Grasping-at-Clarity Wednesday

Grasping-at-Clarity Wednesday

It’s been over 24 hours since I’ve written anything down about what I’m doing, and it’s probably not surprising that I feel like I’ve gone a little bit off the rails. So here I am back in the SOC.

Let me try to sum up my mood: feeling like I have to do some neglected chores. While the past two days were actually quite productive in terms of infrastructure tweaking on both and Let me recap the major changes in the past week, because I have already forgotten them:

  • Converted main websites to Multisite, and consolidated several smaller blogs into the main blog. This is a big deal.
  • Moved web development to source control on both Mac and PC, so I can now keep track of fixes to the themes. This is a big deal.
  • Soft-launched Websites, and realized that there’s quite a bit of valuable experience I’ve accumulated over the past two years of trying to make it work. This is a big deal.
  • Added a few new feature to the basic CXTINY template for the Websites, converting a few older client projects to the new format.
  • Added a lot more sub blogs to
  • Did theme updates, added custom features for both SeahTwentyTen and CleanrAgenceum to help integrate the sub blogs with the main blog.

I look at this list and think that it actually is quite a lot of work, and I even enjoyed it. The feeling I have now is that I have a stronger technology base to build on, and it’s very exciting. However, it seems like I am now craving new inputs, and with this is feeling that the other shoe is about to drop. I’m an optimistic worrier, apparently.

On Tuesday, most of the daytime was taken with a visit to the Massachusetts North Shore for my monthly haircut and a visit with an old high school buddy who lives there, so that was a needed boost of personal energy. It feels like it’s time to do another dive into the project list, and I find I’m loathe to do it.

Habit Review

In times like this, it’s important for me to get out of the house as soon as I wake up. However, since I went to sleep at 6AM last night and tried to wake up at 10AM, I was working at an energy deficit and it wasn’t until 730PM (!) that I got to Starbucks. I also have just realized I haven’t had anything to eat all day, so preoccupied I had been earlier with catching up with emails and Internet news. Not my finest day. However, I think there are a couple of reinforcing lessons I have learned:

  • Sleep. Can’t cheat it. It starts the night before by shutting off at a decent time…NOT 6AM.
  • Food. Can’t skip it. Same with water.
  • Getting out of the house first thing, avoiding email and computer. Necessary. If I check the Internet at home before being in a purposeful environment, even if it’s a coffee shop, then it’s too easy to fall into the lazy surfing habit.

And there’s also the facing I need to do with the less-than-inspiring task list I have in front of me:

  • Bills
  • Cleaning the Kitchen
  • Doing the Laundry

And then on top of it all is the work, both for clients and myself. This is the interesting stuff to me, and I tend to prioritize it over everything else.

Assessing Time Requirements

There’s a MISSING factor, though: the downtime spent cooking, eating, web surfing, and feeding the brain. There is a certain minimum amount of this I seem to need every day, and while I wish it wasn’t so it seems to be at least 4 to 6 hours. Let’s say it’s 6 hours (!), then add at least 8 hours of sleep. That’s 14 hours, leaving 10 hours for everything else.

But something isn’t adding up. There’s no way I spend 10 hours a day grinding at the desk working. Focused work time seems to average, based on a review of some recent time sheets, around 4 hours a day, with some days going very long (up to 12 hours, which is rarer). Some of the time appears to go to “unfocused work time”, which I would describe email distractions, checking stats on the website, and impromptu investigation into tangentially useful topics. But I really don’t know for sure. For the next few days I should bust out an Emergent Task Timer form and see where the time is going. There’s a continuum, I think, between the mindless Dave recharge time, the semi-useful research, and the revenue/empire building activities. Figuring out what is going into this continuum, and why, would be good to know for purposes of “life balance”.

In the meantime…

Let me review my calendar, wunderlist, and basecamp. This is something I’m avoiding because I really just want to go home and eat something, but I find that leaving a short next steps list is helpful in carrying momentum and continuity to the next day.

  • Grocery Shopping – 30 min
  • Bills – 15 minutes
  • Handle Chores – 15 minutes
  • First pass process on Logotype – 15 minutes

It doesn’t look like a lot of time I’m allocating, but I think this might actually be more productive than I think. I’ll finish this entry later.

Timestamp: 830PM

Questions I want to answer:

  • How much slush is there in my day? What is causing it?
  • How do I overcome the feeling that there’s too much to do?
  • How do I keep to my sleeping habits? I stay up late in an attempt to get more done before squeezing my eyes shut.
  • How to I manage context switching for daily tasks and long-term tasks? How do I track continuity on progress without a lot of fuss? It would be great if it felt as solid as the source control system that’s in place now, which is very satisfying.


  1. Ferris Wren 13 years ago

    Thought you might like to see this given your thoughts on efficiency:

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 13 years ago

    Thanks Ferris! And I’ve added Seth’s blog (and Matt’s) to my blogosphere list.

    This kind of confirms a general theory I have that any time + attention put to an issue improves it. Perhaps the missing piece is reliable assessment.