I am on my lunch break and have about five minutes left before I go back to work. I thought I would take a moment to talk about TODO list.
This is a reaction to Seraphim's “if the list has rules, I won't do it” comment. I see this a lot. Certain people don't like rules. Well, I like rules but I really, really understand why people feel this way about “productivity systems”. The more rules, the less time you will follow it. Your natural state takes over at some point. See comments here: http://markforster.squarespace.com/blog/2019/3/5/lenten-challenge-startsstarted-at-midnight-your-local-time.html
I don't know where Mark Forster said this but I do know I read this sentiment on his site and I agree with it: you are almost always better off doing any task than you are checking the list for a task to do. What I mean is if something is right in front of you and you are feeling like you really could do it, just go for it. This is the opposite of “rules for the list”.
I go to the list when for the following reasons:
review – ensure I am not missing anything, I do this when I am not feeling productive, it is a task I do when procrastinating or when I am feeling like too much time has passed since my last review so I feel out of control (this can be five minutes, five days, or five weeks depending on what is happening).
focus list – a special case of review, sometimes I know I have a day to get house stuff done and there are a few items on my main list that are about the house so I run through it ignoring everything that isn't “house” and make a focus list to churn through that day.
task details – I know I need to call Bob and wrote his number down with the task.
In none of these cases am I stopping what I am doing to “go back to the list”. It is either a process task (review or focus list) or a reference for a task I decided to do (details). If you are the type of person who forgets critical tasks maybe you need a daily focus list or a calendar entry to get a certain task done (tasks on a calendar that are not appointments are a sort of focus list).
This means the list isn't dictating your next moves, you are.
So I recorded this in my car yesterday and tried everything last night.
The club soda trick really, really worked. I had an excellent sleep last night. I did snack BEFORE bed, though, and would like to try not snacking at all tonight or eating the bare minimum (e.g. some nuts and cheese).
What could I possibly talk about with a video series? I don't know anything interesting to discuss that isn't public knowledge. I have no unique perspective. “Old man yells at cloud” sums up both my sense of humour and my opinions.
Turned on the AC for the first time tonight. In May, and already in the mid to high 20's (Celcius). Gets hot in the house as the evening sun bakes the West side.
Planned out some shelves for the garage quickly... These would be used to store the recycling bins over garbage cans (with room for overfilling) along with garbage/recycling bags and cardboard bundling supplies above that. Maybe a lawnmower under there, as well.
Sleep has not come easy lately. Not sure what is up but I need to fix it. Tonight, I will read as long as I can. I find I need to switch my bedtime technique up every so often or I get used to it and it stops working.
Going to do my stretches now.
When we moved into our house we started to just pile anything we didn't have a place or need for into the unfinished basement. This started with all the boxes we didn't have a place for in the upstairs and continued as we settled into the house. It was pretty disorganized down there with lots of stuff we probably don't want or need anymore. Today my wife and I tackled it. It is MUCH more organized now and I took a load of stuff (Ford Edge packed floor to ceiling) to the recycle depot, and we have another full load of donations plus just “garbage” which I will take to a municipal “big bin” event where you can dump anything you want. I feel an immense sense of relief at having this job done.
Popped a couple of pork shoulder pieces on the smoker for pulled pork today, too. We're taking them to a friend's for dinner tomorrow night. Looking forward to maybe eating a little of it (quality control!) tonight when I take it off the smoker.
Really good Lawfare podcast: The Lawfare Podcast Bonus Edition: Jim Baker on the Russia Investigation – a very in depth discussion on how the Russian involvement in the 2016 election came to light and what it feels like to be at the FBI while Trump systematically dismantles it.
I just did something that has been bothering me lately. I attributed a wide set of actions happening at many levels by many people to “Trump” as if he has masterminded this plan to tear down the FBI so that everyone who was in top positions there that was investigating him has been removed from their job under a cloud. This was done on purpose. It is sending a message: investigate the Trump Administration and you're gone. But it isn't like Trump is sitting there with an Excel spreadsheet late at night modelling different approaches and considering outcomes.
