June 22, 2006

Don Julio…

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:05 am by a11en

Well, today on the way home, I splurged a bit. I've been eyeing a bottle of Don Julio Anejo Tequila for a long time ever since a fellow who really knows his liquors mentioned it to me. [After he let me try some Anejo (different label) I rarely will find anywhere in the US… man was *that* good stuff…] Anyways, having a small bit of the Don Julio Anejo now. Can we say Super Yum? This stuff is fantastic. It's no where near as good as the stuff my cuban pal let met try, but it's pretty darned good and relatively easy to come by. Personally it's light years beyond the Patron.

I had a large post about Procrastination all ready to go, but in light of the next few chapters of The Now Habit I've read, I'm holding off and will re-edit it for content and hopefully brevity.

So, for now, my friends, I raise my glass to ya, and I'll be back soon! [Work has been beating down my door as well, so I may not post before Friday afternoon/the weekend.] To top it off, my GF is going in for some surgery in the AM, but it should be straightforward; never the less, we always worry about those we love, eh?

What I'm currently trying to do: keep watch over my procrastination habits and write down when and how procrastination happens, and what the feelings are that cause me to procrastinate. First-step: awareness…

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June 10, 2006

Procrastination- Article, Synchronicity and Thoughts…

Posted in GTD, Lifehacks, Procrastination at 2:37 pm by a11en

This post has been a long time coming. I did a little here and there time allowing. Hopefully this will help (you and me).

Article: Surfing through LifeHacker today I found -this- article on procrastination from Psychology Today. Below are some bullets itemizing the things that resonated with me regarding their article on procrastination. (Please note a number of the following are shortened paraphrases.):

  • There’s a major difference between people who merely delay tasks and people who are true procrastinators- “procrastinators put off everything, at home, at work and in their social life”
  • Procrastinators put off doing high-priority tasks because they are under a delusion that tomorrow the task will in some way get better. I’ve noticed that this doesn’t necessarily need to be a conscious delusion, but the decision is definitely a conscious one.
  • Procrastinators often have some level of perfectionism which may negatively feed their procrastination.
  • They prefer to have someone say they lack effort rather than lack ability.
  • Often the situation is self-feeding: “the stress and guilt of perpetual postponement are themselves incapacitating”

Synchronicity: As well, there are things that resonate with other areas of reading. Here are items of synchronicity that I’m finding amongst many sources (M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, Article from Psychology Today, etc.):

  • Procrastination is not laziness.
  • Procrastination is not an issue with Time-Management!!
  • Procrastination is an issue with delayed gratification.
  • Procrastinators make a conscious decision to put off short-term pain.
  • The pain envisioned, the real reason for the delay, is given undue weight and possibly is unfounded. Often the procrastinator will also find that once the tasks are started, the pain is quite less intense than at first thought, if there is pain in accomplishing the task at all.
  • Basically, the painful task is pushed off until another time (short-term pain avoidance) and is replaced by tasks which are not viewed as painful (short-term pleasure acceptance). This generally produces longer-term pain due to the task avoidance and sense of guilt/adverse effects in work and relationships.
  • Procrastinators should know that this issue is within their sphere of influence. How they respond to the situations before them will affect their outcome. They need to accept this problem as their own, and work to solve the issue. Realize the reality that life includes semi-painful, semi-disliked tasks. To accomplish a task, it need not be liked.
  • Often an agreed upon time to work on a task only briefly will overcome the mental hurdle. The “dash“, “10-minute rule” or “(10+2)x5” will often alleviate the burden of a long and arduous task. Anyone can do something for only 10-minutes after-all… what a procrastinator often finds, is the mental fear and burden is lifted within 5-10 minutes of starting a task, and that he may end up working much longer on the task at hand, unbeknown-st to him.

Thoughts: Today’s world makes procrastination easy. Most of us are juggling a bazillion tasks, both large and small. It’s likely very easy for all of us to task-prioritize in a very poor way, in essence, supporting our procrastination. The smaller less important tasks often will be done because the larger scarier tasks will be hard to approach. Our mental fears about these larger important tasks are what hold us back. Often we are more than capable of handling the tasks (especially in small pieces), but we, for whatever reason, don’t see the results of our tackling the tasks in a positive light. We only see the negatives and often we make them appear larger than they really are. [Squash those negative thought-patterns! via Steve Pavlina.] As well, the burden of our procrastination follows us around, and kicks us when we’re down… it says: “See, I told you you couldn’t do it!” and on it goes… In fact, direct confrontation by others of my procrastination, for me, often ends up in even more malaise towards the task(s) at hand and is often counter-productive. Knowing that things are waiting on the task to be completed I feel is critical, however, as the procrastinator should know that others are depending on him to complete the tasks at hand in a timely manner. It’s the soft-mallet approach… a bit of a knock on the noggin but pad it with a soft pillow. πŸ˜‰ Affirming the ability of the procrastinator and showing enthusiasm towards receiving the finished work may also help motivate. Since the procrastinator is already negative, often more negativism merely feeds that delay-spiral. [Wow, this is sounding a bit like a different form of depression, actually- I’ll have to think more about that.]

I also feel that to some large degree, procrastinators aren’t very honest with themselves or are at least are a bit naΓ―ve when it comes to the realities of life. For me, the big reality that hits me very hard in the face almost every day: There are not enough hours in the day, and invariably I never get as much done as I really wished I did. Most likely that’s the perfectionist in me talking, bringing me down, but, to some degree it’s really true. If I spend all my time searching for current literature on Morgellon’s disease, or Jungian Psychology, and not on my preliminary exam papers and talk, then when the evening hits, I’m gonna find that I know more about Morgellon’s and Jung, and ultimately less about my prelim talk and paper. 😦 A sad fact of life, really. As well, our perception of time can be described as a time integral normalized by our total lifespan. So, as we get older, it appears as though the hours get shorter and shorter… the days speed by, and the weeks and months are slowly speeding up. If we don’t stay focused on our important (and often large) tasks, we can easily find them slipping through our fingers.

