Clearing the Morning Fog

Clearing the Morning Fog

It’s 8:53AM. I got out of bed about 53 minutes ago when the alarm went off, blaring NPR into my right ear. As I showered, I thought rambling thoughts about things I had to do today to feel like I was active. It occurred to me that I was being non-judgmental about it, too; I have learned to be kinder with myself, I suppose. I filed a mental note to not let that get to my head, which was a sign that I still had a ways to go with this “kindness” shtick.

I made it downstairs and fed the hungry cats, who were patiently milling around the vicinity of my living room office, then sprinting toward the kitchen whenever it seemed I was going to move in that direction. Cats fed, I powered up the desktop workstation, a Windows 8.1 64-bit monster I’d built a couple years ago that was inexorably slipping into obsolescence. It takes a couple of minutes to fully come up to speed, so I like to have it ready when I’m ready to do work.

Work. What work? So many possibilities. Also, I had decided that I would be MINDFUL today of how I went about planning and doing the creative work, as part of the Information Nirvana series of articles that popped into my head over the weekend. So here I am, in the cloud of fuzziness, watching and waiting to see what I’ll do so I can live-blog my own stupid head.

Well, hm. First thing is to force myself to list things that I know I want to do. This takes surprising effort, so I am going to proceduralize it. First, the things I can remember:

  • Pay my commercial printer. I’m going to leave a credit card on file, one that earns Southwest Airline miles, and start paying that way. I’ll also funnel all the money received from sales into paying off that credit card, which would be amazing because it is one of two major debt sources remaining. And I’ll earn “points” that I can convert into airplane trips. However, to do this I need to set up one of my checking accounts as a “funding source” so I can pay electronically, and there is the inevitable accounting process I need to figure out. Technically I could just do some transfers, which I guess I can do. That means I need to keep track of this accounting somewhere, and there really isn’t a place for it yet.
  • Podcast Recording – Mondays are “me” days, and I try to record a local podcast with my buddy Sid at 11AM. Afterwards we get lunch. I’ve got a couple of hours. I can possibly combine a trip to the bank with this beforehand.
  • Side Project for Client – Although I am feeling kind of slammed, I took on a small project for a friend doing a startup. I had to defer …


One of my cats, Kat — WORK SESSION RESUME —

… I had to defer the project until after my recent trip to UCLA, and today I need to put in some progress on it to at least get my head around it. It’s visual design for a report based on a cool concept, so I’m technically looking forward to it. It’s a big cloud of fuzzy uncertainty right now, as I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but I trust that when I’m faced with it I’ll figure something out. So, in the meantime, I can just not worry about it.

That’s everything that comes to mind. Oh, I’d like to make some progress on the whole “Information Nirvana” thing too. I’ve been thinking about what platform to start this with, and I think for now I’ll run a big InDesign document as my “continuity starting place” for the current projects. Not ideal, but it has the ability to layer multiple text blocks and images on the same page, and handle multiple pages.

Ok, my thoughts exhausted (it’s now 915AM) I need to do due dilligence and check (1) my google calendar and (2) my Trello board.

  • Google Calendar Says: NOTHING SCHEDULED TODAY…WOO HOO! Other than the podcast, which I confirmed last night to start at 11AM. I also remembered that I was invited to “Women in Technology Hangout” tomorrow night for “show and tell tech”. I know a couple of the women in the group, and it’s nice to be invited into their women’s clubhouse. I guess that means I’m “cool” :-)
  • Trello Says: Oh, I need to call about my haircut on Tuesday next week to confirm which day it is. I can do that now. I really hate using the phone. But then I just remembered, I can SKYPE call numbers!!! And Skype is already open! I struggle momentarily with their terrible morphing UI to figure out how to find a contact. I power on the audio subsystem by thumbing the power switch of the vertically-mounted AV receiver to my right. I dial the number! Ooops…they are closed on Mondays, so no one picks up. Sigh. I try not to think of this is as a wasted bit of effort, because I already hate using the phone and don’t need any more negativity around it.

There are a few things in Trello that I’ve been ignoring, like setting up appointments with the dentist and eye doctor, that I will continue to ignore. There’s also setting up SKUs for various products, which I’ve been blowing-off because they seem tedious. But at least they are there in Trello to nag me. And that is somewhat reassuring.

It’s now 9:24, and I’m going to write up my three things for the day, plus any other sequencing chores. I’ve already forgotten what I wrote above, so I scroll up to see…

  • Pay the Printer: Accounting Setup, Transfer Money, Drop by to set up Credit Card. Before 11AM.
  • Record Podcast: Get to Sid’s by 11AM and setup. Lunch follows.
  • Look at Client Side Project: This also entails setting up the InDesign project file.

Now I need a place to write this down. I grab an ETP Notebook and fill it out:

ETP NOTEBOOK I also added a few extra things, because after 4PM or so the day becomes open. I usually am not very productive that late in the day, so I put light review (UCLA) and exploration tasks (Info Nirvana Platform) down as possibilities.

It’s now 9:39AM. I’ve added about 25 minutes to my startup routine by blogging it, I estimate. I also have noticed what a difference having a clean desk makes in being able to find my ETP Notebook on it. All the junk that used to be on it is now on a shelf to my right. I’d post a picture of it, but it’s backlit against the sun so I’ll have to wait until it gets darker outside. Now, I keep my desk as clean as possible because the rule is NOTHING IS ALLOWED TO LIVE ON IT except for the keyboard, the mouse, and whatever project is at hand.


And with that…it’s time to start the day and see how it goes. In addition to the day’s work, my shadow goal is to monitor my creation progress and figure out how to support it better. I want to have one place to go and keep track of continuity of the day-to-day work. That “one place” doesn’t exist in perfect form yet, so I’m going to prototype it with my existing tools. Ultimately, though, I want to roll-up some software that will help in the ways that I outlined in the last post about information nirvana and creative support.

It’s now 945AM. Time to do some (ugh) accounting! After I make some tea…


  1. Audie 10 years ago

    Very handsome cat!

  2. Guy Porter 10 years ago

    David, when I have these fuzzy issues that you write about, I take some of your other productivity tools and use them. I have noticed that If I stick to EMT, I am always reacting, and have a fuzzy purpose. On Fridays, I block two or three hours to plan next week. Once I pull out one of those sheets with weekly deliverables on it, I have a lot more clarity. I know what needs to get done. Then I take out that five day planner, fill in the big blocks and fill out five EMTs for the next work week. It never goes as planned of course. But if I do this practice, I seem to have more focus about my work time in the comming week. Just my $.02.

  3. Joan Vick 10 years ago

    ****** inexorably ****** bravo!