Here's what probably happened: some evil guy was saying “you know what you need to do, you need to fire each and every one of them” and Trump was thinking “I should, I should fire them all for investigating me” and then the evil guy actually started the ball rolling, and then other evil guys got involved, and the all worked together – calling good people out in the press, creating crazy consipiracies for Fox News to explain why people were getting fired, punatively and publically firing people just before then pension for a lifetime of service kicked in, etc.
None of this was Trump. It was done under his authority and with his blessing but probably had no actual specific direction by him. He's just there, screaming on Twitter, while others are taking care of business and probably helping themselves to some benefits along the way (sowing the seeds of dissent in the institutions that maintain the rule of law, you know).
I've been into YouTube lately and am watching this before heading off to bed. Very interesting and relaxing!
So nobody comes to this site but me. Analytics tells me this fairly clearly. I barely come here unless I am writing. And this makes sense. I am not offering new information, or aggregated information, I am not writing about interesting topics that are not covered fully elsewhere, and I am not a particularly good writer.
I have been thinking about what I can do to fix that. But then I asked myself why I even care? What does it matter? Should I stop writing because no one comes? Does writing public entries change what I am writing in a way that is useful to me? Should I redirect the time I spend writing here onto writing stories or memoirs? Should I write AT ALL?
Here's the thing: I like writing. It does something good to my brain. It relaxes me to get thoughts like this out. It focuses my mind. And I know that no one will ever read this but knowing someone might is enough to subtly shape what and how I write. And that is useful, it has an organizing effect on my thinking.
For now, I'll keep at it, but I have to wonder if maybe I should be redirecting my $5 USD a month to keep this running into a YouTube Premium subscription or something.
What to say – I feel like I have a lot of stuff coming up. But it is just normal life. Everyone feels this way. It's that feeling you get when Christmas is coming and you haven't done your shopping yet. That's how I feel all the time. I wish meditation helped with this. I mean, it sort of does. I think meditation helps me to understand the difference between feeling this way and acting from the feeling. When I feel this way, I really just need to prioritize and act. Action takes away the feeling that I am not doing enough. Work the list. Deal with interruptions. Stay calm. Don't project onto other people. Try to get enough sleep. Eat well. Repeat.
I cooked a nice meal tonight. It was pot roast with various mushrooms braised in the cooking liquid of the beef then fried in garlic butter. Served with a quick pickle of carrots and cucumber with a little sesame oil in it, roasted cauliflower with Asiago cheese, and some roasted sweet potato. It was pretty good. I think a lot of people would feel very, very fortunate to have had that meal for dinner and I do, too.
In US news – William Barr, you lying sack of shit (to paraphrase Johnny Mnemonic calling Ralfi, after being ambushed). I would be way more OK with Republicans if they just owned it. If they would just say “F—k you guys, we're lying to your face and there's nothing you can do about it, in fact, here's the deal: Trump is a criminal but he's in charge and we're getting what we want, so f—k you.” I would have so much more respect for them (which is to say, slightly more than no respect at all) if they were honest in this way. Instead, they insist on treating us all like idiots. Admittedly, a lot of their voters are complete idiots. But the ones that aren't are going along with them, they are in on the joke, and it makes them feel superior. That is really sad. Think about it for a minute. You are going to lie to someone's face when they know you are lying, but it props you up because it makes you feel powerful. You know they can't do anything about your lying, other than call you out on it, and you deal with that with more lying. And that is the political strategy of the Republicans. Boggles the mind.
Had a great day today, playing with our son and doing some chores.
One task that has been nagging at me for a long time was de-cluttering our plastics cabinet. I take everything out and match containers to lids. Orphan lids and containers get recycled. Then I set aside the best containers including specialized ones I use regularly. Everything else goes into a recycling bag and stored in the basement. If we want to get in there and get back a container we cannot live without, the bag is there. If we find the bag 6 months from now and it hasn't been opened, it can get recycled without further treatment.
My office got a nice upgrade. Turns out we are getting a new rug for the living room so the old one is now in my office, replacing a combination of door mats and castaways that I had been using (they would always move out of place or bunch up). My floor is much more comfortable for stretching and sitting to meditate. The dog loves it.
I also boxed up our cable boxes and remotes for return back to the service provider. We've been cable free since the end of the week and having no issues finding “something to watch” (which, excluding children's programming) we do for about an hour a day. Saving $100/month. Seems worth it.
Pseudo-random imgr embed: