My plane touched in Toronto Thursday afternoon around 3:15-ish. And officially my regular schedule resumed on Friday. However in reality, I’m still behind on a number of things, and everything is still one gigantic mess. I do plan to get back to blogging on a daily basis. But at the moment I’ve got a ton of e-mails to answer, phone calls to make, meetings to schedule and a bunch of other administrative stuff to do. Hence I’ll keep the updates short and sweet until I can dig myself out of this mess.
Today marks the first day of getting back to my old schedule and routine. The transition turned out smoother than I imagined. Hopefully, no new quirk will appear and I get back to working on all my overdue tasks. As things stand:
- Writing the first part of the first chapter in the novel. Had tweak it a bit to avoid a plot hole.
- Working out the plan of attack to restart justCheckers development. I’m woefully unfamiliar with bzr and Eclipse integration is not working well.
- Some initial plans for the new justCheckers website theme. Again, new to Drupal theming.
- My consulting work is back to a regular, sane pace and my own expectations have fell into place.
- My expectations and goals in general are more aligned with reality and my own position in it.
- Small urgent tasks keep on stomping on my larger plans, which is a bit trying. Hopefully this will all settle down soon.
I’ll continue blogging in short irregular bursts, until my projects start moving forward under their own momentum.
Today I had to go to a summons. I’m grateful for living in a country with a “fair” judicial system, and I’m not going to try to avoid my “civic” “obligations”. But it bothers me, why our dear tax-money fed bureaucrats can’t organize things properly. I see no valid excuse why to flagrantly wasting people’s time by asking until the judges and lawyers graciously call us in. Could such a waste of time and productivity not be fixed with a bit of advanced scheduling? For one this would help the economy, and social morale. It this waiting seems something of a hangover from ancient times, when the nobles could simply “ask” the peasants to put their lives on hold. Or am I missing something?
Why not small pools of potential jurors? Or calling them in at appropriate times? Why ask to place things on hold in a systemic manner?
I’m a huge fan of checking out RSS planets, especially with the technologies I love to use. Now I use Google Reader to aggregate and handle these hundreds of stories. Every so often, a story grabs my attention and gets me thinking. I’ve starred hundreds, only to never look for them again. I found that even thought I can e-mail myself these stories, they get lost in the giant abyss known as my e-mail. So for fun, I’ll post the blogs that caught my attention in a new section on my blog: Mental Shards. (Yes, you guessed it… it is a play on the name of my upcoming novel.)
Lydia Pintscher writes about dealing with people who communicate in various forms and degrees. I’d probably fall into the communication ninjas group. In fact at one point thanks to my Internet tablet, anyone could reach out and touch me over instant messenger. This became terribly distracting, and even thought I could the same with my cellphone… I’d rather not. Well actually in theory if I acclimatized people to the concept of on MSN, but may not respond in an instant we’d be good. Still it is a good reminder, that not everyone feels compelled to feel embedded into the Internet cloud at all times.
Oops… I forget which KDE developer mentioned the Stack Overflow site. This looks like an excellent resource for developers, especially when dealing with open source technology.
Richard Dale, another KDE contributer writes about the GCDS talk about Moblin. Here’s a thought: menus are useless. I’m a bit reluctant to agree. Most menus are huge and a pain to navigate around. I’d prefer a flexible tool/toolbar system. Maybe not quite a ribbons design though. I am a strong believer in keeping UIs simple, clear and pleasant to use. However menus seem a necessary evil, for large complex applications. However the argument, on why do we need large complex menu-driven applications rather than smart intelligent, flexible ones those hold much merit.
Congrats to Celeste Lyn Paul for winning the KDE Akademy Award for Best Non-technical Contribution. Her work and writing inspires me to one day get into usability, user interface design and (human-computer interaction) HCI myself. Once things settle down in my life, I plan on looking into doing a Masters in HCI.
And on Phoronix we have: News of a Game Going Free Culture. Should be an interesting experiment, I wish the developers luck.
I got up this morning, or rather crawled out of bed this morning. I didn’t expect today to be the grandest of days. Nor did I expect today as the worst of days. I expected that for once I could relax this week, and just take it one day at a time. When I logged onto my machine this morning, I noticed first a large number of e-mails. Then the existing pile of tasks. And the message from one of my friends, that I might have a huge event to go to. A event that requires preparation, time and expenditure of financial resources. In mortal terms, I have enough to keep me busy for this entire week. And I’m a bit overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all. If I don’t roll up my sleeves and get to work soon, then I’m going to have a pack of snarling, salivating tasks all over me in the matter of a single day. Help.
I’m not worried, cause I can handle the load. (Assuming nothing else doesn’t pop-up.) I’m a bit cross that I’m waking up this morning, to the realization that a shitload of work is heading me way. Oh well, I need to be expedient, and hope for the best. Wish me luck.
It is a bit early in the morning to come up with material to write about. And I did not get much sleep this night. Today I probably wouldn’t be able to stop yawning. And insane amounts of coffee will only keep me from trying to take a nap on the new office’s couch. All that said, I am on track with my current work: personal, professional and long-term. I’ve even managed to get to those much delayed tasks. Yesterday I restarted my coding projects. Today I will dedicate some time on building a portfolio: in writing, graphics and coding. And I really need to clear the dust off my resume too.
The key statement for expressing the feel of these past few days should be: I’ll be right on it. And I will. Things get done and on time. The only thing missing is sleep, but I’m sure that will return if I keep at it.
