207: Still bored with myself

Mom said there’d be days like this. Well, she didn’t, really. “Son, in the future, there will be this thing called the Internet, and this thing called podcasts, which are like radio but not, and…”. If mom had that kind of prescience, my life would be very different now.

But had mom been that prescient, she would have told me there’d be days like this. It’s rainy outside, and I’m mopey inside. Good 13k run, but I need a kick in the pants to get me back on track.

As I started thinking about yesterday, this project might be that kick. Specifically, being bored with myself might be it.

Bear with me as I over think this. I started this to be publicly accountable, and to kind of chronicle where I’m at with this whole thing. But the accounting is becoming the thing. It might be the keeping of the record that motivates the success of the project.

So it’s all very quantum and Schrodingery. The state of observing this experiment is changing the experiment.

At any rate — it’s been a bad week or so in terms of staying on track. And I’m tired of repeating the same things about “I need to get on this” and “I need to get motivated.” So unless I quit this, which I don’t intend to, my sheer boredom with myself is going to start galvanizing some change.

And that’s weird. At least to me.

Maybe it’s not weird at all. Maybe this is normal for diarists and journal writers: they instigate change in their lives, just to have something to write about. That’s never been a reason to keep a journal that I’ve heard; it’s all reflective blah blah blah contemplation yar bar bar gratitude flee gee gee. But maybe the reason to keep a journal is to make yourself so sick of yourself that you become cool. Just to have an interesting journal.

Food for thought.

 

Day 206: Bored With Myself

Hm. Okay. I didn’t expect this to be a thing when I started this.

I’ve been kind of bad about things for the past while, juggling some responsibilities. And I’m pretty okay with that.

But now I feel like I need to start making strides because I’m running out of stuff to say here.

I’ve got a lot of motivations for improvement. I need to lose weight for arthritis reasons, now, among other things. I don’t think I’ve really internalized that quite yet.

And there are literally hundreds of other good reasons to be, well, good.

But I’m getting bored with myself, which is kind of a powerful motivation. One I didn’t see coming.

So I don’t feel bad. I’ve got a lot going on, things are getting shifted around to accommodate. That’s fine. I’m okay with me and my progress.

But if I don’t start making progress in the areas that this whole thing is about — sobriety, diet, exercise, sleep — then I’m just going to wind up saying the same things, over and over, forever.

That’s not good.

Bored is bad, for me especially.

I get stupid when I get bored. So keeping my interest levels up is very important.

I’ve messed around with, and abandoned, the idea of “challenges” a few times. I just don’t stick to them. But I think that might have been an early expression of boredom.

And I don’t think gamifying these goals works as well as actually striving to attain them. If I don’t do something to make progress today, I’ll be back in the chair tomorrow, talking about how I need to make progress. Boring.

So I might actually be boring myself into better health, which is a new one.

Boring myself into better health. Again, it’s a new approach. Might be hard to turn into a paperback. But if it works… here’s to boredom.

 

Day 205: Weekend food struggles

I worry that, over time, this will become a long litany of me not doing things. And saying “I should do these things.” And then not doing them. Repeat forever. After a few days of weekend food struggles, I’m back on logging.

Coming out of another weekend of not logging food, and kind of having a hard time accounting for why I’m not doing it. I can do it: I have the technology and the skills. I just get kind of distracted in the morning, bang this out, and then want to get to the next thing.

And then I use the not-logging as permission for not flagrantly bad, but not-great food habits.

I know I’m cycling good habits, but I should probably be a bit more diligent about choosing which good habits to cycle — prioritize food logging, maybe even above and beyond exercise.

Or maybe this is normal and natural. I need to keep coming back to “I should do this,” and not doing it, and doing it for a while, and just continue that cycle until it clicks. Like quitting smoking.

Anyway: weekend food struggles are a thing for me.

This is nothing new. And again, I’m afraid of becoming a broken record, two-hundred-odd days in. But the daily writing/talking is part of the accountability, and maybe that’s what will make this stick.

Not knowing what’s coming up is definitely the biggest issue. That, combined with the fiddliness of the logging. It’s neither fun nor convenient.

But here I am again after another long weekend, not having logged food and feeling not-great about it. I think I kind of just dip into denial for a few days here and there.

Shake it off (thanks, T-Swiffy), get up, try again. Rinse and repeat until I have… washed… my lifestyle? I don’t know what the follow-up to “rinse and repeat” is. Keep on doing it, is the point.

Day 204: Raining!

It is pouring outside today. Slight bullet dodge in that it’s not a running day — 12k yesterday, and just rowing indoors today. But it bolloxes my plans to get the weeding done outside with my day off.

