My time blocking is still working. In terms of productivity, this is basically the minimum state I’ve wanted to reach, being able to plan a reasonable day and do it. The few times I’ve gotten to this point, it hasn’t lasted, though before last year it always fell apart after only a few days or a week. Last year it lasted a while longer. For now this way of living feels very sustainable, and I’m sure a large part of it is that I’m getting more sleep. Another factor is that Elastic Habits is giving my schedule more purpose and specific guidelines, to maintain my chosen habits.
I’m reworking my productivity system. This involves rethinking the projects I sort tasks into and regularly assessing how my productivity techniques are going. I’m treating these system updates as a project and giving them time in my daily schedule.
The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll is a 2-in-1 productivity system and general self-help book. Since I’m done with financial books for now and productivity is one of my current themes, I’m going through some productivity books before I get to entrepreneurship. I figured the official bullet journal book would be a good source of ideas for ways to revamp my system, as well as ideas for analog information management, which is a topic of interest to me.
The book surpassed my expectations. It’s well written, incorporates the kinds of techniques I would use from software development, and suggests ways to use your BuJo to help you find meaning, set goals, and deal with life’s troubles. I might try bullet journaling. I can think of some uses. But I’m addicted to the power of digital information management, so I’d need to think carefully about the role each system should play.
The Art of Procrastination by John Perry is a funny though wordy book organized around a few good ideas. It’s for people who get things done in order to put off more important things. It doesn’t seem to be relevant to my life right now, though it has been at other times, but the advice seems helpful. It did get me thinking about the way I work.
One tip that did seem helpful to me is to work with people who aren’t procrastinators. I have noticed that it’s easier to stay on task this way, and so when my friends tell me they’re putting something off, I ask them about their task in case the conversation helps them get started. This is one way journaling my work can be helpful for me. It’s the next best thing to conversation. I should make more consistent use of it.
I was able to spend less time on cleaning. I took care of some more catch-up cleaning and only needed about half an hour each day. This left me a lot more time for project work, which is the balance I’m looking for.
I reduced my big cleaning schedule down to a one-page checklist. I found out most things in my apartment don’t need to be cleaned every week, so my new schedule is to clean everything “as needed.” But I don’t always remember where to look, so I made a list based on the original schedule. It’s literally a checklist of things to check to see if I need to clean them.
I finished planning my savings goals for technology, clothing, and home goods. In addition to the cost of each item, I spent some time adding three other pieces of info: (1) On a scale of 1 to 5 I rated the certainty that I wanted to buy each item. (2) I estimated the time frame I was planning to make the purchase (in 1 month, half a year, 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years). (3) Using the same set of durations, I estimated how often I’d need to replace the item.
I wondered if I was wasting my time deciding all this, but it turned out the certainty ratings and initial purchase time frames were helpful for planning what to buy now. And using the time frames to calculate the monthly costs told me my existing budget for clothing and miscellaneous purchases was pretty accurate. The monthly costs also gave me a number for my tech budget.
I fixed my emergency fund calculation, and now it looks more manageable. Next I have some scary numbers to add in, like health and disability insurance.
Principles of Economics by OpenStax gives me a basecamp for exploring economic thinking. I realized a few months ago that economics is one of the frameworks I see life through. I’m always thinking about how to make decisions and plan using limited resources and how to increase my outcomes along various values. But I understand this way of thinking in a very piecemeal fashion. It’s nice to have a whole field to explore where people have worked out many of the issues in a disciplined fashion. This textbook will be a good resource to return to as I work through the details.
A project idea that developed as I listened to all the math flow by is to create a simulation of the world economy from the ideas in this book. It’d be an experiment in learning about simulations, economics, and mathematical modeling. It’d be interesting to see what gaps in the model I’d have to fill with my own speculation or additional research. I don’t know when I’d get around to this project, however.