Dailies 010-W: Improved Brain Clarity, Aquaponics, and Discontinued 3D Printers

Happy Wednesday! I’m trying a 3-day-a-week blogging/livestreaming schedule so I could have work focus days; doing the podcast and livestream, while pretty easy to do, still take a few hours out of my morning and reduce the amount of energy I have for doing deep work. My current deep work commitment is creating a web app framework for an educational software prototype, and so I’ve designated Tuesday and Thursday as days where I am primarily focused on that project. Also, this is the first full week of going back on low carb diet and resuming the gym habit to see if it improves my mental focus. As I am also now diabetic, these steps are necessary also for maintaining overall health.

So how did it go? Read onward!

Diet and Exercise, Not a Choice

I was listening to the TED Radio Hour episode on Nudges, and in one of the segments someone commented how removing choices can help establish habits. The specific example was going to the gym; the guest said something like (paraphrased):

If I had a choice of going to the gym in the morning, I would never go. So I don’t make it a choice, like brushing my teeth every morning is not a choice. It’s something you do.

I’ve kept this in mind as I’ve been eating my low carb diet, following the guidelines in Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb regimen since they are easy for me to remember. The daily regimen looks like this:

  • Wake up. Wash up, do morning face cleaning (I’m trying to clear up my complexion)
  • Eat some protein as soon as possible.
  • Go to gym for 15 minutes of cardio
  • Go to Starbucks, get coffee, and do some work there
  • Back home, graze throughout the day

So far I’ve not regarded any of this as “choice”, and so even though I don’t feel like doing any of this there is a kind of quiet acceptance that it’s a necessary evil if I want to be a healthier individual. More importantly, I’ve found that my brain fuzziness has been greatly reduced, and I’m able to more easily start the day’s work. That said, I still find it difficult to start projects, particular at the end of the day. I haven’t been logging the time explicitly, but it seems that every day I productively do 50% work-related things and 50% chore-related things over a period of 2-3 hours. Then there’s another 1-2 hours of doing random blog+chat room work. I’m not sure where the time is going; I should probably use the Emergent Task Timer and do some time accounting to see what’s really going on. Speaking of which, it might be nice to make a test-market package of ETTs to see if they sell.

Though I have greatly-improved brain clarity, I have been feeling more tired physically, which has led to more napping. I don’t think it’s dehydration because I’m drinking at least 32oz of water a day. The tiredness might be due to the diet change, so I’ll continue to monitor my reaction. Possibly I’m not eating enough calories (Ferriss suggests eating more legumes to maintain adequate calories). We’ll see!

Other Things

Fish Tank + Plants AquaponicsMOD-T 3D PrinterMixer Setup

I was getting picture hanging wire at Home Depot when I saw a mysterious display of planter+fish tank boxes. Cool! A few years ago I heard chef Dan Barber’s TED talk about his search for delicious sustainably farmed fish. The basic idea is that a fish pond that also is a bird sanctuary, creating a symbiotic ecological system that can also be farmed extensively and sustainable. Aquaponics is the technical term for it, and while the Home Depot version doesn’t create bird sanctuaries it IS an intriguing example of how to do this in your own home as a science project.

Someone on the David Seah Dot Com Facebook page commented that my new PC looks like a 3D printer, and so I posted a picture of my MOD-t 3D Printer which has been sitting dormant for 2-3 years. I need to do a firmware upgrade on it and see how it prints. The last firmware upgrade did something that increased the print speed to the point that the work was coming unstuck, so I decided to wait it out a bit. It will be a nice distraction to see if the MOD-t user experience has improved greatly over the past couple of years; I’m a bit surprised they’re still around…oh wait, MOD-t has ceased operations. Apparently there is a firmware update that converts the machine to USB-connection only for printing rather than using their nifty store. Oh well. I had gotten my MOD-t as a Kickstarter Early Bird for $150 to just get my feet wet with 3D printing, so I think it wasn’t a bad purchase.

Finally, Jakob in the coworking chat room had posted a picture of his new Yamaha AG06 mixer and had asked if anyone had suggestions for decluttering the cables. This got me thinking about my cluttered mixer setup (I use a Yamaha MG10-XU). I really should get around to making a small shelf to raise the mixer so I can hide the cables underneath it. I’ve been too lazy to do the measuring and cutting, though the work itself is not hard.


That’s it for today! I’ll be recording more episodes of our podcast with photographer Sid Ceaser at 3:00PM EDT, so I’ll be livestreaming the podcast session as we’ve done before then too. Tomorrow will be another work day. Here’s hoping today is productive! I’m going to try giving myself less choice to see if that helps get me more things done.