David Allen’s Getting Things Done may help procrastinators in a few ways. For me, I found it did a number of things. First, let’s pause- and be honest here: This is something internal to our psyche and it is a difficulty we have to work through on our own. Second, our environment and how we handle things can help or hurt. GTD has helped me to see all the tasks before me laid out in the areas they can be accomplished and in the projects that need to get done. So, no longer do I have to mentally remember these items. As well, our brains are quick at running through the procrastinator’s devices, so often when we think about a large task, it gets shoved to the back of our mental list. With GTD, at least the lists and tasks are out in the open where we can choose to be honest about them. Any aspect of our organizational world that is slightly frustrating (like say huge piles of things on the desk) are of course difficult to get organized and done. D.Allen’s GTD system helps us to have a methodology (a slight mental crutch) with which to organize and deal with these large piles of “stuff.” Doing so, at least removes 1 task from our list- namely getting rid of our piles of stuff, but also stream-lines the other things we have to do- review our tasks and projects and have our materials at our fingertips when they’re needed. As well, large ToDo tasks which merely hint to us the enormity of actual actions included in the task will merely hinder our ability to move forward. If we see a large task that we know has many levels to it, we are likely to stand back in fear of it and put it off until a future date. So, dissect those ToDo’s and place actual single-step actions in your action lists. For the procrastinator, this is gold. It’s a smaller task that can be accomplished and it’ll help move forward the large project which looms over your head [i.e., The Monster].

And finally, I found a research group in Ottawa who has some excellent info about procrastination: Procrastination Research Group and their Podcasts. As well, there is actually a dissertation podcast that I haven’t yet listened to.

June 7, 2006

Slowest Experiment In The World (& update)…

Posted in GTD, Mac, Work at 1:31 pm by a11en

Sometimes I feel like my experiments are this slow: The Pitch Drop Experiment, [2]. πŸ™‚

Blog Update: A large post on Procrastination will be up in a day or so. It's pretty much completed, but I want to run through it again briefly before posting.

Mac Update: Mac is fixed <knock on wood>… charging is going well, no incessant squeals from the hard-drive. Last thing to do is to recap the 3-key. Ok, so what eventually fixed it was: 2nd Logic board, and a new power-brick. The tech mentioned the powerbrick was flaky when she tested it, so she wanted to be safe and replace it. The 2nd Logic board seems to have been the trick, and things appear stable. Tested sound-in, all is good… no serious problems as far as I can tell. I should run AHT just incase. rsync is working, however, there's still an issue with the extended attributes. I haven't yet learned how to use rdiff-backup, as I don't have much time in my day to dork with it at the moment. For now, I'm just dealing with it until I have more time. At least my drive is backed up on a regular basis now. That should = no lost time in my work if the machine goes down.

Work Update: Conference on Monday… lots to try and get done for the poster. Hopefully I can tell an interesting story. I hope it's well received. Lots of work in OpenDX and KPFM of late. As well papers need updating and working on. How the hell am I going to get all this done? I better not think about it too much, or I'll be a deer in the headlights… better just plug away at my tasks…  Yikes.. just busted a sample grown last night- thankfully it wasn't a great sample indicated by the SEM… but I also busted a wafer I was cutting.  😦
GTD Thoughts: David Allen's GTD helps to alleviate the load on our brains in keeping up with everything we have to remember to do. Removing this burden allows us to think more freely and frees up thought-space. I can see a loop that can happen and have been thinking about it lately… if we're truly more efficient and are more free to think (which I have been of late)… we will likely have many more things come to mind that will spur our work forward. This leads to more "Action" items, and more project folders, and leads to a possibly bloated ToDo/Action list. Is this a sign that the system is not working, or a sign that the system *is* working? I think there's a missing focus on which actions are most important, and action on them. I'll be thinking about that as I go about my work this week.

YUM!  My folks just came back from a trip back to Canada to Dad's home town.  Wonder why in the hell Humpty Dumpty chips aren't sold down here.  I'm currently enjoying some Ketchup Chips.  Super-yum!!  Now, if only I could lay my hands on some Dill as well…

June 5, 2006

Friends do frustrating things sometimes…

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:20 pm by a11en

Ach.  Well, a good pal of mine came into town, and didn't call to let me know he was available.  Problem may be friend number 2 who tends to be weird about friends (like putting them on a blacklist if they don't suit his fancy for a couple months)… who knows.  Anyways… what a let down.  Didn't get to see his new baby, or chat with him about how things have been going.  Oh well, guess getting together wasn't that important to him.

😦  Perhaps he was just too busy.  We'll see.

Otherwise, beautiful day where I am, and the A/C is fixed… which is excellent.

Totally loving my Miquelrius notebook.  I found 'em at the local Barnes and Nobels bookstore, surprise surprise… of course I had to pick up some of the smaller 3×5 versions.  The paper is fantastic, with very little see-through, no feathering at all, and a bazillion pages.. so if you ramble on like me, you never need fear of running out of space.  πŸ™‚  Gotta love 'em!

Still itching for a Parker '51.  We'll have to see when I can get one.  There's a slew on sale recently on a listserve I like, dunno if I should wait for the first fellow who's looking through his stash for me, or go with one of these that appears to be well fixed up for a few bucks more…

Hope your week is good, everyone!!  Lots of great stuff, but no time to write at the moment.  Will post again soon.  OH, ps- it looks like the comment system is working now, sorry for the snafu earlier!