Continuous Improvement

(Mainly writing this down for my own reference)

I found myself in a bad mood this morning because I had realised that despite my polyphasic sleep schedule, I wasn’t getting more done.  Specifically, I had spent most of a day staring at a work project without moving it forward.  This morning instead of doggedly pushing ahead I practiced a mental soft-reset by driving to Nixon Park and taking a slow, mindful hike.  Once I spent some time simply being on the trail, I reflected on my state of mind.


  • I have added time to my day, but I have not been practicing mindfullness.  Therefore the added time has little solidity.
  • I am stubbornly persisting at tasks even when it is clear I am getting nothing done.  Even when I do realize that I’ve gotten stuck, the granularity of time involved is too big.
  • I am not effectively relaxing because I am not setting (enough) explicit times in which to do so.
  • I am spending too much time checking email/FaceBook/etc. without actually acting on what I read.  Again, this is because I don’t feel like it’s officially "email time" and so I skim and then defer, skim and defer again.
  • I am feeling out of control and distracted because I am not capturing every idea/task/impediment into a trusted system.
  • I have too many organisational systems.


  • Tackle the day in terms of small time boxes.  Set a reminder at each interval.  When the reminder goes off, stop.  Breathe and center myself.  If I am in the middle of something and am making progress, choose whether to continue doing it or switch to a new task.  If I am blocked, switch to a new task, no excuses.  Physically record my choice of tasks, either in org-mode, Twitter,,  or whatever.  Initial time box period will be 20 minutes.
  • Revamp my org-mode setup so that ALL of my potential tasks are available at a moment’s notice.
  • Make a point of breaking work projects (tickets) into 20-minute tasks in org-mode.
  • Streamline my ability to record ideas, notes, tasks, and impediments quickly and without interrupting flow.
  • Make explicit tasks for leisure activities – playing BioShock, surfing the web, reading blogs, taking a walk.  Make sure they show up in the unified next task list.  When I am goofing off, only goof off.
  • Make explicit once or twice-daily tasks for checking email and social networking.  Remove obtrusive notifiers, with the exception of Twitter, which doesn’t seem to be a net drain on my productivity.
  • Make the GTD-style daily review a daily task.
  • Stop using Remember the Milk.  I already have org-mode and the Frolic Board, which is arguably one system too many.  Adding systems just adds confusion and doubt to my day.
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One Comment

  1. I would like to enter my bid for baby free guy hang out time.

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