Visualizing the Day

ML Jan 28, 2006

I’ve taken to naming my journal entries as the date, plus how I plan to use it. This one is 2006-01-28-personal.doc. I definitely don’t plan on publishing this one, because I’m planning to talk about how I get my apartment cleaned up today, PLUS work on programming. Yesterday, I started work about 10:00AM, and went to bed at 5:00AM. It was basically a 17 hour work-day. And I woke up about 7:00AM yesterday thanks to the cats, so it was almost a 20-hour day. I hope the baby-step color coding project was worth it. I think it will be, because of the effect it will have on the rest of my work.

So, how do I make today effective on two fronts? First-off, lose no time on your old bad habits. No TV and no gratuitous Web surfing. So in short, no reward before the work is done. You don’t have anyone in your life who helps bring that sort of structure, so you have to bring it on your own. When I’m being lazy and neglectful, basically no one knows. I could be many times more productive than I actually am, if only I kept myself focused and working constantly—whether on mundane personal life work like keeping my apartment clean, or the interesting professional work. And since my employer has been gracious enough to let me pursue my programming passion to crank out this Web 2.0 app, I must go into hyper-effective mode to not let her down, and not let myself down.

Visualize the end result, and work towards that. Since I’m working on two fronts today, I have to visualize two end results. The first is the clean apartment. That means I won’t be programming constantly. So the way to integrate the two types of work is to use the cleaning time to evoke inspiration. When the inspiration occurs, capture it right away—probably in a journal entry or in baby-step programming code. Roll something out quickly, then get back to cleaning. Plan on going to 5:00AM in the morning again tonight. That’s only 17 hours. On the work-front, the visualized end result for today is enough simply to monitor every move a spider makes on the new MyLongTail site—plus the documentation to show how I did it.

Maybe this will become a public journal entry after all. Isn’t that the spirit of blogging, after all? Aren’t I doing this entire thing as sort of a voyeuristic form of performance art, showing how a single person can launch a Web 2.0 app. Meanwhile, it has the human interest elements of a Philly boy who recently relocated to Manhattan and wants to start taking advantage of the culture. I’m learning the PR industry, dealing in actuality on many fronts, including keeping my employer’s clients happy while I do this, and even help win new business. Some might say I’ve bitten off way more than one person can chew, and indeed, I started this all while maintaining a long-distance relationship with what I thought was the love of my life. Something had to give, and that relationship ended 2 months ago. Sighhhhh.

OK, to launch into the day without distraction, quickly shower and run out to Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and nourishment. Carry your Sony voice recorder, so you can capture inspiration while not being tempted to sit down, settle in, and read news for an hour. I can even do that on my phone with RSS feeds, so I have to be particularly careful. You would think being informed up-to-the-moment in your field and world events would improve productivity. It doesn’t. It just fills your head with junk and distracts from the vision. I want to be one of the individuals helping to shape our world—not become a news junkie. And shaping our world takes the extra edge that putting the big time-sinks aside helps to provide.

OK, go!

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