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  • Weekly Review 0617 – Working without Shame

    June 16, 2019

    Time for a weekly update on GROUNDHOG DAY RESOLUTIONS progress!

    In my June Report my take-away was that I should remember to stay focused on creating shareable works as my primary productivity metric. I completely failed to do that, and the week itself was not productive. The issues were too many personal commitments and an ear infection; it was extremely difficult to stay focused, and what little focus I had was inadequate to start major projects.

    I have antibiotics for the ear infection so that’s resolving, but reducing personal commitments was not as straightforward. I am testing a couple of adjustments:

    1. I will brutally limit schedule-interrupting commitments. I used to schedule them when I saw a clear slot in the next week, and this resulted in having too many interruptions to anticipate. It’s hard for me to focus when there is an upcoming event. Also, a quirk of my brain is that such interactions cause 6-8 hours of unproductive recovery time. My brain is too noisy and distracted processing the events that transpired. There really isn’t much I can do about it; it’s just the way my brain works.

    2. The second adjustment is accept the reality of my quirky brain. That means acknowledging that I live with ADHD Introvert tendencies. I have the ADHD pattern of needing stimulating input for my brain to start working. I have the introvert pattern of being drained by interactions with people, but paradoxically it is talking to people about what I’m working on that gives me the motivation to do work. These conflicting requirements are difficult to balance!

    There are a few additional principles that may help keep me positive despite feeling less powerful:

    • I can accept the acknowledgement of my limits without guilt or shame. I think this is really important. Ordinarily I feel bad about not measuring up to my performance goals, not to mention putting the work into having quality relationships with people. I periodically feel terrible about not being able to self-motivate on command. These negative emotions don’t serve a useful purpose; accepting them matter-of-factly as the conditions of my reality and getting on with it seems healthier.

    • I can accept that maintaining my “best working condition” is time-consuming and difficult. With my ADHD Introvert qualities, it’s hard for me to stay focused on tasks that don’t naturally give me energy. When I don’t have energy, then my ability to work without distraction is tremendously limited. I’ve tried for 25 years to get around it, and when I’m effective it’s because I also have all the resources I need. When those resources aren’t naturally in my day-to-day work, I have to engage in the work of maintaining them. I need stimulating input, a community of like-minded competent peers, and an abundance of time to myself to even begin to do the difficult work.

    Finally, I must remember that my strategic goal is to make new works to share with people. I believe that works I can create and share are the value that is within my power to create. Sharing these works is my preferred way to find new friends and generate income. If I am not sharing my works with people, I am not on the path to success.

    I’ve added this to the GHDR 2019 Page, but I have trouble remembering to stay on track, so I’ve taped this sign to my laptop:

    "June GHDR Guidance" Hope it works! Will check in next week with a report.

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    Dave Seah
  • GHDR 2019 June Review: Diagnosing the need to “Chill Out”

    June 7, 2019

    Making sense of the ruins of my GHDR process It’s time for my fourth progress report for Groundhog Day Resolutions (GHDR) 2019! In my last report and its followup I wrote about “flipping the script” to focus on making interesting knowledge artifacts that I thought would be more true to the kind of “genuine feeling of expressive freedom” I want. I’ve been back from vacation for about three weeks now trying to put the new script in action, but I’ve been finding it very difficult to get back into work mode. I’ve spent a day thinking about the problem, and think the problem is my need for singular focus and activation energy to overcome the natural deficiencies in motivation that I have. I am personally rather annoyed by this, but in the spirit of assessing and moving onward I’ll break it down as best I can. On the positive side, I’ve been using an iPad Pro with Good Notes 5 to help think through this problem; it’s a game changer! I’ll write about that some other time. (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • Productivity Reboot: An “Open Notebook” Goal Framework

    May 22, 2019

    I’ve been trying to accept that I can’t work on more than one or two things at a time, and that my progress is going to be frustratingly slow. I decided that this was OK, and I would learn to temper my expectations and stop being so negative about it. My progress slowed to a crawl while I was in Taiwan for extended family visitations, but this led to a new insight that I could reframe the competition between all the different things I want to do as a single activity.

    To compare, let’s look at my current goals/interests, which all compete for my time and focus:

    • stationery business
    • blogging
    • billable software development
    • community development
    • software development and programming mastery
    • practical knowledge management for workflow
    • workflow and productivity processes
    • collecting, synthesizing, and sharing new knowledge from disparate sources

    I think I can reduce this to a single task:

    • produce and post useful primers, toolkits, and seeds

    If you’ve been following my Groundhog Day Resolutions, you might recognize this single task my third strategic initiative for 2019. I haven’t yet made any progress on this goal, and this lack of movement has really bothered me. As is common, I found my time being consumed by EXISTING commitments that helped me maintain the status quo but did not contribute to a better future.

    So…I am going to try flipping the script by making my third strategic initiative into the umbrella directive. (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • Taiwan Trip 2019.02 – Boxed Meal Biendang Assortment!

    May 12, 2019

    I love boxed dinners

    It’s becoming clear to me on this trip to Taiwan that the kind of traveller I am is a bit on the boring side. I’d call myself a nomadic homebody, someone who likes to travel to a new destination to just take my time exploring from the comfort of a home base. Perhaps this is why I’m more excited about box dinners here called biendang. These are the Taiwanese version of Japanese bento, yet another way that Japanese colonial rule influenced the culture here. I love biendang, and this is the first time that I’ve gotten to eat a lot of them in a row.

    (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • GHDR 2019 May Review: Reacquiring Focus

    May 5, 2019

    "Owl Pot at Taichung Flower Market" It’s time for the third goal review for 2019, aka Groundhog Day Resolutions Review (AKA GHDR)! I’ve been feeling dissatisfied with my progress, and I think it’s because I find the process of tracking goals rather tedious.

    I’m also in Taiwan again this month, and am in fact writing this blog post on my dad’s dining room table in Taichung City. Being away from home has helped me see my goals from a different perspective. I believe that I can regain focus by simplifying my methodology further by tracking what really matters. (more…)

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    Dave Seah