything, evocation is the part to use with care, but in such a way that it becomes the memorable part. Can’t build a house without scaffolding.

Or, you can, I think. I’m not a builder don’t ask me. 

January 15th, 2020 – 476

So it turns out I have been doing 1K wrong for years. Well, over a year, we havem’t hit the two year mark yet. I have for the longest time gone “ok, do some work, then take a breif break to write, then back to it.”. That or “Ok get through work, and right at the end of the day pivot into 1K.”, Or, I end up writing at 2am. I mentioned a while back about doing writing in tiny chunks while working, but it’s only this week I’ve done so. It’s 10:43, I’ve gotten several tasks done at work, and I hit target 20 minutes ago. 

Why have I been treating writing any different to all the other tasks I have throughout the day? Some of it most likely comes from the mysticism of ‘close the door when you write/shut all else out.’ It’s rubbish, you don’t have to do that at all, at least if you have the capacity to switch between tasks fast enough. So in other words it might not be rubbish for some people, but I don’t need this silly timeboxing. When I ponder it at any length, it becomes obvious I never did. I invented a problem, then solved it by staying up until the early hours working.

It has helped having my quadrents of the day in front of me as I work. I know that between 9 and 3, I am in full on work mode – job and writing mixed into one blob. After 3pm, I’m in tidy, job-close and quick wins mode. When I get home it’s not 6pm yet, which is when leisure kicks in, so I do small house tasks. Then 6pm onwards is for me, and I get 4 hours worth of nice relacing peace, which is more than enough. I’ve gone from wondering if this will stick to praying in the general direction of any deity I can think of that it will. 

The biggest beneficiary is my work productivity though. I am ploughing through my tasks and getting so much more done because I can see the day in manageable wedges. When I run advanced Taking Control of Work sessions I will teach an evolved version of my quadrent model. I have to share this, and I have to look online to find others using it too. I want to explore all the ways I can take this to the next level when I am ready. Life can change without notice, but right now, it’s about as close to perfect as it has ever been. That’s pretty neat.

January 14th, 2020 – 475

Well that went well. I wrote at lunch yesterday and that helped out a lot. I got my full evening to myself, got to bed on time, managed to relax and rest in equal measure. I even took what I talked about yesterday on dividing the day, then wrote it up as a bullet journal double page. Then this morning I sat down at work, laid this in front of me, and took a 20 minute window before our team meeting. I hit target at 10am. Keeping this short as I’m going to a team meeting, but damn.

January 13th, 2020 – 474

Actually remembered to hit “Publish” on Chapter 22. Yesterday I was a bit of a mess again, and the day before I straight up didn’t make time to edit the chapter. So I skipped Saturday, edited Sunday, and then only posted it today. I am doing well at this whole publishing schedule. Imagine what it would be like if I were writing these chapters from scratch for WattPad twice a week. Ok so in reality, that would prove much quicker. It’s a pity that the chapters would also be more of a mess than I’ve been.

Now I’m back at a desk I’m starting to get my house in order again. That is, my mental house, because my physical house is getting untidy again and I am not happy about that. It’s such a dumb problem to keep having and yet appears all but inevitable. Why is that? It does not help that – while BuJo is easier at home than Trello was – I still don’t do it. I mean, I do, but a lot is in retrospect. Part of that is the old problem of ‘paper sucks for me’. Part of it is not wanting to put my journal on top of the ecclectic mess, and losing motivation. Loss of motivation in general over the last 5 days has been the biggest problem though.

You can’t manufacture motivation. Side note here, my god do I despise 99% of motivational quotes. About the only ones I like are the ones not attributed to a person. Is there a word for acting narcassictic on a person’s behalf to gain the same glow for yourself, such as quoting woke people? I mean, there’s a term for it, it’s called sucking thei -but this is a SFW blog so I’m going to cut that thought off right away. Anyway, those quotes don’t work, but the concept does make some sense. That is, if there is a link between inspiration and motivation. I’m not sure I do feel motivated by inspiration. I am almost always inspired. No that isn’t big headed, a lot of people are. 

So how can I cultivate motivation? Well, it depends if motivation is the same as willpower. If it is, there is a wealth of scientific data – Google it, I’m lazy – that suggests willpower is a finite resource. If we take the assumption the two concepts are interchangable, the answer is obvious. That is, I need to make more time for leisure. That makes some sense when looking at the weekend. I fret that I don’t get much done, yet if I do stuff I have wretched weeks that follow. Not being productive over the weekend is the reason I can be productive at work, not a sign there is a gap in my routine.

So how do I fix that? Yes, I know that I end up having productive weeks, but I view this as a broken system. That is because my willpower runs out on weekdays too, and because I can pace this out much better. I have an idea, but I don’t know how much I like it. The idea would be to spend my evenings playing on the PC, or being social. Under this model, I would block each day like below:

Morning to Afternoon – Productivity

Afternoon to Evening – Wind down

Evening to Night – Leisure

Night to Morning – Sleep

I know how clinical that sounds, but there are times clinical works. This also highlights a problem with not only weekends, but weekdays. If we call these blocks even 6 hour periods, the whole model breaks down. So lets go through these points in reverse order.

6 hours of sleep is not only impractical, but dumb. I’m not going to switch to such a stupid solution to my time constraints. If I sleep less than 8 hours on average, my days become miserable. 7 is about the minimum I feel comfortable with. 6 is borderline ill. So in reality, sleeping between the hour-blocks of 11pm and 7am is a baseline I cannot infringe on. Now yes I will cover the weekend last, but note that I don’t manage either of those goals the majority of weekends.

While I manage to be productive throughout the day, I push productivity right up until 6pm. At least on weekdays, I end up from 9am until 6pm being ‘always on’. Then I go home and I ‘crash’. Crashing does not equal leisure, so I need to use that wind down time. You know where I am going with this: I need to write on my lunch breaks, not at 5pm. Writing between 6pm and 11pm is bad. Writing between 11pm and midnight is awful. Writing in the early hours is abysmal and spirals very, very fast. You know I’m serious because I used the forbidden word ‘very’.

And the biggest problem is the weekends themselves. I wrote this in reverse, because the two points above are why weekends aren’t working. I focus on getting enough sleep – which is good – but I work late – which is bad. As a result, I sleep in. In fact, I do this so often, that when I write early on a Friday, I still sleep in out of habit. That is going to get worse the longer I don’t deal with the central problem: letting ‘work’ spill late. And what makes this worse? I get hung up on the flat being untidy, so I spend a chunk of my leisure time working on tidying. That is a big, fat, no no.

So tonight, I’ll get home, clear my desk by putting the contents into a to-sort box, and play on the PC. No complex tidying. No writing – that I will do soon. I’ll relax, eat, then go to sleep at 10pm at the latest. I’ll go at 9:30pm if I can. But for now to make that possible, I’ll get back to work, then transition into writing over lunch. Yes, I shouldn’t work through a break. But what’s worse: working through a break, or working the entire day with a tiny break midday and crashing at 6:30pm? Wish me luck.

Also lol, 1,000 word post. But no I don’t count these.

January 12th, 2020 – 473

Talk about doing a day in the wrong order. I did my bullet journal retrospectively, after my journal entry and that after target. Only the latter two were in the right order. Now I’m blogging at 11pm. Griiiim.

I’m keeping this short so I can get to sleep, but yikes, this weekend was fun and all but I seriously need to impose some order on my weekends in general. Too bad I’m too tired to do that. This needs a rethink…