Blog

  • October Groundhog Day Resolution Report – Still Liking the Trackerless Approach

    October 13, 2019

    Groundhog Day Resolutions Report for October 2019 Happy October! It’s time for yet another Groundhog Day Resolutions Update, which I have decided to do as just a picture (above). It took 4-5 hours to draw, but it was a novel way of approaching the report. I’ll provide a little more information in the RECAP. (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • The Way Between Everything and Nothing

    September 15, 2019

    There are days where I can’t decide between DOING EVERYTHING or DOING NOTHING. Saturday started out this way, again, as it has many many times before. However, this is the first time I framed the dilemma so succinctly, and thus I was compelled to make a Rory Gilmore-style PRO/CON list to see if any interesting patterns revealed themselves! (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • September Groundhog Day Resolution Report – Trackerless Outcomes

    September 11, 2019

    Happy September! It’s time for another Groundhog Day Resolutions Update!

    To recap, in last month’s review I realized that (1) I was tired of tracking and (2) it really wasn’t delivering the results it used to. I decided to substitute MORE EXTERNAL MOTIVATION TRICKERY in place of tracking to see if “harnessing my tendency to help others before helping myself” would have positive results. In other words, I was trying to WORK WITH the following personality quirks rather than FIGHT or WORK AROUND them as I have in the past:

    • My main motivation to work is meeting someone’s immediate aspirational need. (I like helping people if I know how to help)
    • My ability to focus is very fragile. (I am easily distracted without external aids constantly redirecting my attention)
    • I am easily angered and frustrated when I can not move fast. (I am enraged by poor tools and information that wastes my time)
    • I do better work when I don’t think about time. (When I am thinking about time, I could have been doing focused productive work)
    • I feel trapped by too many scheduled tasks. Unscheduled tasks, though, are fine. (When I am worried about missing an appointment, these worries interrupt my focus constantly)
    • Any scheduled event prevents focus for 8 hours afterwards. (My brain takes time to process external stimuli and is very “noisy”, so deep work is constantly interrupted by memories of the event).
    • I absorb other people’s emotions easily and need to guard against sadness.
    • I can’t rely on my brain to always be in charge, so have a backup.
    • Despite all my shortcomings, I can always rely on my brain to converge toward a good solution, because that’s the way it’s wired.

    Instead of fighting them, I wanted to try using them in my favor. Over the past 15 years I’ve tried a lot of tracking systems and productivity tools, and they ALL work so long as you stick to them, but these quirks seem to be innate traits. I’ve developed a lot of good habits and empowering perspectives, but these traits are stubbornly rooted in my very psyche.

    So here’s what I did. (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • August Groundhog Day Resolution Report – No More Tracking!

    August 9, 2019

    Living Room Cafe Happy Groundhog Day Resolutions for AUGUST 8! It’s a day late, but it’s taken some time to figure out how to write about the month. The big news that I alluded to in the recent Fear of Losing Information post is that I’ve dropped a lot of the personal activity data capture + analysis I’ve been doing for the past couple of years. The reporting has always been time-consuming and tedious, but the insights I derived were often useful. I’ve come to realize that I’m well past the point of diminishing returns; in hindsight, many of the insights of recent years are refinements of old ones I’ve had ten years ago, KonMari-style!!!

    Instead of detailed GHDR weekly tracking, I’ve started using my digital notebook (Good Notes 5 on an iPad Pro) for my continuity management (photo above). It’s a lot more satisfying and flexible, and I already have switched to using the notebook for ALL “thinking away from the computer”, replacing multiple paper notebooks with one relatively-compact device.

    Before I dump the entire tracking process (and get HOURS OF MY LIFE back every week), it’s worth making a list of what I think I’ve learned from it. The result is a kind of “operating list” that I believe keep me feeling balanced.

    (more…)

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    Dave Seah
  • Fear of Losing Information

    July 29, 2019

    I have spent a lot of time looking for personality quirks that block my own productivity. Over the years I’ve modeled these as a weird microcomputer and a system diagram to tackle demons such as lack of self-motivation, inability to start, lack of connection to people, and lack of disciplined progress. Now I have a pretty good understanding of all those things, and more importantly I know what is important to me. After 15 years of blogging about myself, it boils down to this:

    I want to have an excellent time doing excellent things with excellent people to make the world more excellent.

    I can’t help but think party on, dudes! after that, because it reminds me so much of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure but it’s also quite a resonant feeling. I’ve spent my years pondering:

    • What IS an excellent time for me? What are the activities I find enjoyable and worthwhile?
    • What ARE excellent things as far as I’m concerned?
    • Who ARE the excellent people? And am I part of that tribe? Do I have to gather them myself?
    • What DOES make the world more excellent? Is it teamwork? Community?

    I’m happy to say that I have answers to ALL of those questions, and if anyone is curious I’ll be glad to write them up sometime (leave a note in the comments). But still I am stuck on the actual DOING OF THE EXCELLENT THINGS. It’s difficult, and it’s slow, and it seems that something else always comes up to throw my planning into disarray. Not to mention that while I like planning, I don’t like following plans at all. My Groundhog Day Resolutions have been my ongoing attempt to follow those plans, be disciplined, and produce those concrete results that are at the heart of making any sort of progress in life. And after 13 years of it, I’ve learned a whole lot about process but I still suck at it.

    Today, I have a new theory about why I suck at my own planning: it’s driven by fear, specifically a fear of losing information. I’d like to talk about it for a minute. (more…)

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    Dave Seah