GHDR Weekly Review 8.5 – Another Frustrating Week and a Crash

Dealing with Burnout Hiya! It’s week four of using the new review format, and I think this might go pretty fast. The past week was a low productivity week due to the high number of social interactions (including voting on Tuesday) combined with a midweek drive to the North Shore of Boston for personal errands. By Friday I was completely frazzled and unable to focus. This transformed into depression that lingered into Saturday, when I decided I should take a COMPLETE BREAK from work and related productive activities. I played a lot of Destiny 2.

As I look back at the records I have for the week, I’m struck by how DISTANT those memories seem. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about them?

Let’s gather and review the data, and see how I’m doing on my goals.

1. Gather Activity Data

1A. How did the week feel?

  • In terms of work: It felt very slow-going and frustrating. However, I am starting to get the feeling that maybe it’s SUPPOSED to be that way.
  • In terms of personal stuff: It felt like I had too many stressful commitments, and my week never did get moving because of that. I didn’t want to deal with anything extra.

NOTE: This is similar to the impressions I wrote last week. Disatisfaction. A feeling of slow progress.

1B. Review #Accountability

...
[~] Finalize Electron+React+Webpack framework running (week 3!)
[~] Get a handle on how to make a good library.
[ ] Design MEME look and feel
[F] Cardio 2X + Watch JS Vids
...
!!! Ask why some tasks seem so large when they are not
!!! Note recovery times from interaction, try to describe
[+] clean up mess on porch, buy insulin for cat
[X] TUE 0600 Vote
[X] TUE 1400 Check-in Jakob
[X] TUE 1800 Volunteer Access Nashua
[X] WED 1100 Lunch w/ Duncan in Salem
[X] WED 1330 Haircut in Danvers
[+] Take down hose
[X] THU 1745 Electrolysis
[X] FRI 1030 Stationery Biz Meeting (bring check)
...
/// win/stuck in #accountability?
/// Jen letter this week?
/// Schedule: Global Entry Interview in Vermont
/// Schedule: Vet appointment
/// Reconstruct Don, Robert's websites
/// Call: Possible new accountant
/// deposit to cc nov 15

LEGEND: [ ]=planned [X]=planned+done [+]=added+done [~]=in-progress !!!=late ///=remember
LEGEND: { }=optional [-]=cancelled [?]=stalled [.]=paused [:]=blocked [>]=pushed [/]=fail

Notable patterns: Again I am stuck on the Electron+React+Webpack task. I got through all my errands, but they also seemed to take up all my mental space. TUESDAY was a major commitment to run “live graphics” for the first time for our local community cable access station, which is something I’ve never done before. WEDNESDAY was a long drive to Danvers and Salem in Massachussetts, and despite it being a “me” day I always find these days difficult to recover from. I didn’t do anything else that was “good” for me, nor did I finish my key tasks for the 4TH WEEK, and this made me very depressed.

1C. Review Calendar, Texts/Posts/Chats, Pics

JAVASCRIPT WORK – As I mentioned above, I’m making very slow progress on my development work. On the other hand, a developer in the [virtual coworking chat room][discord] noted that three weeks on getting through Webpack configuration was not a long amount of time, and this made me feel less like I was failing at being an efficient developer. I need some long uninterrupted days to really get into it, and I need to grant myself the itme to investigate all the issues despite the desire to just CHECK IT OFF AND BE DONE with it. But I can’t: to do the work right requires really understanding how everything works, not just using the expedient-but-terrible solution.

STATIONERY and BLOG WORK – On November 10 I met with Brenda and had a very productive meeting, so this is moving forward! I also got to try out a new coffee shop, “The Local Moose”, up in Manchester where I tried a sandwich and a beverage.

Banh miBanh mi closeupVietnamese espresso

I had the Local Moose version of a Vietmanese Banh Mi, which is one of my favorite kinds of sandwiches. Normally it’s made on a light baguette, but this used a different bread and filling than I’d had before. It’s not really like a “traditional” banh mi as I’ve had before, but it was a good sandwich (ABOVE, LEFT). I did miss some ingredients like the pate, but there were nice bits of fresh cucumber with the pickled radish and carrot stripes (ABOVE, MIDDLE). I also had a “Vietnamese Espresso” which was a thick pool of condensed sweet milk at the bottom of a cup of espresso (ABOVE, RIGHT). It’s a strong and sweet coffee, and it was totally great.

PERSONAL: SELF-CARE

Every 5 weeks I head down to Massachusetts to visit a salon in Danvers, where I get the remnants of my hair trimmed and also an eyebrow wax. I have friends that live in nearby Salem and Beverly; this time I stopped by to have lunch with my good friend Duncan.

Emporium 32 DoorwayModern Millie StorefrontArby's Fried Turkey Sandwich

On the way to lunch we walked by a store Duncan thought I’d like that specializes in Steampunk clothing (ABOVE LEFT). Unfortuantely the store, Emporium 32 was closed for October, so I’ll have to come back and check it out. Across the alley however was another store that specialized in vintage-style clothing called Modern Millie, which I also want to visit some day since I have discovered I like this style of dressing.

