Easing into a New Routine

Last night I slept in my own bedroom for the first time in months. Prior to Dad’s visit in April, I had been using it as a store room for 20 years of assorted toys, vintage computers, and piles of old clothing. I moved it all downstairs to the basement and bought a new futon couch/bed so Dad’s foster son could be in the same room, moved the main bed, and got the room turned into a real place where one could rest. With my newly-cleaned laptop keyboard, I’m finding it rather comforting to just sit on the futon couch and write.

Today I am doing a 24-hour fast as part of a physical reset, which I will break tomorrow morning. I’m only going to drink water and maybe some tea, then have a nice breakfast somewhere in downtown Nashua or at the Airport Cafe. I’ve read here and there than 24-hour fasts every other days seem to have positive health benefits in rats. I’ve done them before, and found the sensation of being hungry to heighten my senses. It also forces me to do something other than snack while building anticipation for the next day. I suppose it might also be another way to develop discipline by deferring reward, a meme that has been making the rounds in business and parenting circles. I hate waiting for anything, but apparently the ability to do this is strongly correlated with success. But really, I just feel like fasting today.

Yesterday I declared that I was starting a new two-week sprint focusing on 3 main goals + Happy Bubble Time. I can’t remember exactly what they are, so let me take a look…ah yes, they break down as follows:

  • Improving the Blog – Finding Content Collections, Form Descriptions, and Producing an Improvement Every Day
  • Client Projects
  • Daily Gym Habit
  • Happy Bubble Time

If you’re not familiar with Happy Bubble Time, it is the pursuit of interest in a singular, stress-free manner. The basic approach is to make a “bubble of time” where I don’t have to worry about other stuff, and allow myself to play. This is harder than it sounds, since I’m accustomed to thinking about entire projects and their constituent components at once. It’s a good way to freak myself out, and it’s a terrible mindset to have when one is trying to be creative, a vestige of having come in through art as an engineer/manager instead of through play.

Since both my 715AM Morning Ritual and Wave ritiuals are in hiatus, I have decided to use the Stream of Consciousness Journal (SOC) the new outlet. As I mentioned yesterday, I seem to function better if I’m writing about what I’m doing. I also like sharing these thoughts, as it forces me to think about what I’m writing and I’m always curious if something will come back. That’s part of the fun of sharing what you do: seeing what comes back. It’s almost always a surprise.

I’m going to incorporate a few elements from the Ritual and the Wave into my SOC journal entries:

  • It’s the first thing I do in the morning, and I do it every day to maintain continuity. This is one of the best parts of the Ritual.
  • I write as if I’m writing to a friend, which is a takeaway from the Wave and also from my earliest years of blogging.

As for daily scheduling, I haven’t thought yet about what that will be. I feel the urge to make a decision and stick to it, but instead I’m going to run an experiment for the day and note what I do. I woke up at 830 without the alarm going off, and it’s now 900AM.

I’m not quite sure what I should do, and this is creating mental friction. I appear to associate the feeling of uncertainty with the fear of being trapped by something not-fun. Not-fun is either something I’m being forced to do based on someone else’s expectations and desires, or it’s being responsible for delivering something that I don’t yet know how to do.

Fortunately, I have methods for coping with this anxiety. First I have just named the fears, and this allows me to tame the lizard brain with a rational mind. Next, I know that writing helps me through uncertainty, and that daily continuity helps with progress. I actually have a text file where I maintain daily continuity on projects, and I merely need to remember that.

The biggest unknown, which I can look at now without the underlying sense of dread that I had in the previous paragraph, is what specifically I should do. Or rather, can do, as there is no “should”; no good comes from gaslighting myself through another anonymous boogeyman’s expectations. Rather than plan everything out, I think that I can apply a time-blocking approach to each of my four daily goals. Actually, “goals” might be an overstatement; “activity playtimes” is more like it. Goal implies a set of measurable achievements with corresponding benefits, whereas “Activity Playtime” more accurately implies time spent without those expectations. From past experience, I know that allowing myself to engage in such playtime eventually leads to more concrete planning later. I just need to play with the goals for now so I can gather the information I need to both materially and emotionally understand the nature of the work. Then, I can do more formal structuring if it’s needed.

For today, it’s just activity playtime.

UPDATE

It’s now 2:52PM, and I have been spending HBT reviewing some old Apple II circuit reference manuals. I never really learned how to apply any practical hardware building knowledge when I studied computer engineering, because I had moved into software and then design. Reviewing the Apple II stuff now is a way of picking off where I left off.

Anyway, I also wrote some posts on the main blog detailing the thought process behind this new push. I wrote down a process and listed a few tools that I would use. However, these tools are accessible only from a computer. What do I use for offline notekeeping? A paper notebook? My iPad? Right now I’m updating this posting through the WordPress app, using an external bluetooth keyboard so typing isn’t painful. I need a PHYSICAL KIT to go along with the SOFTWARE KIT..

I also figured out a way to tape post-it pads to my door that works pretty well. It might be worth a blog post in itself.