Producing Day 5 to 15: A Whirlwind of Change

Producing Day 5 to 15: A Whirlwind of Change

I’m still on a producing versus consuming mindfulness blitz this month, but I haven’t been good about keeping track of what’s been happening over the past 10 days. I’ve been really busy, as I had hired a friend to clean my house over several days and it’s become the major background activity in my life. In the process, I’ve learned that ANY movement begets forward motion in all other areas, if one has the right attitude.

What Got Done

Here’s a general recap of how the past 10 days have gone, using three-ish metrics: producing, consuming, and gathering/social:

FRI DAY 4 (CONT’D): Assist in launching client website (produce).

SAT DAY 5: A Trip to Bingham Lumber (gather) and Parker’s Maple Barn (consuming), followed by cooking chicken in my charcoal oven (produce, then consume)

SUN DAY 6: Create list of non-profit organization (NPO) email accounts, review NPO payment acceptance for their SquareSpace-hosted website.

MON DAY 7: Postponed Skype Call with BR (social). Record podcast with SC (produce), post-podcast lunch (consume). Brainstorm collaborative media project (gather).

TUE DAY 8: House Clean Part II Begin (gather). NPO e-commerce work (produce). Drop junk off at Good Will (gather/declutter). DataViz Meetup (gather).

WED DAY 9: House Clean Part II: Vacuum and Mop Basement (gather). InqSim Code Refactoring (produce). Play WildStar (consume).

THU DAY 10: Personal Mission Statement with JM (produce). Skype call with JM (social/gather/produce). House Clean Part II: Guest Bedroom (gather). Weekly work session with SC/SC (produce), launch website (produce). Media Project logo design begin (produce).

FRI DAY 11: Withdraw money for cleaning service (gather). Drop off dry cleaning (gather). Catch Up with TS (social/gather/produce). Search for water bottle (gather/social). RibFest Tasting (gather/consume). Play WildStar (consume).

SAT DAY 12: House Clean Part II: Basement second sector (gather). Search for cards (gather/social). Cook hamburgers, mushroom (produce/consume).

SUN DAY 13: House Clean Part II: Upstairs Bathroom (gather). Cook hamburgers (produce consume). Blog post (produce).

I’m not sure that I got the right tasks on exactly the right days, but that’s the gist of what happened. Let me now categorize them by producing, gathering, and consuming:

  • The “producing” tasks, which are the ones I am trying to track, tended to fall into the “client work” category. I had one good day of work on InqSim, a half-day total to launch two websites, and another day spent doing final work for an event registration form that accepted credit cards. This week was unusual in that three projects actually closed, though two of them were non-paid work that I think of as a kind of “social tithe” levied by the community that I choose to support. Still, stuff closed feels good. Yeah!

  • There were two main gathering projects, which I define as “work that doesn’t produce something directly, but supports future efforts to do so or advance my understanding”. The first was house cleaning, directed by my friend Angela, whom I’d hired to manage the mega cleaning and restructuring of the kitchen, living room, and guest bedroom. I handled a few tasks, but much of the reorg was done by Angela as I worked on other things, with occasional clarification from me on where things went or what they were for. Secondly, there were several scheduled social interactions with long-term collaborators, which were highly fruitful and granted me some additional energy. Between house cleaning and these social interactions, I had very full days that started early and ended late.

  • Finally, the “consuming” tasks (where I’m neither gathering or making anything) were liberally sprinkled through the week. I had my share of surfing Facebook and saving bookmarks, as usual, and I also spent maybe 7-10 hours playing the online game WildStar. There were several shopping trips for the house, combined with personal hunts for water bottles, pancakes, fancy lumber, and the like. I used the charcoal oven quite a bit as well. The most epic event was attending a BBQ rib taste on Friday at the annual “Rock’n RibFest” here in New Hampshire; this was my first (and last) time attending. I had hoped to learn something about BBQ, but it turned out to be something of a sham event.


p>Since I didn’t track the time for all these events strictly, I only have a qualitative sense of whether it was a good week. Here’s my off-the-cuff assessment:

  • I did not get as much client work done as I wanted, so this is a DRAG.
  • Instead, a lot of house cleaning and reorganization occurred, which vastly improved the energy of the house. That is a NET BOOST.
  • Several good social interactions set the tone for the future as well as helping me understand the present. That is also a NET BOOST.
  • Several new interactions: DataViz Meetup, RibFest Tasting, Cleaning Concepts. That is a NET BOOST.
  • Several projects closed. NET BOOST in my attitude, because those are two things I don’t have to think about anymore.
  • I didn’t work on my own personal work: website engineering, etc. That is something of a DRAG, but only when I think about it does it bring me some grouchiness.
  • I did not produce new versions of the tracking form from earlier, so that is kind of a bummer.