So it’s back to the side hustle; setting all that up. It’s turning out to be a chunk of work. That’s not a complaint; it’s a good exercise to get my HTML/CSS warmed up again. And good to know workflow for when it gets going.

While I’d rather it weren’t raining, I’m kinda glad it is. The indoors-work is necessary and welcome.

And who am I kidding? I’m’a play a pile of video games, too.

After some soul-searching over the weekend, I’m definitely wrapping the video game show after the summer… it’s fun, but not core to my skills or my goals.

And I’m (again) back on daily food logging after another weekend of being floppy about it. As mentioned a few days ago, I think I’m in a period of “cycling through” good habits — I’m getting lots done, but all the things are too many things.

Day 203: Minor Distractions

Doing the video game music show has been an interesting education. But I think I’ll be ready to let it go at the end of the summer. I’ve learned a bunch of stuff and met great people. At the end of the day, though, it’s not a core interest for me. I don’t make music, and I don’t have time to play a lot of games. In fact, games are qualifying more and more as minor distractions.

There’s an old saw that one in ten Americans read books, and one in ten Canadians write them. I don’t think that’s true, but I definitely sympathize with the “don’t just consume, create” mentality.

I keep getting caught up in minor distractions, though. It’s hard to separate what’s “necessary leisure” with what’s “wasting time”. If I kill 30 minutes playing an iPhone game, is that depressurization I need? Or just a pointless distraction?

One of the things about games is it, well, gamifies all this stuff. If I were playing the game of my life, there’d be gauges. I’d be able to Tamagotchi myself. When my stress gauge is at eighty percent, give myself two units of game. When my productivity gauge is at twenty percent, allocate eight work units.

But we obviously don’t work like that. It’s not easy to Tamagotchi your life when you yourself are the virtual pet.

Minor distractions and major needs often conflict.

I enjoy minor distractions while I’m being distracted, but finishing a day without feeling like I’ve moved something forward distresses me. So there’s a constant tension between “relax and live your life” and “you are going to die someday.” It makes minor relaxation hard.

A more disciplined person might be able to allocate things better. 1.2 hours of allocated fun from 8:12 to 9:26 a.m. this morning. But that’s just not how I’m wired. Should it be? Is this something I should be striving for?

Day 202: Weekends and Water

It’s come up before, but keeping up with the water drinking is a challenge on weekends. I’ve actually done something that’s, well, probably super obvious. But it seems clever to me, because weekends and water are hard.

I’ve got two four-cup measuring cups; the big glass ones. And I just keep filling one to the 1000-mL mark and using it to pour water. Once it’s empty, I log the litre and then refill it.

Man, now that I’m writing it down, it seems stupid. But it was like a “hey, wait a minute” moment for me, when I’ve been just kind of guessing how much water I’ve been drinking from pint glasses (hint: not a pint).

Weekends and water are tough, because I have no routine on weekends.

Weekends bust my routine wide open, so it’s hard to just sit there and plug away at a pitcher of water like I can at work. So it’s double important for me to find ways to make and track consistent water drinking.

I’m surprised at how quickly this has become a Big Thing for me, but it’s really become pretty core. The funny thing is I still do not like water. It’s just so damn dull.

But it’s helping, I think. The drinking cravings, which were periodic but present, seem to really be slipping away with the water drinking. I still get “snacky” but it doesn’t seem as acute.

Is it wasteful? I dunno. I sometimes feel like I’m being very first-world with all the water drinking. But then I remember that I’m mostly vegan, don’t own a car, pay my taxes without complaint and generally try to be decent. If drinking a lot of water is the sum of my sins, I’m still doing okay.

Plus hand-wavey stuff about investing in good health and reducing systemic burdens and waste associated with healthcare.

 

Day 201: Cycling good things

So for a while, I’ve been feeling like I’m doing well, but kind of cycling good things through different kinds of “doing well.” Food logging, exercise have been decent recently, but the checklists have been lacking. Periods of side hustle development have been going well, but night checklists and sleep suffer a bit.

I’m not distressed by this; I am coming to recognize, though, that I can’t be 100% the best person, 100% of the time. I mean, I literally don’t have time to be that person. So there’s a kind of rotation of diligence here. I feel like I’m managing fairly well, and keeping the teeter-totter from teeting or totting too hard.

Cycling good things is my current, well thing.

I’m in a good place, or I’m convincing myself I’m in a good place. But I can definitely see some hard choices coming in terms of time management. I’ve been taking on a lot in volunteer areas, which is good for the soul and good to build a local network, but I need to tap some new things for myself, and that means tapping out of some current commitments.

Day 200: 14 kilometres!

