mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

If time is what keeps everything from happening at once, does that mean that when I don't have any time I can get everything done right now?

Oh. Darn.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Yesterday was marked by a long, tiring, and only somewhat productive day at work -- I'm going to try to catch up over the weekend. I did realize, rather belatedly, that many of the problems I'd been having with git came from the fact that you can't copy a working tree with its repository using rsync and expect it to work afterward: the index needs to be rebuilt with git reset --hard.

Spent some time thinking about time management, and wondering how I'll manage to clear some uninterrupted time for meditation. Something will have to go, probably.

OTOH, if I can stop hitting "refresh" on LJ quite so often...

mdlbear: (sureal time)

I still haven't really gotten the hang of this "the caregiver has to take care of himself, too" thing. Nor have I really gotten the hang of doing things I "enjoy". But there are a few things I really have to find time for, not so much because I "enjoy" them -- though I suppose I do -- but because I go crazy if I go without them for too long.

Walking is one. I have to have my walk; preferably every day and preferably for an hour. I can cut that back to half an hour every other day, but not for long. It's the only exercise I get, but it's more than that.

Livejournal is another; possibly at an even higher priority than walking. If I'm at a con, or on some other kind of tight schedule, I will squeeze in time to read my friends list if I have any time for the computer at all. Email to a lesser extent. Other kinds of reading, on the net and off, if there's time -- reading is something I can do even with a lot of distraction, so it's useful for those times. But time spent on the computer interacting with people is crucial -- LJ, IM, email... I rarely see anyone outside of my family, a few local friends, and coworkers; the computer is usually my only way to feel connected with my closest friends.

Music is a little further down on the list; I'm not quite sure why. Especially music where I'm interacting with people: performing, or practicing with friends, or singing in a small, friendly circle. Just practicing by myself, or even songwriting, are less essential. I guess music is further down on the list because I can't do it whenever I want with the people I want to make music with. Too many of my friends are far away.

And then there's time with friends (including people like Colleen, and my family-of-choice, who are much more than friends). There's a reason why I'll usually drop everything else to go for a drive with Colleen (as I did tonight, in fact). But, as with music, most of the people I would like to spend time with are far away. I can't spend as much time as I'd like with most of my friends, and in some ways that's just as well, or I wouldn't have time for anything else. It'd be worth the trade, though.

Time for creativity -- songwriting, software, writing -- is important, but a lot of the secondary activities around that feel like work, and they're not as important to me as things that put me in touch with people.

(added 0713 7:53) Hot baths. Not so much for getting clean as for relaxation -- a hot bath helps me get to sleep. It's getting increasingly difficult to find the time. I really miss the days when Colleen was spry enough to get in and out of our 6-foot tub, and we could take a bath together.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Not really anything spectacular; I got a good walk in, and made more progress at work than I have in a while (which probably isn't saying much).

I suppose that going to bed earlier has to be listed as an accomplishment. I still don't have to like it.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I've never been any good at managing my time. (Or my money, but that's a matter for another post.) Caring for Colleen, with her limited mobility, has taken a large chunk out of my day. And I've recently discovered that I need more sleep -- at least 8 hours, where I was getting by on 6.

So let's add this up: a full-time job, sleep, caregiving, filling in for the things Colleen can't do now, and everything else. No wonder "working from home" is marginal, and my lunchtime walk often gets squeezed out. I seem to have fallen into the all-too-common caregiver's trap of trying to do it all.

Things have gotten a lot better in the last two months:

  • Colleen now does most of the grocery shopping online.
  • Friends now do a lot of the errand-running; we can usually find someone to take the YD places, and to go out shopping with Colleen. Colleen's making better use of her network.
  • I can work from home, especially in the mornings, and I'm gradually learning how to make that more effective and efficient.
  • Colleen has been making better use of her network of local friends, and can usually find someone to
  • The Younger Daughter can cook, though she often doesn't.
  • I can't multitask, but I can merge or overlap tasks sometimes: time spent taking care of Colleen is quality time together; I can do minor chores while she's on the commode. Things like that.
  • I go out with Colleen on Thursday evenings, so that's one less day when somebody (e.g. me) has to cook.

Still, it isn't enough, and it's discouraging.

Here are some of the things I've thought of and started implementing:

  • I've made a "reading" filter for my LJ friends list. I think that all of my current human friends are on it; it filters out some feeds, cartoons I don't care much about, and so on. A few of them are still there because Colleen and probably a few other people read my friends page. LJ and email are non-negotiable -- they're just about my only way of staying in touch with most of my friends.
  • I'm trimming the "AM" bookmark folder, which contains the things I read every morning, to the ones I've actually been paying attention to lately. I should do the same to my other bookmarks, and my link page.
  • I've started to accept the fact that I can't do everything I want to, or even everything that I think I need to.

Here are some of the things I've thought of but haven't done yet.

