In my continual quest not to waste my life, I seem to have taken a couple of significant steps forward in the past week, if they last.
At the beginning of the week I picked up an idea from Cal Newport’s Deep Work, the idea of dividing your workday into time blocks of 30 minute increments, except I applied it to my whole day. Instead of just recording what I do and letting its content and end point be based on my whims, I planned them out. It has worked amazingly.
My library hold of Daniel Pink’s When came up, motivated by this video presenting some of its ideas, so I listened to that and found it valuable, especially its justification of naps, and I’m being a little more forgiving of myself but also more careful about them. I’m also looking out for midpoint slumps in my activities.
Toward the end of the week I experimented with a shorter time frame for Newport’s time blocks, a minute, as a way to stay aware of the passage of time as I worked. I found an interval timer app called Seconds that let me create a Pomodoro timer that would speak the countdown of minutes. Another remarkable success.
After a week or two of trying, I finally got through the first data structure chapter of Lafore’s book, and with my productivity experiments I got through the next three chapters in two days.
Monday I went to the infusion center at the hospital for my Remicade infusion. A few weeks ago I worried that the outpatient building would’ve been converted to an ICU by this point in the pandemic, but it hadn’t, and the only difference was that I had to stand way back from a table where masked nurses asked me questions about symptoms and risky contacts and gave me my own mask. Then two more rounds of questions as I progressed through the building.
My mom the seamstress also made us masks, and I got mine in the mail but haven’t worn it yet. It does look very nice though.
I’m finally running low on the groceries I was planning to use (the stockpile is for real emergencies), so I started making plans for my next round of shopping, and I decided to try grocery shopping online. I debated whether to go out myself, but I’m feeling a little vulnerable with my immune system treatments, and I wanted to try this new thing I haven’t done, so I spent a while gathering records of my past shopping, prioritizing and categorizing them in various ways to narrow them down to what I needed, and on Saturday I filled out an Instacart order, which should be filled sometime this week. I’m very conscious of the shoppers’ risks, so I tried to tip well. I also got carried away and ordered things from Target, CVS, and Amazon. I’m thinking this will develop into some sort of regular shopping system for at least as long as the shutdown, maybe longer.
My time blocking has had one of its other desired effects, getting me to bed. And it pretty much does take a whole day of planning to get myself to bed on time. As a result my sleep has been much better this week, except for the night I woke up dehydrated and then cut my foot on a sharp pebble or something in the bathroom. (I took care of it, and my foot has been fine since then.)
I listened to another Life Model book, Transforming Fellowship by Chris Coursey, an in-depth explanation of the 19 brain skills trained by the organization. I felt it was the best introduction to the Life Model I’ve come across so far. It was well written and overviewed the history of the model, the various resources the organization offers, and both the reasoning behind the skills and some exercises for learning and practicing them.
Friday was Good Friday, and I made use of my day off by working on my data structures book and watching the evening service of the church my brother and I traditionally attend for Easter. They did a great job with their streaming setup under the circumstances, but it definitely felt different than being there among all the people. I did feel more freedom to supplement the service with online activity, such as looking at a full-screen view of The Return of the Prodigal Son when it came up in the sermon and later scrolling through the church’s many quality Facebook photos when I got bored.
A livestream I watched with interesting electronic music in the background reminded me of the magical period last year when I explored drone music, and I felt inspired to look into similar genres. A quick Google search for one of the artists in the stream took me to the electronic music review and news site Resident Advisor, so another music exploration project may be emerging.