I read half a chapter. My fatigue was up last week, and my time management was down, so I didn’t get very far in my prealgebra book, only around halfway through the fractions chapter. This week I’ll try to complete my goal for last week, which was to get through the three chapters after fractions. The book is still great, and the material is still mostly review, so it’s pretty easy to get through.
I rewrote a recipe to make cooking easier. Making the peanut chicken and broccoli at the beginning of the week reminded me again of how chaotic my cooking is each time, so for the beef stroganoff later in the week, I decided to rewrite the recipe to take me step-by-step through an orderly procedure. I got around to the cooking Saturday night, and even though it still took a long time, with my rewritten recipe it felt much less stressful, so the time bothered me less. I also found it’s easier to handle raw meat if I keep it in storage bags instead of their original containers or aluminum foil.
I stretched myself in this recipe. The beef stroganoff was a bit of a personal challenge for me, because (1) I don’t like mushrooms, but I’m trying to get used to foods I don’t like, so I included them; (2) I traditionally haven’t liked mustard or onions, but I’ve gotten more used to them (at least Dijon mustard), so those were in too; (3) I’m going back to chopping my own ingredients (other than garlic maybe), because it’s easier to find decent quantities of raw ingredients than frozen prepared ones; and (4) I’ve avoided chopping onions because I don’t like the onion smell on my hands for days after, but I found out rubbing stainless steel on your hands supposedly works for onions as well as garlic, so I decided to risk it.
It turned out (1) the buttery, garlicky way the recipe had me prepare the mushrooms made me look forward to them, and I didn’t mind eating them at all; (2) the mustard and onions were also fine; (3) chopping food yourself feels more real and satisfying than dumping it in from a bag; and (4) the stainless steel did work.
Finding ways to rise from a trough. Last week continued my productivity slump, but (1) it was clearly tied to fatigue, so I’m letting myself catch up on sleep via naps; (2) the slump reminded me why my productivity tools are important, because having uncontrolled time just isn’t enjoyable; and (3) the productivity books I’ve been listening to are giving me a lot of promising tools, though I still need to make concrete plans to use them. Even though I’m still getting through the last few books on my list, I’ll make the productivity planning my side project for this week.
Elastic habits give you options for continuous progress. I listened to Elastic Habits by Stephen Guise, which recommends (1) choosing three general habits to focus on, (2) defining three different actions that fit under each category and three levels of difficulty for each action, (3) each day choosing a level and activity for each habit, and (4) keeping track of what you did. The goal is to keep your habit chains going by giving yourself flexibility based on your changing schedule and energy level. I want to try this, because as much as I like order, I’m very bad at being consistent at almost anything.
Willpower is doable but complex. Back in 2016 I listened to The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal (her Google Talk about it), and last week I listened again. I’m glad I did, because I have a lot more context now for understanding its insights and advice. The advice is kind of complicated though, so this one may take more time than other books to plan from.
I found a bunch of free books. One of my distractions lately has been the troves of free books I’ve been finding:
- Springer’s free offerings during the pandemic – Academic and technical books, a link our dad emailed us a while back.
- Links to free book sites at FreeComputerBooks – I knew about FCB, but I hadn’t looked at their links to other free book sites. Hacking Life from the MIT Press site is now in my Goodreads queue.
- OAPEN – A large catalog of scholarly open access books from many academic publishers.
- OER Commons – Another large catalog of textbooks and other educational resources from various sources.
- Open Culture – A more general collection of free resources.
- Creative Commons Wiki: Books – Creative Commons-licensed books.
Reconciling good and bad news is challenging. It seems like each year the world ramps up the intensity. I felt it this week when I watched very bad and very good events unfolding at the same time. When it comes to the very bad, there was the tragic death of George Floyd and its aftermath. On the very good side was a successful and historic rocket launch that I personally found inspiring and motivating. I’m only beginning to think about how to give due weight to both the good and the bad.