004: 01.01

how to deal with incomplete work? Yesterday I put up my third “complete” piece. It was shit and it did not have all of the elements I desired. In truth, the visuals are even now not rendering properly but that’s more of a technical issue I will handle later1 and not what I am chiefly referring to. In the last couple of hours of work I did the best I could to put together something publishable and I had an effective sprint to the finish line by being clear on what I wanted to get done in the limited time and sticking to it. That part of the process should be used again and again. Ultimately I did the right thing by putting up what I had at the time: develop the habit of prepping and letting it go, it is a learning experience, and no one is reading my work at the time, which is a great opportunity to make the most mistakes. The two fundamental parts of my work are writing and data. While one needs the other in order to be successful it is pretty obvious that they should be done, for the most part, apart from one another and not at the computer. Of course there will be spill over, and I certainly hope so, but compartmentalizing better should lead to more complete and completed work. Notes on writing: don’t need a computer or the same platform as the web publishing tool, start early, take down all notes possible during the week, have fun and do not play it safe (for my purposes the writing is equally important to the data work, if not more). keywords: writing, planning, ship work, compartmentalize

004: 02.02

available time and the desire to do the work won’t always present themselves at the same time; how do you get work done when you’re not in the mood (lack of energy, creativity, motivation, increased doubts)? This reminds me of the jujitsu challenge. I loved jujitsu training but after a day of work, and not infrequently, a morning gym session as well, getting on the subway to make class could be quite difficult. All of the excuses and temptations would pop up offering you an out. However, if I was able to make it, and thankfully this did happen more often than not, I was always grateful. Once I was on the mat in training all the rest did not matter. Having tough moments says nothing, to me at least, about how badly you want something in the long run:2 there are two different perspectives and they will not always match. In order to leverage the short term to help you reach [the] long-term destination [you] need to plan. Make it as easy as possible to get something done. My work requires/involves three main areas: writing, data, and web presentation. Each of these areas have to-do’s that can be split into infinite categories but if I look at just two or three (easy, medium, hard) ahead of time then I can offload the effort of determining what needs to be done (the task itself) and cherry pick the ones with the necessary effort that will get me started. Once on the mat, more likely than not, the work will begin to come. keywords: planning, stack the deck, prioritize, segment work

004: 03.03

take a break today so you can work more over the next week. What about when “work” in the moment and for the near short term is not the answer and actually part of the problem? Due to many factors, not the least of which is the need to sit and stare at a computer screen, putting in more work at a given time can be counterproductive to your effectiveness, creativity, and happiness. I experienced the general malaise yesterday, it being Sunday certainly played some part in it, and while doing some work helped a bit (mostly due to the outcome and not as much due to the process) I most helped myself by taking some time away doing chores and reading. Due to the need to take the hours when they are presented I did get back on the horse but it’s worth noting that this won’t always be the case and that once again I need to remember it is about the long-term - the continued sustained effort that builds to… keywords: gradual progress; stepping back; long term vision; rebalance toward off-line work

004: 04.04

where to branch out [in order] to introduce variety, a break in the pressure, and yet not get too far off topic and distracted? I’m figuring it out as I go along and the current thought is to put out four beer/data pieces, an off-topic post, and a retrospective each quarter. That comes out to two postings a month with a little cushion built in, with respect to topic fatigue. For someone who’s never done this, beyond the last three posts, I believe this is ambitious but doable. Besides the scope/topic creep is the ever present concern regarding time and energy. Pro active topic selection, data identification & acquisition, data cleaning & analysis, and writing are the key to success. I currently have a list of 50+ blog ideas, a rough outline of where to get most data, plus actually having collected a substantial amount in the past year. The blog ideas and data are on Drive, along with other admin documents and to-do. At the risk of forcing too much structure and potentially distracting work about work (meta-work) it may be time to (re) introduce a simple Excel Kanban dashboard3 outlining the status of posts and most especially data work. keywords: schedule; planning; tools; time; proactive


1 I did not lie, though it took nearly 4 months.
2 It’s obviously what you do in those moments that help determine your desire.
3 Never bothered.