  • I need to shift more of the household chores onto the YD. I'll still do the dishes, but it would be nice if I didn't have to cook on days when I also have to work. Did I mention that I have trouble setting limits?
  • It would really help for the YD to learn to drive. We need to schedule driving lessons soon.
  • Probably the only way I'm going to make more time for music is if Colleen asks me to sing for her, so I have to make sure that she does that more often, and that I don't resist when she does. (Probably not on Wednesdays unless there are other filkers there.)
  • We have to get Colleen to start using Outreach for transportation when friends aren't available.
  • I have to learn how to ask for help and, perhaps more importantly, how to recognize when I need to.
mdlbear: (sureal time)

Too often, I look up from whatever I've been doing and realize that if I'd wanted to go for a walk, or take a bath, or any of several other things I've been complaining about not doing, I should have done it an hour ago.

And that's not even counting work, errands, housework, or caregiving. Foo.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

For a couple of weeks now I've been getting even less done than usual on all the various projects I've been working on. As little as six months ago I'd had hopes that I'd have most of the work done for my next album by now; I'll be lucky to get the first one or two scratch tracks done today. There are organizing projects and carpentry projects scattered all over the house; software projects and writing projects and web projects scattered all over three filesystems.

Last night I realized how much more of my time is going into my improved relationship with Colleen, staying in touch with the Wolfling, and even chatting with the Younger Daughter, who is rapidly transforming herself from a child into a young woman. Have I mentioned that I don't multitask well? Not too surprising, then.

It's a good trade-off. I'll take it.

Meanwhile, though, I have a tendency to stare at my lengthening to-do list and feel paralyzed and powerless, rather than pick an item -- any item -- and damned well just do it.


mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
A recent post on PBS's MediaShift blog titled 'Technology Sabbath' Offers One Day to Unplug seems particularly good as a follower to my last post on managing attention:
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with taking one day each week away from work completely. You might think this would be an easy task as there’s a “weekend” each week that allegedly offers up two full days of rest. And yet, as I work at home, the shiny big screen of the iMac beckons at all hours, and I am often in front of its white glow the first thing every morning and the last thing at night.

So, being that I am Jewish — though not very religious — I decided to shut down the computer each Friday night at sunset until Saturday at sunset, the traditional time of the Jewish Sabbath. I make exceptions when I need to get directions or check for a personal email. I still use my cell phone but try to limit it to personal calls only. While this day of technological rest can be a difficult routine, it has allowed me to stretch my time, spend more hours outside and be with people more in face-to-face settings.

And I’m not alone. The concept of a “Technology Sabbath” is becoming more widespread,..
Not that I'm likely to do any such thing, you understand. But it probably wouldn't hurt to stay off the web and IM during daylight hours on weekends. Who knows? I might actually get some projects off the ground... (Almost all of them involve computers, but they're also vulnerable to distractions.)

(From Techdirt.)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Fascinating post in O'Reilly Radar yesterday titled: Is it Time to Retire the Never-Ending List?

One afternoon, earlier this year, as I was scanning a long list that I was adding to endlessly, I realized, I'll never get it all done. That's probably just fine. But this endless list and this feeling of being completely scheduled's not working right now.

I met some friends for dinner and put the question out: Do you have a never-ending list? Do you manage your time? Do you manage minutes, tasks, and lists? Do you start each day with a list that has more on it at the end of the day than it did at the beginning of the day, in spite of how many items are completed and crossed off?

Or do you manage your attention? Do you manage emotions, intention, and make choices about what will and will not get done? What are your favorite ways to do this?

There were a couple of good suggestions, too. Worth a read.

I understand this. I, too, have an endless to-do list. I leave IM turned on and waste attention wondering whether I should ping someone, or wondering whether they'll ping me. I have a browser window up all the time with an easy, tempting bookmark for LJ. At home, LJ is always on a tab, along with a couple of posts where I want to follow comments! I have an editor window, sharing a ctwm tab with the browser, that's constantly viewing either email or my to-do list. It's too easy to get distracted.

Lately it's been changing a little. The list is still there, but there's a section with today's date. Whenever something comes up that needs to be done tomorrow or on the weekend, it goes there. Every day I can see both what I did, and what I didn't do. The rest of the endless list, organized by topic, is still mostly there, but it's not on the first page and I rarely look at it. Some things are going to get forgotten. Sorry about that.

I've dialed IM down a couple of notches; I should pull it down even more, I guess, and put the buddy list down where I can't see it. I should limit LJ even more, too, and not even look at it at work except at lunchtime.

Not all my river posts are about relationships. Sometimes it's just my relationship to the space-time continuum. Deal.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

My current morning schedule does not give me time to: get dressed, take meds, read cartoons, blogs, email, take the kids to school and work, do the dishes, glance at the newspaper, make and eat breakfast, and get anything else done.

Computer- and album-related tasks will have to wait for evening.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The headline in The Times is "Earth's time lords make new year wait a second", but it's serious business. This year's leap second will occur at midnight, 2005-12-31 11:59:60 UTC. Think about that time for a moment.

This will be the first leap-second since 1998. It's the subject of a great kurfuffle between the astronomers represented by the Time Lords of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (based in Paris) and the US delegation to the International Telecommunication Union. The astronomers naturally want atomic time and astronomical time to match up as closely as possible; the US (representing the computer industry) wants to avoid irregularly-spaced corrections that mess up software that wasn't written to accomodate them. Programmers just want to be able to compute the interval between any two dates without having to consult a manually-maintained table. This becomes important if you need to know the exact time in January, 2038 when 32-bit Unix date-codes roll over.

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