It’s interesting too how educational the cleaning process has been. Since Angela is the one leading the charge, I’m able to observe how her energy transforms the space over time. Seeing change occur is kind of magical, and it gives me faith in the ability to change one’s environment by letting go of control. As a result, I’m finding it a little easier to start things up myself, even non-cleaning tasks, because of all the change going on in the background. I’m hoping this attitude carries over into this week. With the house empty, the energy may be different.

Another contributor to my feeling of good cheer is that I can see the Living Room Cafe starting to come together. The LRC is a major development in my future community-building plans, so I’m quite excited by the progress we’re making on transforming the house, so I think this has put me in a positive energy state.

Looking Forward

Overall: I am feeling it was a good week, where house cleaning and closing projects provided a positive boost of energy, though I know that I am paying for it by not getting as much done on the client work / personal work side.

This coming week I will want to do more of that, while still maintaining the cleaning at a lesser pace. I’m curious whether it will be harder to motivate myself without someone else in the house working their butt off.


  1. LouLou 9 years ago

    Dave, I really like that you include house tidying in the ‘gathering’ category. I’ve tended to neglect this task when I’m busy in ‘producing’ mode. Reading your post has made me realise that my energy is being blocked until I de-clutter my home. How do you motivate yourself to maintain the cleaning regime with nobody in the house?

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 9 years ago

    Hey Lou!

    Yes, having all that clutter tends to have a parasitic draining effect, at least on me, because little things are constantly in the way. I’ve found that if I don’t have my work surfaces clear (like tables), then it’s a constant inconvenience that drains my willpower; if I have to clear a spot to work on something, it’s that much more effort AND it’s aggravating on multiple levels. Clearing stuff is a whole separate mental task involving sorting, filing, and sometimes processing.

    My motivation routine is keeping the essential areas small, rather than worry about overall cleanliness:

    • A simple rule of not having anything on my desk keeps it clear, and to do this I have a large sacrificial shelf a couple steps away, out of my view, where all that crap goes. It’s at least self contained!

    • Likewise with the dining room table, though I’m not so good with this one.

    • Having guests come over for dinner a couple days before I have to start serious work means I am highly motivated to clean house!

    The first two are like basic habits that are easy to remember and not overwhelming in size, and are like catalysts. The last one is kind of the disruptive Big Clean.

  3. LouLou 9 years ago

    Dave, thanks for your inspiration. I managed to prise myself out of lethargy and procrastination this weekend to tidy my living room! For speed, I stuffed everything into cupboards and drawers; the deep clean will come later. But for now, I can’t help marvelling at my transformed space. I’m motivated to tidy the rest of the house now.

    You’re so right about having clear surfaces – it has breathed new life into my creative thinking. The mind fog has lifted and for the first time in ages, I was able to sit down and write straight off the bat without dithering.

    I’m using your mini ETP by the way, and it’s brilliant – the best layout I’ve ever used and I’ve been using planners for decades.

  4. Author
    Dave Seah 9 years ago

    LouLou: Awesome!!! It’s been a few weeks now…did you get to the deep clean? I’ve been trying to chip away at it one section of a time, but I find that even small sections require a lot of decision making and prioritization. It’s helpful to have someone else around to at least lend a sympathetic ear.

    Thanks for the kind words about the mini ETP! Glad to hear that it’s working for you!


  5. LouLou 9 years ago

    Hey Dave,

    At the moment I’m focussing on keeping surfaces clear – picking up what I put down. I realised that the more surfaces I have, the more temptation to leave clutter, so I removed a couple of units from the living/dining area. I’m loving the empty space! Deep cleaning the paperwork will wait until winter when I can chuck the excess on the fire.

    It’s interesting what you say about making decisions when throwing stuff away. I often turn out a drawer only to put everything back, rearranged.

    I’m now working on a “50% must go” basis. I pick out what I absolutely need/want to keep and let the other half go. It’s not easy, but once the stuff is gone, I don’t miss it. And the space left behind allows me to enjoy what I’ve decided to keep.