2011-0808 Monday

2011-0808 Monday

It’s Father’s Day in Taiwan, and a good day to review my progress for the month for Groundhog Day Resolutions. The week has gotten off to a slow start (not that this is bad; I must remember that it is recoverable). Ended up being an OK day.

I didn’t want to go to sleep last night, so I stayed up until around 11PM trying the “Elite” setting on Star Trek Online. This is the hardest level of difficulty of three, and it makes the space battles longer and more protracted. More intense, with the threat of inconvenient damage, but with more reward too. Looking back at this now, I can see that impulse to try the hardest level as a need to push hard against something. It’s probably why I didn’t want to go to sleep either; I didn’t feel like I’d done anything very interesting or meaningful.

Again, the puzzle of why I didn’t do anything interesting or meaningful on Sunday puzzles me, as does the amount of Star Trek Online playing I did. I estimate I played for at least 6 hours total, which is a significant chunk of time.

Some theories:

  • After pushing for two weeks creating my own structure in work and personal goals, that part of my brain was exhausted and needed some kind of break. Even though there were plenty more things that I could have done, they all required strategic or tactical planning on my part. If there is a part of my brain (or whatever) that is responsible for that and it’s out-of-order.

  • The urge to do something interesting, however, was still present. A video game like Star Trek Online provides pre-structured challenges, with achievement ladders that are immediately rewarding. There is also something of a social environment that I can observe (the STORP channel) and participate in. Cooking provides a similar structured activity, since I am experienced enough to improvise my way through preparing a meal and I also gain the reward of eating it right away.


p>Prior to these theories, I’d assumed that the reason that I couldn’t do anything productive was that I didn’t have enough clarity; I needed some kind of map or overarching plan. This is actually still true, but it draws on the strategy/planning part of my brain, so I have to probably wait until I’m ready to tackle that again.

This suggests that one of the most important things I can do is create pre-structured plans of action for myself, so I don’t have to draw on the limited planning/strategy processing reserves I have for weeks at a time. This makes a lot of sense to me. I’d be doing it somewhat by making lists of things for me to do upon waking.

I just googled “What part of the brain is responsible for planning” to see what might pop up; it’s the cerebrum. This lead to an article on brain hacks that mention a few activities that might be important: hydration, eating protein, fish oil, adequate rest, and simplification of tasks. I’ve known for a while that protein-rich breakfast helps me with focus during the day, as does rest. It never occurred to me that maybe my brain is actually malnourished, and the fuzziness I feel might be “brain hunger”. Weird. Will have to investigate this further.

ANYWAY, what’s on my mind this morning. It’s 1130AM. I woke up after about 10 hours of sleep at 1030AM. Ugh. Just got out of the house, eating cold leftover meat and some cold spoonfuls of Boston Baked Beans right out of the can. I checked my mail at home before coming to Starbucks, because it was late enough in the morning that I should process email and make sure any barn burners were not in progress.

Today I had an idea for a form, too. I am going to take 15 minutes to flesh it out. 1130AM now.

Oops, spent 15 minutes Facebook Chatting with a friend who was in a very bad mood. Tried to cheer him up. Might have just made him madder…oops! Back to the new form. Posted on the David Seah (dot com) Facebook Page, noting I was trying to think of a new name for this form. 1145AM now.

It’s now 12:45PM, and I’ve blown my 15-minute budget by 300%, but I have something kind of cool. Tabling it for now, moving on to next: Groundhog Day Resolution Report! I’m going to try to keep it to an hour.

Well, it’s now 1:45PM, and I haven’t done much more than answer emails. I’m procrastinating because the Groundhog Day Resolution Report takes a lot of looking through old data and collecting info. It’s a pain in the butt. This is a prime example of the sort of thing that can be turned into an easy-to-follow recipe, so I don’t have to think and motivate; I just do.

Here’s the list:

  • Copy/paste last month’s GHDRR to refer to while I’m writing
  • Collect sales data from email
  • Scan through the titles of the last month of posts on wave, blog, journals

1345 to 1500: Write GHDRR Post (1.25 hours)

I should add a WordPress filter that finds these time expressions and highlights them.

I’ve been at Starbucks since what, 11AM? Standing on my feet. Time to go home for lunch, take a break, and then hit some billable work.

1500 to 1715: Prepared lunch, ate it, got mail, then vegged out at the computer for an hour. I guess I was tired. Interestingly, my attention span was like that of a petulant child, shifting from impulse to impulse without much discipline, almost willfully non-productive. It reminded me of when I’m famished, and I go into a kind of food-hunting frenzy and eat everything in sight, except this was with information. It was almost like I wasn’t quite myself, without a strong presence of mind. Animalistic, maybe?

At this point, I’m wondering what to do next. I should spend 15 minutes on some billable work, though I don’t feel like I have the reserve for it. I can at least look at a header structure. I’ll go do this downstairs at the standing desk, so I don’t fall asleep.

1715 to 1815: Before I went downstairs, I tried to implement an anti-hotlinking rewrite rule, but it doesn’t quite work with WordPress for some reason. Tabling it for now. Moving downstairs. I think I am craving some kind of “website improvement” more than anything. This may be a sign that I just want to work some more on my own stuff. But I can NOT do that for 15 minutes! Getting started is the hardest part.

1815 to 2100: Worked on billable website work. 2100 to 2300: Played some STO.
2300 to 2400: Read about london riots. Doh.