As an aside, I played Alpha Centauri this morning. What a difference lower the difficulty a single level makes. At the moment I’m kicking ass and taking names. I can also verify that what they say about state theory is true. It is all about power and domination over a territory. It takes incredible restraint to not exercise aggressive military power, especially when you know you can get away with it. Hmm… that should prove a great uncurrent theme in my novel.
Final aside: I have to rewrite the first chapter of my novel. I can’t adapt any of my previous writing to it, in any real degree. I can use some ideas and elements here and there, but regretably it looks like the first chapter needs a rewrite. The overall plot and characters feel strong. The setting needs some thought, since the terrain in reality does not work a 100% with my idea. Anyways, I plan on just writing the rough drafts first. Then I brace for painful edits later on.
My best laid plans always seem to flow so well together. But give things a bit of time, and then complications arise. And with complications come delays and reschedules.
I planned on being further along with my writing today. Also I planned on having already dealt with a number of tasks. Finally, I planned on moving forward with my summer vacation plans. Instead I slept, and made a long-term investment. All well and good, but not planned for at all. However the inflexible only complain, the flexible reschedule and replan. Thats what I’m doing this morning. I plan on moving forward today, possibly badgering a few idle people in the process. Also I will redo my vacation plans. As for the writing, I think I will find ample time to write in the afternoon. Everything all due to circumstances beyond my control. All I can do is work around the obstacles and work with what I have.
I think I just hit a new milestone in my organizational efforts. I just finished tagging and categorizing the last of my blog posts. A long effort but finally done. I almost want to take a moment to step back and admire my handiwork. But unfortunately, today I’ll be heading off to party hosted by the Huddarts. So I don’t have time to stop and celebrate, at least not until tonight. 🙂
In addition I finished balancing my accounts and ledgers this morning. This could not of been possible, if I had not yesterday filed away most of my papers. The expanding file idea seems like a stroke of genius now. I can easily find everything, takes up less space and I feel organized. I managed to compress space and create time. And this all thanks to a bit of time, money and effort. My next goal will involve clearing out the junk and clutter I’ve collected over the years. With some effort, time and perhaps a bit of money I’ll finally be able to live neatly in the small room that I own.
Still this week my schedule suffered from my efforts. I have walked around sleep deprived. I put off tasks that need to finish. But at least I can safely say my long term goals and projects seem closer to realization.
OK, moment of reflection over. I need to plan for tonight. And I need to acquire breakfast. Also I need to get to those defered tasks. Maybe I can find time to move my projects forward too.
Yesterday proved to be a productive day. I am pleased with the expanding file I bought. I could finally find an organized place for all those bills, receipts and miscellanous loose leaves of paper that clutter my room. In addition I am caught up on my correspondence. Looks like I’m making progress in the dating game too, something I thought would never come about. Of course I will not for sure until I know for sure. Still as the amount of near-misses increases, so does the likelyhood of a hit. All in all I am at ease.
I still need to organize more and clear up both my physical and digital clutter. The digital clutter only requires time. But I am severly lacking space in the physical world, and I am not sure how to deal with this. I have to either consolidate something or get rid of a large volume. Nothing really comes to mind that can help me with this. I do have some ideas. When you are dealing with a small space, you have to get real creative with managing space. And no the answer is not digitizing as much as possible, since that takes too long. I might need to do some research into this problem.
For the most part, I’ve dealt with my lack of time problem. I make time and tunnel out chunks of free time when I can. But making space eludes me at the moment.
UPDATE: I read up some interesting ideas for saving space. Need to get rid of stuff especially out of date things, unused clothes, and old pointless notes. Also I need to see if I can convert objects into money, as that will help motivate me to cut deeper. Hmm… this is gonna take some time and effort.
I apologize for the lack of an earlier update. A writer with a mindnumbing case of writer’s block, is a terrible thing to behold. Hence I put off writing until I regained my bearings and inspiration. Thinking before writing should apply to all who write.
I want to touch upon something I write about often: time management. The question that often comes to my mind, is how effective are my techniques. Do I gain anything from them? Or do they simply hinder me from achieving what I planned to achieve? How can I judge if a technique that I apply to my life hinders or helps? I claim there is a manner in which one can measure if a technique works or not.
But how should measure effectiveness? I rather not use the metric of amount of free time. The simplest way to attain free time, is to get rid of work. Rather we need a metric of work achieved.
Measuring work in general is a tricky business. If it were a simple task, we could then attempt to measure the value of work. And then we could base a sane economic model on work performed based various criteria. Regrettibly the Austrian school of business shows that this is a difficult if not impossible task. Also work for the sake of work is foolish. And one of the root causes of the present economic crisis, is the fallacy of Keynes, that so long as people and capital work and are consumed, all will be well. Hence, we indirectly valuate work by pricing the services rendered and good produced by said work, against other goods and services. I propose we approach our original problem in a similar, indirect fashion.
Lets measure effectiveness not only by the number of tasks completed. We could weight the task by their complexity, size and difficult in realization. But even such a weighing is not the true cost of a task. I noticed an improvement to simply measuring tasks. We include measurements how quickly one can work on those important but oft-put off projects and goals. If a technique lets one approach more such long-term projects and goal than before, then the technique is effective.
I am happy to report, that I put effective time and spatial organizational techniques into practice. The ones that I could maintain or could help me, I stopped using. And I know they are effective, since I can finally get to work on all those important projects and goals. And all those projects I put off for months and years, I can now approach. So I can comfortably say that progress is being made. And these techniques do pay off.