2011-0815 Monday

It’s already the middle of August! Time is flying! Insights for the day: using the body as a flywheel for the brain, disengaging the brain for certain activities and letting the body just fly solo for a bit.

Last night I went to sleep at around 930PM, which was very early. I couldn’t fall asleep because I was feeling too warm overall, so I tried some cold shower shock therapy. That actually seemed to help in two ways: overall body temperature lowered both through direct contact and through evaporative cooling, and the shock of it was kind of tiring! I might be imagining that, though.

Waking up at 6AM, which seemed like a reasonable time to me, actually got deferred. On waking, I was feeling still tired. Although I suspected this was a bodily reaction to not being that enthused about starting the work week, I let it slide and slept until 830AM. The normal breakfast-wake cycle started, but this time with a twist: I wanted to see if I could work downstairs and maintain the same kind of clarity I had been maintaining at Starbucks in the morning.

A few observations:

  • There are definitely more opportunities to be distracted by the smallest of things. Some cat hair on the carpet, for example, triggers the desire to vacuum. This is especially problematic when you are not looking forward to a particular task.

  • The way around distraction, I’m finding, is to actually actively disengage the mind from having ANY continuous thoughts until the subject of work is in front of me. It’s sort of like submerging my consciousness, if that makes sense, so it can imprint on the first thing it “sees” next.

  • Disengaging my brain is a useful trick for getting into chores like doing dishes. I think ordinarily, I’m thinking of things I’d like to be doing. The pleasure-seeking (or anti-boredom seeking) behavior is active a lot of the time. Turning off desire and just being in the space gives rise to a different set of activities.

  • In a similar way, when the brain is not in a cooperative mood as it was this morning, I found that if I issued a simple directive to the body, I was able to get out of bed and get moving. That directive: keep moving the body. It didn’t matter what it was…fingers, limbs, feet. But if I don’t let them stop and focus on motion itself, it seems that it carries over into locomotion to a new location.

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p>My brain isn’t to be trusted with setting the agenda 100% of the time. A lot of the time it’s fine, but when it’s exhausted from mental activity of any time or if there is a “chore” that presents itself, turning the damn thing off for a bit is an interesting trick.

Most of the morning, from 0930 to 1330, was spent doing billable work or work-related project management. From 1330 to 1500, I packaged up stuff and surfed for GPS sales in the area, as I had to send my current GPS in for repair (has a lifetime map update on it, so it’s worth while as a re-gift). I have had a client kickoff meeting for tomorrow in Waltham, so I wanted to make sure I had the means to guide myself there without having to think too hard about it.

It’s 1530 right now, 30 minutes having been spent eating an asiago bagel (+1) and sipping my coffee. What’s on my mind today is the backog of personal projects that I have looming over me. It’s a bit depressing. It occurred to me that I need to come up with a method of breaking that backlog. It’s not an optional backlog at all. I should be working on it.

Strategically, there’s a lot I feel I need to do to get the entire David Seah enterprise running smoothly. I’ve focused on the past three weeks on establishing a baseline schedule that would allow the machine to at least get moving, and having somewhat accomplished the early waking / self-monitoring in a way that has yielded productive work, I’m now thinking of efficiency. Need to break the mental blocks

Going to take a moment to sketch out everything that is on my mind. I may switch to the Macintosh and download a trial of OmniFocus to see if it helps. Oops, there are multiple products. OmniOutliner is the one I want, I think. Except its…an outliner. I am so disappointed. I thought it would be something more exciting.

I went home at around 1630, and started puttering about the house. I moved everything downstairs, to the standing desk, to start working. I with the desk was a little more stable, and I keep engineering a solution in my head to hold it all together, but it requires making a precision-diameter arc. Perhaps I should just get my butt over to a machine shop and ask them how to do it, or join MakeIt Labs.

I fell asleep on the couch downstairs, though, waking up at around 1830. I made dinner, and now it’s 1915. The thought I had: my whole body is conspiring against me to tackle this giant challenge of melting-down the barrier to clarity. I don’t know why this is…some automatic attitudes are jumping in and telling me to shut down…it’s too hard. WTF.

This does remind me, though, to think in 15-minute chunks. Let’s see if I can push by a few weaker barriers.

I was up from around 7:30 to 1:00AM (bad) taking pictures of pens and also using them to hash out my strategic planning methodology. Went to sleep. I tried taking a cold shower to see if that helped me fall asleep. As it happened, I did fall asleep.