2011-0822 Monday Monday Monday

SUMMARY: It’s Monday, and I’m short on sleep, and I’m a little tired and cranky. But I’m awake! The day was spent getting comfortable working at home, looking at the environment critically to see if there’s a way I can make it more productive. That would save money on Starbucks.

Last night I spent some time working on cleaning up the house and getting it into shape so I could work at home. That consisted of:

Organizing the Main Workstation Area – I brought up a bookshelf, dusted it off, and piled the devices I had there. It’s made for a clean desk, which helps make for a clean mind. I also moved a bunch of stuff off back downstairs, where the secondary work area is. I also have storage for various things there, so I put away electronics and stuff like that. The main innovation of this task was to create an odds and ends electronics cables box. I will go to Christmas Tree Shops and see if I can find something nicer to put the cables in.

Creating an Out Tray – This is just an IKEA carrying tray that I put over the garbage can like a lid, then put all the “outgoing stuff” that I had to take care of. That’s stuff that requires errands, like mailing things. I hate mailing things. But this way I’ll see it more. The garbage can location will likely change, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Right now I’m working in the secondary work area (the “Battle Bridge”), which has fewer distractions and has the advantage of being a standing desk setup for my laptop. The lighting is good, and the wall behind the laptop is covered with my various organizational notes from over the years. It’s kind of cool to see it all in one place.

The key to getting the organization done was to shift my mind into a non-thinking state. This is something I’ve been practicing. I’m not sure if it’s like meditation, but the idea is to just turn off my active thought process–maybe this is the “inner voice”–and let the quieter voices have a go at things. These are the easy-going, obedient parts of my brain, I suppose. Looking at stuff, seeing it’s untidy, and then doing something about it without complaining or thinking ill thoughts about chores…this is rather novel behavior from me. I find I enjoy the quiet. It helps me just to SEE things. Really see things. I think I’m stuck in my own head a lot of the time, processing things.

I have three ongoing projects for the coming two weeks: web application programming, organizing the printable CEO stuff by type of solution, and streamlining my e-commerce platforms for making listings faster under my own website.

ANYWAY…here’s the time log:

0745 to 0830: Wake up, shower, cook breakfast
0830 to 0900: Vacuum, tidy up the kitchen table, wash dishes
0900 to 0930: Scan wunderlist, basecamp, email, calendar to construct today’s giant list of things for the week. This gives me an overview of what should be on my mind. Also went through finances and invoice ages. One is at 100 days, the heavily-discounted one. Typical. The others are hitting around net 30. I will want to generate more invoices for the coming month.
0930 to 1330: I actually fell asleep…I guess trying to cheat myself of sleep never works. I can’t play games with this.

The day is rapidly degenerating into a non-productive day. I’m at home, and I’m supposed to be focusing on stuff, but there is a lot of distractions along the line of home improvements and tweaks. On the other hand, I may have fixed most of them today.

1330 to 1645: Found my check supply, sorted mail. Also downloading and installing 5 different versions of Linux on this old laptop for a friend of mine, who is computer-challenged. I know…Linux? The problem is she that she keeps running into viruses on Windows XP, as she doesn’t keep the machine turned on all the time so it can actually update itself. So far, I’ve tried Jolicloud (maddeningly slow on this Presario 2700), ubuntu-10.04LTS (buggy display driver) and now I am about to try linux mint 11 LXDE.

1645 to 1830: Started preparing a package to mail to Taiwan, filling out the cumbersome customs declaration and weighing the contents of everything in the package. A DVD, which wouldn’t play on my computer, needed to be further tested in different devices. I ripped the contents of the DVD just to be on the safe side, on a machine that could read it. Then, I was about to fix the front screen door, which has been broken for the past eight years, when I discovered I was still missing one small part: a bracket. I know I must have squirreled it away somewhere, but alas, I don’t know where it is. I may have to fabricate something, or buy all new screen parts. I now have to measure the door. Sigh. I tried to find a bracket at Home Depot, but the part is specific to this manufacturer (now defunct). I did buy some rubber bumpers, though, for the standing desk; I find that leaning against it helps stabilize it against the wall, so rubber bumpers might help spread that out a bit. The wobbly tabletop is not conducive to drawing or writing.

1830 to 2130: Cooked, ate dinner. Also took another pass at installing Mint 11 LXDE. The user experience of Linux is quite bad, compared even to Windows XP. There are many small instances where feedback is completely lacking, or there are bugs in the installation, or subtle breaks in the way things work. I suppose it’s pretty cool that it works 95% of the time, but each installation has a few broken pieces about it unless you’re working with the very latest stuff with a late-model computer. Basic things like race conditions aren’t anticipated in the install scripts, and custom installation options tend to break. Video driver support is spotty; three different distros of Ubuntu detected my video chipset in 3 ways; only Mint detected it correctly. Very frustrating. I think everyone should just buy iPads, at this point, if they are just using computers and not creating things.

2130 to 2200: I have a long day tomorrow. Going to throw in a load of laundry and hit the sack.

I didn’t get anything meaningfully productive done, as far as billable work, marketing, or new products are concerned. It was an “office” day. Minor inefficiencies were eliminated, and the environment was tidied up. I did also start to crack a few of the pain-in-the-ass projects: mailing packages, taking care of bills, doing some household maintenance and cleaning. I thought about how I could proceduralize some of this too. Vacuuming, for example, could be handled with the vacuum plugged in at exactly one location, as the cord is long enough and the house is small enough to reach all three floors from one outlet. Amazing.

Tomorrow I will be working away from home almost all day, but the evening I will be back. I’ll probably be too tired to work. Tackling the creative projects at home, and making it easier to start them, will be the emphasis of the coming week.