On Saturday I was weak and drove to Arby’s to try their Fried Turkey Sandwich (above, right). It was disappointing, though the idea of fried turkey slices seemed great. It was tasty enough, but not mind-blowing. I also became aware of the low quality oil that Arby’s uses…slightly old-tasting? Whatever oil they use to fry, I didn’t care for it.

PERSONAL: COMMUNITY

After voting, I volunteered at Access Nashua for their first-ever live multi-station coverage of the New Hampshire election. It was pretty exciting and super-stressful, but it was a VALUABLE EXPERIENCE in seeing the pressures of a live environment. This helps me design better tools, so I was happy (in hindsight) to have participated. I screwed up a few times, but I survived. If you are going to practice television production stuff, doing it at a local community access station might be the way to go!

Election DayElection NightElection Night Dan, Pete, and Jim at the remote switching station handling incoming digital feeds (ABOVE, MIDDLE). I peeked into the studio (ABOVE,RIGHT); the green screen is replaced by backgrounds.hj

2. Assess Activity Data

2A. Assessment

I’d summarize the week as starting mentally draining and ending with a crash. It doesn’t look like a lot of activity, but it was enough to cause a tremendous dip in my morale. I’d say the week went something like this:

  • Monday: Tried to get some work done in webpack…some success! but slow going. Played video games late to feel some sense of progression.
  • Tuesday: Up early to vote…too early! Stressed by election outcomes, and then doing a 4-hour stint of learning very quickly to support live coverage of the New Hampshire election. Had to hold my shit together and overcome anxiety about screwing up. Wrapped at around 11PM. Ate pizza, bad idea.
  • Wednesday: Drove to Salem in the morning, had lunch, had haircut/eyebrows, drove back in heavy traffic. Exhausted.
  • Thursday: Largely slept until Electrolysis appointment at 530PM. Tried to do work, but played video games until late again.
  • Friday: Woke up late. Felt EXTREME GENDER DYSPHORIA, which is something I hadn’t felt before; it took me the entire day to diagnose the feeling. I then slept for 10 hours, waking only to play video games.
  • Saturday: Repeat of Friday, ate terrible food, realized I was in a depressive spiral and decided not to feel back about it.
  • Sunday: I awoke later, but not super late. Cleaned the basement! Went to Starbucks to do reviews!

I have a few theories about why I crashed:

  • Gender Dysphoria: I don’t want to get into this too much, but lately it has been a major preoccupation. This was a bad week for it and it consumed a lot of my “chill” to deal with some many people.
  • Election Stress: I was hopeful that the election would provide some turnover of the US government, but it also provided a crapstorm of hatred and animosity.
  • Energy sapping interactions: While they were pleasant interactions, I need considerable recovery time by myself before I can focus on anything. I am not sure what causes this and I find it annoying, but it a barrier that I have yet to reliably overcome.
  • Slow progress with work: I haven’t had a big win in my work for quite a number of weeks, and this is wearing at me every day.

Hopefully the crash is short-lived, as I caught it early enough and gave myself several days of indulgent behavior to try to recover. I AM feeling better today.

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Too many weeks without success may increase my susceptibility to depression, particularly when I am also under other stress. Perhaps every three weeks, I should schedule a 4-day vacation to recenter or recover from stress. To be able to do that, I need to protect my time against anything that tries to override it, or just recognize that I should allow myself a big break at the first opportunity to do so.
  • Remember the cost of a big social day and the recovery time aftermath. As much as I dislike this, any big social day wipes out my energy pool and it is extremely difficult to stay focused by myself. It would be better to work with someone else to help maintain focus, particularly if we are working on the same project.

2B. WEEK GRADE: C

I’m tempted to give the week a higher grade because good things did happen. Every social interaction I had was very pleasant, and in those terms it was maybe an A- week! Unfortunately, the recurring pattern I see in my life is social interaction crashes my work productivity.

TAKEAWAY:

  • Is there some way to minimize the productivity crash? I have been dabbling with the formula over the past few years, but maybe I need to formalize my approach and log some data.

3. Choose New Targets

3A. Choose new active targets based on assessment

This week the goal is still to get through the development stuff and finalize it before December. I also have business homework with Brenda for our December 1 target of having NEW BRANDING available on Amazon store listings. One step at at time!

3B. Make sure all new targets have measureable milestone

  • For the JAVASCRIPT DEVELOPMENT: the metric is getting Electron code to livereload; there is a checklist in my developer journal.
  • For the STATIONERY BUSINESS: I have two metrics: a 1st draft of an “About Section”, and a 1st draft of “Simple Hook for General Consumer”. These are due on Friday.

Conclusion

This review didn’t take too long to do. I feel I could probably reduce the amount of analysys and look at just the main goals. I’ll try making an ammended version for this coming week.