Whoo! Scheduled for a 12k today, felt daffy, and ran 14 kilometres instead. And I feel… good. 2/3 of the half-mara. Could I have done the whole half-marathon today? Maybe! But I have to get to work.

So I might be brutally tired later today, but frankly, I don’t feel much difference between a 12k run and a 14k run. After a while you’re just kind of “still moving” and it doesn’t seem to bug me as much.

I do have a crystal clear memory of the last 2-3 k of the only half-marathon I’ve ever run just being brutal, though, so this isn’t overconfidence.  I’m just happy to have done it.

I did a bad job of food logging/tracking yesterday, so job one once I’m done this is to backtrack and retro-log my day — all of it, the good and the bad — to stay honest. I’d be lying if I said today’s super-run wasn’t partly fuelled by guilt.

The early arthritis diagnosis for my knee isn’t stressing me as much as maybe it should, but early Internet searcheries show it as not being the end of the world. Maybe this is confirmation bias. I dunno.

Short entry today — the problem with longer runs is definitely going to be time management.

14 kilometres! Woot!

Oh, and yeah, I know. 200. Big deal. I have a real thing about anniversaries, though:

5

10

25

50

100

250

500

1000

Those are milestones. Anything else is fishing for compliments. IMO.

Day 199: Checklists and productivity

Here’s where I’ve landed on the productivity thing: I’m going to be cloning my work system, but on per-project basis. Checklists and productivity work well together for me. And since I have a lot of me-only projects, and I don’t have a lot of dependencies, checklists work. I don’t have to keep track of what other people are doing, mostly.

Productivity Alchemy isn’t available on Stitcher (yet?), so I haven’t been listening to it as much as I’d like. I have one podcast app. It’s one of the things that keeps my life a little more streamlined. So if I’m missing out on some podcasts, so it goes. My choice.

The aforementioned Productivity Alchemy is being discussed on MetaFilter, which has all sorts’a interesting productivity methods in that thread. Ctrl-F “Aggravations List” for a really cool approach to the problem. Here’s mine.

Checklists and productivity and portability, oh my!

At work, I use Sublime Text and a package called PlainTasks to create todo lists. There’s a bunch of things I like about this combination of things…

  • It’s super simple, easy to read, easy to follow.
  • Sublime has folding features, so I can collapse up tasks that have subtasks associated with them.
  • File sizes and load times are teeny tiny.
  • It’s easy to mark things as done, and then they turn grey and are struck through with the time you marked them as done written right next to them. Good psychologically, and also for tracking.

So my general methodology is to have a daily to-do list. As I move through the day, I zero my inbox by adding things to it. I tick things off as they get done. Almost no task is too small to be added, unless it’s really a less-than-one-minute thing.

Every morning, I write today’s date, copy yesterday’s list, paste it up under the new date. Then I delete all the done items. Catch up on overnight email and add new tasks to the list.

One of the things I like about this is that it makes a very long, searchable text. So if I’m wondering about a project’s status, I can search for it, and see (usually) a hand-off task on my end and when it was done.

So I’m trying to implement this at home. I’m thinking it might be best to tackle it as a document per project, rather than one total intimidating to-do list. That way, when time allows, I can peck away at any of a number of things instead of living in a constant feeling of overwhelmed panic.

 

Day 198: Steady On

Things are about to get real with the half-marathon training. 5k tomorrow, then 12 on Thursday; repeat Saturday-Sunday. Next week we start getting into 18k; running will be steady on until then.

I’m kind of excited; I also kind of stupidly set my fake “race” to August 22, so I might have to just move that up to Sunday, August 20 and not tell the app. I still have no idea what I’m going to do for the run itself. Just get a car for the morning and run in one direction for three hours, then have my wife come and get me? I dunno.

So the arthritis diagnosis plus the more serious running ahead is definitely a good impetus to lose weight. And I’m feeling positive about it. Behind goal a bit right now, but that’s okay; it’s going to be a good week.

Steady on til run time.

I’m rowing on rest days, which is probably fine? Opinions seem to be mixed. Not sure if I should be exercising on rest days, but I enjoy it, and the rowing is definitely good full-body.

Strength training eludes me. I just… don’t want to do it. That’s kind of the obstacle. My complete unwillingness to do strength training. I know I should. Meh.

A friend of mine has been seriously talking up TRX, which sounds, frankly, really friggin’ cool. But I’m having a hard time seeing whether this is “I can get into this” excited, or “if I spend money I’ll do something” fallacy.

So time to get to strength training. I gotta do it.

Productivity update: I might check out a new podcast featuring Ursula K Vernon, in which she’s exploring productivity options with her husband. I know Ursula from my brief time in comics, when I was doing The License for Graphic Smash while she was doing Digger. I’ll keep you posted.